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This Is What Combat in 'No Man's Sky' Looks Like

Sony is doing its part to hype studio Hello Games’ upcoming sandbox sci-fi extravaganza No Man’s Sky with a series of videos highlighting gameplay pillars like “explore,” “fight,” “trade” and “survive.”

The game, which lets players explore a fully generated universe harboring over 18 quintillion planets (most of which you’ll never see), arrives on August 9 for PC and PlayStation 4. The video above is the second of four, drilling on combat.

It starts in space, where battles look as most space battles do. Energy bolts issue from your vessel into the void as you zip and barrel roll your way through cosmic dogfights. You’re incentivized to poke your nose into the game’s autonomous economic systems, which include trade ships and freighters and the option to assault these ships and scavenge them for resources. At the risk of alerting nearby space cops, of course, though also possibly space pirates, who might come swinging for your own precious cargo.

And it’s not just about space combat, because you’ll also spend time dashing around planetary surfaces brandishing a “multi-tool” that both laps up resources and dispatches lethal fire at enemies. Mine too much, or agitate the native wildlife, and you’ll alert the game’s galactic guardian robots, who’ll attack you like antibodies converging on a virus. The more you fight, the more Grand Theft Auto-ish the game becomes as your wanted level escalates and attracts the attention of everything from “flying drones to quadrupedal machines, towering walkers and eventually dropships.”

What the video doesn’t show is how any of this relates to why you’d want to keep doing it for dozens or hundreds of hours on end. That’s the trouble with complexity-from-simplicity procedural games like No Man’s Sky and Minecraft. There’s simply no back-of-the-envelope way to sufficiently describe them.

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