When you talk about No Man’s Sky, it’s hard not to feel compelled to address it in the context of the reactions people had in the days and weeks following its release. That was over a year ago now (absurd, I know – the passage of time will claim us all), and it’s safe to call that period “the past.” To celebrate the last year of space exploration, version 1.3, titled Atlas Rises, was released.
It’s the third major update for the game, following Foundation and Pathfinder. Atlas Rises, though, is the big one, the one that changes everything. Where previous updates gave some tools for making actually staying on a planet more enjoyable, this one has new quests, UI, a promised 30 hours of story content, and more.
I’ve deleted my old save file and started fresh, waking up on a toxic planet with nought but a multi-tool. The changes quickly become apparent, as they’ve altered the way I play – the repetitive dash between planets, and anywhere where I can flog my goodies, has been quashed.
Quests are a new source of cash and I’m no longer constantly being forced along a path to the centre of the universe and its greater questions. Alien races feel meaningful with changes to economies and the way those quests work, while the Atlas Rises story offers a whole lot more lore to aliens and the universe. It’s all then woven together into the existing content – a new player wouldn’t even be able to tell what’s new and what was present at release.
That elephant in the room for No Man’s Sky, the reactions at release, they’re no longer applicable. Multiplayer’s in the game now, there’s more story to take in, base building, economics, vehicles, and more are fleshed out and fun.
If No Man’s Sky isn’t for you, that’s perfectly fine – space ain’t for everyone. But one year later and three updates on, the game is so much better than it was before. It’s an impressive game that lets you escape in a way no other does, but it deserves your attention, if only to see how much better it is.
This article originally appeared in Official PlayStation Magazine. For more great PlayStation coverage, you can subscribe here.