Starfield Review: The Not So Final Frontier (PC)

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I feel that Starfield snuck up on me. While it’s not I didn’t notice the multimillion-dollar marketing campaign or the years-long hype that existed around Bethesda’s “brand new universe, 25 years in the making,” it was more that it was sandwiched between other big releases. With Baldurs Gate 3 in August, Alan Wake 2 and Spider-Man 2 both releasing in October, Starfield felt like it was just going to be another Bethesda game that was going to pass me by.


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Well, it almost did because of Bethesda’s refusal to send review copies to multiple websites, which has left reviewers like me playing catch-up. But now after a week or so since its general release, does the game that promised a whole universe for its players to explore actually deliver? Well, the answer is complicated.


He Thinks He’d Blow Our Minds – Does Starfield Live Up to the Hype?

Was Starfield worth the hype?

After playing for about 30 hours, I feel that Starfield is a solid game, but it could have been something greater. It’s impossible not to draw comparisons between Starfield and No Man’s Sky due to both titles’ emphasis on planet and space exploration, but Starfield has the classic Bethesda RPG elements that both hinder and help the comparisons between the two games.


With constant loading screens and cutscenes being used when you are landing to explore a planet, dock in a space station or do anything that requires you to move from one part of the map to the other, Starfield falls short. While seamless planet landings were not something ever promised by Bethesda, I feel that the overreliance on cutscenes and loading screens made my whole interplanetary experience feel really disjointed.

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While some of Starfield’s content had to be cut due to issues during COVID, I think that the game lacks the charm that made Skyrim or Fallout 3 iconic and instead at points feels dull and bloated. While there is an entire universe to explore, on some planets there isn’t all that much to look at.


Now I will accept that I played the game as a smuggler, (going for the space scoundrel background), doing my best Han Solo/ Captain Reynolds impression, so maybe if I played as a space geologist or was more into the mining/ resource gathering aspect of the game, these empty but beautiful landscapes would be more appealing.

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Some of the randomly generated structures I found were also disappointing with every abandoned mining station or communication relay feeling like a copy/paste of one another. While it’s cool to go exploring a cave on the far side of an alien planet, it does lose its charm after the 10th one you go into has nothing but a single ammo box with 5 bullets to loot.


Getting around the surface of planets can also be a pain with a heavy emphasis sometimes on fast travel rather than exploration. The lack of a mini-map or in-depth city maps only adds to the issues around exploration, as the absence of them can be frustrating when trying to find your way around.

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The crafting and base-building aspects of Starfield are in-depth and detailed, but I haven’t spent enough time using them to give them a fair shake in this review. Those I know who have used the mechanics have stated that they’re more in-depth than that of Fallout 4, and way less annoying to set up.


Overall, while some of these game design choices at times feel limiting, there is a whole wild universe to explore. The planets with actual cities and landmarks, instead of randomly generated structures, provide interesting lore and characters that immerse you in the experience.

Hazy Cosmic Trace – Starfield’s Main Story Isn’t Actually That Important.


In terms of the story, I haven’t even finished the main questline yet. I keep getting distracted by the incredible number of side quests and activities that become available immediately after the tutorial. While the story starts with you off in a mine touching a mysterious artefact that gives you visions of the whole universe, (and other supernatural abilities later on), after getting a ship and stopping by New Atlantis, Starfield gives you in whole universe to explore.


I think that it’s this freedom of choice that allows Starfield to excel and shine. As I mentioned earlier, I played through the game as a space scoundrel, except rather than smuggling contraband off-world to sell for a pretty penny, I smuggled medical supplies to assist a doctor who was helping addicts. Instead of committing acts of piracy, I was helping independent settlers deal with their space pirate problem.

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It’s the chance encounters with NPCs and uncovering the stories with characters who I would never have met if I hadn’t jumped to a random star system on the way to another mission that make Starfield great. Some NPCs even pop up later down the line like a UC  marine whom I helped clear a research facility with bumping into me 10 hours later in orbit of a random planet. Like all Bethesda games, it’s the faces you meet along the way of your epic quest that stick with you.


The companion characters in Starfield are also extremely memorable, with the members of the exploration society Constellation there to keep you company on your journey through the stars. For me, most of my playthrough has been with either the wise-cracking robot Vasco or the ever-charming Barret as mainstays on my ship.

While being very useful as overflow inventory space, these characters also have unique personalities and interesting backstories that, (if you travel with them long enough,) will slowly be revealed. Starfield’s charming characters and infinite story possibilities are what pull the game across the line and provide a fun and immersive gameplay experience.

Planet Earth is Blue and There’s Nothing I Can Do. –  Are Starfield’s issues holding it back from being a great Game?



Arguably the most frustrating aspect of Starfield is the increasing number of bugs I encountered throughout my playthrough. Initially, my game started without a hitch. It ran perfectly on high settings and stepping onto the surface of a planet for the first time was smooth with no frame drops or freezes to be seen. Soon enough however, I started to encounter a plethora of bugs that while not game-breaking, did hamper my overall experience.

While Bethesda games like Skyrim and Fallout do have a certain charming jankiness that makes glitches more fun than annoying, Starfield had several bugs that just made me take a few minutes away from my PC. One of the big ones for me was an issue with my sound cutting in and out during dialogue with NPCs. This has since resolved itself, (don’t ask me how, I think a space wizard did it,) but plagued me for several hours during my playthrough causing many restarts and reloads.

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While Bethesda’s new facial models are much more detailed than before, many interactions with NPC’s left me reeling in fear and laughter. This was due to their eyes that stare a hole in your soul and when they would glitch into facing away from you, giving important story exposition to a brick wall. The character models may be better, but buggy dialogue remains.

I think that the overall unpolished nature of the game combined with the lack of features in some departments means that Starfield feels like a half-baked pipedream cooked up directly in Todd Howard’s brain and served to players at times.

I honestly think that Starfield could have been a GOTY contender if it didn’t suffer from so many little problems that grow into a galaxy’s worth of bugs. The story aspects I enjoyed about Starfield sucked me into the expansive universe of the game, but the lacklustre space travel and bugs I experienced spat me out into the cold reaches of space.



Starfield Review Score

Starfield was reviewed on PC.

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Massimo Castelli

Written by Massimo Castelli

Articles Published: 69

Massimo Castelli is a part of FandomWire’s Video Game Reviewers and News Writers team. With a degree in Journalism and English from the University of Strathclyde and a passion for all things gaming and comic book-related, there is no one more qualified to ramble about video game lore and comic-book trivia than him.