Highly anticipated: Hello Games continues to deliver free content in its labor of love, No Man’s Sky. On Wednesday, the studio dropped the latest major installment for the nearly seven-year-old game. It has too many features to cover in one short article, so we’ll cover the most important few here, as usual.
Fractals is No Man’s Sky’s 22nd major upgrade, not counting expedition updates, which may or may not come with major content releases and fixes. Like most named updates, Fractals will undoubtedly reinvigorate the fan base and get players who may have put the game down to pick it up again.
It’s no coincidence that HG chose to release Fractals on the same day that Sony launched the PlayStation VR2 because the most important part of the patch is support for the new headset. Hello Games has probably been preparing this update for weeks but sitting on it for this occasion.
No Man’s Sky is now compatible with Sony’s first VR headset. However, HG completely overhauled it in the PS5 version to take advantage of PS VR2 features, including 4K resolution with foveated rendering and improved textures, Sense controller support, improved HDR (also available in non-VR mode), better particle rendering, terrain tessellation effects, haptic feedback, FRS 2.0 support, and more.
Fans of the first generation PSVR will not be left behind as HG has changed the VR mode for the PS4 and PS5 versions to improve the overall gameplay. Players can now equip a personal force field to themselves and actively move it to block incoming projectiles. Target sweeping and hotspot surveying have been tweaked to be more “intuitive” when using the analysis visor. Those and many other improvements to the VR experience should make the game worth picking up again for both new and old VR gamers.
While PC gamers won’t see some of the PS-VR2-specific enhancements, the more general VR enhancements should be available to PC gamers, too. Substantive updates always include all platforms.
While certainly a big feature, Fractals isn’t all about the VR update. Hello Games titled Utopia Expedition — the latest cross-platform multiplayer season with Travelers working together to restore the all-but-lost system to its former glory. As always, explorers who complete the expedition will receive prizes, including a new starship, a cool Darth-Vader-like helmet, base parts, a companion, and patches expedition specific, stickers, and banners.
The upgrade includes several quality-of-life improvements available in VR and standard gameplay. For the hoarders among us, HG ups players’ starship liveries from nine to 12. This is probably one of the most requested improvements and is the second time that the devs have increased how many ships players can get, doubling it from the original six.
Other QoL improvements include better particle and spark visual effects, reworked motion controls (Switch and PSVR), adjustable user interface (VR mode), a “quick charge” button to refuel the equipment with a button press, ambidextrous multi-tool control, and more. It also comes with the usual catalog of bug fixes.
As always, the update is free for PS4, PS5, XB1, XBS, PC, and Switch. You can check out all the features and changes in the No Man’s Sky Fractals patch notes.