The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

Staff Spotlight
John Picchi
John Picchi
Staff Reporter

John Picchi is a sophomore at Sage Creek High School. He enjoys photography and wants to learn more. He also enjoys playing baseball and hanging out with friends.

“Starfield” Carries The Scope of A Universe With A Bethesda Touch

A starship taking the jump between “Starfield’s” 120 systems. Players are given the choice of when and to what extent they explore each individual galaxy.
Photo By Holden Kopman
A starship taking the jump between “Starfield’s” 120 systems. Players are given the choice of when and to what extent they explore each individual galaxy.

In past years Bethesda Softworks has produced ambitious open-world titles such as the medieval masterpiece “The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim” and the picturesque post-nuclear world of “Fallout 4,”  but never has the studio taken on something as limitless as “Starfield.” First announced at E3 in 2018 and said to be on a grander scale than any of Bethesda’s past titles, “Starfield” left a range of gamers eagerly awaiting its release with high expectations.

To create its vast plane of playability, developers used AI to generate the base design of “Starfield’s” 1,000 diverse planets. Though some remain barren, a multitude of these planets will possess their own society – run by factions that can be joined – along with unique quest lines such as the rich storyline of UC Sysdef vs Crimson fleet. The most notable of destinations is the early-unlocked, robust city of New Atlantis on Jemison which likely holds all that is needed to begin space exploration.

The view, from a third-person perspective, of the massive New Atlantis on Jemison (Alpha Centauri system). Within this society lies five unique districts (starport, commercial, MAST, residential, The Well) that each contain a specific purpose to suit the characters needs. (Holden Kopman)

“We like to put you in a world where we’re not dragging you by the nose and saying you must do x, y, and z, and that it’s okay if you want to test the [game’s boundaries],”  Tod Howard, the CEO of Bethesda, said in an interview on FizX  “You know, can I read this book? Can I pick this up? Can I do this? What if I do this? And the game is saying ‘yes’ a lot.” 

Customization is a defining aspect of “Starfield” and can even determine the outcome of various faction-based events. As the game’s prologue concludes, players are not only given the opportunity to create their dream space explorer but can also select unique traits that alter how the game feels and plays out. Later on in the story, players are given the option of a fully customizable ship, which allows for an even further contrast in player individuality.

“Starfield’s” combat is a prime example of varied playstyles and can often be avoided with the use of persuasion tactics. The game currently has the option of 45 different guns – which can each be reconstructed through weapons modifications – along with multiple melee weapons at the player’s disposal. Combat encounters are taken to the next level when paired with the game’s upgradable jetpack, numerous health boosts and (later unlocked) powers. 

When traversing through its boundless solar systems, engaging in high-intensity firefights and speaking with Non-Player Characters (NPCs), “Starfield” provides the game-altering option of playing first or third person. This choice allows for players to be positioned at a comfortable perspective that aligns with their playstyle. 

The three stages of flying in, landing and exploring a desolate Earth. The once ecologically diverse planet now lays an uninhabitable wasteland. (Holden Kopman)

Tom Bowen with Gamerant, a hub for all news game-related, notes that there may come advantages with both methods of play.

“Most players will probably prefer playing ‘Starfield’ from a first-person perspective due to how much more immersive this can make the game feel,” Bowen wrote. “However, there are some advantages to using a third-person perspective, most notably, being able to easily tell if the playable character is wearing a helmet.”

“Starfield’s” story follows a rookie asteroid miner who encounters a supernatural event when interacting with an unknown material. This eventually leads the character to the organization known as Constellation, which seeks to combine fragments of this material to decipher its meaning. The player’s quest to collect these fragments, though repetitive at times, also assists them with finding their purpose within this colossal universe and unlocking one of the many unique endings that can be achieved.  

Even while influenced by games like “No Man’s Sky”, “Starfield” brings a list of never-before-seen concepts to the table. A potential anchor of each section of the game is the oxygen/carbon dioxide regulator that can vary based on the space voyager’s conditioning. If the player’s inventory capacity is at a high level or is overflowing, oxygen will deplete at a quicker rate and vice versa, which can eventually lead to various health conditions. 

The character and ship customization menus that both possess a boatload of personalization options. Unlike the character’s, ship customization is a recurring privilege throughout the game and can be obtained by visiting one of “Starfield’s” many ship technicians. (Holden Kopman)

The “Starfield” fanbase has grown divided since its release – some claiming the game to be in an “unplayable state,” while others cannot get enough of it. Both perspectives on the game’s condition could be equally justified considering the extensive duration for which this game has been developed.

“It’s a little bit overwhelming, but, as they are randomly generated, one planet can feel more lived in over another,” junior Giovanni Fraga states. “The core gameplay loop is very similar to ‘Fallout 4,’ to which I heavily enjoy, and while the ship building is very intuitive, [the game] definitely drags at times.”

Yes, it is an open WORLD title, not a not an open UNIVERSE – consisting of limited space explorability. Yes, it does not boast the most jaw dropping graphics on the market. Yes, it may seem as though there is a loading screen waiting between each area of the game. And yes, it may not be as timeless a piece as some of the studio’s past titles.

But Bethesda has ultimately done so many things right with this “‘Skyrim’” in space” that it can, at times, outweigh its negative qualities.  

“Starfield” has shed a new light on what future video games have in store for the world and, as exclaimed by Howard himself, is even considered “the best feeling [Bethesda] game” yet. 

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