Thanks to delayed review copies and an awkward embargo, No Man's Sky review scores likely won't be ready until days after the game launches. We'll have plenty of livestreams though.
Review embargoes for No Man's Sky don't lift until August 8 at 11PM EST, just an hour before its release on PSN and Steam, and publications won't be receiving their review copies until Monday, August 8.
So don't expect anyone to have their review ready by the time the embargo lifts, and it might be as long as two to four days after No Man's Sky launches before we get an official review. Before you get too disappointed, I'm sure we'll see an incredible volume of livestreams to showcase the game in action.
Thanks to the flurry of leaked No Man's Sky content from a few gamers who received their copy early, gamers got an early look at what Hello Games' near-infinite interstellar indie had to offer. What they saw was troubling: glitches, bugs, poorly-designed mechanics, ugly texture pop-ins, and more un-optimized content. The biggest concern of them all was how one gamer successfully reached the center of the universe in less than 40 hours, despite Hello Games promising it'd take "hundreds of hours" to do so.
So what's the deal with the embargo? I'm thinking that the game's official day one update is the reason for the review copy delay.
Just mere days ahead of the game's launch, Hello Games has just recently finished up the first day one patch, which would optimize content, squash bugs, and likely fix the infamous Atlas Stone exploit. Essentially the day one patch could fix all the problems highlighted by the leakers, and render their experiences moot.
This, of course, means the game isn't exactly finished up in its current state and Sony Interactive Entertainment didn't want to give out review copies of an unfinished game.
Basically if Hello Games/Sony had given out review copies of No Man's Sky without the day one patch available, publications like GameSpot and IGN would be playing the exact same game as the leakers. So its quite obvious to see why review copies weren't handed out, especially given how much money Sony has pumped into the game and how much time Hello Games has spent on it.
Kotaku's Jason Schreier confirmed my suspicions a bit ago by saying: "Sony's reps, who have been handling marketing and PR duties for No Man's Sky, have informed reviewers that they're waiting on a 'pre-launch patch' before sending out codes."
To get an idea of how No Man's Sky is in its current unpatched state, here's what one of the main leakers Daymeeuhn had to say about his experience:
"There are bugs. Quite a few in fact. In some moments I really start to feel as if this game would have benefited from a beta test. PRAY for a Day 1 patch, not only to nerf the sale cost of Atlas Stones but also to address some of this too."
The following bullet points use quotes from Daymeeuhn's complaints with the game, which can be found here.
- Beam Upgrades are broken - Currently, Beam Upgrades for your multi tool seem broken and ass backwards. Upgrades that are supposed to slow down the heat up of your beam, actually speed it up. Upgrades that are supposed to speed up the mining speed of the beam, actually slow it down. Essentially, your STARTING beam is as powerful as it can be, and if you upgrade it with +1 +2 +3 beam upgrade modules it becomes UNUSABLE. This would, in theory, mean that the fully upgraded beam is actually the beam you're supposed to START with, which would mean my early exploration would have gone a LOT slower.
- Problems with large sea creatures - Sea creatures spawn in shallow water completely vertical stuck in the ground. This isn't like a one time bug thing either, 80% of the large sea creatures have spawned this way, which is a super bummer for me because sea creatures are my favorite and I can't even appropriately scan them or even naked eye view them when this happens.
- PS4 crashing - I've had the game full on crash to PS4 menu something like 20 times now. Usually when I'm warp jumping. No joke. Save your game a lot kids, you'll be pissed if you don't.
- Lack of ship upgrades - Again, not finding ship upgrades has been super frustrating. Is it a bug? Is the game not spawning better ship module inventories like it's supposed to? Are we actually just supposed to have ships with 1/4th the total inventory of our suit? What gives HG, c'mon.
- Ships don't improve even with upgrades, are for cosmetic purposes? - I've "upgraded" my suit to unlock all available inventory slots possible. I've found and bought what I "think" is a multi tool with the maximum amount of slots available in the game. However, ships HAVE NOT IMPROVED AT ALL throughout the entire course of the game. This is not a joke. I am at the point now where my PERSONAL SUIT has something like 3-4x the total inventory / module slots as my fuckin ship. That seems wrong to me.
- Game doesn't get 'weirder' the farther you venture towards the center - Another gripe I have right now with the claims on the game before release is this whole "it gets weirder the closer to the middle you get." If you're like me, you expected some seriously obvious inclinations that this was happening as you progressed, and for me... I haven't seen much in the way of difference as I went. The ONLY ONLY ONLY big difference, and honestly the only reason I pushed it so hard, was the weapon crates you saw in the Trade video with the guns for trade improve in quality as you go further in. So, for me, my basic logic was... the sooner I get to the area at the middle, the sooner I have the best multi tool, so why wait?