Starfield, the ambitious new space role-playing game from Microsoft and Bethesda, has received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. The game, which has been in development for seven years, offers over 130 hours of content and a galaxy-sized sandbox to explore. Starfield is available to advance purchasers on Friday and everyone else starting September 6. It is also included in Xbox Game Pass, making it an incredible value for subscribers.
Starfield scores high on Metacritic
One of the most reliable indicators of a game’s quality is its Metacritic score, which aggregates the ratings of various critics and publications. Starfield has scored an impressive 87 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on over 40 reviews. This puts it among the top-rated games of the year, and the highest-rated game from Bethesda since The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in 2011.
Critics have praised Starfield’s rich and immersive world, its improved combat and gameplay mechanics, its diverse and memorable characters, and its stunning visuals and sound design. Some of the positive reviews are:
- “Starfield is a landmark release that totally absorbs the player.” – Game Rant
- “Starfield’s incredibly rich world is filled with some of Bethesda’s best environmental work.” – Windows Central
- “Starfield is a masterpiece of sci-fi storytelling and world-building.” – Washington Post
Of course, not every review has been glowing. Some critics have pointed out some flaws and drawbacks of the game, such as its slow-paced main story, its buggy and outdated animations, its lack of innovation and originality, and its exclusivity to Xbox and PC platforms. Some of the mixed or negative reviews are:
- “Starfield is a competent but conventional space RPG that fails to live up to its hype.” – GameSpot
- “Starfield is a gorgeous but shallow experience that lacks depth and diversity.” – PCMag
- “Starfield is a disappointing retread of Bethesda’s familiar formula in a new setting.” – Digital Trends
Starfield offers endless possibilities for exploration
One of the main selling points of Starfield is its vast and varied open world, which spans over 1,000 stars and planets. Players can customize their own character and spaceship, and choose their own path and playstyle. They can join one of the four major factions in the game, each with their own history, culture, and agenda. They can also engage in various activities, such as mining, trading, crafting, hacking, piloting, fighting, and more.
Starfield also features a dynamic weather system, a day-night cycle, a realistic physics engine, and a procedural generation system that ensures no two planets are alike. The game also boasts a high level of detail and realism in its environments, from the bustling cities to the barren wastelands.
Starfield also offers a lot of replay value, as players can experience different outcomes and consequences based on their choices and actions. The game also has a New Game Plus mode7, which allows players to start over with their current character and equipment, but with increased difficulty and new challenges.
Starfield is a milestone for Microsoft and Bethesda
Starfield is not only a major achievement for Bethesda Game Studios, but also for Microsoft Corporation, which acquired Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax Media in 2020 for $7.5 billion. The acquisition was seen as a strategic move by Microsoft to bolster its Xbox brand and its subscription service Xbox Game Pass.
Starfield is the first game from Bethesda to be released under Microsoft’s ownership, and also the first game to be exclusive to Xbox and PC platforms. This means that PlayStation users will not be able to play the game, unless they switch to Microsoft’s ecosystem or use cloud gaming services like xCloud.
Starfield is also expected to boost the sales and popularity of Xbox Series X|S consoles, which have been lagging behind PlayStation 5 in terms of market share. Starfield is one of the most anticipated games for the next-generation consoles, and could be a system seller for many gamers.
Microsoft has also announced that it is planning to acquire Activision Blizzard Inc., another major game publisher, for $69 billion. This deal, if approved by regulators, would further strengthen Microsoft’s position in the gaming industry, and give it access to more popular franchises like Call of Duty, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Candy Crush Saga, etc.