With all the chatter, I thought I'd chip in with my thoughts so far on No Man's Sky. I'd like to say up front that yes, the release build of the game isn't exactly what we saw from the development build videos. Hopefully some of these features, as well others mentioned i.e. base building, will make it into the game in the coming weeks. But I also don't think that the 'missing' elements take away from what this game is.
For me, NMS was always going to be a game about the exploration of space - 'to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and civilisations, to boldly go where no man has gone before'. I absolutely love the fact that instead of looking up at the sky at a moon or planet and wondering what it's like, you can go there and find out for yourself.
I'm enjoying the role playing aspect of being the first explorer to catalogue all the discoveries, although I've mostly stuck to the given 'Alien' names, apart from those discovered on my 'home' planet, Judo Prime.
Yes, a lot of planets will end up being very similar, but with 18 gazwillion of them, this is to be expected. Personally, I'm still yet to find a 'paradise' planet, or anything close to one that looks like Earth. In fact, I think only two of the planets I have visited so far have had a non-hazardous environment, with one being the planet Pearl, with its mass cave networks full of rare and valuable materials. Some of my other highlights so far though have been: a permafrost world with underwater bases, and a mountainous rocky planet, full of deep craters which look as if it has been battered by meteorites over millions of years.
The resource management is something which appeals to my grindy personality. There's something strangely relaxing about mining stacks of Emeril or Gold while watching the fauna ramble around. I'm hoping that future updates will allow us to do more with the resources we gather, e.g. being able to change the appearance of our multi-tools and ships, as well as building structures. Having said that, I've already put my tools to good use on one planet by digging out (using grenades) a network of tunnels between a trading post and a profitable mining cave, allowing me to stay mostly hidden from the aggressive local sentinels and spider crabs.
I haven't really explored too much into the upgrade systems for the exosuit or the ship, something which is on my to-do list to look at soon. I have played around a lot with the various options for the multi-tool though and there does seem to be plenty of options e.g. changing your weapon types or focussing on mining upgrades.
The soundtrack to the game is one of the standout highlights for me. It really adds to the experience, being all mellow when you're just roaming around exploring and then building up to frantic space rock when being hunted down by sentinel walkers or engaging in a space battle. It reminds me a lot of (sorry Funar) how some of the music in Destiny does the same thing - I'm thinking of the Crota fight specifically.
I can't really comment on the story or lore of the game, as I haven't really explored too deep as of yet, but it seems rather basic so far. I have learned plenty of Gek words and can more often than not, pick the correct response and be rewarded for doing so. Not so much good with the other languages unfortunately
As for the 'ending' - I've already had this spoiled for me while browsing some pictures of worlds and creatures found by other explorers on /r/NoMansSkyTheGame/. I can't say I'm disappointed, nor am I particularly exicted - it should be about the journey, not the destination.
I have to admit that I don't think No Man's Sky warrants AAA pricing, something which I also said while the Hype Train was at full speed earlier in the year. It almost feels like the release version is similar to some of the early-access games like Rust or Subnautica that are on PC and should be priced similarly - a RRP of £24.99 feels more appropriate.
Overall, yes some people will be disappointed that this game isn't an infinite Mass Effect, or think that Shaun Murray has just lied to us all in order to get rich quick, but personally I think that the small team at Hello Games have done a great job in bringing a pretty much unique experience to the PS4.
No Man's Sky gets a solid 1.29127E+20
out of 1.84467E+20
from me. Live long and prosper!