Starfield Xbox Series X Review

Starfield is like Skyrim and Fallout 4 fused in space. Expect nothing amazing, but give it a shot if you like Bethesda role-playing games and are looking for something with a sci-fi twist.

By Rayan, Posted 10 Sep 2023

Bethesda's games have always been about creating a personal, immersive experience. The Elder Scrolls: Arena and its successor, Daggerfall, were both ground-breaking titles developed by Bethesda Game Studios. Furthermore, the concept worked for Fallout 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Fallout 4.

This concept of freedom succeeded by allowing us to explore a procedurally generated vast universe and overcome difficulties using our imagination and wits. And now comes Starfield, Bethesda's first new original IP in 25 years, which took over eight years and over $200 million to develop. And when you start playing, you'll immediately notice how much time and care Bethesda invested into making this game.

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Starfield is a good game that rivals or perhaps surpasses Bethesda's best works. The mechanics remain the same, but the game is bigger in scope. The game's setting is largely different than Fallout 4 or Skyrim, and it's finally a fact that New Atlantis is the largest city ever designed by Bethesda, and there are more than a thousand planets and moons to explore in this massive open-world RPG.

Since Bethesda prioritized making Fallout 4 seem a bit more like an adventure than an RPG, they toned down the RPG features and decision-making to focus on that. Even Skyrim, without leveling stats, limits how much of a custom role-playing character you can make. Statistics and characteristics do not return in Starfield. Instead, an intriguing throwback to the genre's RPG roots has been included. But the more you progress your gameplay in Starfield, it starts to feel like Skyrim and Fallout 4 but fused in space.

The events of Starfield take place in the colonial outposts of the Settled Systems in the year 2330, long after humanity's first forays into space. Many planets were colonized, and the colonies eventually expanded throughout the cosmos. The Colony War between 2308 and 2311 ended with the Treaty of Narion between the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective. You begin your career in the mining industry with Argos Extractors and soon become a member of Constellation, a group devoted to discovering more about the cosmos.

There were many different kinds of cities, farms, criminal organizations, pirates, merchants, and settlers to meet and talk to throughout the colonies. You are never certain who you might encounter out here in the wide open. The primary plot is strikingly similar to that of Fallout 4. The game provides you with objectives to work for, but they aren't really noteworthy. The story's setup may be a little foggy at first, but once you've completed a few objectives, you'll know exactly what you're up against and how to proceed.

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Unfortunately, the main storyline isn't as fun as the side quests because so much of it consists of repetitive tasks. I won't go so far as to call it bad, but the main quests in the game felt more like work than the optional ones. The primary quest line suffers from an abundance of tedious conversations, which is one of the many issues for me. The overwhelming amount of dialogue became tedious quickly, especially when every line of it feels like forced exposition between characters you've just met. It's frustrating because I'd be more willing to listen if I thought the conversation would be engaging or at least move along more quickly.

The game's side quests are among its greatest strengths. Like any good role-playing game, Starfield's random side quests can provide some of the game's most enjoyable and memorable moments. These are often surprisingly diverse and well-crafted, and they may even grant you powerful new abilities that change the course of your adventure. It's great fun to complete the site quests; there are hundreds of them, and each one is a unique and exciting adventure. Ultimately, you can either become a sheriff in the Wild West who mediates disputes involving computer systems or a pirate.

It's easy to see the influence of other Bethesda games, particularly Fallout 4, in Starfield's gameplay. Even when interacting with NPCs, the game takes a similar approach. And it's largely the same gunplay and combat as before but with less of an emotional impact. The combat is an improvement over typical Bethesda fare, but it's still very dated. Regrettably, most of the game's redeeming qualities are unattainable until you have endured a laborious skill system and a number of dull and uninteresting gameplay.

Even though enemy AI is fairly simplistic, I've witnessed several instances where the enemies surprised me with their attacks. They know where you're aiming and will use cover and grenades to avoid your fire. Some will try to rush you with melee weapons. The variety of enemies is satisfactory. Size variation exists not only among humans but also among animals. Carrying various weapons, each with its unique stats and degree of personalization. The boss is the hardest to defeat because he or she has the best equipment.

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However, combat is not the game's main focus, quite simply because there is too much else to do. Starfield's main draws are its vast space and insanely high number and variety of planets. If you've played any games by Bethesda, you know that you spend most of your time doing just that: walking and talking. In Starfield, you'll find the same truth as you travel to hundreds of hand-crafted locales and interact with a wide variety of friendly, not-so-friendly, shady, and hilarious NPCs. Starfield is the first game in the series to include a spaceship that can be piloted, and the ability to navigate the galaxy in your ship is a lot of fun.

The only downside being the loading screens that interrupt your fast travel. Better connectivity between solar systems is needed so that you can easily hop from Earth to Pluto or anywhere else in the solar system in an acceptable length of time. There isn't, however, much point in exploring the thousand planets, as they are all just variations on the same map drawn by artificial intelligence, and the caves and factories all look the same. Nothing has changed, not even the loot. Not having a vehicle upon arriving on a planet is also a major letdown.

Many core features of the game severely undercut the game's promise of depth and exploration. The vastness of space is merely a setting where you will spend most of the game zipping past. Still, there's a lot to discover, and just like in No Man's Sky, you'll find treasure around every corner; however, in contrast to the aliens you encounter in No Man's Sky, the life you encounter here will be heavily fortified, armed, and motivated in its own right to either kill you on sight or offer you a mission. You can skip exploration to some extent, but then you won't see a lot of the game's random events and encounters.

While the exploration portion is okay, the shipbuilding part is a stressful part of the game, and this experience has been a mixed bag for me. There's no doubt that the ship editor is a fantastic addition that allows you to customize your ship in a wide variety of ways, both in terms of its appearance and the capabilities it provides. You can make your own take on a spaceship from a sci-fi show or copy one you saw.

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The spaceship combat, on the other hand, is extremely simplistic to the point of embarrassment. Simply arriving at a mission location will result in an immediate assault by hostile ships. It's not hard to destroy ships; in fact, once you've honed your aiming skills, you can disable ships, board them, kill the crew, and even steal them! While the overall experience is enjoyable, the actual combat can get monotonous.

If you're into scavenging, this is a part of what will make Starfield fun for you. Almost everything can be taken as loot, and most of it is useful. Much of it can even affect the way you play. One of the best parts is the weapons, which includes both traditional firearms like revolvers and shotguns and cutting-edge ones like assault rifles, grenade launchers, and laser guns.

I find great aesthetic appeal in these weapons, which all take somewhat distinct approaches to combat and lend themselves well to extensive customization. All the crazy amounts of loot and items you find on your quests can be put to good use in the game's crafting, cooking, and modding-based construction systems. And when your carrying capacity is reached, your friends can help you out by carrying your loot for you. Your ship, as well as bases, can be used to store loot, making it both convenient and easy to access.

Starfield's visual team has done some serious work on the game, and the results are stunning. This game has been designed with meticulous attention to every last detail. When exploring even the most fundamental halves of star bases, you'll be astounded by the level of clutter and interior detail. There are countless minute details like these that not only bring the setting to life but also serve as an excellent narrative device.

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In addition, the fact that you can grab and use pretty much anything lying around adds much realism and immersion to the experience. The fun, nostalgic look that borders on retro-futuristic is largely due to NASA Aesthetics' classic space suits, giant rocket ship engines, and strange-looking robots. Starfield has carved out its own visual identity within the oversaturated science fiction genre; everything is there, seemingly for good measure.

The number of lengthy loading screens hinders the incredible artwork in Starfield. The lengthy loading process appears to hamper Bethesda's potential for a more fluid and enjoyable experience. Starfield, by contrast, appears to have more loading sequences than any of the recent games I've played or perhaps in many years. There is a loading sequence when you dock at a station and another when approaching a door. It's a shame that we have to load the game every time they want to do something basic, like get on their landed spaceship, because the game otherwise displays such artistic skill and meticulous attention to detail. You must complete a loading sequence before entering your ship's interior.

Starfield provides a wealth of material, but it may not be what you're looking for. The world they constructed and the aesthetic decisions Bethesda took have opened the door for an interesting exploration throughout the game. It's also a lot of fun and very immersive to run missions. And it's during these times that Starfield truly shines.

In a true role-playing game, you're free to tackle missions however you see fit, and the outcomes of those missions may have repercussions for the rest of the game world and your choices later in the playthrough. You'll feel as though you're one with everything. On the other hand, the game's clumsy sections are disappointing, especially given the game's eight years of development time and $200 million budget. I would have expected a lot more polish.


Although it's not as good as Fallout or Skyrim, Starfield is still fundamentally a classic Bethesda role-playing game. The quests change up occasionally and are full of wit and cleverness in spots; unfortunately, this is also the game's only strength, which we foolishly learn about only after putting in a few hours. The closest comparison would be Fallout in outer space. Shares many of Fallout 4's and Skyrim's flaws and triumphs, does some things exceptionally well, and even brings back some of Oblivion's mechanics.

While not flawless, the game has plenty of content to keep you occupied for quite some time. There is clear evidence of learning from previous work on ranged combat, and melee combat feels satisfying in general. But unfortunately, Starfield does not add anything truly remarkable; rather, it merely provides a long list of tired sci-fi clichés.

Azfar Rayan (@AzfarRayan)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information



Platform(s): PC, XBSX
Publisher(s): Bethesda Softworks
Developer(s): Bethesda Game Studios
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Space, Action, Adventure
Release Date: 2023-09-06

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