Finally, after various occasions in which the game had shown itself with a lot of modesty (or, in practice, it hadn’t really done it), the highly anticipated Starfield has decided to indulge in the languid looks of fans on the occasion of theXbox & Bethesda Showcase 2022the protagonist of a substantial presentation that highlighted many aspects, but not all, and perhaps not all those that the players would have wanted.
From here to the publication of the game, scheduled for the first months of 2023, we will certainly have other opportunities available to see it in action, to get a much more detailed idea of what Bethesda’s sci-fi adventure will be. For now we cannot say that we are rather satisfied with what has been shown, but nevertheless we cannot detect how in certain aspects the level of production has not totally convinced us.
And it is on these that we want to focus, not for the sake of criticism as an end in itself, but because if Starfield, as it seems, wants to present itself as one of the most ambitious productions ever, it is necessary that it settles the small (and not so small) issues that at least for now seem to interest him.
During the presentation, the player-controlled character engages a group of space pirates with firearms and the resulting shootings are unconvincing. At all. The bodies of the enemies are sponges that absorb most of the bullets without any reaction, only some of the shots produce the impact that one would expect, according to a physics therefore yet to be completely reviewed. This is probably the most obvious problem, among those arising from the gameplay video, so obvious that you are almost sure about the fact that it will be fixed with care. Or at least that’s what we hope for.
Could he ever miss the classic minigame in which through pleasant gestures to perform the first few times, terrible in the long run, hack briefcases and crates, in order to obtain credits, weapons, upgrades and so on? In our opinion, yes. Hacking, like its cousin, burglary, in fantasy / medieval contexts, has definitely made his time. But no, we still find this mechanic so negligible but at the same time so annoying. And take the geometric shape, and slide it, and put it on, and do it again, for who knows how many times. But, given that Starfield will still be an RPG, would it be so terrible to put everything down to statistics and luck (perhaps with the support of some tools)? The answer is up to you.
Faces and facial animations
We already know that our avatar will be customizable in every possible way, so we can give it the face we prefer by working on multiple aspects, perhaps even more than what would actually be needed, but who are we to judge those who spend centuries alone in the editor of the characters. His face and those of the non-player characters will be animated by a completely new technology, certainly powerful, but still to be calibrated. The faces of the characters seem to move in an unnatural way as they speak, with some points decidedly too mobile and others that seem anchored, for an almost plasticky effect. A detail perhaps, but on which we can still work.
The depth of the RPG experience
Those who expected a certain focus on role-playing mechanics from the presentation of Starfield, given that we are talking about an RPG, were probably unsatisfied. Rightly. True, we were able to take a first look at the various specializations and the skill tree, but it is not only on this that an RPG experience can rest. We also know that we will have a great deal of freedom in moving, but we do not know, for example, in how many ways certain situations will be resolved; moreover, we would have been curious to understand, for example, how much our decisions will change the world around us, if they will also affect the various factions that still seem to make up a considerable part of the game’s imagery. Perhaps the next presentations will focus on these aspects, but there is also the possibility, given their role in other Bethesda productions, that these may not be so central. It would be fine all the same, mind you, but in that case the game’s ambitions would have to be partially reconsidered.
More than 1000 planets
Obviously generated in a procedural way (that is, for those who do not know, based on algorithms and a random component). Will they be enough? Obvious that! Did we really feel the need? Of course not! Once again, the offering to the god of “bigger is better, huge even more” has been paid, despite the fact that by now it is criticism that players have now lined up against the pachydermy of modern open worlds, very often filled with nothing or filled in a very artificial (and contrived) way. Regarding this particular aspect, Bethesda’s claims that in Starfield the hand-created settings will be as abundant as ever in the past are very mitigating: however, it remains to be seen how they will be distributed and in what way.