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No Man's Sky gets spookier with the Desolation update

by: Sean Colleli -
More On: No Man's Sky

Hello Games has just dropped the latest free content update for their endless universe sim No Man's Sky. The Desolation update adds a host of new features, chief among them derelict freighters. These are quite a bit different than the crashed freighters you can find on planets; these are floating in the cold blackness of space. So basically every solar system in No Man's Sky has its own USCSS Nostromo waiting to be found.

I tried out this update over the weekend and it's pretty easy to get into. You (and your friends if you're playing co-op) purchase a signal tuner from the new scrap dealer on the local space station, which lets you home in on the derelict freighter. Once you land on the spooky ship you can't save until you leave, which ratchets up the tension. Derelict freighters have procedurally generated, maze-like interiors, are very dark inside, bitterly cold due to exposure to vacuum, and you can bet your last Units that they're infested with slimy aliens or crazy robots. If you can brave these hazards, derelict freighters offer a ton of loot to plunder, and even upgrade modules for expanding your own capital ship with new technologies and inventory space.

I liked how straightforward Desolation was to get into. Like the previous Exomech update, you can dive straight in without having to walk through tutorials or grind out exotic resources, nagging issues that to this day have kept me from exploring the Living Ship update, which while a cool idea was pretty tedious to get started. You can buy the homing beacons for a lot of money or just wait to get a free one every week at the game's Nexus multiplayer hub, which makes it a fun weekly event. It's also nice that Hello Games are focusing on the horror aspects of No Man's Sky, which I always felt were sadly neglected. The universe of No Man's Sky is pretty lonely and intimidating, and some of the flavor text at the abandoned outposts was downright chilling. As Q said in Star Trek, " It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid."

Desolation also adds some new quality of life updates. The lighting effects have been improved considerably, combat has been rebalanced and feels tighter and snappier, and there are new options for improving your own freighter. Now you can add a warp portal, which really cuts down on wasted time, and you can spend an obnoxious amount of nanites to recolor the outer hull. So now my puke green capital ship can finally be a nicer color. I just wish they would add this option for your single-person spaceships. For what it's worth, you can also earn titles that appear above your name. All in all a very solid update and a fun new mission type to tackle.