As a huge fan of Bethesda’s single-player RPGs, especially Fallout 4, I couldn’t have been more excited for Starfield. A sci-fi universe filled with spaceships, lasers, and political intrigue sounded perfect to me. However, despite my initial enthusiasm, I found myself feeling lost in space after playing the game for a while.
Starfield definitely had its moments of brilliance. The story, sidequests, and the thrill of launching boarding parties on enemy ships were all exciting. But there were too many problems that consistently hindered my experience. It was as if Starfield’s shipbuilder tool was used to create the game – it technically worked, but it wasn’t the best fit.
Bethesda has crafted an expansive universe with intricate lore, where humanity has colonized the galaxy but hasn’t encountered sentient aliens yet. The lore is rich with details about faction wars, encounters with terrormorphs (mysterious space deathclaws), pirates, and much more. While the overall setting reminds me of The Expanse, Firefly, and Starship Troopers, it draws inspiration from various sci-fi movies like Aliens and Blade Runner, as well as the Indiana Jones series. It even delivers a treasure hunt for mysterious artifacts, somewhat reminiscent of Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds.
Despite its lack of originality, Starfield’s narrative is still engaging. With countless stories to explore, I found it easy to immerse myself in the game. Of course, understanding the differences between the game’s factions like the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective was crucial to fully appreciate the world.
Character Creation and Exploration
Creating a character in Starfield involves choosing a background story, each with distinct skills, traits, and modifiers. While it can be challenging to select the right combination without prior knowledge of the game, none of the options are overly restrictive. Some backgrounds, like having your parents alive or being followed by a crazed fan, offer potential for experimentation in future playthroughs, adding replayability.
Once you start the game in a mining camp and experience a mystical space vision, Starfield’s vastness becomes apparent. The game provides players with their first spaceship, and from there, the possibilities are endless. Following different questlines and accepting missions as they come will lead you on adventures as grand as those found in Skyrim. Even after 70 hours of gameplay, I haven’t come close to completing all the major questlines and side missions.
Choices and Consequences
Similar to Bethesda’s previous titles, Starfield’s main questline offers limited flexibility when it comes to resolving situations. You can choose to be a virtuous boy scout, a wise-cracking mercenary, or a no-nonsense mercenary who demands upfront payment. While a few decisions impact character survival and the final battle, most of the outcomes remain relatively fixed. Solving the mysteries of the artifacts alongside your secret society of explorers, Constellation, is the primary goal.
However, it’s in the side quests that you truly get to embody your character’s morals. Whether it’s resolving conflicts peacefully or sabotaging ships, the game presents ethical quandaries that force players to confront their values. Joining pirates or becoming a pirate hunter provides further opportunities to shape your character’s journey.
Companion Characters and Facial Animation
Starfield offers a range of interesting companion characters to accompany you on your adventures. Each companion has a unique background and quests to engage players. While characters like Sarah, the virtuous leader of Constellation, and Sam, a former lawman, receive more attention, others like the eccentric scientist, Barrett, also offer surprises. However, you can only bring one companion along at a time, leaving room for further exploration in subsequent playthroughs.
Bethesda has made noticeable improvements in facial animation for Starfield. Although it may not reach the level of motion-captured performances seen in games like The Last of Us or God of War, it holds its own among other large-scale RPGs. Character models effectively portray emotions and complement the excellent voice acting.
Final Thoughts on Starfield
Despite its strengths, Starfield is far from a perfect game. Glaring issues persist throughout the experience, setting it apart from Bethesda’s other offerings. The early hours of the game…