What everyone was expecting was a cross between the endless environments of EVE and the variety of World of Warcraft, or something – it’s kind of hard to tell what people were expecting from No Man’s Sky.

Promises of everything under the sun didn’t help and, when the game finally arrived, its world seemed rather sterile and blah compared to the rosey forecasts for what it was planned to be.

Of course, like any good developer, Hello Games promised to address these myriad issues in the future with an update to the game. In the meantime No Man’s Sky went on to become a disappointment and received a lukewarm appraisal from critics. Now it exists as a case study for why devs should be careful about hype.

But the team looks set to change all of that with the update No Man’s Sky NEXT that brings a ton of much-wanted and needed changes to the core game released two years ago.

The most noticeable thing No Man’s Sky NEXT brings to the stage is an impressive coat of graphical fidelity. With some of the sharpest images we’ve ever seen in No Mans’ Sky it looks like Hello Games has learned how to take full advantage of Microsoft’s Xbox One X’s ability to churn out high-res polygons. Though the game struggles at times to maintain its framerate there really aren’t many complaints about the graphics. One thing that players may find particularly jarring – and requires some explanation from Hello Games – are the cloud textures used for the atmosphere above you.

1996 called and the Nintendo 64 would like its cloud textures back, thank you very much. It is all the more apparent when you notice how crisp everything else is around you. There’s some clipping issues that crop up too when objects are far off in the distance but that’s pretty much to be expected for games of this size. There is a lot going on but the game tends to handle it all quite well and you really have to pay attention to notice the seams.

Overall, No Man’s Sky NEXT is what you would want out of an Xbox outing for No Man’s Sky but it may not be what you were expecting. Again, the game has stumbled more than once on its gallop out of the gate and, though NEXT never falls flat on its face, it still offers a variably uneven experience that doesn’t give a gamer a reason to purchase it if they don’t already own it for another system.

One thing in its favor is that Hello Games has demonstrated its willingness to update and tweak the game even this long after its release. That means that something that is a problem now could potentially disappear tomorrow and that’s an awesome feeling and a benefit of modern gaming.

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