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Starfield - in space no one can hear you yawn

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Starfield, one of the most anticipated games of the year, had an early access premiere yesterday and so far the impressions are not that great. Again. Not again, in the sense Starfield impressions, but this is again a big game set in space, which fails to deliver.

Starfield - in space no one can hear you yawn

While Starfield was another game, in which you were supposed to have a lot of freedom and a huge universe to explore (supposedly 1000 planets), Bethesda... actually delivered what they promised. Mostly. There are many planets in the game, you can land in different locations, there are generated surroundings of your spaceship (to some extent), although the space travel was replaced by quick travel, the landing was replaced by simple animation, and you cannot actually land anywhere you want.

Are those important details? Yes and no. For some people, it might be disappointing that the complete freedom is not that complete, that the space travel does not exist, etc. You can also visit cities, which are big and in some cases rather empty, you can stumble upon some generic characters, some generic locations in the middle of nowhere. It is, what we have seen already in Fallout games or Skyrim. With a tiny difference - both series had an involving story behind your quest, which is not really there in Starfield.

It can be summed up in just a few words - vast and more or less empty. Which were exactly the words that were used when the first premiere of No Man’s Sky happened. It was also supposed to be a game with unlimited freedom to do what you want... but then again, there was very little that you would actually enjoy doing. You could gather info, you could gather resources, you could improve your starship, you can stumble upon some danger. And the same set of pieces is in Starfield, with a better graphics.

This also reminded me of Elite Dangerous, which had a similar set of options (especially after some upgrades) - you have a vast universe to discover, but there is very little substance to find there. About 95% of the gameplay was just the grind to gather points, so you could improve your ship, the 5% was the exciting bit, like stumbling upon aliens, finding some interesting object on a planet, etc. And it looks like Starfield is heading in a similar direction.

Which also reminded me about Subnautica, a generally acclaimed game, which also was almost completely about gathering resources and looking for pieces of equipment that you need to progress. Which also reminded me about The Outer Worlds, which has some interesting bits, but overall failed to make a huge impact on the genre. That also reminded me of Star Citizen, which supposedly offers a lot of freedom, but then again, it most likely will never be completed and will offer mostly the sandbox experience. And that leads me to a depressing conclusion - I cannot think of a great, open world game set in space. You know, one that would involve interesting space flight, some good FPS elements, some story that would push you forward.

So maybe, just maybe, it is impossible to make an open world game in space that would be interesting and entertaining to most of the gamers? Usually, a small niche of users is completely happy with the title, while the rest grumble about shortcomings of the game. Perhaps the vacuum, which we call the space, is just not a great setting for great games? The general consensus is that Starfield is fine, it is typical Bethesda experience, nothing more, nothing less. Maybe we should just take on board the thought that games set is space could be as boring as the outer space itself.


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