Starfield review: Guns and ships galore, but a vacuum of wonder


After years in development at Bethesda, the highly anticipated “Skyrim in space,” Starfield, has finally been released. While the game is ambitious and impressively produced, it falls short in capturing the sense of wonder and vastness that its predecessor embodied. Starfield transports players to the 2300s, an era when hundreds of star systems have been colonized, yet much of the galaxy remains uncharted. Players join Constellation, a group of explorers in pursuit of mysterious artifacts hinting at a greater cosmic presence. However, an issue arises early in the game.

Limited Exploration, Menu-Driven

Unlike its open-world counterparts like Tears of the Kingdom, Elden Ring, and Horizon: Forbidden West, Starfield’s exploration is fragmented across star systems and individual planets. Instead of physically traversing the terrain, players select locations from a menu, leading to a lackluster sense of exploration. Starfield shines in its attention to detail. The game boasts beautiful locations with impeccable environmental and object design. The aesthetics are marvelous, even extending to mundane objects like doors and gadgets. Spaceship design is also noteworthy, although it’s underutilized in the gameplay.

Impressive Cities and Storytelling

The cities in Starfield, from New Atlantis to Neon, are visually impressive and teem with NPCs offering quests and shops for trading. Story missions are expertly designed and offer a rich narrative experience, showcasing Bethesda’s knack for “environmental storytelling.” However, the quality dips when it comes to side quests. Many “task”-level missions are tedious and repetitive, offering little in terms of engaging content. A lack of variety in mission types can lead to monotony.

Combat and Variety

Starfield offers a good variety of weapons and ammo types, allowing players to customize their playstyle. Combat is fun but rather basic, with most encounters boiling down to straightforward shootouts with AI enemies that can be bullet sponges. Exploration in Starfield can be lackluster, with many planets feeling repetitive and offering little incentive to explore. Repeated encounters with identical locations, enemies, and scenarios can dampen the excitement of discovery. Despite growing on players over time, Starfield seems to lack a crucial element at its core. Many missions and locations appear irrelevant or superficial, leaving players wanting more depth and wonder in the vast cosmic landscape.

Starfield has its charms, but it falls short of the grand expectations set by its long development. While some may find enjoyment in its gameplay, the game’s fragmented exploration and repetitive elements leave room for improvement. With potential future updates and mods, Starfield might yet fulfill its promise of a stellar experience.

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