No Man's Sky overhauls combat, adds a massive flame-throwing sentinel

Hello Games continues cranking out free updates for space sandbox No Man's Sky nearly six years after it launched, and the first patch of 2022 centers around those pesky planetary guardians: the sentinels. Bad news: there's a really big, mean sentinel now and it has a lot of different ways to make your planet-hopping adventures a living hell. Good news: you've got a lot of new ways to fight it, and some cool rewards when you beat it and strip it for parts.

Combat in No Man's Sky has never been particularly complex, mostly boiling down to a bunch of pew-pew laser battles, but the new Sentinel update aims to change that. 

"Combat has been significantly improved to create a faster-paced, more varied and dynamic experience," says Hello Games. "Tweaks include changes to camera settings, Sentinel health, Traveller and Sentinel weapon speeds and fire rates, hit indicators, rumble and camera shake, and more."

New weapons? Check. An upgrade to your multitool will let you fire stun grenades that can disable enemies caught in the blast. There's also a neutron cannon that unleashes a cone of destruction when charged, and can also be fired rapidly for less damage but a quicker attack. And if you want to avoid a fight altogether or gain an advantage during one, you can go full Predator. By researching the new camouflage tech on the Space Anomaly, you can activate a cloaking device that renders you invisible to enemies, even in the middle of a fight. 

Don't think your new combat upgrades are going to let you easily conquer the galaxy. Sentinels, those killjoys of No Man's Sky who get deeply offended if you kill trees or abscond with pearls, have been upgraded as well. There's a brand new sentinel added to the mix, and it's a big one. The towering robot is about the size of a Minotaur (your pilotable mech) and it can fly, roast you with a flamethrower, and launch mortar attacks. Good luck taking it down.

(Image credit: Hello Games)

If that weren't enough, there are also new sentinel repair drones. In battle, they'll fly around fixing up the other sentinel forces you're chipping away at, so you might want to eliminate them first. The new summoner drones, meanwhile, aren't much of a danger themselves but they can call in reinforcements. So… you might want to take them out first. You're gonna have your hands full, I think. On some planets you'll even find sentinel pillars, which are massive, well-guarded structures where you can find new weapons and tech and learn more about the origin of the sentinels through story missions.

There's a reward for battling all these robotic pests—they've got technical blueprints you can use to craft your own AI-controlled bodyguard. Collect all the parts and your Minotaur can be rebuilt as an autonomous combat partner so your mech will follow and fight for you even when you're not piloting it. And you're definitely gonna need some backup.

Personally, I'm more about flying around the galaxy in creative mode and taking pictures, but I know some No Man's Sky fans have been waiting for more combat options for quite a while. Hopefully they'll find this update to their liking. 

(Image credit: Hello Games)

Here's a breakdown of what's in the Sentinel update, with far more detail here.

Sentinel Hardframe Mech - Battle against a brand new robotic enemy - the huge, heavily armoured Hardframe mech. Equipped with lasers, terrain-destroying grenades, and a plasma-powered flamethrower, this fearsome new Sentinel launches itself across the battlefield with a high-powered jetpack. 

Total Visual Overhaul for Weapons - All Multi-Tool systems, from the Mining Laser to the Scatter Blaster, have received a significant visual overhaul, benefiting from new projectiles and beams, muzzle flashes, lighting effects, refraction, new impacts and more!

Advanced Combat Upgrades - New upgrades add depth to combat, with the ability to add stun or incineration effects to your existing weapons, or to set up your Multi-Tool to deal extra damage to targets you've previously tagged. Or, take advantage of the new Cloaking Device to vanish mid-fight and gain the strategic upper hand.

AI Robotic Companions - Players can reassemble and reprogram their own friendly robotic drone companion, or go one step further and salvage Sentinel Hardframe parts to build their own autonomous AI-powered giant mechanical escort.

New Stories and Missions - Work with the crew of the Space Anomaly on a substantial new story-driven mission, or raid the sinister Sentinel Pillars to access their archives and probe the secrets of the Atlas and the World of Glass...

Combat Flow and Feel Improvements - A vast list of tweaks and refinements have been made to weapon feel and flow, making for a more dynamic and impactful combat experience.

New Drone Enemies - Regular Sentinel units have been overhauled, with heavy combat and shield drones, dedicated repair drones, and even advanced summoning units joining the existing patrol drones. 

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.