Starfield is an action role-playing game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. The game was released for Game Pass, Windows and Xbox Series X|S on September 6, 2023. Those who bought either the Constellation Edition or Premium Edition upgrade were able to enjoy Early Access and start playing five days early.
After learning the Premium Edition upgrade also worked with the Game Pass version of Starfield, I decided to pick it up so I could get Early Access and immediately dive into the game. Now that I’ve finished the main quest and spent some time in new game plus mode, it’s time to share my first thoughts about Starfield.
[spoiler alert] Please note that this post contains spoilers about the main quest, new game plus mode and other features of Starfield.
In 2330 A.D. you (player character) work as a miner for Argus Extractors. The company has been asked by Constellation to locate an artifact. While recovering the artifact you experience a strange vision before passing out. Hinting that there might be more to this artifact you just found.
Barret from Constellation arrives to take the artifact off your hands, but the Crimson Fleet crashes the party. Barret stays behind to help supervisor Lin keep the mining post safe, while you are tasked to deliver the artifact to The Lodge in New Atlantis on the planet Jemison.
At The Lodge you’re asked to join Constellation and help them unravel the mystery of the artifacts. Who made them? What is their purpose? What do they lead to? The adventure begins!
Starfield is the second Bethesda game I’ve ever played. I picked up The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on PC back in 2011 and played the remastered version on PlayStation 4 years later, but I never completed the game. I always had a hard time focusing on the main quest. I also felt rather lost and lonely in the vast world of Skyrim. Earlier in 2011 I played Dragon Age II and Uncharted 3, both games have an impressive cast & lovely party banter, next to a compelling story. Fortunately my experience with Starfield hasn’t been the same as my time with Skyrim.
I quite enjoyed the starting mission and loved how it moved to the very detailed character creation and us joining Constellation. I did wonder though how a diplomat (my chosen background) ended up as a Dusty on Vectera, but maybe it’s better we keep that file closed. I’ve recently decided to start a fresh playthrough on a new character with a different background and traits. I noticed you can already find so many lore bits and story stuff in the first hour of the game that help build the world of Starfield. It’s possible to entirely miss all the little titbits if you never stop to check out data slates or browse notes on a computer.
During my first playthrough I mainly focused on completing the main quest and threw in a little bit of romance with Same Coe, one of the companions. I love how much the companions are fleshed out and not simply function as a mule to carry all your stuff when you get overencumbered. Granted sometimes it got a little weird when Sam wanted to get something off his chest while we were clearing out an oupost infested with Spacers, but I can always forgive someone who is voiced by Elias Toufexis (Adam Jensen, anyone?).
I really found the joy of playing Starfield outside the main quest, especially in those chance encounters while exploring. The random strangers you meet in space, for example the old couple who need help because they’re lost while on their way to Neon or that lovely grandma who made too much food and would love to share a meal. Even the Adoring Fan that follows you around when you pick the Hero Worshipped trait managed to crack me up, making the Deep Black a less lonely place.
At first glance Starfield’s main quest might not sound that exciting. Finding the artifact definitely doesn’t have the same repercussions as in Mass Effect (2007), but that story has already been told. I still love how finding the artifacts in Starfield is tied to new game plus mode and how it’s possible to go through multiple cycles of starting a new game while still staying true to the lore of Starfield.
I’ve started a NG+ after my main playthrough and got some pretty good gear. It makes me hesitant to go through another cycle. In my fresh playthrough I do plan on going through the cycle at least one more time before settling down and sink my teeth into doing all the sidequests and finally dedicate my time to building outposts and my dream spaceship.
I mainly play videogames to enjoy a good story, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take a look at gameplay. Overall the gameplay of Starfield has been decent. Are there games with better shooter or spaceship flying mechanics? Hell yes, but Starfield is not frustratingly unplayable. It definitely helps to unlock and upgrade a couple of skills. I’m still not a very good spaceship pilot, so putting a little extra points in Shield Systems really were a life saver. Since there currently is no way to reset your skillpoints, I can see how deciding which skills to unlock can be a little overwhelming. I can only recommend to really take a good look at what a skill does and how it supports how you get through the game.
Navigating the menu in Starfield definitely feels pretty clunky at the start. It takes too many clicks to find the information you’re looking for or pull back out from the menu. You can definitely get a little lost in there. Since you can Quickslot weapons, items & powers, the deep menu never gets in the way of combat.
I also wasn’t really bothered with the loading screens. I was pleasantly surpised the loading screens not only contain helpful tips but also feature your Photo Mode pics. Even though I got Starfield for my Xbox Series S, I could also install the game (with the premium upgrade) on my PC. While installed on the regular HDD the loading screen seemed to take forever, installing it on the SSD helped resolve the issue and is therefore recommended by Bethesda.
Starfield runs pretty smooth on my MSI MAG Infinite H410 with an i7-10700 CPU, 16GB DDR4 memory and RTX 3060 12GB graphics card. On Ultra the game definitely looks better than on the Xbox Series S. Since I’ve been playing the game together with my partner on our dual TV screen setup, I currently prefer to stick to our couch setup and Xbox Series S. I do think an upgrade to an Xbox Series X (or newer) is needed once the new Elder Scrolls game is here and I want to continue to stick to the couch setup.
I really enjoyed wrapping up the main quest in Starfield. I haven’t even talked about that ‘Entangled’ mission or the epic fight that ensues when you fail to persuade in the final mission *gasp* I don’t see myself quitting the game soon. During my NG+ I’ve been diving into the different factions, sidequest, smaller activities and have really been enjoying myself. There’s still so many things I want to explore in the game. I’m also quite curious about the upcoming Shattered Space DLC. Baldur’s Gate 3 is currently on my backlog, so there comes a time I have to pull away from Starfield.
Should you also be playing Starfield? Even though this is not a Final Verdict review, I think it’s safe to say the game is a must play. Don’t expect a fast paced looter shooter though, it’s a slow burn. Take your time and enjoy the ride!
Especially if you already have an Xbox Series X|S it doesn’t hurt to subscribe to Game Pass for a month and explore the game. If you’re on PC, it really depends on your gaming rig. I would recommend to check out the system requirements when you plan on playing the game on your PC.
W wait, you’ve never heard of Starfield before and would like to know more? Be sure to check out the Starfield Direct which takes a deep dive into the game.
I’m booting up my Xbox Series S again to play Starfield. I hope to share a Final Verdict with you all somewhere next year. Stay tuned!