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  • Writer's pictureWabba Plays

I'm tired of pretending that I like Starfield


Starfield

Starfield was supposed to be, and advertised as, the best game ever. Made by Bethesda, the team behind Fallout (and likely the reason for no new Fallout), Starfield was boasted as the reason to buy both an Xbox and Game Pass.


I wouldn't say I like Starfield, and I'm tired of pretending I do.


Let me say one thing first: Starfield is not a bad game. But it's not the game I thought it would be. I will share some of my thoughts on why I did not get into it like others and why I will not revisit Starfield.


The Game's Opening

Bethesda has a track record of creating these engaging opening sequences in Fallout. Fallout 3 was Vault 111 and learning about the world, history, and your escape. Fallout New Vegas was the opening montage with New Vegas lights accompanied by the Benny scene. Fallout 4 brought the player from pre-war life to scrambling for a vault as soon as the bombs dropped.


Starfield has you go to work.


I work daily; I do not want to play a game about doing my job. Then, a vague conclusion about something without context is given until hours into the game. It's a fragile start.

starfield

The "jackpot" world moment

As mentioned in Fallout titles, you usually leave the vault, and it shows your player getting accustomed to the light, letting you look out at a bleak but exciting vista that you can explore. The music swells, and you get goosebumps, knowing that hope is out there somewhere.


Starfield tries this, but it's you looking at a launch pad that is smaller than my first apartment. You get the music and the slow motion, but nothing is exciting to look at, followed by the weakest gun battle since the original Oregon Trail hunting mini-game on Mac.


The story is full of convenient moments.

After that weak battle, someone lands from the world with a robot and gives you his ship because you touched a magic space rock. This whole scene is out of nowhere and serves the purpose of providing you with a way to travel. He doesn't accompany you because someone has to take your place at work, so he is a glorified vacation coverage employee. He also gives you his watch because it's included in the collector's edition, and it feels like whenever Daniel Craig's James Bond gets called out for having an Omega watch in his films.


I had challenges finding the motivation to do anything. Why do I want to visit this planet to see these weird historians? Fallout had many reasons to progress and get involved, even if I didn't like the faction (I'm looking at you, Preston). But I don't feel Starfield gives me that exact reason to do things other than for exploration (which I understand is all some gamers need).


The first planet you arrive at is supposed to be the main hub, and it feels empty even though there are so many people in it. Character models sometimes look rigid, and everything is so spread apart with nothing substantial in between. I found getting to waypoints frustrating. I felt similarly about the city of New Vegas and how sparse it initially felt, but instead, its ten years and two console generations later. I would have preferred a smaller, condensed world with more going on.


The only lore I found was going to the police station and wandering around the museum, hitting a button, and looking at a picture. I wish it played a short movie or cutscene rather than having me wait like I'm in line at the DMV. I did not find it interesting; I had no context for what the voice told me, and it was a dry way of communicating lore.


As someone with a job and family, I have to be very picky about what I choose to spend my time with. I do not want to give my time to a game that does not earn it or even try to. I understand the draw of Starfield is exploration. Granted, I am more of a story-driven player who prefers a more structured experience. And I am no stranger to games which need time to marinate and need hours before it gets good (like my 100 hours in Persona 5 Royal). However, given great story building, these are the types of games I can spend hours on, and unfortunately, Starfield does not convince me to spend time on it when there are other stories that I find more exciting and worthwhile.

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