Six years after its launch, there's a hell of a lot to love about No Man's Sky; its rudimentary combat system, however, isn't really one of them, barely having evolved since the exploratory space sim's initial release back in 2016. That, though, is set to change with today's new Sentinel update, which brings with an much-needed combat overhaul along with AI mechs and robotic drone pals, plus other miscellaneous combat-focused additions.
According to Hello Games, Sentinel - No Man's Sky's first update of 2022 - is intended to make combat a more "dynamic and impactful" experience, providing the means to tackle the game's hostile robotic Sentinels in "more meaningful ways" To that end, the update brings with it a broad array of improvements and refinements focused on enhancing combat feel and flow, as detailed in the latest patch notes. The headline features, however, are highlighted below.
For starters, No Man's Sky's familiar armaments have all received a total visual - impacting lasers, projectiles, muzzle flashes, lighting effects, and refraction - and are joined by a range of new offensive and defensive tools. These include the high-energy Neutron Cannon, a stun grenade, and an active cloaking device, plus advanced upgrades capable of imbuing existing weapons with the likes of stun and incineration effects, or extra damage to targets.
Alongside all this new firepower, the Sentinels themselves get an overhaul. Now, when encountered out in the wild, they'll deploy new utilities such as mobile energy shields, terrain-destroying grenades, and plasma-powered flamethrower. Additionally, they're able to call on new drone types, including heavies, summoners and repair units, plus the fearsome Hardframe Exomech, which can launch itself across the battlefield using its high-powered jetpack.
Underpinning all this is a "substantial" new chain of story-driven missions - seemingly focused around the mysterious new Sentinel Pillars - giving players more on the lore behind the Sentinels origins. By playing through these quests, it'll be possible to re-assemble and re-programme a friendly robotic AI drone, and for those looking for something with a bit more firepower, the update also introduces the ability to salvage Sentinel Hardframe parts to build an intimidatingly large AI-powered mechanical escort of your own.
And that's still not quite everything; as is now the norm for No Man's Sky's bigger updates, there's also a new limited-time expedition, this one known as the Exobiology Expedition, giving players a chance to unlock a range of exclusive cosmetic rewards.
All this arrives in No Man's Sky's Sentinel update for PlayStation, Xbox, and PC today. But if you prefer your space adventures to be more pocket-sized, an ambitious Switch release for the game was recently confirmed to be launching this summer.