Starfield review: It has not been a long time since mankind’s space adventure began. When we look at the path taken in this short time, we can say that space has always been full of unknowns for us. We are talking about an endless sea where we have as much knowledge as a grain of dust that our horizon has not yet taken. Considering the history of humanity, it is possible to say that there have been much greater developments in the last 60 – 70 years.
We can say that travelling to the Moon, satellites sent to space, and now the talk of colonisation on Mars is carrying our imagination much further for the coming decades and centuries. Although we will not be able to see those days, it is possible to encounter productions that go much further than our imagination thanks to cinema, books and games. Starfield game, which is our review guest today, is one of the newest examples of this lane.
Starfield Review / PC
Starfield is the first new universe created by Bethesda game studio, which has created many games, especially Elder Scrolls and Fallout series, after 25 years. We can say that this series, which we think will probably turn into a series, has a very important place in terms of the game world. When Bethesda is behind the work, we can say that the expectations for the game have increased. So what does Starfield promise to the players? Is it the production we’ve been waiting for? Here in the review period, I will mention the features of the game as well as the concept of this expectation from time to time. Let’s start if you’re ready.
Starfield covers a shadow extending 50 light years outward from our solar system. In this region called Inhabited Systems, there are dozens of systems, including the Solar System and Alpha Centauri, one of the closest systems to it. Bethesda has written a history of almost 300 years for the game, starting from 2050, when it predicts that travelling to Mars will take place.
In 2100, the establishment of human colonies on Mars, 2156, Alpha Centauri in 2156, and other important milestones such as the establishment of human colonies on Mars, followed by the beginning of the game in 2330. You can learn more about the history of the game from the video here.
Of course, there are many events that need to be considered in this long process and whose effects we often see in the game. At the beginning of these, we can show the establishment of the United Colonies, the establishment of the Freestar Collective, the Narion War and the Colonial Wars between these two great powers as the biggest examples of this. We continue to see the separation of these two powers and the effects of the war at many points of the game. Of course, apart from these, we often see the effects of the Freestar Rangers, the Vanguard group and the Crimson Fleet, which consists entirely of pirates.
As I said before, the game takes us to the year 2330. We start the game as a mine worker. As soon as we open our eyes, our team leader stands in front of us and starts to give us instructions about both the direction of the game and our first mission. At first, I thought the character would say “Hey you, you’re finally awake”, but he started to give information about our first mission.
After finding a mysterious metal (Artifact) in the mine, we also enter the main story. Because in a short time, we join the Concellation group, which collects these items called Artifacts and is established to research and explore the unknowns of space, and we set sail for our main adventure.
Character creation and other details
After our first mission, we encounter the character creation screen in the game. Bethesda has come up with a detailed list of options in this section. You can choose one of the ready-made character options or you can create a fully customisable character.
It is possible to adjust everything from walking style, weight, skin colour, facial features, hair, eyes, tattoos, accessories, chin and nose protrusion. In other words, I can say that it is quite possible to see famous cinemas from both the game world and other productions in Starfield in the coming days. If the necessary effort is given, it is possible to create a character as desired.
After correcting our shape and appearance, we need to choose two more important levels before we proceed to the game. The first one is the back story of our character. Here, the production team offered us 21 different options. There are many options such as diplomat, explorer, soldier, ronin. Of course, the choice you make directly affects both the details about your character’s past and some of your features.
For example, if you choose the Bounty Hunter backstory, your piloting skills or Boost Pack skills are more effective. If you choose Diplomat, as you can guess, you can take the people you talk to under the flesh more quickly or gain extra advantages in purchasing transactions. When you choose Soldier, of course, your chances of being more durable and more effective with weapons increase. The choice you make here is very important, especially in the first stage of the game.
After this selection, we come across the Traits section, which has a much greater impact on character traits. There are 17 different traits here and you choose three of them before starting the game. Each trait has both pros and cons. This makes the selection much more important as well as difficult. For example, there is an Alien DNA option at first. When you get this feature, you start the game with a higher life and oxygen rate. But at the same time, you benefit less from medicine and food than normal.
Or when you choose Introvent, you consume less oxygen while wandering alone, but if there is someone with you, you consume more oxygen than normal. For example, I used this option when I first played. Since there is someone with you almost every moment in the game, it suddenly turned into a disadvantageous choice for me. You can say to your crew “don’t come, I’ll wander around alone”, but as you know, hand is better than hand, and I can say that it is useful to keep your target with you for more romantic intimacies.
As I said, the choices here affect the character’s situation and the game is enriched with small nuances. For example, there is a choice called Wanted again. When you choose this, when your health starts to decrease, that is, when you run towards death, you do much more damage to the opponent.
For example, you go on a mission, pirate ships appear in the atmosphere as soon as you leave the planet, and you enter into a large and small struggle for the reward on your head. These kinds of differences have managed to add colour to the game both with these choices and with their small touches.
Exploration, settlements and travelling in space
Starfield is a big sea. There are dozens of galaxies, planets and their moons as well as space structures you can visit. Of course, the occupancy rate of the planets after such a large choice is the biggest question mark in our minds.
There is a significant diversity in this. In other words, there are planets with very large settlements such as New Atlantis and Akila city, as well as dozens of planets that are completely barren and contain small discovery points. You can even go to a completely water-covered planet with a settlement resembling a large oil refinery. Especially large settlements have a layered structure. In other words, they are not just a small city centre. You wander around these regions, go to different areas and sometimes get lost in them.
Especially in large areas you can repair, customise or buy a brand new ship. Apart from that, there are shops where you can buy clothes, weapon shops, hospitals or even coffee shops where you can wet your palate.
In addition to these, I think it would be a bit fanciful to expect the same fullness from all planets. In other words, you can also discover many planets with completely arid climates and covered with craters. Some of these planets have small caves as well as large mines.
Naturally, the number of planets you wander around empty is quite high. Here, the production team has introduced a habitat side system. First of all, you can collect valuable materials that you can craft or trade with your mining weapon on all planets. In addition, the scanning feature has been added to the game to increase the sense of discovery. So when you see a living creature, a plant, a tree, you can examine it. In this way, you can learn more about that planet or if it has solid underground resources, you can build an Outpost and make a small settlement for yourself.
Yes, as we can see in the trailers, just like in Fallout 4, an outpost-like system has been created. The Outpost system allows you to build various things at any point on the planet. Apart from things like a drilling device where you can extract underground riches, a warehouse where you can store them, you can even build yourself a bed where you can sleep or a kitchen where you can craft and cook some of the items you collect. You even have the chance to customise the weapons you have by setting up a weapon bench. I don’t like this kind of base-building, but the fact that it is included in the game is an important plus for players who like to build such small bases.
Anyway, let’s get back to exploration. As in many of Bethesda’s games, there is a layered structure due to the graphics engine. In other words, when you land on a planet, you cannot walk across this planet. After a long running marathon, the game welcomes you with an invisible wall. When you encounter this wall, you need to either go back or get on your ship. This does not mean that you cannot go to the other part of the planet. In other words, you can return to the ship and land at a completely different point on the planet. But for technical reasons, the map system does not allow you to run across the planet, no matter how arid it is.
Likewise, when you encounter a cave, a short loading screen passes and then you enter the area you have discovered. Game lovers who are familiar with Bethesda games will understand more clearly what I mean by this layered, pocketed structure.
At this point, I can say that I encountered both a negative aspect of the game and an aspect that I don’t care much about. First of all, the area where you can run, where you will come to the edge is quite big friends. In other words, you have to run for 20 minutes straight from the area where you land with the ship. I did this once because I was curious, so I did it a little bit to mention it in the review. But then I never encountered such a problem. Because the planet is actually not built on a certain map. so let me land on the map border, there is no structure like I hit the invisible wall directly. This loading area of the game is centred on the part where you land and you have to sprint for 20 minutes to encounter this wall.
As I said, it is possible to land in any part of the planets you want. At this point, I think the biggest shortcoming of the game is that it deprives you of a vehicle. In other words, you often feel the lack of a Mako-like vehicle in the Mass Effect series, which has a much more limited, small map structure. Especially on planets where you go for exploration, not for missions, this desire increases even more.
The feeling of finding something different in an empty land is very important and great due to both the atmosphere and the structure of the game itself. However, especially on a planet you visit randomly, that is, on a planet where you stop by just to say “let me see if there is something here”, the lack of a small surface vehicle in 2330 to make this discovery brings with it the feeling of “what am I doing?” in areas where you run for minutes. I mean, I would say that I would be willing even if it was a small bicycle, but your only means of transport is a bicycle, friends.
Fortunately, we are allowed to land on any part of the planets. Certain important points are automatically marked, but it is also possible to select a random point of the planet in the map structure and land there. Of course, you cannot do this by diving into the atmosphere as in No Man’s Sky or similar games. After making a choice, your ship automatically lands in the area you have marked. Frankly, I’m in favour of this kind of freedom in such games. Although it would be a waste of time for the players to get up and down after a while, I would like it to remain as a choice of the players. But obviously, due to technical reasons, the production team only offered this kind of freedom.
I would like to talk a little bit more about space navigation. There are some very good points here, but at the same time, the most criticising and upsetting details of the game lie here. First of all, around each planet, watching that planet gives a great feeling. You can make jumps between galaxies depending on the characteristics of your ship. Most of these galaxies are of course inaccessible in the first stage of the game. When you hover over them, their level status is also written.
There are also some limitations in the space travelling system. First of all, you hang around the planet you are approaching rather than moving around it. This was one of the points that upset me the most. So let’s say you approach a planet X. Let your distance to the planet be 10,000 km. You’re pushing the throttle, turning on the turbos, but you’re only 2-3 km away from the planet.
In the same way, you have the planet behind you and you want to go to a planet in the same system or a satellite of that planet. Again, you step on the throttle, the dust grains flying around make you feel that you have travelled a long way. But when you turn round, you haven’t actually travelled any further. This is what I mean by hanging, in a way, it’s as if gravity neither brings you closer nor allows you to move away. Even in the same system, satellite or interplanetary travelling is not possible. Just like an intergalactic jump, you can approach the other planet with a cutscene.
Fortunately, some planets have satellites or large and small meteorites around them. At these points, it is possible to get the feeling of travelling in space. Especially in a region with meteorites, it is more enjoyable to collide with different ships.
Ship and space battles
Yes, there are space battles in the game. Don’t expect great depth here. We can call it a simplified style of arcade plane battles. We lock on to the enemy, manoeuvre and try to take them down with our different weapons. If there is a crowd around, both the cockpit camera and the external camera selection allow you to see the battles from different angles and control your ship. The levels of the enemies you will encounter here are also very important. In other words, if your level is 8 and there are 3 – 4 ships of similar levels in front of you, it means that a very difficult struggle awaits you.
As I mentioned before, you can customise your ship or buy yourself brand new much bigger ships. In ship customisation, it is possible to change both the weapon selection and the regions of the ship. Since it will be your home and your crew will be in it, I can say that giving the ship the necessary care is very important in terms of the later stages of the game and the pirate ships you will encounter.
There are six different bars on your ship, three of which are weapons. The left three sides of these bars represent your weapon power, while the right three sides are engine power, ship shielding and gravity bar respectively. Below these is your main bar, which actually shows which one you will focus on.
For this main bar, it would not be wrong to call it the heart of your ship. Let’s say you have a ship with 14 levels. You distribute these levels to the bars I have listed above. So let’s say you have a five-level ship shield and a five-level weapon. Here you can instantly distribute these 14 points to weapons and defence.
This is why it is much more important to change ship parts. So let’s say you encountered a crowded enemy fleet. You can instantly increase the defence and reduce the engine power and focus on weapons instead. or let’s say you’re going to hit and run and there are a lot of meteors around. By lowering the defence and focusing on weapons and speed, you can move between the meteors and try to hunt the enemies. Ship battles are simple but can be much more enjoyable at times.
Gameplay dynamics and skill tree
Starfield is a production that you can play from three different camera angles. You are allowed to switch between the shoulder camera, TPS angle and FPS camera at any time. I usually play with the TPS camera angle in open areas, especially if I’m exploring, while the FPS camera is much more enjoyable in skirmishes and closed areas. Being able to change this choice at any time is one of the nice advantages of the game.
The battle system of the game actually has a familiar tone. Although it is mostly inspired by the existing structure, you encounter many different weapons. In addition to melee weapons such as knives and axes, a wide range of weapons such as pistols, SMGs, machine guns, shotguns or laser guns are offered. It is also possible to loot the environment or take weapons, ammunition and even clothes from enemies. There are plenty of options from clothing, helmets and astronaut suits.
Since it is based on reality, don’t expect too much fantasy from the combat part of the game. That doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. It is quite enjoyable to take cover, walk around or finish the enemy secretly. Some of the factors that I don’t want to spoil here are also available as you progress through the game. This situation manages to add a little pleasure to the battle part.
Of course, the backbone of this system is the skill system in the game. Since there is no level limitation, you feel that the character gets stronger and stronger as you progress. Of course, this does not happen very fast. Starfield is not an RPG game that relies entirely on conflicts. There may even be moments when you don’t draw a gun for hours, you should not forget this. We can say that it depends a little bit on preference.
You can buy the game on Steam.
There are a total of 82 different skills in five different skill trees in the game. Moreover, each of these abilities is divided into different levels within itself. The skill system is divided into five tiers as Physical, Social, Combat, Science and Technology. In the physical part, there are factors such as health bar, weight you can carry, oxygen status, stealth, while in the technical part, you can improve your pilot skills, boost pack improvements, or skills such as Lockpick, which will open safes and doors.
As I said, each skill in the game is divided into different levels. Moreover, it is not enough to spend skill points to unlock it. After unlocking the skill, you need to fulfil certain conditions to master it. For example, let’s say you unlocked the first tier of your ability to increase the oxygen bar in the Physical ability tree by spending ability points. Let this unlocked ability also gives you 10% more oxygen. To activate this, for example, you encounter a condition such as “completely deplete the oxygen bar 10 times”. At the next level, this happens 50 times, and at the next level 100 times. In a way, we can say that it’s like the system in Skyrim where your skills improve as you take action.
In the game, of course, there are also familiar dynamics such as the classic conversation system. You have to engage in many conversations, big and small. Convincing the characters that you have already encountered some of them will divert the course of the mission in different directions. Here you realise how much difference your character’s abilities can make on the conversation side. Likewise, the number of issues you will solve with both sweet language and weapons is also high.
There are a lot of missions that we can do in the game besides our main mission. There are a lot of side missions such as headhunting, helping the characters you encounter in different subjects, cleaning a system from pirates, etc. spread across those galaxies. Moreover, you can get these missions from some mission kiosks or join troops such as Vanguard, Freestar Rengars.
Starfield is not a technically perfect game, but it is an impressive one. It relies on its atmosphere and often makes you feel how confident it is in this. Settlement areas, planets or a small cave you enter… All of them allow you to breathe a different atmosphere. I can say that the view you encounter when you turn your head to the sky while wandering around an arid planet enchants you. A shining planet on the horizon or planetary rings almost at your feet give you that vast space feeling.
I’ve touched on the technical aspects of Starfield from time to time. The layered map structure, the limitations are a bit annoying technically. you feel like there are details that you can’t reach, as if you could reach out and grab them. In technical terms, that is, in terms of bugs, I can say that it is one of the smoothest Bethesda games I have encountered. Of course, there are errors such as minor stuttering, shaking of characters, or feet and limbs entering the object, but considering the release period, I can say that I was quite surprised that I encountered very few errors in such a huge game.
As I said in terms of atmosphere, there are fascinating details. But when you turn your head down, you can also encounter details that are in the same class. The level of detail of distant objects, trees, or when you go to a snowy planet, it can be a little upsetting to encounter a papery surface.
First of all, I played the PC version of the game and I have a not bad configuration. Although the game supports AMD technologies, I tested the game with RTX 3080. As a processor, of course, I played the game with a very powerful i9 13900K and 16 GB DDR5 Ram. I don’t need to give SSD details because now we can say that a M2 SSD with high read speed is a must in such big games.
This detail is very important especially in terms of loading times. Considering the technical limitations of the game, if you don’t have a good storage unit, loading times may bother you. it didn’t bother me much because I witnessed that these limitations passed much faster with fast loading times. I played the game on this system with all settings at ultra level with an average of around 60 FPS. while it usually reaches 70 FPS levels at exploration points, of course, it also dropped to around 45-50 FPS in intense conflicts or crowded areas.
AMD’s FSR technology is available in this game as you know. I can already tell you that you will get much better results on AMD components. Even on my own graphics card, when I turned on this setting, I encountered a performance increase of around 20 FPS. In other words, it is possible to say that you will catch a smooth gameplay with small adjustments.
I would like to mention the character expressions in the game, which increases the sense of discovery with its music. We all already know Bethesda’s reputation in this regard. Starfield is a game that will not upset you at least in terms of character expressions. Of course, don’t expect a great detail, but you can encounter much more detailed facial expressions, especially in important characters.
As a result, Starfield is a vast sea, friends. No matter how much detail I write here, I feel that I will be lost in a sea of words that will not end. After almost 40 hours in the game, there are dozens, maybe hundreds of details that I have not yet discovered. I can say that getting lost in this vast sea and enjoying the sky has opened the doors of an adventure where all game lovers will spend long hours. Moreover, reaching this adventure thanks to the GamePass system makes the game much more advantageous.
As a result, Starfield is a game that you will play for long hours, where you will be bothered by restrictions from time to time, but for the most part, you will enjoy it in a great way just like the game itself.
Note: Friends, there are many details in the game, both technical and gameplay, that I will add as I think of them. In other words, although this review is actually completed, it will be in a structure that will continue to be updated for a while and will continue as a kind of “review in progress”. If there is a detail or question you are curious about the game and if you specify, I will try to add all these details in the review.