Into The Starfield
Starfield was a much-anticipated game since Bethesda announced the original concept way back in 2018, and more recently when Xbox teased more in-game content during its June Showcase 2023. It bolsters a huge set of in-game features from customizable weaponry to hundreds of explorable plants. My personal favourite must be customising my own ships to whichever aesthetic I like, but we’ll get into all of that shortly.
I was almost lost in the character creation for this game. There was so much to look at and consider for our characters. From extremely detailed facial features to height, build and desired traits. Even more detailed than that is the background type you as a player have. Would you like to be a specimen of unknown origin with “Alien DNA”? Or would you like soldier build with the “Soldier” background? You would even prefer the curious approach to each planet with the “Explorer” background. Whichever you pick, you will need the perfect traits to pair with it.
You can choose up to three traits, which will each provide a potential relationship benefit when talking to NPC’s or extra reputation within a particular faction.
The main story in Starfield is presented to the player instantly after doing the introductory quest. It consists of tracking down, studying and collecting mysterious metal fragments known as artifacts. These peculiar artifacts present their own challenges, to you, others and the planets they’re found on. But don’t worry, you won’t have to tackle this quest alone, you’ll meet a dedicated group of people who are focused on finding out more about these mysterious artifacts as you are, and finding out why you have such a strong connection to them.
As you travel the universe, you’ll also meet a range of characters, some who are willing to join you on your journey across the stars. They’ll hail from a variety of backgrounds, Freestar Settlers and United Colonies Settlers, to Scientists and natives from un-claimed planets, where the rules of contraband and bounty don’t apply as they would on a controlled planet.
Some of the most rewarding people you’ll meet and potentially join are a part of any of five factions. These faction quests come from Constellation, the Freestar Rangers, The UC Vanguard, the Crimson Fleet and Ryujin Industries. Each faction provides its own story and questline that makes you really understand and relate to each of the characters.
Let’s break this down into individual Starfield factions and what each one provides for you as the player and perhaps the universe as time goes on. Although it may seem like the factions are all sperate in their own missions, some characters and their relationships are connected.
Constellation is the faction you are basically forced into meeting after your first quest, they are the collectors of the artifacts and the team most dedicated to the study and preservation of this massive universal secret that makes these metal shards affect planets and communities. They are headed up by Sarah Morgan, and financially supported by Walter. The constellation quests are the “Main Story” of this space adventure, yet you do not have to do these missions right away and can instead explore and do your own thing with whomever you like.
The Freestar Rangers is a faction of peacekeepers primarily based in Akila City. They are mostly seen wearing the classic Texas Ranger cowboy hat, star shaped badges and pistol. They have a wide range of quests, and these quests mean you will be aiding settlers, freeing hostages, and wiping out pirates across planets and in space.
The UC Vanguard is perhaps the largest of the five factions, they single handedly control the human military forces in the universe. They are based in New Atlantis in MAST and are quickly joinable if you follow the Constellation's main questline. They pay very well and offer what I believe is the most interesting of the Factions' questlines outside of our main missions.
The Crimson Fleet are for sure the most destructive faction among the five and are instantly the enemy of both the UC Vanguard and the Freestar Rangers. They only have one mission in mind, credits. They want to make as much money as possible as quickly as possible and they do not care who it is being stolen from. Run by Delgado, a no-nonsense, tough leader who does not mind throwing away any newcomers that compromise the structure of what the Pirates have built.
Finally, we have Ryujin Industries. The most elusive of all the factions, joinable simply by applying at one of the Ryujin Industry terminals, you’ll be thrown into a quest you wouldn't have expected. You’ll become an operative and work in the shadows to tackle and take down competitors in the industry. Slowly raising your position and reputation in the company.
Each one of the five factions will present you with choices that may define you as a character and define how your game eventually ends. Each choice you make with a faction may affect your current companion, which may make them like you or resent you based on which path you choose to follow. Some of your followers may have connections to different factions already; Sam Coe used to be a Ranger, Vladimir was a Pirate before constellation. Each faction pays differently and reaps different rewards so, whether you choose to join all or none, think about what kind of player you want to be.
Whether you are going to buy, steal or build your own ship there is always a sense of satisfaction when you jump behind the controls are Grav jump halfway across the Universe. Some ships you’ll gain as progression rewards as you fight your way through the missions but as I mentioned before, some ships you can... Requisition from people visiting the same planet as you, or even in the depths of space if you cross paths with someone that may have a better taste in space travel than you do.
A personal favourite ship of mine was received after completing the Freestar Rangers Questline. The Star Eagle is a well-equipped ship, able to carry more than enough crew to keep you and your ship safe, there is also a sizeable cargo hold for all the loot you may need. To haul across to your home storage or simply enough to carry all the credits you will ever want to swipe.
Stats for the ships are well laid out, and each one is as important as the last. For example, you can’t have more crew on board than the number of seats available for them, and you can’t jump straight across the galaxy right away, you’d need to have an upgraded GravDrive. Mostly you’ll need a strong (And slightly expensive) reactor to power everything on your ship, otherwise you’ll be left with an unusable ship mindlessly sitting in a launch bay.
The combat in Starfield is unlike anything I had previously expected. The recoil on the guns and the way it differs per planted due to gravitational pull is an incredible feature, and the sword fighting was more agile than I thought it would have been.
It’s not just the style in which we use our weapons in this, but it is also the wide range of weapons we have available, from common to legendary, with over 50 weapon modifications to add to your arsenal and 11 grenade types, there is always a way to build your personal armory exactly how you would like it.
One of the great features here too is that you can assign up to 12 favorites for items to use on the battlefield. Weapons, grenades, medical supplies, land mines, all a great start to add to your favourite lists, and if you run out? Do not worry, when you pick up more later in the game, they will automatically go where they belong.
Lastly, in our combat section there is aerial combat in Starfield. With laser, ballistics, Missiles and Electro-Magnetic (EM) weapons, you will have plenty in your hands to disable and destroy any enemy ships that come your way. With upgradable Systems and the ability to maneuver your ship on multiple axis’ the combat front can be intense and satisfying. Now you know what to expect... Put on your spacesuit, fire up your engines and travel...