Starfield is Bethesda’s first new intellectual property in decades. And, their reputation for creating expansive worlds combined with the allure of a sci-fi setting makes Starfield a dream come. With a game so massive, you might be wondering how do you even begin to review a game of this size?
With so much to see and do there is a lot to unpack and look at. So, we’ll take a look at it in small bite sized steps. With that being said, let’s dive into the vast expanse of Starfield and see if it lives up to the expectations of gamers around the world.
Platform(s): Xbox Series X|S and PC
Developer(s): Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher(s): Bethesda Softworks
Genre: Action role-playing
Modes: Single Player
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
A Universe to Explore
First, let’s talk about the sheer scale of Starfield. This game is massive, and I mean huge! As a fan of Bethesda, a game with the promise of freedom and immersive world-building excites me. And when you add the allure of a sci-fi universe, it’s easy to see that you’re in for an incredible ride.
Your journey begins on a mining rig. It’s here where you learn some of the game’s most basic mechanics and get introduced to the laser cutter tool. This tool is used for mining alloys and minerals. Your manager assigns you a section of the mine to clear out to earn your share of credits. However, your routine takes a thrilling turn when you stumble upon an unknown piece of metal that triggers a series of hallucinations, leading to a blackout. When you awaken, the familiar Bethesda character creator awaits you.
Character Creation: A Cosmic Canvas
Character creation in any game is crucial for immersion, and Starfield doesn’t disappoint. It offers a wide range of options, from scars and freckles to makeup and hairstyles. You can even define your body type, walk style, and preferred pronouns.
Bethesda’s attention to detail shines here, making your character feel like an authentic part of this cosmic odyssey.
Background and Traits: Shaping Your Odyssey
Next, you choose your character’s background, which adds depth to your role-playing experience with perks and dialogue options tied to your selection. But the real gems are the traits, which can significantly alter your playthrough. With 17 traits to choose from, each playthrough promises a unique experience.
For example, I played as an explorer skilled in lasers, astrodynamics, and surveying. I selected traits like Wanted, Serpent’s Embrace, and Hero Worshiped. Wanted allowed me to deal extra damage when my health was low but attracted Bounty Hunters who might attack me. Hero Worshiped came with a devoted fan who provided praise and items but could be a bit of a nuisance.
Serpent’s Embrace boosted my health and endurance if I kept jumping but decreased if I stopped. These traits add complexity and excitement to the game, making every playthrough feel fresh.
A Mysterious Odyssey
Starfield’s introduction is brief but sets the stage for what is a truly epic adventure. Your journey begins with a space pirate encounter where you are drawn into a web of intrigue surrounding the Artifact, a mysterious puzzle piece shrouded in mystery. The storytelling is deliberately enigmatic, unfolding as you venture further into the cosmos.
This departure from recent Bethesda titles adds to the game’s mystique.
The Cosmos Awaits: Exploration and Immersion
Starfield doesn’t hold your hand, inviting you to explore its intricate systems independently. The story unfolds gradually, revealing its secrets as you progress. The game’s storytelling approach is less straightforward than recent Bethesda titles, but it enhances the sense of discovery.
As you explore, you’ll be joined by companions like Vasco, an industrial robot suited for space exploration. While I expected companions to provide guidance on the game’s intricate systems, Bethesda leaves you to figure things out on your own, both in terms of exploration and combat.
Travelling through the cosmos
Starfield’s exploration takes you to instanced spaces beyond a planet’s atmosphere, which can feel a bit underwhelming. Navigating nearby planets and stations requires navigating menus and loading screens. Fortunately, loading times are manageable and don’t significantly disrupt the experience.
Questing in the cosmos
Quests are abundant and diverse, from resource gathering to combat encounters and investigations. Simply moving in a direction often leads to new quests from characters you encounter along the way. The quality of these quests may vary, but they provide a lot of engagement and fun distractions.
Starfield’s quests and characters are a testament to Bethesda’s dedication. As expected, each of the game’s characters are richly developed. Their intricate backstories and impressive voice acting really brings them to life. In my opinion, Starfield’s character designs are a step forward, with realistic models and a level of detail that really adds to the game’s immersion.
Dialogue done right
Dialogue takes center stage in Starfield, offering a departure from previous Bethesda games with more fleshed-out dialogue options. Instead of vague three-word choices, you have complete sentences that feel like genuine responses to the questions you’re asked. Skill-based dialogue options are clearly labeled, allowing you to make informed choices. This dialogue depth adds to the game’s immersion and role-playing experience.
Building Outposts: Creativity in the Cosmos
One of Starfield’s standout features is its outpost building. Establishing outposts on planets becomes essential for supply management, and the game offers a rich selection of furnishings to personalize your bases. This system allows for creativity and adds depth to the exploration aspect of the game.
Freedom in Combat
Starfield offers multiple combat options, giving you the freedom to choose your preferred style, whether it’s melee weapons or ranged firearms. The combat mechanics draw inspiration from Fallout but feel refined and polished. While aiming with ranged weapons might feel slightly floaty, the overall combat experience is satisfying and enjoyable.
Gear plays a crucial role in Starfield. Your equipment determines damage resistance, energy shielding, and more. Customizing your gear with modifications amplifies its capabilities, granting you unique powers and abilities. This gear customization offers a creative and experimental playground for players.
Perks and Skill Progression
To navigate the cosmos effectively, you must develop your skills through the perk system. Starfield divides perks into various trees, each tied to a specific skill set. Unlocking higher tiers requires meeting specific prerequisites, adding depth to your choices and preventing hasty skill progression. Perks become invaluable tools, enhancing your abilities and unlocking important mechanics.
Starfield offers a highly enjoyable and worthwhile experience for fans of open-world RPGs
My time with Starfield over these last several weeks has been phenomenal. The game offers a wide variety of side quests, well-crafted characters, and a narrative that surpassed all my expectations. While the combat is not perfect, it does provide a fair amount of opportunities for freedom and experimentation.
Without a doubt, Starfield’s dedication to world-building and exploration can be seen in every corner of its vast universe. I’m excited to see what lies ahead, and I’m confident that I’ve only scratched the surface of what Starfield has to offer.
+ Vast and immersive universe
+ Engaging quests and characters
+ Creative freedom in character creation and gear customization
– Minor issues with combat and navigation
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF STARFIELD
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5