The No Man’s Sky “Fractal” update, teased just earlier this week with a snowflake emoji, is already live. With it comes a host of improvements to VR support for the game to coincide with the release of PlayStation VR2. NMS was already one of the best VR games out there today, so that’s really just icing on that particular cake. Though the rest of the update brings lots of goodies for those of us without $500-1,000 headsets — including a brand-new Expedition!
You can read the full patch notes on the official website, as per usual, so we’ll just go over some of the big notes here: starting with the aforementioned “Utopia” Expedition. This one sounds like it truly lives up to its name. The timed mission involves rebuilding a specific solar system called Bakkin that’s fallen into disrepair. Players will help rebuild the region and increase trade. In exchange, you’ll get access to a new type of “speeder” ship that skims through planetary atmosphere faster than most starships, as well as some cosmetic goodies like a new robot pet.
The speeder (which looks like a cross between the snow speeders from The Empire Strikes Back and a Battlestar Galactica Viper) is “exclusive” to this Expedition for now. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets added as a general archetype after the six-week time limit for the mission runs out — just like the Living Frigates from Expedition 7: Leviathan.
Speaking of old stuff, you can now easily check your previous records in-game via the Wonders catalogue. This will keep track of things like “the largest herbivorous creature, to the most ancient tree, to the planet most approaching paradise.” While not a major new addition, that does honestly seem like a very fun way to categorize and look back on the many procedurally generated things you’ve found in your time with the game.
Beyond that, most of the update seems focused on quality-of-life, visual improvements, and getting the Nintendo Switch version a bit more up to snuff. The one that really stood out to me is that you can now use “Quick Charge” on refiners and other base parts. Similar to how you can recharge your tools and weapons with a single button press.
New visual effects include smoking and sparking off of things like crashed freighters, as well as arcing electricity or wobbly alien energies on larger structures. Alien artifacts, like plaques and particularly portals, also have been “ambience.” Eerie green smoke, plasma, and whirling torrents of light make them feel a bit more “unknowable” and like truly special finds out in the world than before.
I’m personally very excited to hop into that Expedition. These are my absolute favorite part of No Man’s Sky these days. And, at least so far, “Utopia” seems like a very good one! It’s a bit similar to the previous Expedition, “Polestar,” in that you’re limited to working with very specific tools and in a very location that you construct. This time it’s a single planet and a base — requiring you to move around with Exocraft more than usual.
Of course, the Fractal Update trailer also promises that “more will follow,” so this likely won’t be the last Expedition or major update to No Man’s Sky for 2023. We’ll be sure to follow up with more news on future patches as they come!