Starfield Gameplay Deep-Dive Raises Hype to Planetary Levels
Image Source: Bethesda

Starfield Gameplay Deep-Dive Will Rocket All Hype Into Orbit

IF you thought Starfield looked incredible before, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Every Bethesda RPG has been massive, but they all take place within a single world. Starfield is breaking that entirely. This ambitious space game will let players visit “over a thousand worlds.” Between red planets, stormy planets, and snowy planets, each world offers something unique with flora and fauna. If you land on a planet with a moon in the distance, you can visit that moon if you choose. Everything you see is somewhere you can explore (probably not including the sun, though).

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Each system’s star also plays a huge part in how they are experienced. Bethesda’s next-generation lighting model uses “real-time global illumination to light the world based on the type of star and the make up of the planet’s atmosphere.” Not every star is the same, so lighting from planet to planet will certainly vary.

When it comes to choosing planets, players have access to a star map. This will let you get a preview of planets in a given system. While the whole galaxy has been simulated, not every planet is worthwhile for the game’s various factions. However, this doesn’t mean the planet won’t be rich in resources for players to collect. You don’t need to worry about getting too far from your ship, as you can always fast travel back to it.

While zipping to another system that might be light years away might be only a few button presses away, it’s not guaranteed. The trips use your ship’s “Grav Drive,” but at first, your ship might not be capable of lengthier trips. For this reason, players will need to focus on upgrading their ships to see more of the galaxy.

The story takes you to the Alpha Centauri system and the planet Jemison. This planet houses New Atlantis, the largest city that Bethesda has ever made. The journey through New Atlantis brings you in contact with Constellation. They are a somewhat under-the-radar group still interested in deep space exploration, even though it seems to have slowed. The player has discovered a special artifact, presumably around the start of the game, and Constellation is interested in it to unlock further galactic secrets.

Players don’t have to immediately join the Constellation, either. Player choice is still a focus, as with most Bethesda games, so that you can craft your own story. The showcase also reveals that not all human factions are friendly. However, players can still work their way into these factions to explore the stories they have to share.

A massive amount of focus has been given to character creation as well. You are given a choice between 40 preset face models, and then you can dial in on facial features, scars, and blemishes. So much freedom is given to creating a character that you could easily recreate any of the NPCs found in the galaxy.

Unsurprisingly, Bethesda refers to this as their most in-depth character creator, but it’s not all about looks. Players are also given an option of character backgrounds to help take an extra step into crafting a character’s personality. These backgrounds can mean your character was once a chef, combat medic, diplomat, professor, or gangster.

The backstories also offer three basic skills as a starting point. For instance, the chef backstory includes a skill that helps you create food from unknown ingredients, makes you better with melee weapons, and improves your scavenging abilities. Characters might also clue into your backstory and bring it up when conversing with you.

Going one step further, players can have up to three complete optional traits when finalizing their build/character. These aspects of your character can change you physically or add story wrinkles. For instance, the Kid Stuff trait gives your character parents that you send 2% of your credits every week, but it also means you can visit them. The Hero Worshipped trait gives you a mega fan similar to the annoying kid from Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion who loved you for winning the arena quest line.

With your character’s backstory and traits chosen, you will get into the meat of making them unique with leveling up. Each level earns one skill point that you are able to spend across the game’s five skill trees (Physical, Social, Combat, Science, and Tech). Each specific skill in a tree has four ranks to build out. The Tech Tree specializes in things like the ship’s maximum haul load or digital lock picking. At the fourth rank, locks are a breeze, and you get five auto attempts each time. Combat skills can give you Intimidation abilities.

There’s only one other thing in the game that matters as much as your player: your ship. There won’t be one ship for each player, either. Once purchased (if you wish), it can easily be customized at a space port to make it your own. Every spaceport has a special ship technician that can help you make the ship of your dreams. You can add parts to your ship, like additional cargo holds or crew quarters, to increase how many people you can take with you.

The developers use the word “roster,” so you definitely aren’t locked to a single ship. The developers elaborated on this by saying you can commandeer ships, presumably from enemies, once you have wiped them all out. From this simple chunk of gameplay, it seems that there will be an unfathomably number of ways to experience the world of Starfield.

All this and more will be waiting for you in Starfield when it releases for Xbox Series X|S and PC on Sept. 6. It will be available on day one for Game Pass for subscribers.


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Cameron Waldrop
Cameron is a freelance writer for Twinfinite and regularly covers battle royales like Fortnite and Apex Legends. He started writing for Twinfinite in late 2019 and has been lucky enough to review many really great games. While he loves a good shooter, his heart will always belong to JRPGs.