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Starfield Review – Bethesda’s Epic Space RPG

As we explore Starfield’s vast universe, we discover an intriguing setting that manages to retain some typical Bethesda charm while yet seeming cold and desolate.

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Starfield is a game that needs no introduction. With The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series, Bethesda has provided players with massive worlds to immerse themselves in for years, and the prospect of having a similar experience in a space setting was more than enough to get every role-playing game fan excited about what the development studio was cooking up. The anticipation for the developer’s first new IP in decades was so strong that even several delays did not dampen fans’ enthusiasm around the world. This massive project, the company’s first new intellectual property in nearly three decades, gives gamers an epic interplanetary voyage brimming with both majesty and mystery. As we explore Starfield’s vast universe, we discover an intriguing setting that manages to retain some typical Bethesda charm while yet seeming cold and desolate.

After a long wait, Starfield has here, and it is safe to say that it will match every Bethesda fan’s expectations, albeit those expecting the game to lean heavily into the space simulation genre like No Man’s Sky and Elite Dangerous may be disappointed. For better or worse, Starfield is a Bethesda game from start to finish.

NASA-Punk and Cubic Delights: A Universe Defined

Starfield introduces us to a visionary style that has been dubbed “NASA-punk.” It abandons traditional sci-fi’s slick, technological holograms and futuristic one-piece clothes in favour of a future dominated by clunky spacesuits and utilitarian spacecraft interiors. Even food respects the cubical ethos in this universe; a food conglomerate known as “Chunks” reigns supreme, providing residents with cube-shaped nutrition, be it cube apples, cube cheese steak, or even cube pumpkin pie.

While the facial animations are inconsistent, the game’s locations are stunning.

The existence of the Chunks founder’s autobiography as one of the first books players discover is one of the most intriguing parts of Starfield’s world-building. It’s a tantalising glimpse into the possibilities of connected narratives and objectives yet to be discovered, highlighting the game’s potential for unforeseen adventures lying around every cosmic corner.

Crafting Your Destiny: A Complex Odyssey

In Starfield, you play as an intrepid explorer, beginning as a poor miner but swiftly being forced into the world of character development. This is where you’ll fine-tune your avatar’s appearance and define their attitude to the game. Your journey begins with this vital decision, whether you choose a smooth-talking Space Scoundrel carrying pistols, a hand-to-hand combat fanatic, or a cerebral lockpicker competent with laser weapons.

And how do gamers go about their business in Starfield? In a variety of methods. You can stick to Constellation’s goal and begin exploring planets with the ship Barrett gave you, you can join the Crimson Fleet pirates and become the terror of the Milky Way, you can build outposts on inhabited planets, you can take odd jobs here and there to become a proper mercenary, or you can go wherever your heart leads you and experience the many, many stories this world has to offer. While the main missions are usually the most complicated in terms of narrative and gameplay, numerous sidequests can compete with them in terms of depth. Except for the basic fetch, exploration, and extermination faction missions, almost all of them have some highly intriguing stories to tell and must be experienced to get the most out of the game. They can also be accomplished in a variety of ways, and the decisions made during them can have long-term consequences for the world and characters.

Mechanically, Starfield significantly outperforms Bethesda’s most recent game. Players traverse a variety of locations, ranging from futuristic cities to barren alien landscapes filled with all manner of dangers, occasionally engaging with foes such as other humans and alien creatures, using either a first-person view, which I believe works best, or a third-person over-the-shoulder view. The locales are often large, however moving from one spot to another is difficult because sections are separated by loading screens and boundaries. While this is disappointing, it is unlikely that any player will reach planetary boundaries while playing the game normally, as there are no vehicles for planetary exploration, and walking long distances on foot not only takes a long time but is also rather pointless, especially given the game’s excellent fast travel system, which allows quick traversal of massive distances with a few button presses or clicks. It is definitely more frustrating when entering structures, as having to go through a loading screen while entering a cave, mine, or even a shop in a city, no matter how quick the operation is, breaks immersion a little.

The space exploration and fighting mechanics distinguish Starfield from the studio’s prior titles. While pre-release footage suggested that these mechanics might be similar to those found in space simulation games like No Man’s Sky and Elite Dangerous, this is not the case. It is impossible to travel from one solar system to another, or even from one planet to another, on foot. Instead, players select their general destination from a menu, are automatically transported to the vicinity of the selected planet, and then open another menu to select a landing place where the ship will land automatically. You can, however, choose any landing point on a planet, and the landscape generally reflects the rough outline seen when scanning from orbit, implying that this appears to be a design choice dictated by hardware or software limitations rather than a refusal to go the extra mile and create a seamless universe of over 1000 planets.

You’re quickly drafted into Constellation, a diverse group of explorers with their own quirks and strengths. You’ll select one of them to accompany you on your interstellar adventures.

The Epic Quest to Unveil the Cosmic Fabric

The fundamental plot of the game, a prolonged MacGuffin quest that turns into a sub-Duncan Jones sci-fi maelstrom, promises an exciting voyage across unknown land.

Despite providing players nearly unlimited flexibility to create their own story within the game’s setting, Starfield, like the studio’s most recent games, does have a central story that is really extremely compelling. Players will be thrust into a regular day in the life of their character, toiling away in the mines as a worker frog after creating their custom character through a character creator that offers a wealth of options regarding body type, face features, background, and traits, with the latter two featuring some very interesting options for role-playing, such as the Starter Home trait, which grants the character ownership of a small house but with a credit mortgage to pay back, This workday, however, takes on a new meaning when the miners come across a mysterious Artefact that offers the main character glimpses of something incredible.

Soon after discovering the artefact, the main character is approached by Constellation, a group of New Atlantean explorers who are also looking for the artefacts. Joining them, the main character will travel all over the Milky Way in search of more of these mysterious items, eventually having to face some revelations with huge implications for the entire universe, all the while living their life however they want, meeting all kinds of people, and essentially shaping their own destiny.

It’s impossible to explain why Starfield’s plot is one of the best in Bethesda history without giving anything away. The mystery surrounding the Artefacts and the discoveries that players will make as the adventure progresses is well-presented and keeps the experience engaging, thanks mostly to solid writing and good pacing, especially if the vast majority of the optional content available in the game is ignored, so even those who aren’t too keen on getting lost in the game’s world will have a good reason to play Starfield. Choices also matter a lot, giving the main quest a lot of replay potential.

To be honest, no one should focus just on the major story quests and overlook the plethora of options available in Starfield, even if they aren’t interested in developing towns or doing odd missions for Credits. Much of the side content in the game, such as Faction and Companion quests, provides excellent world and character building, allowing players to delve deeper into the realm’s vast and fascinating lore. Even simply walking around structures, buildings, and so on can reveal extra information about the globe and its rich history, thanks to documents strewn about.

Companions, on the other hand, are more hit-or-miss, but this is down to personal preference rather than a lack of or poor character development. Some, like Barrett, will be generally adored because of their persistent willingness to joke even when things get tough, whilst others, like Sarah, may not be as well. However, your mileage may vary in this aspect.

In any case, Bethesda got one thing right: they seem crucial to the adventure. Companions do more than merely accompany players around and assist them in combat. They comment on current events and frequently communicate in chats with other NPCs; if assigned to the ship as crew, they banter with each other on board. Most of the time, these exchanges are highly intriguing and help to develop each character. All companions are romance options, regardless of the gender of the main character, which is a definite benefit in terms of role-playing possibilities. They appear to be tagging along for the ride as they join the player, but their reason becomes evident as the relationship with them deepens through various objectives. Companions always react to what the player is doing, and if the player is doing anything they don’t like, they will depart. Sam Cole, for example, will quit you if you end up battling and killing members of the United Colony or Freestar Collective groups.

As with some other RPGs, the story in Starfield does not feel at odds with the side stuff.

Despite the great quality of the characters and plot in Starfield, they are not the game’s best elements, since the gameplay manages to outperform them, albeit with some caveats. At its core, as previously said, the game is a Bethesda game through and through, so those who have played Skyrim and the most recent entries in the Fallout series know what to anticipate.

You are given a tale to follow and key tasks to complete at the start of the adventure, but the game allows players to ignore it and create their own storylines with their choices and actions. The game’s idea works quite well in this regard, as the tale has little sense of urgency, at least at first. Collecting the Artefacts is crucial for Constellation, but it isn’t a matter of life and death, so being allowed to do your own thing doesn’t feel at odds with the primary mission, as it does in other RPGs like Baldur’s Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077.

An Adventure-Filled Universe

While the main story of Starfield occupies approximately 35 hours of gameplay, the essential core of the game unfolds in the gaps between. As you travel a large cosmos filled with both planned and dynamically generated missions, these spaces are where the game’s depth truly shines. From notes on dead pirates leading to heated shootouts to distress calls concluding in epic space skirmishes, every part of Starfield is packed with opportunity.

The created cities are nothing short of intriguing, with places like Neon, a cyberpunk metropolis drifting on an ocean world, standing out as particularly captivating locales. Cassiopeia, the home of one of your prospective friends, has huge crab creatures and gorgeous vistas, demonstrating the game’s variety and fascinating environments.

These cities serve as meeting sites for Bethesda’s trademark factions, such as the Libertarian Mud Cowboys, Infrastructure Fascists, Pirates That You Kill On Site, and Business Bastards. Choosing to support or oppose these factions results in a variety of events and outcomes, painting the cosmic tapestry with varying hues of intrigue.

While the exploring isn’t completely flawless, it has no effect on the overall experience.

However, space combat does not disappoint. While it may appear simple at first, with only a few options, space battles become much more exciting as players become acquainted with the energy system, which allows the user to dynamically shift the ship’s energy to various systems such as the engine, shields, weapons, and grav drive. You can also learn skills that unlock superior mobility and other elements, such as a ship targeting system akin to Fallout’s V.A.T.S., which allows you to precisely target particular components of an enemy ship. For example, destroying the grav drive prohibits ships from warping away to another system, yet weakening the engine allows players to dock their ship to the enemy’s and board it for a traditional assault. The space warfare and ship mechanics are a major highlight of the Starfield experience and one that many will spend a lot of time in, with a deep ship construction system and plenty of various weaponry and parts.

Traditional fighting is also vastly improved in Starfield over prior games. On the surface, the gunplay feels similar to that of Fallout 4, but the devil is in the details. There are numerous weapon kinds that may be changed for various effects, and the excellent shooting animations make fighting adversaries feel enjoyable and rewarding right away. Furthermore, the considerably improved RPG mechanics allow for extensive customization of the main character, with a plethora of various talents unlocking new options such as a stealth metre, the ability to use the boost pack for flying around, greater damage for all weapon kinds, and more. What truly shines in the fighting are several special powers that can be unlocked after reaching a specific point in the plot, which further enhance playstyles and provide players with all the tools they need to play their character in whatever way they desire. Crafting and altering equipment to further enhance builds takes a significant amount of time, but it pays off in the end.

While the Starfield gameplay is mainly solid, there are a few flaws outside of the segregated zones that detract from the overall experience. To begin with, the adventure’s beginning is extremely dull. While the tale begins quickly, without a full introductory phase like Skyrim, combat takes some time to feel enjoyable, since players must earn some skills to make things fun. It doesn’t help that the weaponry found at the start of the game aren’t particularly rewarding, making adversaries feel like bullet sponges.

Players that walk off and do their own thing may eventually run into the exact opposite problem, as there is no level scaling for opponents. If you start completing side stuff while ignoring the main objective, you will most certainly end up so powerful that nothing can stand in your way, even on the hardest difficulty setting. Breaking the game’s balance is fun, to be sure, but those looking for a challenge are unlikely to find it in Starfield unless they limit themselves on purpose. Of course, modding may someday tackle this type of issue in a different way.

The Summit: Constructing your Cosmic Vessel

One of the game’s notable features is the ability to craft and customise your starship. Beginning with the unimpressive Frontier, players can gradually upgrade several spacecraft components, with the reactor serving as a critical component managing energy distribution for weapons and shields. amazing space combat conflicts where your crew members provide real-time feedback are an amazing experience that completely immerses you in the grandeur of space travel.

Lost in the Cosmic Expanse: A Massive Universe with Limits

Starfield has some limits, despite its numerous merits. The expanse of the cosmic playground can be intimidating at times, with complex menus and frequent loading screens making movement in your spaceship difficult. Unlike Skyrim or Fallout, where the world seemed created and lived-in, Starfield fails at times to fill its huge cosmos with the depth of interaction that players may anticipate from a Bethesda RPG.

Specifications

Starfield is a beautiful and complex RPG that promises hours of exploration and gameplay. Starfield contains fewer bugs than any previous Bethesda Game Studios release.

Starfield delivers in an unexpected way from a technical sense. The days of broken Bethesda products plagued with various problems are long gone, as the game has to be the least buggy game ever developed by the firm, as promised before release. While there are a few glitches, this is to be expected in a game of this complexity, and they are minor and mainly insignificant. We’re talking about things like the camera not working properly during chats, the rare opponent stopping in place for a few seconds, or strange physics, so nothing that has a significant influence on the experience. Bethesda was able to polish its title like never before thanks to several delays, a lower number of target platforms, and Microsoft’s assistance.

Starfield is also one of the few PC games published in recent years that has not had serious performance concerns. While native 4K, high, or ultra settings are just as demanding as in any recent AAA title, the game runs wonderfully with some tinkering even on non-top-of-the-line hardware. It’s evident that the extra development time and fewer target platforms have done wonders for refinement.

Starfield plays flawlessly on PC, but how does it look? While the character models might have utilised more complexity, particularly in their face expressions, which are rigid and not particularly good in most cases, the locations are extremely stunning. Big cities like New Atlantis have the typical space metropolis vibe, yet other cities like Akila and Mars’ Cydonia have distinct qualities that set them apart and make them interesting. Neon is without a doubt one of the game’s graphic highlights: a one-of-a-kind and cyberpunky city on a water planet that is destined to become a fan favourite. The planet’s landscapes fare just as well as other major destinations, albeit many of them become repetitive after a while. Given the game’s massive number of planets, this is to be expected. Nonetheless, because to the new Global Illumination system, photogrammetry, and amazing artwork, some seem simply spectacular.

My experience in Starfield was admittedly drab and monotonous at first, but as I acquired more items and became immersed in Bethesda’s enormous sci-fi universe, I began to warm up to the game, and now I have difficulty putting it down. While Starfield refines rather than innovates the traditional Bethesda formula, it is undeniably one of the studio’s best games and one of the year’s best releases.

Minimum System Requirements for Starfield on PC:

RequirementMinimum Specifications
Operating System (OS)Windows 10 version 21H1 (10.0.19043)
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 5 2600X, Intel Core i7-6800K
Memory (RAM)16 GB
GraphicsAMD Radeon RX 5700, NVIDIA GeForce 1070 Ti
DirectX Version12
Storage125 GB available space
Additional NotesSSD Required (Solid-state Drive)

Recommended System Requirements for Starfield on PC:

RequirementRecommended Specifications
Operating System (OS)Windows 10/11 with updates
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 5 3600X, Intel i5-10600K
Memory (RAM)16 GB
GraphicsAMD Radeon RX 6800 XT, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080
DirectX Version12
NetworkBroadband Internet connection
Storage125 GB available space
Additional NotesSSD Required (Solid-state Drive)

These tables provide a clear overview of the minimum and recommended system requirements for playing Starfield on a PC according to the information provided on the developer site.

Summary

Starfield is one of Bethesda’s finest games and one of the best role-playing games released in recent years, with an intriguing story, well-developed characters and lore, and a massive quantity of important content. The studio’s traditional gameplay paradigm lacks seamless exploration and actual creativity, but those prepared to overlook these flaws will find a lively and enormous sci-fi universe to lose themselves in for hundreds, if not thousands, of hours.

Pros
  • Entertaining interplanetary mystery plot
  • Well-developed friends
  • Excellent ground and space combat
  • Tonnes of important material
  • Complete freedom to be anyone the player wants to be
  • Some breathtaking sceneries and locales
  • Excellent PC performance with few issues
Cons
  • The lack of really seamless exploring detracts from immersion.
  • The first few hours of the game are a touch dull.
  • Though enhanced, the gameplay formula remains the same as in the developer’s past titles.

Opinion

It’s an Absolutely INCREDIBLE game, one of the best games in this genre I’ve played since Skyrim, and while people thought it’d be similar to Skyrim, it’s really different in its own way, which is very wonderful. This game is wonderful; there are individuals who want to review it, bomb it, and trash it as soon as it comes out, with the majority of those being PS gamers furious that Xbox and PC got an amazing exclusive, but this game is truly incredible, with tonnes of material and more than you can think. It’s definitely worth it, and it’s a game you’ll spend a lot of time playing.

I truly like that there is an Emptiness, just like in real space, because we only know of one planet with life so far, and that is Earth. If you want to have 100,000 planets with life on them, play No Man’s Sky. The fighting is adequate, and the mechanics are similar to those seen in other Bethesda games, although significantly enhanced. The game’s biggest flaw is that you can’t take off and land on your own.

Overall, I can tell it took a lot of work, particularly putting a story on top of all the areas you can explore. You must develop space, swimming, flying, gravity, landscapes, star systems, artificial intelligence, and so on.

Finally, it looks like Starfield has received both praise and criticism from players. Its popularity appears to be dependent on individual expectations, with some players loving the rich tale and customization opportunities while others were let down by areas such as exploration and space travel. Personal tastes, as with any game, play a huge part in how players perceive their experience with Starfield.

What Do the Players Think?

It’s clear that the game has elicited a wide range of reactions and experiences from players. The following is a synopsis of the important topics and themes from the player reviews:

Favourable Comments:
  1. Awesome Game: Several critics appreciated the game’s visual aesthetics, praising Bethesda for their graphics accomplishments.
  2. Intense Immersion: Starfield was praised by many players as a deep and fascinating game with a heavy emphasis on plot and exploration.
  3. Vast Universe: Players emphasised the immensity of the Starfield universe and the options for exploration, drawing comparisons to Bethesda’s past products such as Skyrim and Fallout.
  4. Customization: Players praised the game’s extensive customization choices, particularly in ship modification and character development.
  5. Varied Gameplay: Reviewers praised the game’s diverse gameplay experiences, which included space battles and ground combat to appeal to a wide range of playstyles.
  6. Unique tale: Players praised Starfield’s tale, which was inspired by Fallout, as a notable element.
Mixed and Negative Feedback:
  1. Unmet Expectations: Some gamers were disappointed that Starfield did not live up to their expectations, specifically the lack of seamless transitions between planets and space.
  2. Repetitive Experimentation: There were concerns regarding repetitious portions of exploration, such as searching for resources or coming across identical sites of interest on several planets.
  3. Inventory Issues: Some players found the inventory system burdensome, resulting in time-consuming item handling.
  4. Space Travel Issues: A few reviewers raised concerns with space travel, such as the lack of a smooth experience and restricted control over ships.
  5. Performance Issues: A few players noticed performance difficulties such as frame dips and glitches.
  6. Compare to Other Games: Starfield was frequently compared to other space exploration games like No Man’s Sky, which led to some disappointment when it failed to live up to those expectations.
  7. Dialogue and Interaction of Characters: While some commended the character interaction’s richness, others felt it to be weak or dull.
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