Eh, Bethesda has always been incompetent at making games. Always full of promise, but so clunky and amateurish all the way back to Arena.


The biggest letdown is the big continuous handcrafted open world is not there. In Skyrim you could walk from one end of the map to the other, encountering various handcrafted things and random events along the way, as well as NPCs on their daily routines. There really is no equivalent in Starfield. Still a great game, just not a sim and without a big seamless open world.

massive_bereavement, avatar

Maybe I didn't pay attention, but I expected The Expanse (the game), where my ragtag of space murder hobos go from colony to colony doing quests a la Mass Effect and having space combat like in the show/books.

In contrast, we have the same "planes but not planes" in space that you need to first lower their shields then destroy the hull like in most space games.


Yep, good points, it just feels… predictable

AllonzeeLV, (edited )

This again is why modern gamers are just fucking impossible to please. Bethesda gives you BOTH options. If you need to get to a planet from one solar system to another, you CAN just press a button and be on that other planet, or in its orbit if you haven’t been on it yet.

But that’s just it, you CAN instead pull up your starmap once that mission is active, see the star you’re at, and all the little dots youll follow to get where you’re going. You can then jump to each dot on the way, look around, scan planets, get hailed by ships, visit places your scans found, etc on your way to your mission. Doing this, you’ll often get sidetracked with another mission, the choice is yours. They dumbed down interstellar travel as hard as they could without it no longer resembling what interstellar travel would be like.

I’m of the opinion thats what Bethesda wants you to do, and the fast travel is just for people who want to level/“beat” the game quickly as its own end instead of taking it all in, possibly and understandably due to player time constraints.

Fast travel is a convenience feature. People would be bitching if it wasn’t in there. Sometimes you just want to zip back to Whiterun Diamond City New Atlantis to sell some crap.

Oneeightnine, avatar

I think (for me atleast) the larger issue is the fact that I have to engage a cut-scene to land on a planet. I don’t have an issue with a loading screen in order to get into the system, or even just outside of the planets atmosphere, but it’s kinda weak that I also have a loading screen when landing.

Harlan_Cloverseed, avatar



Not yet, might not be technically possible. I don’t think the planet surface really exists from orbit view.

melroy avatar

faster SSD

NikkiNikkiNikki, avatar

Better skills

melroy avatar

It's always a skill issue.

natecox, avatar

It’s not really “both” from a space simulator perspective. There’s no option to fly down to a planet and skim the surface, there’s no option to fly from planet to planet without a loading screen (or even just to a moon), etc.

Starfield is a good RPG set in space and I’m enjoying it, but I think it’s fair to criticize that it was marketed like it was going to be a space sim by Bethesda and that’s not really what we got. If you were excited about the simulator part you are going to be disappointed.


I really have no idea where anyone got the idea it was a space sim from. They showed a good bit of gameplay that made it very clear that it was a traditional Bethesda game, with much more modern mechanics, set in space.

all-knight-party, avatar

The issue would be believing anything not explicitly said or shown in a pre release showcase. You don't expect anything not extremely, extremely obvious or you just let yourself down and then blame the studio for underdelivering.

A bunch of that is of course the fault of marketing itself, but this goes for almost anything marketed ever, beyond video games.


Oh hype cycles are wild.

I got a slightly better (though slightly harder to run on steam deck) version of what I expected after watching the direct. It's exactly what I wanted it to be.

It's just silly how people turn unsubstantiated wild speculation into some kind of unmet feature set.

all-knight-party, avatar

I mean, there are parts of the game's major criticisms that are understandable and do impact the game experience in a way. The worst one for me is the lack of a local map. I've gotten lost in cities or complexly laid out buildings a number of times already, which is, suffice to say, not enjoyable and nigh on unforgivably clumsy to experience repeatedly.

I'll forgive, or even enjoy, say, Dark Souls for the same thing because it's not as complicatedly laid out and the world is smaller and much more visually distinct in its areas to make it up on the back end, along with the entire design ethos being very hands off in terms of delivering info to the player, which sets a standard compared to Starfield's polished to a sheen experience, which suddenly becomes less so in other spots, creating a negative contrast.

Others, like the lack of seamless planet to space transitions were never advertised, and though having them certainly increases immersion, visual spectacle, and thus perceived enjoyment and value of a game, is not really important in the grand scheme unless you wrongly expected it. I don't have enough time to worry about a planet transition, I'm thinking about what I'm gonna do there and what I'm gonna do next within the gameplay itself. With this sort of criticism, the game would be undoubtedly better with such a feature if it wouldn't have delayed development too significantly to implement, which no one can really say for sure.

Then there are criticisms like the fact that planets are limited in scale and you can't fly your ship close to the ground on the surface, which is just wildly beyond the scope of what Bethesda would be able to deliver and still say it's the same game. That would've been so complex it would've sacrificed other features undoubtedly, and shows more about a given player's desire for "Starfield 2: We Added all That Space Sim Stuff People Wanted that we couldn't before because we'd end up like Star Citizen" than it really does about Starfield's successes or failures in the features it explicitly attempted to deliver.


Back to the reviewers primary issue that in a traditional Bethesda game you experience the journey of going from one place to another, at least for the first time. Starfield has none of that. You never experience the journey of traveling to a new location, you just teleport. So effectively you are constantly disoriented, with no Tru sense of scale or journey.


It’s not a space sim and was never intended to be one. They made it clear almost a year ago that it didn’t have stuff like surface flying or atmo to space transitions. If you were still thinking it had this stuff at launch your weren’t paying attention.


The trouble is jumping around to dots on the map is still fast travel with extra steps.


A space sim without FTL is just dying in the blackness of space.

I’ll admit it, I’m not that hardcore.

Alto, avatar

And yet there are games with FTL that actually feel good to travel in, e.g. Elite Dangerous

BlinkerFluid, avatar

…is it, tho?


I think the traveling in Elite is great, but the rest of the content is grindy and/or very shallow.

Alto, avatar

IMO it's by far and away the best part of the game. Never gets old

all-knight-party, avatar

The actual act of doing it gets old, but I do like the fact that you can't fast travel out of a situation in ED, it means if you go on a deep space expedition to make discovery money you are gonna be in DEEP SPACE, and you better be fucking prepared with a ship spec'd specifically for it because you do not want to turn around and give up because you couldn't fuel scoop or make a jump.

You definitely get a feeling of being a very small person in the galaxy with lots of things going on far away that you'll never see, and having limited fuel and constant frameshift jumps allows for more mechanics and complexity like fuel scooping or being interdicted.

Starfield lets you go wherever at a moment's notice which makes the galaxy feel very small comparatively and lacks stakes for exploration and jump range (along with the infinite fuel), reducing the need to have specialized ships. It also allows you to miss out on some random events that only happen when a ship in orbit with you hails you on comms. You miss those experiences if you fast travel past them all, which is echoed in other Bethesda titles with their own random encounters during travel that can be missed due to fast travel.

That being said, it's a Bethesda fantasy version of space, you want to do fun space opera things and having hardcore travel might clash with that, I can understand why it wasn't implemented that way. For example, no one mentions this, but I fucking LOVE bethesda's save system of saving the exact state of everything in the universe in that exact moment. Im a filthy save scummer and I love it. I like being able to save scum difficult space battles, and I don't think you can do that in most other hardcore space games, but I'm so grateful that I can here.


Maybe it’s because I’ve only just made it to Mars, but I didn’t know there was any other way to travel except for clicking and fast traveling. Click load click load click load planet. The tutorial tells you to do just that… is there something later on that says differently?


Hard disagree. For no other reason that it’s impossibly difficult to find/sort missions by proximity. You got one blue blip on the map or hud, maybe a white blip if it’s not active, but no options to make it active or to even find the mission in your mission list.

Not to mention, all travel is menu based. In space when you target a planet as your next destination, all it does is bring up the menu to fast travel to a location on that planet instead of… giving you the option to fly there yourself at warp speed.

Sure, you could do it one planet at a time instead of skipping systems… but it’s all the same experience You never truly experience the part of exploration involved in experiencing the space between origin and destination. So it might as well all just be exploration by menu, even if you pretend you aren’t.


I can agree that you absolutely can navigate without fast travel, but the whole design seems to be guiding you towards just fast traveling. From the menus always offering a “show on map” option, which then pulls up the prominent “land” prompt, to the fact that even fast traveling you’re apt to hit 4 loading screens completely killing any sense of continuity, and that only gets worse if you try to actually navigate.

It feels like a big series of set pieces broken up by a ton of liminal either loading screens or menus, depending on your preference of poison. I’ve never felt like I was discovering cool things, just going to the next set piece.

ryven, avatar

I don’t think fast travel is the problem. The problem is that there is an actual “exploration” part of the game, where you wander around planets scanning things and looking for points of interest, but it is by far the most boring part and I have not had much fun when interacting with it. There is nothing exciting to find, and it primarily rewards materials that I mostly haven’t had a lot of use for, because when I need something specific for research or crafting I can buy it at the store, because materials are nearly worthless in terms of credits.

The mini-dungeons and other points of interest you can find need to be way cooler for the wandering-around-on-planets to be worthwhile, and the actual exploration gameplay needs something more than walking across plains and hills in order to be interesting.

The best parts of the game are when you pretend it’s Fallout In Space and hang out in cities doing quests for randoms.

AnUnusualRelic, avatar

Well, exploring is probably quite boring, so I guess they got that right.


It’s common wisdom in gamedev that Given the opportunity, players will optimize the fun out of a game.
Blaming the player is pointless. It’s a gamedev’s job to deliver fun, whether the player wants it or not.


I mostly agree and have been defending it from haters recently myself. But there is one thing in the way of “You can then jump to each dot on the way, look around, scan planets, get hailed by ships, visit places your scans found, etc on your way to your mission… I’m of the opinion thats what Bethesda wants you to do.”

Starfield is a “looter shooter RPG” like other Bethesda games. And like other Bethesda games, your time off-leash is limited by your inventory size, with valuable items dropping that take up to 10% of that or more a piece. Awkwardly, ship storage is just not that incredible, until/unless you either go all-in on outposts or all-in on megaships. Which means you do end up having to stop and go to a city often, probably the one with your next mission goal.

It’s not a huge gripe, but I think Bethesda has always used inventory to drive people back to populated centers to pick up quests.


Basically your choices with travel are “how many load screens do I want to see between here and my destination.” And that’s not really what anyone wants. It is not the same as being able to walk from Solitude to Dawnguard. Not even remotely close. You can’t even walk from settlement to settlement on a planet because they only ever have the one settlement.

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