So we've finally got to see Starfield. We have summarised all the gameplay and tell you what you have to look forward to.
So, it was finally time to see Starfield gameplay for the first time. While the adventure won't arrive in November as initially planned, prominent Bethesda employees have said on several occasions that the title is in its final stages and that there is not too much work left to do.
Given that Microsoft said everything they showed during the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase would launch within twelve months, that should mean Starfield will also arrive before June 12, 2023, and thus is at most six months late. Therefore, one can also assume that what we saw is still pretty representative of the finished product, as director Todd Howard took the stage to show off what Bethesda has been working on all these years.
In previews, the game has been called a Han Solo simulator, Elder Scrolls in space, and even NASA punk, among other things. And it didn't take much time before I realised that all of this seems to fit in pretty well. We're simply talking about a science fiction role-playing game that looks a little more scientific than we might be used to. The spaceships aren't necessarily cool, but believable, the weapons feel plausible, and it includes planets that could conceivably exist. A little less Star Wars and a little more Star Trek, if you will.
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That's not to say that Bethesda has aimed for strict realism. If you want to create a rock star space man, you obviously have all the options to do so, and we got a taste of the possibilities provided to make a unique character. That includes choosing things like backgrounds, for example. Perhaps you've been a chef before with the ability to cook special dishes, which presumably has its advantages, and chefs are obviously particularly good at handling knives. This is while a combat medic can instead shoot, heal people and carry heavy loads - and a diplomat can persuade people as well as bargain over prices. Then there are also more imaginative professions like Cyber Runner or Cyberneticist.
The customisation tools have always been great in Bethesda titles and Starfield looks to be no exception, and now you can even mix in your personality, which also affects your character. Maybe you're an introvert and get better stamina when you're alone, own a house that's mortgaged with a bank, have parents you can visit (but also have to help financially), grew up on the streets and therefore get secret dialogue options sometimes, or are religious and therefore get discounts from the church shop. You get to choose three traits from a long list that make your character have the background and personality you want, as well as advantages and disadvantages.
The levelling system is also different from what Bethesda has done in the past, where you can now level up the traits you unlock as well as craft items by collecting resources during your travels and adventures. Crafting includes not only weapons and armour, but also accessories for them.
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The most spectacular part, however, is that you get to build your own spaceships here. Depending on what you think you need and like in terms of appearance, you can thus create the ship with the functions, features and design you want at a fairly fine level. And you'll need to, because you'll be spending a lot of time in your ship. On the one hand, there are regular space battles, and on the other, there are over 100 solar systems to visit with an almost unimaginable 1000+ worlds to visit. These can have huge cities like Akila, Neon and especially New Atlantis, while others seem to be pure wastelands. However, we assume that no planet is there for no reason and that it's probably worth checking them out - although it can't reasonably be very well laid out by hand on every surface given that it would simply be impossible. So a lot is likely to be surfaces that exist primarily to fight enemies or acquire resources rather than actually being anything that moves the story forward.
New Atlantis in particular was given a little briefing and we also checked out some of the people we'll meet there, who communicate via a dialogue set-up reminiscent of The Elder Scrolls. What is clear, however, is that the graphics are hugely more elaborate in Starfield than in anything the studio has done before, and the faces now look surprisingly lifelike, which makes them seem more empathetic. Another thing that brings to mind The Elder Scrolls, is that there is of course a game mechanic for picking locks, for such things are done even in the year 2330 in space, apparently.
Although Starfield is a strictly single-player game of the kind we're used to from the studio, there is the option to bring along companions, both human ones and machines. Exactly what features these will have remains to be seen, although the Fallout 4 companions probably give a good indication. We'll also get to create settlements and fill them with people, to have communities that offer what every space adventurer could possibly need.
When Starfield is released and it's time to start combing space for alien artefacts, that remains to be seen. What is clear is that the first gameplay demonstration left quite a good aftertaste. How vivid the game worlds are given how incredibly vast Bethesda's new universe is remains to be seen, but what is clear is that I would appreciate if 2023 could hurry up.