New Atlantis in Starfield

Starfield: Bethesda in Space | A Review

Rating:

A few things I know to be true. One: Starfield has been my most anticipated game since they announced it all those years ago. Two: Starfield is a Bethesda game. Three: Bethesda makes Bethesda games.

Now if that third thing doesn’t quite make sense to you, or makes you go “Well duh, Bri” hear me out for a second…

A Bethesda Game

Bethesda games have forever been quirky. With bugs, horrifying AI, weird glitches, and bizarre experiences to boot, this is what Bethesda does best. I think the majority of the people who are upset about the game went in thinking that this was going to be a perfect and polished game. Sure, I don’t blame them, but also it’s Bethesda. I don’t think there has ever been a time that they released a perfect and polished game. It has to have its weird quirks in order to make it special… In order to make it amazing… With all of that said, at 40 hours in (30 of which were played within three days), I think Starfield is amazing.

Horrifying AI NPCs in StarfieldHorrifying AI NPCs in Starfield

 

Bethesda promised us the world, full well knowing that there was no way they could deliver on these promises, and ya know what? That’s just fine. Starfield is exactly what I was expecting. There are, of course, some disappointing things about the game, but there are some things that make Starfield everything that I’ve wanted from them. I have always loved Fallout and I have always loved space. When you combine those two things together that’s a recipe for me to fully enjoy myself, but when you add on everything else Starfield has to offer, it’s the perfect dish!

The Ideal Game

I know there have been other reviews out there that said the first few hours drag, but I’m here to disagree. Maybe the first few minutes were a bit of a slog, but once you (spoiler) things get really interesting, really fast. I love the storyline. Personally, this is one of the most engaging stories since Fallout 3. Mostly because I wasn’t a fan of Fallout 4’s story at all. I’m usually one to wander around a lot in games, but this one had me coming back to the story quite frequently. There is one event that happens that actively makes you want to stop playing the story for a bit. Before it, I explored a bit in between story quests, after I “ran away” for a while. I think that the writers made an excellent choice of redirecting players from the story to exploration with that event.

The relationships are another massive draw for me. You bet your bottom dollar I sped run that love story with Sam Coe. That damn space cowboy is so smooth and so easy to romance! Having a romantic moment with him and having an NPC walk DIRECTLY in the middle of my shot and glitch out for a second was a highlight for me. I think the glitchy AI is such a charming experience, just like the 100000% yard stare my character has when taking pictures in photo mode. Look how uncomfortable these shots are:

My character jumping in Starfield My character "what's up bro"ing in Starfield My character sitting on a beach with Sam Coe standing behind her

I particularly love my “beach vacation” with Sam Coe’s beard glitching to high heavens. I know asking for expressions in photo mode is way too much to ask, but c’mon. This is so awkward! (also, my character is a babe)

Space Exploration

The exploration has been another point of contention for some players and reviewers, but I don’t mind the limitations with some of it. There isn’t ever a moment where I think I’d be running to the end of the map lines on a planet, but then again maybe I will. You’re given a scanner to collect data about the planets. Ideally, you’re supposed to run around scanning everything without issues. If you run for long enough (16 minutes in one direction according to Alanah Pearce), you’ll hit that wall and have to fast-travel to another section of the planet to continue exploring. While I haven’t run into the barrier yet I know it’s out there, but I’ve also scanned an entire biome without any problems.

Scanning everything is an addicting part of the game. I like seeing something in the distance that needs to be scanned and run-jumping as fast as I can to reach it. The gravity in each world is so impressive and makes every planet a different beast. The first thing I do when I leave my ship is run and jump. This way I can test how much I’ll be able to fly up in the air when I’m shooting enemies. It’s such a great feeling shotgunning an enemy in the face while soaring 30 feet up in the air. I know the fighting is simplistic, but I really enjoy how fun the gunplay is.

My Constellation ship taking off in Starfield

However…

My biggest issue is one that everyone seems to share, space travel. It does put a damper on the game not being able to leave a planet and fly directly to another without going into a menu. Flying through space seems like such an afterthought in a game about space exploration. It’s genuinely a bummer not being able to travel around and randomly stumble upon villages or random storylines. I know that ships come and hail you or blow your ship to smithereens randomly, but it isn’t the same. It just doesn’t have the same sense of wonder as Skyrim or Fallout did. Oh, another thing I really dislike is ship fighting. I SUCK at fighting in space, ugh! I can never get the hang of it.

The worlds are gorgeous, but I wish there were fewer planets and more actual space “biomes” to fly through. The major cities are stunning, with the right computer, but the other however many planets can sometimes feel empty. Neon, Akila City, and New Atlantis all have a lot going for them. Places like Paradiso are stunning and I spent hours just walking around staring at everything. I spent a long time taking screenshots too!

Stunning Paradiso

Overall

I’m really loving this game. I think it’s exactly what I wanted and everything I was hoping for. I knew Bethesda’s announcements were too ambitious and it sits just fine with me. I’m not a die-hard “THIS HAS TO BE THE WAY IT IS” type of person and I think that Bethesda made an incredible game. This should be celebrated. We should really take a step back and stop harping on the negative. It’s gorgeous, it’s fun, and there are endless opportunities for you to really do your own thing. You can spend hours in-game and not even touch the story. I haven’t even built an outpost or tried to wrap my head around shipbuilding! Your perks in the skill tree each have challenges that you have to complete before you can level up. It’s so freaking good.

I genuinely believe that Starfield is an incredible game. I think that if you love Bethesda for everything that it has been and will be, you will most likely agree with me.

 

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