Starfield gameplay impressions

Todd Howard has been called upon finally by Bethesda Game Studios to once again do what he does best. To raise an unreasonable amount of hype around a game they are making. Bundled with his impressive promises came some Starfield Gameplay snippets to back his claims.

Around 15 minutes of Starfield gameplay have been shown off, and I wanted to quickly go over them and record my thoughts.

The Video Version Of This Article

Unimpressive Start Backed By Impressive Promises

The gameplay trailer starts with the person in control stepping foot on a clearly alien planet. And I want to quickly bring up something Todd says near the end of the presentation. There are supposedly 1000 planets to visit and explore in the game.

And I can already guess that 980 of them will look just like this place from the trailer. Just endless grey and nothing to do. There are exactly 0 places of interest anywhere on the horizon. Save for that one place we came here to actually explore.

Starfield alien planetscape
Image Credit: Bethesda Game Studios

The person playing the game then gets into the base of space pirates that essentially take place of Skyrim’s bandits and Fallout’s raider. They are the common fodder enemy that will scale up to our level and change up gear in the process.

The Core Starfield Gameplay Kerfuffle

Then the player gets spotted and a lengthy firefight across the whole station starts. The combat looks extremely unimpressive for a 2022 game. All shots look and sound like very dry and uninspired farts. Further emphasized by the lack of gore and generally lack of proper enemy reaction to being hit. It reaches comical levels later on when a guy literally explodes only for his ragdoll to be intact flying away at the speed of sound.

This is extremely confusing considering that Bethesda had this figured out in 2008 with Fallout 3. The gore and enemy behavior seems miles worse than anything we seen in previous 10 years of Bethesda games.

And I know that some of you think this will look different in the final game. But let’s be honest. It’s 2022, and we ought to know this industry by now. If anything this gameplay slice makes the game look better than how the final game will look. Because that’s what this is, marketing for the game (Any why would they want to make their product look bad in an advertisement?). Which is not a flattering image.

This is doubly and triply confusing because like I said, Fallout 3 had better gore/enemy reactions. But even more so because Bethesda or rather ZeniMax owns ID Software that made DOOM (2016) and DOOM: Eternal. One of the most satisfying and well-received FPS games of the last decade.

Dioramas? Or Populated Cities? Only Time Will Tell

Then they show off the “capital” city of the Starfield game. No complaints from me. It looks very impressive and densely populated. Only time will tell if this is a Fallout 4 situation where Diamond City also looked good but was absolutely lacking in meaningful content. Or more on the Skyrim side of things where in general the big cities felt populated in both characters and meaningful quests and such.

And then the trailer shows off all the factions you can join. Which is again either gonna be Fallout 4 where literally every faction felt lacking in some regard. Or Skyrim where… well. The two Skyrim factions you had to pick between also felt lacking.

The only good Bethesda game with meaningful faction choices was Fallout: New Vegas. And that game was neither written, nor directed by the Bethesda Game Studio. So, yeah. Let’s hope they improve massively in that department for Starfield.

The Impressive Character Creation Choices

Then onto the character creation, we go. It looks very good. You can customize the body types and walk styles of your astronaut. It very much reminded me of the Saint’s Row franchise character creation tools. This is a VERY flattering comparison, considering that few games have the crazy customization options of those games.

Then we have the skills and perks and other Roleplay aspects of the character creations. And again, there is a lot here to be excited about in my honest opinion. You can select a variety of “premade” perk packages that nudge you to roleplay with a certain background. But you can very well pick out your favorite perks yourself.

Starfield character creation
Image Credit: Bethesda Game Studios

The two or three really exceptional perks in this category are: Gastronomy, which allows you to cook different food items; Diplomacy which makes NPCs stop fighting you; and hacking advanced locks. The last one is not super exciting, it’s the standard you need such and such lockpick or hacking to open this type of container, but it still shakes up your playthrough a little.

Gastronomy is nice, it’s some optional content, and it allows you to roleplay as a chef. Very nice. And Diplomacy is just the perk from Skyrim and Fallout where people or things below your level won’t fight you. I hope there is a follow-up perk where people and monsters fight for you.

Traits further these roleplaying opportunities and elevate them to a completely new level. Things like “Kid Stuff” trait. “Your parents are alive and well, you can visit them in their home, but 10% of your money goes directly to them” states its description. This is awesome. You potentially get a base of operations and NPCs you can interact with but only if you pick this trait. Missing out on something another character could experience is essential for a true RPG experience.

Starfield Gameplay – Building In Non-Survival Games, A Gimmick?

And then we get to base building and shipbuilding. Imma be real with you. I think this won’t matter gameplay-wise in the full release, and it’s all just a neat gimmick.

Just like base building in Fallout 4 was almost completely optional, and just in general pointless. Because it was the alternative to gathering resources that you could easily do yourself, by killing bandits, exploring and having fun.

I imagine this is the exact same thing. Because Starfield is not a survival exploration game like No Man’s Sky. In which one needs to make bases to cater to your character’s needs like oxygen or fuel for their ship. But this is not a survival game, therefore all of this risks having no gameplay bearing at all.

It’s still cool, you can build little bases on alien worlds. But it’s not a very exciting prospect really. It’s something charming to break up the gameplay. I imagine most players will build one base and never use the system again, like in Fallout 4.

Starfield Ship Gameplay Comes Crashing Down

“But then, what about shipbuilding?” you say. It directly feeds into space gameplay. And I dunno about that. If there is any fast travel system in Starfield, then I imagine most players, will be skipping every single flying section they can.

I mean, it’s just flying through the cold vacuum of space. With how bad the A.I seems to be, I fully expect the dog fights in space to be underwhelming. Rendering this whole thing an elaborate gimmick tacked onto the main gameplay that happens on the surface of the planets. Not a huge, essential part of the game.

But I could be wrong about all of this. There could be no fast travel, and the spaceships could potentially be extremely important to gameplay. Thus making shipbuilding an important aspect. But think for a second. A Bethesda game, with no fast travel from the map screen? Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Also, there it seems you cannot land the ship yourself or fly near the planet’s surface. Every time they have done this in the gameplay demo it transitioned to a cutscene. So I have to assume that you can only land in a few pre-selected spots on every planet. Which takes a lot of fun out of flying.

The Thousand Planet Meme

And then the thousand planets come back around. And yeah, it seems like most of them will be barren except for one building you can enter.

Starfield Gameplay supposedly encompases 1000 planets to explore
Image Credit: Bethesda Game Studios

Look at this screenshot. Who will run all the way over the horizon to check if there is something else on the planet when he gets the game? I mean, they look cool. Pretty crystal caverns, and sweet-looking deserts decorated with plants. But it’s… just a desert. With nothing to do within your render distance.

And that’s all folks. It looks okay, it just looks completely generic. Something like Outer Worlds, something that will come and go. But of course, this is all speculative and based on the previous history of Bethesda Games products. The game could be the second coming of Christ of videogames that everyone seems to be expecting after the trailers dropped. But I will remain reserved until the launch date.

And that’s all for our Starfield gameplay impressions! Check out more Videogame news and impressions by visiting the News section of Immersed Gamer!

6 thoughts on “Starfield Gameplay Is Looking Very “Generic” So Far – Starfield Gameplay Trailer Impressions”
    1. The game looks No Man’s Sky with a good bit better graphics but generally less meaning in its systems . No manual landing on planets was a bad choice imo.
      Overall it looks to be a lesser albeit prettier version of No Mans Sky .

  1. The first time I watched the trailer I made it to the point where they started a shootout with the space pirates and lost all interest. The gameplay in those scenes looked extremely generic and uninspired. I’ve done that “shoot out” gameplay loop countless times across various games going back well over a decade now. If this is what we can expect from AAA RPG games through this current generation, I will be passing on this release, at least initially. There are far too many games, many of which are more expansive and actually have user choices and systems with meaningful impact to play.

  2. The author of this article should be ashamed for writing such a poorly constructed article taking so many hits at a game that we only saw gameplay footage of for a short time.

    1) New Vegas was not the only Bethesda game with choices that made an impact. Skyrim had many choices with lasting impacts and so did many other elder scrolls games, hello? Shivering isles anyone? Fallout 3, fallout 4.

    2) do you honestly think peeps won’t want to explore planets for points of interest?

    3) of course there is base building. That’s becoming one of the most requested features in newer games.

    4) we saw less than five minutes of solid combat and you’re already an expert on it.

    With all of this said you’re basically just making assumptions that go against the general grain and picking and pulling things to fill your article with. Find something real to write about and save your review for when the game comes out. This is a horribly worded, extremely cringe article and thanks to you I now know I have 0 interest in any content from this web site in the future.

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