Starfield Review

Starfield’s Story and Lore

  • Starfield is a sprawling universe with detailed lore.
  • It is reminiscent of universes like The Expanse and Firefly, with references to various sci-fi movies.
  • The story of how humans abandoned Earth and colonized the stars is densely packed.
  • Despite the dense lore, it’s easy to get invested in the story.
  • The game explores big concepts in distinctive ways.

“Starfield is a sprawling Universe with detailed lore…It is reminiscent of universes like The Expanse and Firefly…and full of references to every sci-fi movie from Aliens to Blade Runner and of course Interstellar…the story of how humans abandoned Earth and colonized the stars is so densely packed in with more around every corner but I found it easy to get invested in…it does probe its biggest concept in distinctive ways and there’s plenty of well-written discussion about what it all means.”

Exploration and Side Quests

  • Starfield offers a vast map of stars, but each explorable planet is separated by loading screens.
  • The game offers numerous side quests that rival the scope of Skyrim.
  • There are plenty of options for resolving conflicts, either peacefully or through violence.
  • The game provides a variety of ethical quandaries.

“There are plenty of interesting companion characters to hang out with…in the side quest that you really get to act out your character’s morals and choose to resolve conflicts peacefully or just by killing and robbing innocent people…there’s a storyline that felt very Boys from Brazil inspired as well as numerous related quests about hunting down war criminals that pose ethical quandaries to reconcile…there sure are a lot of options.”

Main Quest and Multiple Endings

  • The main quest in Starfield isn’t very flexible in terms of resolution.
  • The main quest leads to an ultimate showdown and a decision on which philosophy to embrace.
  • Regardless of the chosen ending, the goal is to solve the mystery of the artifacts alongside the secret society of explorers known as Constellation.

“That main quest itself isn’t terribly flexible in how you can resolve the situation…the options here are for the most part about picking whether you want to be a Boy Scout for whom a good deed is its own reward, a wisecracking mercenary who has to be rewarded after doing a good deed, or an all-business mercenary who demands to be paid up front to deuce a good deed…no matter what, your goal is to solve the mystery of those artifacts alongside your secret society of explorers known as Constellation.”

Gameplay Mechanics and Issues

  • Starfield’s early hours can be rough and the game is slow to reveal its cool features.
  • The animations for takeoff and landing are mostly non-interactive cutscenes.
  • The game lacks actual maps, making navigation and finding basic things challenging.
  • Inventory management is frustrating, as you cannot view both your inventory and your companions’ at the same time.

“Out of the gate, you can’t mod your equipment, use your essential boost pack, or use stealth or board enemy ships effectively…it’s impossible not to compare Starfield’s disjointed space travel to the seamlessness of No Man’s Sky…that irritated me no matter where I roamed is the fact that there are no actual Maps…inventory management and yet it’s shockingly bad at that task…you’ll constantly need to transfer loot between your inventory and your companions or to and from your ship’s cargo hold but maddeningly you can’t view both at the same time…”

Review of Starfield’s Gameplay

  • The game initially focuses on Fallout 4-style settlements, but they are not necessary early on.
  • The storage space on the first tier of ships is small, leading to workarounds like throwing stuff on the floor.
  • Upgrades and learning the ropes solve these issues.

“Fallout 4 settlements but it doesn’t tell you that you probably shouldn’t bother with them early on because you don’t need huge quantities of a single resource until way later.”

Exploration and Barren Worlds

  • The worlds in Starfield are visually different, but they lack life and are mostly untouched by intelligent beings.
  • The player can scan trees and rocks, mine resources, and encounter wildlife.
  • The game lacks the vibrant and diverse environments of Bethesda’s previous games.

“It’s also worth noting that the worlds you explore are generally visually different with varying gravity but they’re barren and lifeless aside from the crafted areas you visit in quests.”

Repetitive Quest Structures

  • The main quest involves investigating a series of ancient structures, but the activities inside each one are identical.
  • The rewards provide motivation, but the lack of variety in puzzles is disappointing.

“There’s one part of the main quest that’s pretty repetitive too. You’re said to investigate a series of ancient structures and it’s annoying that what you do inside of each one is completely identical.”

Gameplay Improvements

  • After unlocking enough upgrades and abilities, the gameplay starts to feel more engaging and enjoyable.
  • The story and gameplay eventually come together, making the game more compelling.

“It wasn’t until about a dozen hours in that I unlocked enough upgrades that the gameplay started to gel for me alongside the story.”

Combat and Ship Battles

  • Combat is the solution to most problems in Starfield.
  • The combat mechanics are not exceptional and lack innovation compared to previous Bethesda games.
  • Ship battles are entertaining, but relatively simple.

“Starfield’s combat is the solution to most problems unless you’re extremely dedicated to the idea of talking or sneaking your way past most encounters.”

Fun Moments in Ship Raids

  • Ship raids, where the player boards enemy ships, provide some of the best moments in Starfield.
  • Clearing rooms and ultimately seizing the enemy ship is satisfying.

“Some of the best moments in my Starfield playthrough have happened during these raids as I went room by room mopping up enemies until I gunned down the captain and sat in their chair to seize their ship and its cargo for myself.”

Customizable Spaceships and Exploration

  • The variety and customization of spaceships in Starfield are impressive.
  • The player can invest skill points into starship design to further customize their vessel.
  • The process of snapping pieces together to form a spaceworthy vessel is complex but rewarding.

“The sheer variety of spaceships flying through the settled systems and the fact that they’re so modular and customizable made me want to dump more skill points into Starship design so that I can mess with it more and learn the somewhat complicated rules of how to snap the pieces together to form a spaceworthy vessel.”

Bugs and Stability

  • Starfield does have some bugs, including model and texture pop-in, occasional crashes, and performance slowdowns.
  • The game has been fairly stable for a complex open RPG, with no game-breaking bugs encountered.

“Are there bugs? Of course, there are. I’ve seen a fair amount of model and texture pop-in, occasional crashes, performance slowdowns… I never ran into a quest I couldn’t finish on the first try.”

Recommendation and Final Thoughts

  • Starfield takes time to get to the “good part,” but it eventually becomes enjoyable.
  • Despite its initial challenges, the interstellar mystery story and satisfying combat make it worthwhile.
  • The game offers a large amount of quality role-playing quests and interesting NPCs to discover.

“It’s never a great sign when somebody recommends a game on the grounds that it gets good after more than a dozen hours, but that’s very much the kind of game Starfield is… there are a lot of forces working against it, but the combination of its disjointed space travel, interstellar mystery story, and combat on foot and in space gradually became good enough that its momentum carried me into New Game Plus.”




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