Space, the final frontier. And who better to embark on this ambitious journey than Bethesda, the makers of memorable titles like ‘The Elder Scrolls’ and ‘Fallout’? Enter Starfield, the latest magnum opus by the studio that’s got us equal parts excited and skeptical. You may ask, “Is it the next ‘Skyrim in space’ or just another black hole for our time and money?” Let’s take a voyage through the stars and find out.
The Starfield Odyssey: A Quick Overview
Starfield is Bethesda’s audacious leap into the vast realm of space, marking their first original intellectual property in over 25 years. The brainchild of Todd Howard, the game has been affectionately (or lazily, you decide) dubbed “Skyrim in space”. Delving deep into its narrative, the game spans 300 years of fictional events, guiding players through mankind’s journey among the stars. It’s essentially a game of existential space philosophy. Deep, right?
Starfield Gameplay: Shooting for the Stars or Lost in Space?
True to Bethesda’s fashion, Starfield promises a vast and immersive world filled with varied and creative missions. Players are offered the freedom to explore, charting their own course in a massive open universe. Now, while Bethesda boasts of endless discovery opportunities and a genuine sense of freedom, some gameplay elements have left players, well, wanting. Remember when we had stealth and pickpocketing skills from the get-go in their other games? Starfield starts you off without them. It’s almost as if Bethesda said, “You’re in space. Stealth? Pfft! Leave that back on Earth!”
That aside, the game does deliver a rich tapestry of side quests, making each player’s journey unique. But let’s be honest: Would it truly be a Bethesda game without a divisive storyline? Some critics have lauded the game’s world-building and array of compelling characters, while others felt it lacked soul and depth.
Performance: Starfield on PC vs. Xbox
The next concern for any gamer is, of course, performance. And let’s just say, Starfield demands its pound of silicon. While the PC requirements are relatively high, Bethesda’s partnership with AMD threw a curveball, leaving many Nvidia aficionados feeling, for lack of a better word, spaced out. The game currently supports AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution tech, with no love for Nvidia’s DLSS. It’s like setting up camp on the moon and leaving your best space suit at home.
On the Xbox frontier, the game flaunts a 4K resolution on the Series X and 1440p on the Series S. But here’s the catch: it runs capped at 30fps. Whether it’s for “consistency” or Bethesda just giving us another surprise “feature”, it’s yet another mystery of the universe.
Starfield Reception: Universal Praise or Lost in the Void?
Reception-wise, the game has been the cause of numerous intergalactic debates. Metacritic and OpenCritic metrics paint a picture of “generally favorable” reviews, but we all know space isn’t just black and white.
Leon Hurley from GamesRadar+ called it Bethesda’s best since The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. However, a number of critics felt the space exploration, a key component, was more a grind than a grand adventure. Where some critics were stargazing and marveling at the vastness, others were seeing loading screens and lamenting the repetitive nature of planet-hopping.
But, amid the cosmic divide on the gameplay and mechanics, there’s one thing everyone agreed on: Inon Zur’s original score. The composition was universally praised, making many players simply idle and let the environment wash over them.
Sales-wise, the game was a supernova. With over 230,000 concurrent players in its initial hours on Steam and a whopping six million players shortly after launch, Starfield is undeniably Bethesda’s biggest bang.
In the vast expanse of the gaming universe, Starfield is undoubtedly a shining star. But, like all stars, it has its flaws, black spots, and imperfections. While it’s an impressive space odyssey with moments of sheer brilliance, it sometimes fails to escape the gravitational pull of its predecessors’ flaws.
If you’re an avid space explorer who can overlook a few meteor-sized issues, then strap in and launch. For the rest, maybe wait for a few patches before your maiden voyage. Safe travels!