Thursday, September 21, 2023
ConsoleReviewVideo Games

Starfield reviews praise the game upon lift-off

‘Starfield’ is Betheda’s take on a science fiction setting with its familiar open-world design, similar to ‘Fallout 4’ and ‘Skyrim’ before it. It’s the first new IP from the studio in over 20 years. It’s been delayed twice, originally dated for November 2022 but now has a September 6 release date.

The hype for the game has been high, with Bethesda promoting the game as one of their biggest and most ambitious titles yet yet. Reviewers were given early access to the game and now that the review embargo has been dropped, they’ve been pouring in. And many of them are positive. 

On Metacritic, the game currently stands at an 88 score, and on Opencritic, the game has a critic average of 88, and a recommend score of 94. Both are respectable scores and show that the vast amount of critics like it.

Destructoid gave the game a flawless 10/10, saying “Even as I wrap this up, I still feel like I’ve forgotten to include some of the incredible features Starfield has to offer. I know I left out a lot of memorable moments I experienced throughout my play. Realistically, this review could be triple the length it already is. But I don’t want that; I don’t want to spoil anything. Starfield is a truly incredible experience that will be special for everyone. Explore the piece of the galaxy Bethesda has created how you want to, and create your own stories. It’s where Starfield really excels.

“I wasn’t sure if it could be done, but Bethesda has managed to raise the bar for sandbox games even higher. In the end, Starfield is an epic sandbox open-world RPG with a beautifully immersive universe, a captivating story, and fun and compelling gameplay the whole way. I’m so happy to have experienced Starfield organically, and I really hope you get to as well.”

IGN, gave the game a 7/10, saying “It’s never a great sign when someone recommends a game on the grounds that it gets good after more than a dozen hours, but that’s very much the kind of game Starfield is, and I do recommend it.

“There are a lot of forces working against it, and the combination of disjointed space travel, nonexistent maps, aggravating inventory management, and a slow rollout of essential abilities very nearly did it in. It was the joys piloting a custom spaceship into and out of all sorts of morally ambiguous situations in a rich sci-fi universe that eventually pulled it out of a nosedive.”

GameSpot said in their review “Starfield has its moments, for sure. Its satisfying gunplay makes combat exciting, especially when it’s integrated into setpieces within its better, more captivating questlines. 

“And although limited in its conception of space exploration, there’s a novelty in poking around the galaxy to see star systems up close and personal, and occasionally finding side content worth chasing.”

Polygon was more mixed. “All this is to say that Starfield is vast. Though I’ve played nearly 50 hours of the game during the pre-release review period, I’ve reached a tiny fraction of its supposed 1,000 planets. I’ve collected every artifact, infiltrated a pirate crew as an undercover narc (against my will), fancied up my spaceship, run errands for random people, and searched for resources on barren planets. 

“There is so much to do and so many people to meet across the cosmos, on new worlds to which humans have escaped after fleeing a blighted Earth. For all of this vastness, though, Starfield often feels sterile, and it buries its best moments beneath so much tedium.”

Digital Trends, while criticizing several aspects of the game like the ship combat and writing, said “Even with this laundry list of critiques, I’m still surprised to say that I find myself in awe of Starfield. And to understand why, I once again return to Constellation and the Sisyphean task on its hands. The group operates with tireless conviction in the face of infinity. That’s also the case with the developers at Bethesda as they continue to chase their own distant dream. 

“Starfield is imperfect, but it’s through those imperfections that it delivers its most inadvertently honest takeaway. It’s a testament to the human spirit and all the messy, beautiful things that are possible when we’re determined enough to reach for the stars.”

Paste Games was more negative, saying “Like many, I was able to overlook all those issues in Fallout 3, Skyrim, and Fallout 4 because of the quality of the writing and the worldbuilding. Those games had characters I cared about in compelling situations that I wanted to resolve. Starfield doesn’t have that. Starfield is thematically so similar to Mass Effect and yet so inferior to it that I just wanted to go play those games again. Its approach to exploration is so similar to No Man’s Sky and so inferior to it that it made me want to go back to 2016 and play the original version of that painfully underrated game once more. 

“And in almost every other way it feels like Fallout 4 and Skyrim, but, you guessed it, inferior to them. Playing Starfield makes me want to play games that explore space and games that were made by Bethesda, but it doesn’t make me want to play Starfield. It tries to give us the universe, but it’s so weighed down by its own ambitions and a fundamental lack of inspiration that it can’t even get into orbit.”

The YouTube channel ACG commented “The most fascinating part, the most intriguing takeaway that I have from Starfield is that somehow Bethesda’s made a space game interesting continually. Despite constant upgrades, and new locations most space games begin to feel a bit like a form of digital drudgery, like somehow you’re a bit of a fantastical character that you’re playing, a miner getting tired of cutting rocks. It happens in a lot of games. Starfield held my attention. Not just through the review period but even now.”

Jake Baldino from the Youtube channel Gameranx praised the ship customization, explaining that it was awesome to see his ship change in real time once he changed it, though was mixed on the game overall “Starfield is a flawed game, with some aspects that just don’t reach the heights they should, but it has plenty of merits and the more time you put into it the more it shows you its flavors.”

These reviews, while some negative and mixed, overall highlight the staggering ambition of the game, even if individual publications feel that Bethesda doesn’t always reach its goal of shooting for the stars. ‘Starfield’ is a game that’s been hyped up since its reveal in 2018, and it looks like for the most part, it delivers.

Kieran Burt

My name is Kieran and I am based in the UK. I love writing about all things science fiction and fantasy, particularly Star Wars and Marvel. When I’m not writing or watching anything sci-fi related, you can probably find me exploring the open worlds of alternate lands through my Xbox.

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