Starfield is the first new universe from Bethesda Game Studios in over 25 years. This next-gen, space adventure role playing game came with a lot of anticipation, expected to bring a whole host of new features, worlds and next-level exploration. Unfortunately, upon release, the game was met with plenty of disappointment – the maps were too big to explore and not fleshed out enough to be interesting, it takes hours of play to actually get into the interesting parts of the main quest and travel between planets takes too long. These were just a few of the common issues players had.

So what was a highly-anticipated game turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. Over ambition and too much world building produced a game that prioritised quantity over quality. Let’s take a closer look.

Source: Steam

What is Starfield?

If you’re reading this blog, the chances are you know what Starfield is. But on the off chance you’re new, here’s a brief summary.

Starfield is a role-playing game by Bethesda Game Studios, who also brought us the likes of Fallout 4 and The Elder Scrolls. This game is set in space and follows your character as you explore the universe on an epic journey, full of quests, NPCs to meet and planets to explore. 

So, let’s get down to business and see what gamers had to say.

Source: Steam

The world

The largest criticism of the game was ironically also the largest aspect of the game – the world. A lot of the negativity when it comes to the exploration of the universe is how large it is and how nothing is very interesting to explore. Video game reviewer Jim Stephanie Sterling described the huge variety of planets as “desolate, populated by the same terrain features copied and pasted”. 

For a game that boasts the sheer size of it and the freedom you have when playing, it doesn’t bode well that its settings are deemed as boring. 

Source: Steam

On this, a comment made about space travel within the game, something we’ll come onto later, is that you can see so many other planets when you’re travelling from place to place, but can never visit them. Reviewer Dan Stapleton commented that, “It's a bit of a letdown every time you see a planet and remember it’s just a picture of a planet you’ll never be able to reach by flying toward it.” When a game has such a vast world, of course you can’t explore every inch of it. But if it’s being advertised as a game with so much to explore, enticing players with cool looking places that they can never visit won’t get you much positive feedback.

Another frequent comment was that there’s so much opportunity for the story to be good. The game gives you a lot of backstory, which is very densely packed, but because it’s not very memorable or distinctive it gets lost in the vast universe the creators have built.

Source: Steam


A huge part of any gamers experience is how the game actually plays. And yet again, Starfield hasn’t received many compliments here either. A common observation and frustration is that it takes hours of playing to get to the interesting parts of the story and the main quest. Players have said that it makes you work hard to get through the opening stretch, often becoming too frustrating to want to continue.

In a game set in space, you’d expect space travel to be a prominent feature, and that developers would have spent a lot of time working on said space travel to make it fun and interesting. Unfortunately, players of Starfield don’t see it that way, saying that much of the space travel is just cutscenes that you can’t interact with and treated more as a loading screen. There’s the option to fast-travel, but when given that as a choice it takes away a bit of the fun of riding in a spaceship. 

Source: Steam

And finally, on the topic of gameplay, Bethesda are known for featuring inventories in their games and how they play a large role in the adventure you go on. In Starfield, the inventory feature seemed to be more of an annoyance for players, rather than a helping hand to move the plot along. The management of your inventory frustrated players, as one reviewer put it “To avoid becoming overloaded you’ll constantly need to transfer the weapons (...) you’ve collected between your inventory and your companion’s”. This will inevitably slow down progression and mean there are certain things you can’t do without unloading items, or putting them in your ship’s hold.

Source: Steam

NPCs and quests

NPCs, the main quest and the side missions go hand in hand, as they all feed each other. As you carry out quests and missions, you meet various NPCs, who can actually be added to your crew. Some of these can help in combat, or carry weapons for you, as previously mentioned. Each of these ‘companions’ have their own set of skills which can be used to assist you. 

The problem players are finding, however, is that the NPCs are repetitive. They have “little more than a handful of catchphrases” and give players “tiresome fetch quests” that don’t provide much entertainment or compelling gameplay.

The biggest criticism of the main quest is that it isn’t very flexible. According to players, most of the choices you make don’t seem to have an effect and the outcome will be the same no matter what you choose. 

Sadly, with repetitive, long, drawn-out quests that don’t stimulate the audience, Starfield doesn’t seem to have been the hit gamers hoped it would be.

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