Starfield and Friends

I’m not playing Starfield but see other people are and so couldn’t resist sitting on this thread title for much longer.

Tell me about Starfield! I’ve been following people’s impressions since it went into early access last week and the reviews started coming in. Sure sounds like a typical Bethesda release! Though I do like the visual look of everything. I will probably play it at some point if I ever get a Series X or a new computer.


from the games we played thread:


I’ve also been spoiling myself on the quest lines and story stuff. Most interesting bit I’ve heard about so far that I really liked was finding out there is a quest where you discover a character who is literally Batman and you find their lair and learn their history and because they’re already dead by the time you find all this you can take their suit and become Space Batman yourself to finish their quest line.

That’s the type of stuff I’m here for with these games so it’s good to know it delivers on that front.


yeah i think an important caveat for reading my thoughts on this game are:

  1. i honestly only really love Fallout 1
  2. i liked Fallout 3 but not enough to complete it
  3. i have never played Mass Effect
  4. the last game i played by Bethesda (in this style; not counting Doom) was probably New Vegas, which isn’t really “by them”

so i’m not necessarily someone who loves this kind of game to begin with, so it’s possible i’m being overharsh.


The first hour of this game sure just is Skyrim again.


i’m glad i’m immune to bethesdaware


i’ll start paying attention if Kirkbride writes a moon somewhere


The best thing about a Bethesda game is wandering from point A to point B and discovering absolutely batshit incredible quest content C hiding under a rock in the middle of the woods. Wandering into a cabin and finding a trap door in the floor and under the trap door is a daedric idol which causes an impish VO freak to torment you for 5 hours and by the end of it you’ve forgotten what you were doing before.

Starfield is structured so that this kind of exploration and discovery is impossible. The introduction of the spaceship into the player’s experience of a world has completely borked it up. Planets are largely completely empty between points of interest, but you cannot drive your ship directly to each point of interest… you have to walk from a “landing point” to something 500-2000 meters away and when you get there it’s practically a clone of a dungeon you already fought in. There is no discovery to be had between POIs because it’s empty moon surface, usually.

As a result you have to stick much closer than before to quests in order to see anything interesting. And there’s plenty of interesting stuff, I guess… if you just follow quest instructions all the time… but that’s not what I want from a Bethesda game. I want to wander!!! And there’s just ENOUGH cool things to discover in the hand-authored places that I feel an uncomfortable tension between the game’s desire to drag me along to authored setpieces and its desire to lure me off the beaten path with hidden quests and opportunities. I think I’m making the game worse for myself by exploring too much, which is a dire condemnation.

And that’s because the built places do not contain enough secrets. I’ve noticed that most structures seem to lack rear entrances or alternate entrances. Elder Scrolls titles are really big on buildings that can be accessed in multiple different ways… there’s always a way to sneak in, most homes have rear entrances, many structures have roof entrances or secret cave entrances, etc. It allows you to play some of these games almost like an immersive sim, sneaking in and immobilizing your enemies with spells or whatever, then raiding the secret boxes in their basement that contain the family heirlooms, etc. This really rewards stealth gameplay. Starfield on the other hand has a lot of GIGANTIC facilities, both in cities and on planets, which have only ONE entrance. My friends and I have been trading a lot of shocked stories about how little there is for a stealth build to do in this game.

Combat-wise, the exterior environments are clearly built for jetpack platforming. The whole game seems to be built for a generalist build which uses jetpacks to traverse vertically and flank enemies. Stealth-first is a no-go in this game. Even more upsettingly, the jetpack skill is a skill, so you need to dump a skill point into it before you can use it at all. This is nuts!!! Boostpacks should have been a base character skill. Many exterior structures are straight up impossible to fully explore without a boostpack.

There’s a good attempt to make basebuilding and shipbuilding fill the gaps in the player experience but it’s not really the kind of thing I want from a Bethesda game. I think they got addled by the post-Fallout-4 interest in basebuilding gameplay (this was practically the only involved community that came out of Fallout 4) and this led to Fallout 76 and finally now to Starfield. The basebuilding’s resource requirements are too stiff, so they take forever to construct, and each one is of limited utility, so you need to build several and link them together in order to start constructing more complex things. Again, a lot of the good stuff here is hidden behind skills, which feels unhinged to me. It’s like the game wants to prevent you from experimenting with its systems! The crafting system suffers from this also.

I am still finding a way to continue playing this game. But fundamentally, it’s an attempt to completely change the form of Bethesda RPGs. The kinds of entertainment they want you to get from this game are simply not the same kinds you could get from Elder Scrolls titles or their Fallout games. I don’t think that’s wise!!! I think they should have let you wander and explore and find things and enter buildings through the basement and stab a guy in the back while invisible. What is the point of making a new IP if the fun it allows–if the form its travel mechanics require–is simply flatter and less rich?? What’s the point???


I got an ssd, cuz I didn’t realize spinny drives are obsolete. I only play rinky dink old ass games on my computer. and my current ssd only has 100gb free

THE GAME DOES NOT WORK ON SPINNY DRIVES AT ALL HOLY SHIT the fps was weird, it kept freezing and unfreezing, the music would cut out, people’s speech would be super delayed

I had to order some screws and this computer was a hand me down from a failing startup so it’ll be the first time I open it up since getting it

so I can play fucking starfield


rememeber when someone was like ‘daphny won’t stop tweeting about skyrim’ and then suggested that we called the thread THE SKY’S THE RIM IT and everyone was like no and I’m sorry that my rimming joke was TOO GOOD for everyone. I wanted my mind to be frustratingly broken by starfield in the same way. I just wanna get so mad at a videogame arbitrarily

(and I need to space sneeze)


Got some thoughts about the IP itself–

This setting lacks personality in a really astonishing way. The look is often 90s-NASA, but each city and faction seems to be cribbing from other major sci-fi IPs in a way that makes it all feel very disjointed. New Atlantis has some Mass Effect flavor… Neon is a shitty Cyberpunk zone… the libertarian space cowboy shit has been done before… and most of the structures in the game have a very, like, well-maintained, industrial look them.

I love the idea of “NASApunk” but what they’ve done here feels incompatible to me with the player fantasy of being a rogue wanderer who does whatever they feel like and steals everything. The spaces look largely like the type of space you would have a government job in. The behavior you express is the type of behavior that would get you permanently banned from government employment, haha.

This is reflected in the character origins. Multiple of the character origin profiles are based on, essentially, Star Wars fantasies. There’s a boba fett build you can select at character creation, for crying out loud. This is a world which looks like you should be an accountant or a trader or an engineer in, but the character origins let you be… a pilgrim, or a space cultist, or boba fett, or a Cyberpunk character, or what have you.

It lacks a certain organizing personality. Comparatively Mass Effect has much, much more personality than this world does.

What’s more–when you arrive in this world, nothing is going on. There isn’t a big disaster that everyone is talking about, there isn’t something huge happening that you’re involved in, and there isn’t anything going on which changes normal people’s status quo and makes you the center of attention. A lot of previous Bethesda games have really benefitted from something like this… in Skyrim I think it was very effective for the story to begin with multiple major disasters that everyone was talking about. It made it very easy for them to write ambient dialogue which focused the player’s attention on the two main questlines. In Skyrim, it’s hard to forget what you could be doing, if you walked back onto the main quest, because normal people on the street will be saying shit like “damn there’s a dragon over there! fuck!!” Even in various Fallout games you have the conversation-starter of being able to say “I just left my Fallout vault and… I guess I’m here, now!!”

Starfield has literally nothing like this going on at all. You are just A Person who Got Amnesia. The main quest is so unimportant to the world at the start of the game that they are forced to constantly lampshade it, by making NPCs tell you “I care so little about the organization you have joined that I do not even know if they are real.”

Elder Scrolls has quite a lot of personality, really–I’m sure you’re all aware that Morrowind is special and strange–but even Oblivion and Skyrim have some deeply weird shit in them. The Elder Scrolls lore often dips into metaphysical horror. There’s a layer of kind of distasteful awkward gross stuff under the surface in every Elder Scrolls game that the writers generally use as an engine to power some of the more worthwhile content in those games. Starfield lacks this entirely. Its world history is our history; its major disaster is, shockingly, almost never discussed. Humanity departed the Earth to escape its destruction… but seems completely untraumatized by this, lmao.

I know plenty of you do not like Bethesda games but I really love them. I have played over 500 hours of modded Skyrim. I know a lot of you like The Forgotten City–that was a Skyrim mod!!! (I did a little bit of consulting work on that game. It’s a very good remake of the mod! If you’re curious, go play the mod!!) These are obviously games but in some way they’re also almost toy-like, in that they can be played a hundred different ways and modified to hell and back. I can say without irony that it’s good to play a game which requires you to dig through a massive archive of passionate player-made material and construct your own game from a hundred people’s experiments and ten thousand hours of their time. It’s good to wander in a labyrinth made out of a bunch of weirdoes’ overlapping fantasies. It’s incredible to install a bunch of dumb shit and then learn that the fantasy of being a viking homemaker collides with the fantasy of having a batcave or whatever, haha, and having to uninstall one of them. I love it.

These games are like bread. You choose what to spread on them. Starfield looks at first glance like it’s bad bread. I am still very early in the game, but there is nothing going on here that feels as if it could be a particularly good inspiration for some exciting player-created stuff. That’s the metaphor for me.


wtf is nasa punk I keep seeing people say this but literally nothing about nasa is punk. so punk to spend millions and billions of government dollars? to go to space? to wear a spacesuit?? NO


yeah that’s the problem. They coulda made this feel like a world cribbed together from stolen nasa bits but it feels like a world built and maintained by Actual NASA that a bunch of boba fetts just happen to live in


I played one hour of the Gamepass version and it made me feel like I was being chloroformed.

The combat is BAD, even by Bethesda standards. Enemy AI is terrible and as far as I can tell from my two combat encounters and watching a friend play, enemies kinda just run at you and you shoot them. There’s no unique behaviors or alternate combat paths really. Skyrim and their ilk were similar of course but you at least had stuff like paralysis and summons to spice combat encounters up. This shit simply doesn’t fly for me anymore in a post-Destiny, post-BG3 world. Developers need to up their encounter design game! Like, add an exploder guy who charges you, a guy who goes invulnerable sometimes, a guy who gets up real high to snipe you, a grenadier, literally anything other than “person who i run straight at and shoot until dead”.

Agree with everything you’re saying about the story. They stripped all the melodrama out of it! Even without changing the core conceit or adding some major disaster to the backstory (besides Earth) they could’ve dramatically improved the opener.

Imagine if, after touching The Object, you wake up and the whole base is just fucked. Pirates everywhere, lights flickering, shit torn off the walls, etc. You get a message on the radio from the Constellation guy who says “hey i’m here to rescue you, the pirates intercepted the transmission to me and hit the base first i’m so sorry” and you have to do a little mini dungeon crawl to get to him. Boom, nice conflict to start it out and kick your ass into gear.

Instead it’s doing this Harry Potter pastiche of You Have Been Marked For Greater Things and everyone is so bland and normal and lifeless. I remember none of the dialogue options I picked or what people said to me. It seems to be a game specifically made to cause players dissociative amnesia.

So yeah. I really hated it. Even more than Fallout 4, which at least had some forward impulse and oddity to it, bad as it was.

I did like one thing though and it’s how your character yanks the ship control console forward when sitting down. Good small touch.


bethesda finally fell into the call of prypiat “everyone is more or less neutral to you unles you do something about it” trap that makes your game boring as fuck


Almost every feature I heard about this game during its development is about making you spend a enormous amount of time on extremely boring shit to get to a few interesting tidbits. Hey, Bethesda, you know you can ship just the interesting parts, right?

More than one person I know had been like “this game is bad, but I just can’t help myself”

This is depressing!! I’m actually wondering if this guy is okay!!

Someone was saying oh yeah, the game doesn’t get any good until the 30 hour mark. The devs say to rush the main story so you can get to NG+, which is where the real game is. What if uh… you just made the good version of the game the one you start playing immediately? Wild concept


I was told that I should prioritize the MSQ for Starfield, which it did, and have been left with a profound feeling of emptiness after rolling the credits. I’ll have to go back and do faction quests at some point, since I’m sure they’re decent authored content, but the desire to do so has weakened.

I can understand the comparisons people have made to early 20th century scifi stories, but the story itself changes when its a decade of work done by hundreds of people vs 40 pages for a magazine that was written when the author was nursing a hangover. Starfield’s theme feels like a cry for help from the developers.


brutal. I’ve been lugging iron, nickel, and tungsten around trying to build bases lmao. I really have made this game worse for myself by trying to explore


this is like noclipping the birth of christ


speaking of heavy metal, has anyone modded in thomas the tank engine yet