Starfield – Meras’ Review of Bethesda’s Space Opera
So after a long weekend (I swear I booted the game on Friday night and somehow its Monday already) I played through the main quest line, done some digging into outpost building and generally exploring quite a bit. I will have spoilers for the introductory first two hours and for some content clearly marked towards the end of this article so readers beware.
The Starfield Starting Experience
The Starting introduction of Starfield has a really good narrative dive into how the world works, with Lin and Heller walking you through a mine you are working in and providing some colour background to the story. Towards the end of the sequence you get the character creation slotted brilliantly into the sequence.
I will note that this sequence is quite long (about 30 mins or so) and I can see people finding it really difficult to sit through after the second or third time, I have not yet seen a mod to skip this at time of writing but I know its going to come quite quickly.
Once you are off the Planet and pointed towards Constellation (the main quest faction in the game) the game opens up quite a bit. With lots of exploration and travelling that you can just fall into if you are not careful (I spent a few hours doing side content just because it caught me totally by accident).
Another thing I have not seen is a “Make your Own” start, where you can choose any 3 skills to start with, something that I miss considering I wanted a start with a skill combination that was not in the twenty eight pre-made backgrounds.
The Levelling Experience
Skills in Starfield level in a novel way, you get a skill point at each level up and can apply it to a skill to unlock it, then to add extra skill points into skills you need to do certain tasks. Piloting is a great example of this needing you to Destroy other space ships to enable you to unlock higher levels.
Skills further down the table need investment in the same tree before they unlock(Tier Two needs 4 points in the tree, Tier Three needs 7 points and Tier Four needs 11). This means that you might need to focus on levelling certain skills to get to some of the more useful later skills. Although you could just do what I did and spread a point into each skill on each level up to get what I wanted then levelled skills afterwards.
I will point out that there are two skills that are almost must haves in the game: Boost Pack and Targeting Control Systems. Boost Packs are jump packs that allow you to rapidly reposition in combat, but I used them a lot while exploring, and some exploration areas you kind of need them. Targeting Controls Systems allows you to target and cripple a ship’s engines to be able to Board it. Selling off Ships you have “rescued” is a great money maker in the game, and there is an achievement for owning ten ships.
The Exploration Experience
Exploring planets is one way to get fairly fast Experience without needing to quest about, its sometimes quite nice to spend a while on a planet scanning wildlife and plants and being rewarded for it. The key thing here is many planets may have different biomes and some plants/animals may not show up in all of them. When exploring and scanning if you have scanned all the valid things in the biome you’re in it will tell you in the bottom left.
Exploring Planets for things to do is great, with random encounters and sometimes really interesting information you can just stumble across that gives you pointers to later areas or even just interesting lore (The Mantis note is a great example of this – but that is all I will say on that). The only issue is that some things appear far away and that 2k hike back to the ship can be a real drain, especially if you are like me and loot gremlin everything and have to take regular stops for your 02 to recharge.
The Outpost Builder
The Outpost builder is reminiscent of Fallout 4’s Settlements system, however the view change mode (V on Keyboards) is a gamechanger. With the later systems not being something I have delved into its really interesting that you can make industries to produce things, with Transport pads to send them back and forth to other outposts. I built up three outposts that just mined a specific material in the Narion System, one Getting Iron, one Aluminium and one Helium 3. I then set the Iron and Aluminium Outposts to ship materials to the Helium one and that was set to ship everything to another system (you need Helium for shipping between systems). I then created a “Receiving” outpost in another system that was built to manufacture things I needed for outpost building.
For those looking at starting up you will need Iron, Aluminium and Lead in varying amounts for most of your needs. I am debating starting a run where I just ignore the plot in game and try becoming a Industrialist Tycoon, making exotic materials for cash.
All in all the Outpost building is a great mechanic to spend time with albeit one that is not always explained too well, one thing I will note was not explained was that you can automate where materials go from containers by using the quick interact menu.
Spoilers Below for the Main Questline – Spoilers end after second Gaming.Buzz Image
Before the spoilers have a lovely page break image
The Artifact Powers
In this section I’m going to be intentionally vague about a few things, partially because I know other Gaming.Buzz staff are playing (and they do proof read what I write) and because frankly I didnt really engage with all of the mechanics here.
These are something that could be really interesting but I collected six and only really used one, the Personal Atmosphere one. The process of unlocking them (The Floating room) felt slow and like it pulled you out of the game, I would have preferred something like the Word Wall system from Skyrim.
Most of the powers have interesting effects, the descriptions are fairly vague and some seem nonsensical (Like the time one that I unlocked then never used).
Starfield does have some issues with bugs (things like my head appearing infront of the camera in some edge cases) but the quest system seems fairly robust even when I tried to break it. I have had one major bug in my game where my ship left me behind on a planet, but a quick fast travel fixed that. However as long as you are not expecting No Mans Sky’s space scale with its a strong contender for a long standing regular game for me to boot up.
This is definitely something that I have enjoyed immeasurably and with Bethesda Game’s strong modding community I cannot wait to see what is coming in the future. Now if you will excuse me, I have a intersystem industrial empire to build!
What did you think of Starfield? Are you Still playing through it? Share your thoughts and expectations in the comments below or join our vibrant discussion over at the Gaming.Buzz Community Discord. Let’s fuel the excitement together!