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Bethesda Game Studios’ hotly anticipated new open-world RPG Starfield is now available. At least, it is for players who purchased the “Premium Edition” of the game.
For those waiting to see what the fuss is about, game news outlets have begun publishing their reviews of the game, and the word is largely positive.
However, some reviewers have also published advice for would-be players and those just starting out: Consider finishing the game’s main quest line before letting loose and going exploring.
Like other titles from Bethesda Game Studios (which produced iconic series like The Elder Scrolls and the last several Fallout games), Starfield prioritizes a player’s freedom to go where they choose and tackle challenges how they wish.
However, in a departure from its other games, the team at Bethesda has seen fit to include a “New Game Plus” mode. For the uninitiated, New Game Plus (or New Game+) is an option that allows players who finish the game to begin again and retain some of the progress they made the previous time.
This usually takes the form of retaining player levels or skills, or perhaps retaining access to resources or other bonuses that make a second playthrough more enjoyable.
According to a writeup on RPG Site by James Galizio, Starfield‘s approach to New Game+ favors a light touch. Players won’t retain their equipment or quest progress upon restarting the game but will retain their level, skills, and some special abilities.
Additionally, Starfield also unlocks entirely new content in its New Game+ mode, content that isn’t accessible on a first run. Players who want to “see it all” are thus advised to prioritize finishing the main campaign over side activities their first time through.
They’ll also be able to skip the main campaign entirely upon entering New Game+, so if they wish, they can focus on exploring or doing side missions, special quests, and other activities at their leisure on their second run.
What Do Other Critics Think of Starfield?
So far the critical consensus on Bethesda’s latest release and its first entirely new setting is positive. As of press time, the game maintains a Metacritic rating of 87 (88 on PC), or “Generally favorable.”
In a 9/10 review by RPG Site, reviewer Alex Donaldson said that Starfield “offers the best-ever version of [Bethesda’s] most potent concoction,” referring to the promise of Bethesda open-world games as offering a sense of “infinite possibilities in a reactive, deeply engaging world.” The review also praised the game’s tendency to “unfurl” narrative threads before the player in a way that feels organic and natural, with “just another day at work” leading to more and more and more adventure.
VG247‘s Josh Broadwell criticized what he saw as a series of muddled, incoherent focuses in Starfield‘s design, pointing out a reluctance to interrogate some of its ideas. He said that even after 90 hours with the game, he had “no idea what [Starfield] wants me to think, do or feel about any of its themes.” Ultimately, he said that Starfield failed to be “greater than the sum of its parts,” with some of its cleverly crafted pieces lost in sprawling scope and a lack of narrative daring. The final score was 4/5.
PC Gamer‘s 75/100 review placed Starfield behind Bethesda’s more recent efforts with Skyrim and Fallout 4, with reviewer Christopher Livingstone saying that the game “falls far short of the greatness of both of those games.” His complaints included the lack of personality for the main companions, disappointing quest conclusions, and an approach to space exploration that “fails to feel like a grand adventure.”
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