When No Man’s Sky finally launched last year, it was, unfortunately, pretty underwhelming. While the Hello Games team delivered a near infinite number of explorable planets and space stations, they were mostly boring wastelands with little to offer.

Not only that, there just wasn’t a lot to do, and the whole space mining gameplay loop got old very quickly. It was real bummer because the game had so much fucking potential.

The team have been working away on improvements to No Man’s Sky and while the last one added a suite of base-building options and drivable land vehicles, it didn’t really change the overall gameplay loop. But the latest update, Atlas Rises, does way more for the struggling title.

Released for free, the 1.3 update includes 30 hours of new story content, limited co-op exploration, crashed freighters and scavenging missions, terrain manipulation, procedurally generated missions, greater variety in planet types and bloody more.

All reports say the latter actually makes a huge difference to the game, with denser flora and fauna found on planets making them feel far more interesting. Better texture assets also mean they look far nicer. You can check out the trailer below.

The big question, of course, is will it be enough to get people interested in the game again? It’s looking like it might. Since the game’s 2016 launch, 34 percent of its overall Steam user reviews were positive, but 75 percent of reviews from the last 30 days have been positive. That’s a decent boost.

“All the recent updates have made this game everything that it was promised to be. Love it now,” said user mr sloot.

That seems to be the sentiment echoed by a lot of the later reviews, but there are still some who remain unconvinced.

“They have a game now, but the game is still dull,” said user DurtyTirtle. “If you can get caught up in your imagination of exploring randomly generated planets, and building bases for basically no reason then you might like it. However in terms of actual gameplay, there is none.”

While the breadth of new content will give players more to do, the procedurally generated missions don’t offer a heap of variety, and will usually consist of simple fetch missions – go here, grab this thing, bring it back.

It’s certainly got me excited to give it another go. If they keep these updates up, they may just be able to redeem the horrible launch they had.

Image: No Man's Sky / Hello Games