Starfield: First impressions - review

By release of Starfield, Todd Howard's team was in a quandary after the nightmarish release of Fallout 76, what would happen next.

Sep 17, 2023 - 09:18
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Starfield: First impressions - review
Review of the computer game Starfield from Bethesda.

At Starfield, Todd Howard's team was in a quandary. After the problematic release of Fallout 76 and the release of endless re-releases of Skyrim with minimal changes (and with bugs straight from 2011), many players stopped believing in the promises of Bethesda Game Studios. Howard himself began to be put on a par with the supplier of fables, Peter Molyneux. Well, the transition of Bethesda under the wing of Microsoft only added sharpness to the discussions and numerous disputes, introducing negative trends in the face of the company.

So how did Starfield end up? Very ambiguous and contradictory.

The question is is Fallout 4 in space? The answer is yes, but it is more correct to call the new game overly inflated The Outer Worlds. Right now, Obsidian Entertainment is sitting and wondering!

The events of Starfield unfold in the 2330th year. Humanity left the Earth without an atmosphere and dispersed to nearby systems, dividing into three main factions: the United Colonies, the Free Star Collective and the House of Va'ruun.

Starfield starts... in a mine being developed by Argos Explorers. The main character (a miner, not a prisoner) comes into contact with a piece of a mysterious artifact, after which he is recruited into the Constellation organization, which is trying to find the rest of the McGuffin.

Let's be honest - the beginning is quite weak, because developers spend a lot of time on overclocking. Because of this, a situation is quite real when some players will quit the passage in the first hours. In our case, something interesting began to manifest itself only at the 15th hour.

Repels a lot of things. Graphically, Starfield has decently moved away from Fallout 4, but by modern standards, the game still looks outdated. Yes, the lighting has been improved, the detailing has been reworked, polygons have been thrown in and small details have been added. But at the same time, the characters scare with clumsy animations (especially passers-by simulating an active crowd), and the environment is divided into numerous zones with subplots. It comes to the ridiculous when you can go to the goods store without any problems, but the clothing boutique meets the main character with a full-fledged loading screen.

The interface is just terrible. If you think it was overloaded in Fallout 4 or Skyrim - you just didn't see anything. The game also has some troubles with menus and fonts. Some of them seem to have come from Fallout (along with the sounds), and the tips from the training look just foreign. In addition, some simple actions require too many unnecessary manipulations, whereas there were not enough buttons for the "wait in place" function - you have to look for the nearest bench.

The key feature of Starfield is the scale for which the developers decided to make serious sacrifices. There are several dozen star systems and hundreds of planets available in the game. But in most cases, you are invited to walk through a lifeless wasteland with a couple of points of interest. This imposes big problems with the variety of assets.

The main idiocy is the repetitive “Abandoned Mines”, which take the concept of "Bethesda makes monotonous dungeons" to a new level. In fact, time after time (even in the plot occurs) you will come across identical bases on different planets with an identical system of caves under them. Even the location of enemies and objects matches - up to crushed paper cups, books (you can make a collection of volumes of "Dracula") and ... the same card for a permanent passive bonus, which is activated only once.

Interstellar flights are frankly sewn with white threads to the rest of the Todd Howard class. The ship designer, although it has certain limitations, really admires its capabilities. You can play there for hours - and it's much more interesting than building a base, which is implemented in Starfield through modular construction.

The problem is that the ship is used as a huge suitcase for storing resources in the spirit of the base from Fable III, because there is simply nowhere to fly to Starfield. There is no meditative flight stage in the game, for which dozens of hours can be spent transporting cargo to some Elite Dangerous. Instead, Bethesda offers to open the global map, press a couple of buttons and teleport to the surface of the desired planet to the desired point in literally 10 seconds. Because of this, the ship's contraband inspection system is also sent to the garbage on approach.

And it's a shame, because Bethesda tried to work out the flight system, so it's nice and convenient to drive a vehicle. As a result, the ship participates at most in firefights - and can fly through flat Pluto if you try to get to it in real time without using jumps.

In general, the whole Starfield is perceived as a pile of the most diverse interesting ideas that were somehow sewn together. This can be seen from the various menus and the design of the environment. For example, the style of NASA-punk is adjacent to space cowboys, and the House of Va'ruun generally looks like a third party to the conflict in the Command & Conquer level strategy, for which no one wants to play.

If you follow the main storyline, Starfield is capable of driving you into melancholy. However, if you perceive the game as another creation of Bethesda, then everything falls into place. Let's be honest - the main plot in Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3-4 also lacked stars from the sky. Many threw it in the middle and went for a walk on the map in search of adventures on the side of the Thieves Guild, the Brotherhood of Steel and so on. This is exactly how you need to pass Starfield to have fun.

If you start to study the main settlements, you can come across interesting side tasks and sub-plots of factions. For example, on Mars you will plunge into the world of corporate bureaucracy and corruption. The line of the Avangard group is catching up with the atmosphere of horror by fighting a dangerous alien threat. Well, Rangers allow you to try on the skin of space cowboys. There are also plenty of unusual locations - from Neon city standing in the middle of an endless ocean to a failed space casino without gravity and even an abandoned NASA office on Earth.

As a first-person shooter, Starfield looks competent. It's still not Call of Duty or Doom, but it's very nice to shoot here, and enemies catch bullets and are divided into roles. Snipers are sitting behind shelters, and berserkers are trying to shorten the distance as quickly as possible.

Only the local discolored palette interferes, as a result of which enemies can merge with the environment. In addition, often lone soldiers like to run away and hide for some reason.

Bugs are a separate issue. We didn't have any serious problems, more in small things. For more than 30 hours, the partners got stuck in the environment a couple of times, and for some reason the robot ally was running through the air in the casino. In addition, the script hung up once in the dialog, which helped solve the restart. However, we wandered through the main locations, which the developers clearly licked. It is possible that further problems will arise. And with optimization on consoles, not everything is smooth - in large cities there are serious suspensions and drawdowns, and with the increase in the size of the save files, the duration of downloads gradually increases.

As a result: Starfield leaves very ambiguous impressions, which makes it extremely difficult to form a preliminary conclusion. This is a kaleidoscope of ideas of very different quality of execution.

If you like games from Bethesda, then Todd Howard's new project is definitely recommended for familiarization. However, if you are waiting for a large-scale cosmosim, then you are clearly at the wrong address. The desire of the game designer to hit the scale played a cruel joke on him, because of which the elaboration of the world suffered, and the local hero forgot how to dive. Perhaps developers should just make about 15 systems, but instead work them out properly.

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