Starfield – do you feel you’ve already played it? (pic: Microsoft)
A reader is pessimistic about the first gameplay footage from Bethesda’s Skyrim and claims it’s already obvious what the game will be like.
It was only unveiled for the first time a few days ago and already it feels like saying anything negative about Starfield is like kicking a man when he’s down. Not that the response has been entirely negative – there are always plenty of people that seem intent on believing a game will be amazing despite anything they might see or hear to the contrary. But I really don’t think it takes much reading between the lines to see that Starfield is a dud in the making.
In theory, Starfield sounds like a great idea. As an elevator pitch, Skyrim in space is instantly understandable and exciting, especially given how they aren’t really any sci-fi games like that. Cyberpunk 2077 is about the only open world sci-fi game I can think of and games where you can fly a spaceship are now very rare.
The idea of exploring strange new worlds and new civilisations in a next gen-only game sounded great… until they actually showed it. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to have the first person shooter section be the first thing you see but the minute it came on it was like bam! My interest in the game evaporated almost instantly. And then it went completely when they showed the lockpick mini-game…
I’d really love to know what Bethesda expected people to think while they were watching this, as a non-descript looking astronaut walked around boring, square buildings, shooting generic weapons (can we really not manage anything better than a shotgun in the future?), and then taking part in mindless mini-games. It looked like a fan mod of Fallout to make it seem more sci-fi, but not even a particularly good one.
The more they showed the more you realised that all the basics are exactly the same as Fallout and Skyrim, with the skills and the weapon mods, and the weird characters that are framed really awkwardly and still don’t have great facial animation. I mean, at least they’re no longer potato-faced mutants but the graphics are still clearly well behind the curve.
The most encouraging parts of the game were left till the end of the footage, and I do definitely like the idea of exploring 1,000 worlds in my custom spaceship. But as has already been confirmed, this will only be possible because of procedural generation, so only a few of them are going to be hand-crafted.
There’s only going to be four major cities in the whole game, which is a very small number, and I think it’s obvious that the non-important ones are just going to work like the non-story planets from Mass Effect, where there’s no real detail or anything to really see. It already seems like No Man’s Sky does this sort of thing better, given the drab looking planets they’ve shown so far, and I think the two games are going to be compared a lot the more we see of Starfield.
The final problem is the spaceship combat, which looked clunky and unexciting. You don’t get many modern games to compare that sort of thing with, but it certainly doesn’t look as fast and fluid as Star Wars: Squadrons.
Also, apparently you don’t even control the ship as it moves from ground to space – that’s automatic – so that’s something else No Man’s Sky does better before it’s even started – and remember that that game’s made by about two dozen people and Bethesda *checks Wikipedia* has more than 420.
You really wouldn’t think that to see the amateurish looking display at Starfield’s big reveal. The worst thing though, is that you can just tell how it’ll play from looking at it, if you’ve played any of Bethesda’s previous games. You can tell they haven’t evolved and are instead high on their own supply, with Microsoft execs constantly trying to justify their purchase by saying Bethesda are one of the greatest developers in the world – which I’m sure the developers love to hear.
But they’re not. They’re the ones that made Skyrim, which is a great game that I love, but ever since then they’ve fallen further and further behind other companies, and don’t even seem to be trying anymore when it comes to things like graphics and storytelling. All that seems more than obvious from the Starfield gameplay reveal and I think if people are honest with themselves it’s pretty clear this is not going to be another Skyrim. Expect maybe when it comes to the inevitable bugs.
By reader Focus
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