Everyone in the gaming community would have heard about Starfield by now, we have all seen the different reviews with varying opinions, the review bombing by some. As well as many other pieces about the game being positive or negative. Today I will give my honest opinion and review Bethesda’s latest game.
I will begin by saying I had ZERO hopes for this game on release. I remember all too well Fallout 76 “It just works”, limited storage, ridiculous shop charging to store your gear and just the general mess that was Fallout 76. Not to mention the last 10 years of Skyrim re-releases continually.
Starfield Honest Review, What is Startfield?
Starfield is the latest game created and released by Bethesda, it is an absolutely massive RPG game in space. Think No Man’s Sky, mixed with Skyrim with some Fallout 4 thrown into the mix and you will not be far off the mark. It has a massive amount of quests, mind boggling amounts. Every time you think you have completed an area or planet you find more. Generally though you are happy about this and just keep going.
Starfields Unlimited Gameplay
One of the absolute beauties of Starfield is that you are not forced to do ANYTHING. If you want to finish the tutorial and then level through planet exploration? Go ahead. Become a bounty hunter and hunt down the Galaxy’s most wanted? Sure. Become a resource tycoon supplying settlements and corporations with their materials. Well you can.
There are a multitude of options open to you as the player and it becomes extremely easy to become distracted from your current task. To then spend several hours wandering around a new planet or trying to set up an outpost before you remember you were in the middle of a quest.
Starfield drags you into its universe and makes you forget your own, not through story or lore, but through enjoyable game play. There has not been a time when playing that I have wanted to stop or go and do something else. Every time I have stopped I have had to force myself to do so.
Beginning Starfield and Getting Used to the Controls
Starting your first play through for the very first time in Starfield can take some getting used to. The controls for the PC can be annoying and cumbersome. Starfield is what I would call a slow burn. It takes some getting into.
Once you give it its fair due though it blows you away. Even after 130 hours of game time I am still loving every second of it, still discovering new aspects of the game or previously unseen quests.
Also still pressing the wrong buttons at times for certain actions such as boarding other vessels.
Starfield’s Multiplicity of Quests, Side, Main and Repeatable
As mentioned earlier Starfield has a massive number of quests. Some are repeatable, which you can do as many times as you please, while others are one offs. There is obviously a main storyline as well.
The main story is decent, it is interesting and enjoyable. There is nothing there that blows you away though. There are a couple of small surprises, some very enjoyable moments and even a couple of one liners that make you laugh. It is nothing phenomenal though. It is simply enjoyable.
The real standout in the quests area of Starfield though is the side quests. There are sooo many. The amazing thing about all these side quests though is that they are generally good. Yes on the occasion the quest is simply: run here get this. However most of the time the quests require you to do something. The dialog of the NPC’s (None playable Characters) is on a whole decent as well (not the facial expressions, eyes or mouth movement) just the actual dialog.
It was not often when I would skip the dialog and just go. I wanted to talk to the quest givers, find out their story, what they wanted and why. With the sheer amount of dialog and quests I find this extremely impressive.
Every major city and a fair few space stations have Bounty Boards, each of these gives you repeatable quests you can do as many times as you please. There is a nice variety of these quests. Usually in a game with repeatable quests there are only two to four different types. In Starfield there are far more. When you get tired of doing Bounty hunter quests you could try out Space captain ones, or supply ones.
There is a lot of choice and always something to do.
Starfields Graphics, The Breathtaking Beauty of Space and the Dead Eyes
To start with, in my opinion graphics are of the lowest importance in any game. If a game is beautiful but awful game play with nothing to do (Hogwarts, Diablo) then it doesn’t matter how beautiful it is. I will not be playing it long enough to enjoy it.
Honestly I will say generally the graphics in Starfield are not very good. It is not much better than Modded Fallout 4 graphics wise. It seems kind of grainy at times and when looking at things like trees you are reminded of Classic WoW, walking across the top of trees. More of a flat plain sitting on a trunk than an actual tree.
NPC’s have something seriously wrong with their faces. At times when you are talking to them you cannot help but wonder what the hell happened here. Their eyes do not seem to be attached to the rest of their faces and just look glued on. They could be smiling or angry or scared and the rest of their faces will move but the eyes stay exactly the same.
In general this is not particularly noticeable. When you are talking to them though you are zoomed in on their face during the conversation and then it becomes impossible not to notice. This is not with all characters but it is with enough. There is one very bad character for this that every time you have a conversation with you can’t help but notice the dead eyes.
There are some moments of absolute perfection when you are exploring the amazing galaxy of Starfield. Moments that make you realize how much work and effort has gone into this game.
The above picture shows that the graphics can make you pause in what you are doing and simply enjoy the sights. When you come across one of these moments you should stop and enjoy it.
Starifleds Boring Paragons of Virtue, Companions
Would this be a true Bethesda game without having your trusty companions along for the ride? Hell no it wouldn’t. We all know and love DogMeat from Fallout 4. Even those of us that did not use companions often still enjoyed their quest lines and dialog at times.
I wish I could say the same in Starfield. Do not get me wrong, the companions can be interesting and have some good dialog. However they are all so pedestrian that it simply feels you have the same person copy and pasted four times. Now before you judge, the companions do not look or sound the same. They all have the exact same likes and dislikes though, with very minor changes.
To make them happy you have to avoid conflict if possible, be kind, generous and generally not do anything “bad”. There is a small exception for one companion, Andreja but not enough of a difference. The only real difference is she likes stealing and does not want to help everyone, just some.
All of them act the exact same way if you accidentally or intentionally attack another ship that is not a pirate. If you commit a crime except stealing. If you do anything at all that is not strictly moral they all complain and disprove. Where is the variety? Where are the Pirate or Zealot or criminal companions? It feels very disappointing when all your companions act almost the exact same way to every decision or conversation with others.
Going Where No-one Has Gone Before, Starfields Exploration
By now I am positive that every planet in the game has been explored by some people. When you are playing it though it certainly does not feel that way. When you step down onto a virgin planet on the other side of the galaxy. A world with no signs of civilization anywhere you cannot help but feel you are the first human being to see the sights you are seeing, step where you are stepping and explore worlds never before dreamed of.
Exploration is a major part of Starfield. It is not necessarily a required part if you simply want to complete the campaign but you are missing out if you do not take the time to find new worlds, new suns and new life. I cannot give Bethesda enough credit on the planet’s exploration side of the game. It is truly amazing.
Every planet/moon has its own day/night cycle, time zone, resources (organic and inorganic), even gravity varies between worlds. When many of the worlds are randomly generated as well it really makes you realize that each play through either being a new game or New Game + will have something new to see.
Now saying that there are many worlds that are very similar. Many moons that only have a couple of resources on or not much to see or do.
When you land on a world you are limited to the area you can explore from where you landed. If you reach the edge you simply get a message stopping you going any further. In 130+ hours though I have only seen this message once. That was just to check it. It took me approximately 10-15 minutes running in a straight line to reach that point. You can always get back onto your space craft and land at another location on the world if you want so there is actually no reason to run across the entire surface of the world.
Living planets. There are many worlds that have life on them. For every world you discover new life and see the creatures hunting in packs or sleeping in a herd you happily accept that there are some worlds that can be a bit boring.
When you discover and explore new worlds that support life you can really see that life living. I had expected the planets to have only a couple of creatures on that would be difficult to find and not do much. Wow, was I surprised when I landed on a new world and a pack of alien creatures began hunting me. Two or three would attack me from the front while others would retreat when harmed. They would chase me across the map. Or even hunt other creatures in the vicinity. On more than one occasion I came across packs of carnivores attacking and killing other creatures to devour.
It was an excellent surprise to find these alien worlds with alien creatures filled to the brim with life. All seeming to actually live, sleeping, eating or even drinking. I enjoyed exploring these worlds so much, scanning the creatures and plants, finding the rare resources that several times I completely forgot I was in the middle of a quest. Instead I would spend hours wandering this new world always wanting to see past the next hill.
Outposts, A Strange Step Sideways From Fallout 4
I really love the outposts feature. I literally lost two days setting up my outposts and creating my manufacturing with my supply lines. Then I realized that outposts were very much a road half finished by Bethesda.
The outposts feel a lot like Factoria. You need to set up supply of raw resources by setting up automated drills that gather the minerals and send them into storage. You can then ship them to other outposts on other worlds or even in other planetary systems. You can then sort out automated manufacturing of components if you wish.
Then it just stops.
There does not seem to be any reason or need to do any of it. There are repeatable missions to supply a world with a certain resource, usually a raw resource. The rewards on doing it though are very small for the amount of work that is required compared to hunting down a spaceship or collecting a bounty on a world.
Originally I had thought we would need it for research, upgrading our gear or creating a new colony for settlers like in Fallout 4. That is not the case though. You can easily buy all the resources you need for research or upgrading. You cannot set up a settlement for settlers. You can create a lovely liveable outpost though if you want. Noone except your crew can go there though. Your crew will only go there if you assign them there as well.
Outposts feel like they were going to be like settlements in Fallout 4 but stopped halfway. They are incredibly complicated and enjoyable to set up, also requiring a deep commitment of skill points into certain areas. They then just stop though, a complete dead end.
Overall I would still advise playing around with outposts. They are great fun and I imagine in the future they will add more to them. Just right now they do feel sort of pointless except for enjoyment’s sake. Which is always a good reason to do something.
Starfield Design Your Own
How can we talk about exploration and space travel without talking about our vehicle we’ll be using to travel in? That’s right people, Spaceships!
If there is one thing I can say that makes this game top tier, amazing and just an all around enjoyable game, well worth the money, is the spaceships.
The best part of the ships is the fact that they are your own. Your design, your imagination, your everything. You can buy pre-built ships but the real fun is creating your own.
Deleting everything on a current ship and starting from scratch, making sure it is space worthy and has all the correct components. Checking it has enough power to supply your weapons and shields at the same time. It’s weight is not too much that it cannot lift off.
This may all sound complicated but it really is not. It is handled in game so well that anyone can do it.
You can create your ship to be anything. You can have a quick hit and run fighter, a cargo hauler or even a behemoth monster that looks like it could chew up and spit out all those pirates or even entire navies.
I have lost count of the amount of time and credits I have spent on creating my different ships for different occasions. How each of my designs evolved and changed from the last when I saw things I liked or did not like in the previous version.
I cannot emphasize how enjoyable and rewarding the ship creation and design was. It made me want to go out and do the repeatable bounties so I could finish my ship. Or go out and hunt pirates to test it out. Even simply flying from system to system scanning planets because I enjoyed using my new ship
Maps, where art thou?
It takes some getting used to having no maps in game. Trying to find the vendors in a massive city when you start can become annoying until you learn the city’s layout. It is puzzling why there are no maps for major cities or ports. Also very annoying to start.
As you progress and get pulled more and more into the game though you stop noticing there are no maps and you learn the layouts which are generally simple and easy to navigate.
As you explore the multitude of different worlds, all the planets and moons you generally realize that it would have been impossible to create maps for it all. When you think that many are randomly generated as well it truly becomes understandable why there are no maps. It does take some getting used to though and can be an annoyance.
Starfield’s Quest reactions
When you complete quests the quest givers do not react in specific ways which can be off putting. Often during a quest you are given a choice or can do something to kill a target instead of persuading them. Even when the quest has said specifically they do not want any harm coming to the target they do not generally react much differently if you just kill to achieve your goals.
This is off putting and makes it feel like there are no real consequences or fallout from your decisions. This is generally only for side quests. The faction quest chains and main story do have more consequences to them but I do not feel like it is enough at times.
The Factions of the Galaxy
There are many factions in Starfield, each with their own goals, personalities and quest chains. Each faction feels different and unique to each other. You can join all the factions though some do not really have any quests.
The major factions quest lines are some of the best parts of the game deciding which faction to support as you progress can be very daunting as you get to know the individuals of each group. It is well worth your time to explore each faction and get to know its people.
Starfield has done it right
With almost any triple A game nowadays you expect the release to be a buggy mess. You expect stupid greedy real currency shops to be all over the place in game.
I can happily say that Starfield had none of this. No shops at all. That’s right. NONE. There are no ads when you go into the game trying to force you to buy cosmetics or passes. Simply a fully released game on release. Incredible!
They have obviously left some areas open for DLC, like the House Va’ruun faction, which has no quest chains or base that I have been able to find. Usually this would really annoy me but in Starfield’s case it makes a lot of sense. They have released a full game. An absolutely massive and enjoyable full game. Leaving areas open for Addons or DLC when they release a game of this size and standard is actually a good thing here. It gives us something to look forward to.
In all honesty there are some bugs. Very minor ones though. I have seen no major bugs and nothing that has really affected my game. Would it be a Bethesda game without mobs randomly flying off into space before crashing back down to the ground a mile away? I think we all saw the giants doing it in Skyrim. It also happens in Starfield but it is generally funny.
There is one annoying bug that stops you making things at your outpost saying that your workbench is obstructed or shows a loading icon when trying to place a new item. This is fixed with a simple quick save and load though.
The only semi major bug I found in my entire play through was during the quest “Heart of Mars”, the quest item did not spawn. It just keeps telling me to mine it out but it is not there. Annoying but it happens.
My entire play time currently runs at around 130 hours. In that time the game has crashed once. That’s it, once. Baldur’s Gate 3 crashed more often than that.
Overall I would say Starfield has had an excellent launch with very minor issues that I personally do not even see as real issues, just small things to fix.
Would it be a Bethesda game without Mods?
When I think of Bethesda games I automatically think of mods. I have always seen Skyrim and the Fallout games as a base, then the mods allow you to add what you want to the game making it your own.
Starfield is much the same. However the base game is damn good even on its own, it does not feel empty like Fallout 4 did on release. Some planets are empty yes but they have no atmosphere so they should be. However if you go to a breathable atmosphere planet you cannot move two yards without running into another creature.
I would honestly say that unlike Fallout 4 or even Skyrim, Starfield does not feel like it needs or requires mods to be brilliant. Mods will add to the game but Starfield is still brilliant without them.
Starfield Honest Review Conclusion, Bethesda’s Greatest Game to Date
I was not even planning on buying Starfield on release. I had no intention of playing it for several months after release. My friends persuaded me to try it though and I cannot thank them enough. This game is the closest thing to a masterpiece Bethesda have ever done.
Considering these are the developers of Fallout 4 and Skyrim that is truly saying something.
I will be the first to say Starfield has its issues. There are minor bugs, there are annoyances, there are animation and graphics issues. None of that matters though.
The game breezes past all of these and makes you forget about them or shrug them off as nothing. I have not played another game that has made me say “I will be playing this for years to come”.
The game is purely enjoyable. No matter your play style, no matter your preferences, it is simply fun to play and disappear into. I know for a fact that I will still be playing this game 5-10 years down the line. I will come back again and again to explore new worlds, build new ships, create new outposts and put my mark on the Galaxy of Starfield.
It is not perfect, it does have very minor issues, I wish I could give this game a 10/10 purely on the enjoyment factor. However the story and the facial animations have to mean i cannot give it a perfect rating. Still an amazing game and I will be playing it for far longer than Masterpiece games such as Badlur’s Gate 3 which I also love.