In the realm of gaming, certain titles emerge as significant milestones, capturing the collective imagination of players worldwide. Starfield, the long-anticipated creation from the minds behind Fallout and Elder Scrolls, is poised to ascend these ranks. With the promise of a universe ripe for exploration, coupled with the weight of being an Xbox and PC exclusive, Starfield holds the potential to be more than just a game—it could very well become a game-of-the-year contender.
Departing from the post-apocalyptic landscapes of Fallout and the fantastical realms of Tamriel in The Elder Scrolls series, Bethesda’s latest IP, Starfield, propels players into an uncharted future, navigating galaxies extending beyond the Solar System, approximately 50 light years away, collectively referred to as the Settled Systems. This exhilarating odyssey beckons players to embark on a voyage of discovery, traversing diverse planets scattered across the cosmos while skillfully navigating conflicts among various factions within the game, including the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective.
Paralleling the character customization choices featured in the Fallout and The Elder Scrolls series, Starfield allows players to meticulously shape characters that align with their personal vision. Boasting an extensive array of customization features and options, the game ensures that your character embodies your creative imagination. Once your character’s creation is finalized, your journey unfurls within a spacefaring mining setting, where an unexpected encounter with an enigmatic artifact triggers a transcendent vision. This pivotal juncture propels you into the ranks of the Constellation, an alliance of audacious cosmic explorers united by their relentless pursuit of additional artifacts. The ultimate aspiration? To unravel the mysteries enshrouding these relics and the profound connections they bear to the visions that have captivated you.
While embarking on the quest for these artifacts, you’ll traverse the expanse of the galaxy and forge alliances with NPCs who will accompany you as steadfast companions. Drawing inspiration from the mechanics seen in titles like Fallout and Elder Scrolls, your journey will be shared with a single companion, a choice that will become increasingly diverse as you advance in the game. Departing from the wastelands typical of Fallout, Starfield adopts a different approach to exploration. Your odyssey will lead you not across terrestrial landscapes but from one celestial body to another as you voyage between planets. Soon after the first half-hour of gameplay, your vessel becomes available, becoming your key to traversing the cosmos. This spacecraft will serve as your mode of transportation between planets, although the transition won’t always be smooth sailing. Menacing forces may launch assaults on your ship, emphasizing the need to progressively enhance and personalize it with upgraded weaponry, shields, and other essential features as you progress within the game.
Delving into the companions’ roles reveals a depth beyond mere combat assistance. In Starfield, these companions extend their utility to various aspects of the game. While combat prowess is one facet, many companions also play a vital role in advancing the overarching narrative, while others excel in combat, cooking, or outpost management. When enlisting a character or assigning tasks, assessing their potential contributions to your crew’s endeavors is essential. Furthermore, the game allows your character to establish romantic relationships with recruited companions, offering the freedom to choose between same-sex or heterosexual partnerships according to your preference.
Fans familiar with Bethesda’s game library, particularly titles like Fallout, will immediately recognize a sense of nostalgia while playing Starfield. The game carries an unmistakable essence of Fallout, albeit set in the boundless expanse of space. Progression within Starfield is refreshingly nonlinear. Upon acquiring your spacecraft and arriving at New Atlantis, one of the initial urban centers you’ll encounter, you’ll find yourself at a crossroads. Here, you’re free to veer off the main storyline and immerse yourself in many side quests awaiting your exploration. The realm of quests in Starfield is a rich tapestry of variety. The allure of side quests can be so captivating that losing track of time becomes easy, causing the central narrative to fade into the background. I realized I had invested a staggering thirty hours engrossed in side quests, with merely a couple of main quests under my belt. Much like the Fallout series, these diversions have the potential to sidetrack you for hours on end, particularly the immersive faction missions and numerous other enticing pursuits.
Regarding combat mechanics, Starfield maintains a familiarity akin to Fallout, albeit with a heightened level of refinement. Players have the option to engage in either a third-person or first-person perspective. Opting for the former provides a broader field of vision, affording awareness of surroundings, while the latter offers a more immersive experience at the cost of a limited 360-degree view. Unlike Fallout, Starfield forsakes the VATS system in favor of a comprehensive action RPG approach. Dispatching adversaries rewards players with experience points, facilitating character advancement. The game encompasses a diverse array of opponents, ranging from extraterrestrial creatures and aliens to formidable factions and colossal spacecraft, adding depth and variety to the combat encounters as players traverse the expanses of the Settled Systems.
Completing Starfield’s content demands over a hundred hours, owing to activities beyond quests and combat. The game boasts a robust crafting system, enabling players to forge items from materials gathered throughout the expansive galaxy. Dungeon exploration often leads to resource mining opportunities, enriching the gameplay. Character customization extends to attire choices influenced by context. While traversing the cosmos, donning space suits with distinct attributes is essential; planetary exploration offers the option between civilian clothing and space gear. Unfortunately, accumulated items carry weight, resembling a Fallout and Elder Scrolls feature. Exceeding weight limits strains oxygen levels, resulting in health loss.
In Starfield, the traditional substats have evolved. Leveling up grants points to allocate among attributes like HP, Perception, Endurance, and Charisma. However, this iteration introduces skill points gained through leveling, unlocking specific challenges and skills. Enhancing Persuasion skills, for instance, starts with unlocking the first skill level. Successfully persuading in-game characters fulfills associated challenges, advancing to the next tier. This dynamic echoes the progression of lockpicking skills, with a Starfield twist—DigiKeys replace lockpicks, unlocking safes, and locks by completing challenges.
Regarding performance, I was taken aback by the prevalence of bugs encountered within the game. Although a day-one patch has been made available, it is noteworthy that Starfield demonstrates a higher degree of refinement in comparison to prior releases by Bethesda, characterized by a reduced occurrence of game-breaking bugs. Notably, on the PC platform, the game exhibits exceptional visual prowess. When experienced in 4K resolution alongside Ultra settings, the character models showcase an elevated level of realism. This is further complemented by the impeccable synchronization of voice acting with near-flawless lip-syncing. In terms of its virtual environment, Starfield boasts expansive and distinctive landscapes primed for exploration. Whether traversing a diminutive colony or engaging with a raidable settlement, the game offers a profusion of meticulously detailed areas that invariably stimulate one’s inquisitiveness for further exploration. It is unequivocally clear that the visuals present an astonishing spectacle, genuinely captivating and a feast for the eyes.
Starfield Review Verdict
Starfield: All in all, Starfield stands as a testament to Bethesda's creative prowess and dedication. It has succeeded in crafting an immersive universe that encapsulates the spirit of exploration and adventure. With its captivating storyline, refined mechanics, and attention to detail, Starfield beckons players to venture into the cosmos and experience a journey that will likely resonate for years to come. – Mark