No Man’s Sky PSVR 2 Review: Jumping to Hyperspeed

In 2019, Hello Games added full VR support for No Man’s Sky, which we reviewed on PC VR headsets and the original PSVR for PS4. In February 2023, Hello Games rolled out the latest update, codenamed Fractal, bringing PSVR 2 support to the PS5 version of the game. With that in mind, we’re here to give you our final thoughts on what’s been added to the game over the past few years and how No Man’s Sky works on PSVR 2.

For those unfamiliar, No Man’s Sky is a space adventure and survival sim set in a procedurally generated infinite galaxy. You start as an amnesiac astronaut, you crashed on an unknown planet. Your first objectives are simple: recharge your life support and repair your gear. Shortly after, you have a small ship to repair, then you can go out into space and visit other planets, space stations, then start jumping between solar systems. During the game’s opening hours, you’ll also learn about base building systems, alien races to trade and communicate with, and more.

I played and enjoyed No Man’s Sky at launch, but ended up quitting the game after about 20-30 hours as it started to get a bit the same. I was just jumping from solar system to solar system, meandering towards the center of the universe and the current end of the base story. Returning to the game for the Next Generation update at launch on PS5 and Xbox Series X, I found the game to be full of new things to do, new features, and new possibilities. It still felt like the same basic game, but with a lot more polish.

new frontiers

Latest Fractal update brings support for PSVR 2, but also increased texture quality, draw distance and additional reflections when playing in VR mode for PSVR 2 and PC . Hello Games also added some PSVR 2-specific features, such as haptic support for Sense controllers and the headset itself. You can also now use the capacitive sensors in the trigger and grip buttons to perform gestures such as pointing, waving or nudging in multiplayer mode. It even makes using PSVR 2’s menus feel very natural – you can point with one hand to a new wrist-mounted menu that keeps you immersed in the world and feeling like a true sci-fi explorer. Your headset’s vibration is also ideal for immersion, subtly rumbling when you leave the planetary atmosphere or when a large animal or vehicle moves nearby.

Something that’s been added to all platforms with the Fractal update is new VR-specific interactions, like physically opening your canopy to exit your ship or grabbing and removing various plants and organic matter from around the world. instead of just clicking on it. The grab interaction is also particularly forgiving on distance, so if you’re underestimating your teleport, you don’t have to reposition yourself to interact with an object.

There have been other updates along the way to Next Generation and Fractal updates, adding everything from walking mechs, living ships to pilot, and animal companions to tame. They also overhauled many aspects of the game, completely redoing the story and new player experience. Safe to say it’s a wildly different game, even compared to the original VR medium of 2019.

The biggest change for me was the new story experience and revamped space stations. My memory of space stations in No Man’s Sky was a barren, small environment that might have one or two NPCs sitting behind desks. Coming back after the updates, I was immediately impressed to see a lot more happening at these stations. At one point, I even came across an abandoned capital ship drifting through space, looking like some sort of alien-in-space style horror story. I didn’t have the right hardware to go very far, but it’s encouraging to see opportunities like this come naturally when exploring.

no man's sky psvr 2

Touch the sky

While not a complete newbie to VR, I had mostly played board games or smaller, more contained experiences prior to PSVR 2, so starting No Man’s Sky in VR for the first time was an experience like nothing else.

Simply put, No Man’s Sky’s gameplay loop is unchanged between flatscreen and VR – saves are even compatible with VR and flatscreen modes, so you can take an old save and boot it into VR or vice versa. However, it’s the added immersion that’s the biggest change when playing in VR. People often talk about the PS4 Spider-Man game as a game that really made you feel like Spider-Man, but it wasn’t until playing No Man’s Sky on PSVR 2 that I really felt like it. to be on another planet. There’s a pretty instant wow moment when you first log in – I just stood still and spun around looking at the starting planet the game had generated for me. As I explored my immediate surroundings, a huge capital ship warped into orbit above me and slowly circled the planet. Details like this really ground the experience and make the world feel alive, giving the procedurally generated planets more of a sense of place than other PSVR 2 experiences I’ve tried.

No Man’s Sky PSVR 2 Review – Comfort

No Man’s Sky on PSVR 2 features a teleport movement system by default, with fast (or smooth) rotation mapped to the right analog stick. There’s also the option of stick-based artificial motion, as well as vignetting options to minimize nausea. When landing in water or using your jetpack, you will need to use artificial stick-based movement, as there is no teleport option for these situations.

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