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Starfield: So Far, So...Not So Good

Started by Silver Sorrow, Sep 06, 2023, 06:31 PM

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Silver Sorrow

I've had access to the game since the 1st, apparently. But I completely forgot which edition I bought, and Steam didn't even bother to notify me that the game was unlocked. I only figured this out on the 4th, when I was wondering if I could pre-load the thing...imagine my mixed emotions when I discovered that it was, in fact, playable.

Someone said that it's impossible to be surprised and angry at the same time. I disagree.

Anyway, I will preface this until-I-get-sick-of-it thread with the only true positive I've experienced thus far: getting a good-looking character is surprisingly achievable right out of the box...for a Bethesda game. (I don't want to reflect upon what I've had to go through since Morrowind...) I, for one, am looking forward to the inevitable nine million cosmetic mods. Okay, not really. The very thought makes me want to take a long nap...or destroy the human race. Either one.

With that said, let's jump into whatever this thing is. It probably won't be all that positive, especially considering that I hate everything and everyone.

Difficulty: oh, there's a "Very Easy" setting? Interesting.

Lockpicking...oh, sorry. I meant a pain in the ass at first glance. I won't go into the mechanics of it, as I'm sure everyone will figure it out much faster than I did. I stumbled upon how to rotate the pins completely by accident (strafe left and right?!?), so cheers to pressing keys at random. I quicksaved before attempting it and had to reload a few times before I "got" it. They're very unhelpful when it comes to explaining this crap.

I didn't have enough digipicks to tackle every locked container, either.

Combat is simple enough: equip a weapon and hit/shoot something until either of you are dead. No dice rolls, happily.

The inventory system is a cumbersome. Further reflections as experience grows.

The tutorial really wants you to keep moving, so I was a bit frustrated when, after I took out three pirates with a frag grenade and their ship landed to drop off four more, I was nagged relentlessly to try the fast travel feature. Like, now. Right away. Instead, I took the time to kill the bad guys shooting at me. The game didn't like that, but so what.

Vasco, your first (robot) companion, is like all companions in Bethesda games: annoying and in the way at all times. I hate companions.

Piloting the ship is like not knowing how to swim and your dimwit uncle decides to show you how by tossing you into the deep end. Not as dire, maybe, but somewhat similar.

After going through the first planet/tutorial, I was told to make a grav jump to somewhere...I don't remember the name of it. JemAndTheHolograms, or something. So I sat there in the pilot's seat, wondering how exactly to do that. I had no idea whatsoever. So many menus and buttons -- take a look at the key bindings menu; you'll wear out your mouse wheel scrolling through it -- and no help in sight. None whatsoever. I didn't know what to do next.

I resorted to an online search -- I've found that the internet, though populated mostly by mouth-breathing morons, does occasionally provide a marginal amount of aid once in a while -- and found that I needed to allocate power from my other systems to the grav drive.

Okay, great! One question: HOW??

If there was some sort of explanation in-game about how to do that, I must've missed it completely. I finally had enough of being expected to read Todd Howard's mind and quit for the moment. I'll come back to it later when I don't feel like crushing my monitor with my keyboard.

Additional Things:

There are a couple of "jump seats" behind the pilot's chair. Sitting in one, I was told to hit "B" to wait. I didn't want to wait. I wanted to get out of the chair. But hitting the action key didn't work. Once again, by pushing random buttons I was able to achieve the desired goal: standing up. (It was the default "strafe left" key...again.)

I'm seeing a pattern of unhelpfulness here. Remember when games came with these things called "manuals"? Whenever you were baffled by something in the game, you could refer to one. Now I gotta rely on the internet for the basics.

I am definitely not looking forward to being tormented by the crafting and shipbuilding systems.

Summary: so far, the jury is out. The jury isn't exactly impressed with what it's seen, but the jury is also tired. The jury wants to go heat up some pizza and then chase it down with a handful of antacids. The jury doesn't like its nap being interrupted by choking on an acid burp gone rogue.

Screenshots? Oh, why not.

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She's okay, I guess. I think my BG3 character might have had more charisma, but what do I know.
It seems because through time and space
Though names may change each face retains the mask it wore


The thing that bothers me is that nothing I've seen of Starfield stands out as terribly unique.  When you think of something like Star Wars, what comes to mind?  Probably things like lightsabers or the Force, right?  Star Trek has its phasers and transporters, Alien has got the xenomorphs, Mass Effect had the Reapers, and so on and so forth. 

Starfield just doesn't appear to be doing anything to really stand out from the sci-fi crowd.  It honestly feels like Bethesda looked at The Outer Worlds and said, "A generic sci-fi RPG from the developers of a Fallout game?  We can do that, too!"  Compared to their own works, Starfield feels more along the lines of Oblivion than it does the likes of Morrowind
Roads?  Where we're going we don't need roads.

Silver Sorrow

It's funny, but The Outer Worlds came to mind just as I started getting into it.

I'm kind of waiting for the hook, something to draw me in. I'll just drive myself crazy if I expect the equivalent of Jimmy Page to jump out of the bushes with a truly sick riff, so I should probably just relax and see where it takes me...but I kind of miss being the Chosen One from the get-go, really.

What?? No space dragons? This sucks!

Still...I think I see where it's going, now that I've finally gotten to Constellation HQ, but I'm trying to remain optimistic despite this. Dull, drab humans muddling through a dystopian galaxy. I hope for magic!...but I will probably be disappointed.

Would it have been better for Bethesda to forget the new IP and just dive into TES 6?

BTW: for those in the same clueless boat as I was when attempting to get the grav drive going: for mouse/keyboard users, pay attention to the control panel on the lower left. The cursor keys should provide the hint that I missed (L & R cycles through the various systems, U & D increases/decreases the values); I decreased my shields and added the power to the drive. Success. But I maintain that there is very little in the way of explanation when it comes to these things. Perhaps a bit more comprehensive help for those of us screwing around with the game at 4am because we haven't been sleeping well for the past few years? Hmmm?
It seems because through time and space
Though names may change each face retains the mask it wore

Silver Sorrow

I wonder if this will turn into the plot from Unreal 2 (search for artifacts, combine them into something that causes all hell to break loose, etc.). No matter. While I'm still deeply involved with Fallout 4 at the moment -- again, I have no idea WHY -- I still manage to make some time here and there for Todd's Most Recent Thing That Just Works.

This one holds your hand just a little less than Fallout least I'm not being consistently annoyed by all those damned hint popups. Create and power a device! You know you want to! That's why you're in Workshop mode, isn't it? ISN'T IT? Stop cowering behind the cat you little bastard and just set up that settlement recruitment beacon already! You insignificant bug! JUST DO IT, ALREADY!

The things I type when I'm tired.

Anyway, I thought I'd reprint the notes I took this evening. And I quote:

- Walking needs to be FASTER!
[I was following Noel to my quarters at a somewhat leisurely pace...]

- Why can't Bethesda ever do the centered 3rd person camera thing?? Why must it always be offset? Why? Why?

- Aw, man...the mirrors don't mirror!
[Not that I truly care.]

- Free spacesuit!
[The mannequin in Constellation's basement. There's a Master lock on it, but if you're sneaky enough...I'm just glad I could pick it up before they patch it.]

There endeth the notes.

I was dreading the crafting system (I almost always do), but it's oddly comforting, in a way. Had I enough materials, I could craft crap all day. But I don't, so I have to get out there and strip-mine the galaxy.

Anyway, about the holding on loosely, yet they don't quite let go (.38 Special, anyone?): it does actually give the player (me) a small sense of accomplishment to actually figure something out on my own, like the thing with the grav engine. Since I've never accomplished anything of note in my entire miserable existence, this means something. Not much, really; I mean, it's kind of like successfully sorting (segregating?) all of the flavors of a family-sized Skittles bag. It's that level of accomplishment, I suppose.

Not that this has anything to do with it, but have you ever noticed that, apart from lemon and lime, none of the Skittles flavors actually compliment each other? I mean, grape and orange together? Have you ever tried mixing those two flavors together as Kool-Aid? I have, when I was a kid. The results were less than palatable. I was told, on pain of gruesome death, never to do that again. A mother wouldn't really murder her child for wasting a couple of small packets of Kool-Aid, would she? Ha. I wish. My mother killed me so many times that it was either stop being an idiot and start acting like an actual human being or figure out how to commit minor acts of deviltry without being so obvious about them. I chose the latter route, of course. Which makes me wonder: if you're too boring to be evil and yet not willing to massacre multitudes in the name of a deity, what place in the afterlife will you have? A lukewarm Limbo, perhaps? I'm not all that limber, so I'm not sure I can do that. Maybe a relatively sedate conga line, though...
It seems because through time and space
Though names may change each face retains the mask it wore

Silver Sorrow

If Bethesda's trying to outdo CDPR in the sheer amount of lootables just laying around waiting to be picked up, then well done. Between the stuff that actually matters (health, ammo, weapons, etc.) and the crap that doesn't (houseplants, consumables providing a marginal amount of health, sellable junk, random crap, etc., etc.), you'll have your inventory overfilled in no time.

And why am I not surprised that inventory is limited? Every Bethesda game is like this. Limited carry weight, then overload the player with crap. I gotta get myself to a merchant...oh, wait...I'm in deep space. Are there any summonable Daedric butler/vendors to be had? No? Well, fiddlesticks.

I don't usually type this out, but: ugh.

They've also tried to keep the key bindings to a minimalist scheme, and I applaud that, but when you have nineteen million different little functions and start tying them to a small number of keys, well. Let's just say that it can be a little upsetting when you're trying to lock onto a space foe and inadvertently hold the key down for too long, causing you to hop out of your space pilot chair and just stand there while space bad guys shoot your ship. You look like a space asshole. Is that what you want, Bethesda? Are you happy??

Ground combat is...well, it's there. You shoot things. You run out of ammo. You switch weapons. Bad guys take cover. You don't...unless standing behind something counts. Unless I missed some unspoken combat tactic available to the player that every other jackwipe figured out instinctively and I just haven't figured out yet, like the stupid worthless splat of pigeon shit that I am.

Here's a gun. In fact, here's lots of guns. They have all these different mods that affect different things. This one might shoot better in space and worse when not in space. This one's a shotgun. That one's a laser weapon. You are good with laser weapons, right? How about handguns? Shotguns? Melee weapons? No? Then you'll need to get better at them, won't you? How do you do that? I'm glad you asked. You'll need to dump perk points into those skills when you level up. There are a TON of skills, as you can see. You get one point per level up. And each one has several, don't cry, it's not as overwhelming as you think!

Okay, it is. It's overwhelming. And tedious. For example, I may want to improve my persuasion skill, so I need to put a few points into that while ignoring all these other skills that would help me far more, such as ballistic weapons proficiency...but nope! I need to persuade people to see that I'm just an absolute goddamn delight.

Again: ugh. I suppose that this will become second nature the more I play, but right now I'm just tired of it all. Yet another hill to climb, my bleeding fingers scrabbling at the...never mind. I think I'll just go stare at a blank wall for a while.
It seems because through time and space
Though names may change each face retains the mask it wore


Yahtzee really seems to hit the nail on the head with this one: "... but what it never is is a game with any clear identity of its own."

I'm not going to spoil anything, but I've read (elsewhere, not in Yahtzee's review) that what seems like the most interesting thing the game does is in how it handles New Game Plus mode.  Curious to hear your thoughts when/if you reach that point.
Roads?  Where we're going we don't need roads.


Well, I have nothing to say on Starfield myself as I've decided to give it a pass, at least until Microsoft get down from the moon they're on and start to sell the thing with a reasonable price tag attached. $70 for the basic version of a PC game? Yeah, right. We're not even talking of a deluxe edition there. Maybe they don't know about the general hike prices have known in Europe for the past year? For most people here, video games are not a priority any longer, certainly not at such prices.

I've heard a lot about it though. Most of the things I've heard were on the good side. But, remember how people were positively enthused about Dragon Age Inquisition after the catastrophe that was Dragon age 2? I think after Fallout 76 there's a similar syndrome going on there.

Quote from: Doc_BrownThe thing that bothers me is that nothing I've seen of Starfield stands out as terribly unique.

I think you got that right. The Outer Worlds seems to be more "unique" than Starfield (I'm talking about the look and feel there, not the gameplay and/or story as I cannot judge those having played TOW butt not Starfield) and that's saying something as while not being a terrible game, The Outer Worlds is not superbly fantastic either. But it wasn't sold $70 (and that's without counting with the unavoidable Starfield DLCs that will follow down the road; at least two of them, maybe three).

Plus I was already traumatized by Fallout 4 (thank God I never even put my hands on 76) in which I needed to put 250 mods to have it tolerable "enough" to play -- which is twice the number of mods I have in any other Bethesda game.

But as I said, right now the main factor keep me way off is the price. I have other less pricy things to play this month, thank you very much ;D

That said, I'm interested in reading your thoughts about it Silver... The more I read the less I want to buy. Have you tried writing to Bethesda to apply for a PR position? :D

Guess what it means!

Silver Sorrow

Finally able to tear myself away from the gruelling concerns of Real Life. Thirty-two years' worth of my parents' accumulated stuff has been extracted (much like an abscessed tooth) from the garage, loaded into a city truck, and ground into tiny little pieces. Hooray for Fall cleanup. Hooray for family willing to help a moron (me) out. And big ol' sarcastic hooray for the 90+ degree weather on the day it needed to be done. ::)

Upside: five years of agonizing over being able to get my car under cover...done! Anxiety erased!

Downside: that [long series of unnecessarily descriptive expletives deleted] muscle in my back is making itself known again. How I hate it. It all goes back to 1993: planting rose bushes for my mother's insane vision of having a nicely-landscaped yard. The soil is largely obdurate clay, and I broke two shovels and felt something tear in my lower back in the process. The very muscle that bugs me today after a lot of there a connection? Regardless, she had her rose bushes! Yay, mom! I suppose that, in retrospect, when I accidentally ran over a couple of them with the lawn mower a year or so later, it really wasn't an accident at all. Oh, well. Kill 'em all and let a psychiatrist sort it out.

That is to say, I've been distracted for the last couple of weeks trying to get all of that done, so very little of my time has been used to become more familiar with Starfield. Plus, I just don't really WANT to be on a more than nodding acquaintance with it. There's no spark there as of yet.

TLDR; I had stuff to do.


Yahtzee got it right. I'm see how it goes.

QuoteCurious to hear your thoughts when/if you reach that point.

"If" being the key phrase here, yes indeed. I've reached the end of my patience playthrough in FO4, so I might as well wander over and see what's going on in Starfield. I've budgeted a bit of time for being distracted by Phantom Liberty, too.

Ah, the Starfield price tag. I'm used to monetary reaming with very little to show for it by now. I recently paid $800 for a new set of tires (and about $1400 more to fix an annoying tik-tik-tik-tik-tik-tik sound from my right rear wheel) for a car that I rarely use because I never GO anywhere. But at least my garage is clear enough to park it inside so it doesn't end up covered in bird shit!

I'm sorry. I have a lot to unpack lately. I'm not even going to mention my recent loathing of Fed/Ex, who simply cannot seem to deliver a package to the right address, even in this advanced age of GPS.

So anyway.

QuotePlus I was already traumatized by Fallout 4 (thank God I never even put my hands on 76) in which I needed to put 250 mods to have it tolerable "enough" to play -- which is twice the number of mods I have in any other Bethesda game.

I have never known the touch of Fallout 76. I am blessed.

Y'know...I hadn't given it much thought until I was scrolling through my mod list and my mouse wheel suffered a nasty sprain. After culling my mods down to the bare essentials a couple of weeks ago, I still had 229 mods I couldn't live without. By comparison, my Fallout 3 mod list was...maybe a dozen? A mere handful, really. And Fallout NV was the same. A great deal of the FO4 mods I have installed are building mods and minor enhancement stuff; very few armor and weapon mods, oddly enough. (Most of my Skyrim mods were weapons and armor.)

I think that maybe it's because FO4 is a very basic, barebones experience that needs mods just to make it feel like *your* game. Unfortunately, whenever I go hunting for a mod on Nexus, it's to deal with something Bethesda either overlooked or just didn't bother putting in there at all. "Here's a sandbox," they seemed to be saying, "bring your own toys. And your own sand." Irritating.

(Again, by contrast, my experience with FO3 mods was mostly to fix the fact that whoever designed the human models had zero experience with human anatomy.)

Now, I've been keeping an eye on Starfield's mods, but I haven't bothered installing any. I want to play the game first, you know. But most of what I've seen is...well...crap. Most mods in any game are crap anyway, but this just seems like most of 'em are crap for crap's sake. They do it because theycan, not because there's a need for, say, a splash screen replacer featuring Firefly, a show that was cancelled 20 years ago. ::)

While there are a couple that I find interesting enough to track for when I'm ready for mods, most of it's just depressing garbage. I have very little hope for replayability at this point, although to be honest I have very little hope of playability at all.


A PR position at Bethesda? Me? Perish the thought. ;D  They'd probably have me shot on sight.

I actually have found that I'm getting interested in Cyberpunk again. I ran through the intro (Corpo) and little has changed, but T-Bug's tutorial is slightly different now. One think I didn't like at all is that they changed dodging to a two-key system (LCTRL + a directional key) instead of a double-tap of a directional key. I was never fond of melee in the first place, so thanks CDPR for killing whatever I had left.

Otherwise, I was determined to give it a go from the beginning again without mods because, hey, I dabble in masochism once in a while too. Then I got to the facegen screen and was overwhelmed by a sense of...well, call it existential despair.

"I can't do this again," I muttered before shuffling off to take a nap. I sleep more and more these days. I wonder why.

But diving back into mods helped respark that interest quite a bit. I swore I wouldn't, but vows are made to be broken. Or so I've heard. Mostly from divorced people.

Some screenshots. Sadly, I don't have any Starfield screenshots at the moment, but I'll try.

First, FO4. It started out as a nice day...
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Well, shit.

And then Cyberpunk. Mods aplenty.
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As always: accessorize!

Before I crawl back under my rock: one thing I did learn about Starfield is that I truly dislike the whole space combat thing. I'll elaborate later when I've had a moment to examine my feelings on the subject further, perhaps kicking the furniture a few times for good measure.
It seems because through time and space
Though names may change each face retains the mask it wore

Silver Sorrow

I might as well add my misery agony neverending hellscape of torment experience with Starfield here. Yeah.

Well, I'll start at the beginning. What I can remember of it, anyway.

...then again, it wasn't all that memorable. I met a couple of people in a mine, I dug up a metal thing, I got some sort of cosmic vision, I woke up and went through facegen, there was a fight with pirates, met a guy with a spaceship and a robot. The guy gave me the robot and his ship and told me to go somewhere. I went there, met some supercilious assholes, got drafted into an effort to find more cosmic macguffins, and realized that this entire game makes me weary to my existential underpinnings. And I haven't even experienced the ship-building crap yet.

I wasn't happy with my character's face OF COURSE I WASN'T HAPPY WITH MY CHARACTER'S FACE DO YOU EVEN KNOW ME IF YOU HAVEN'T FIGURED THAT OUT YET??? and I found the surgery clinic. For 500 credits [grumble] they let me change a few things. Not everything, of course, but just enough to look a tad bit better. Observe:

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I was working off someone's preset, as I am completely unfamiliar with how the little tweaky refinement bits work, but it came out okay. The only problem is that you cannot change the "biometric ID," which is the base character preset; unless you change that, any sliders that you may be wanting to replicate aren't going to be all that accurate to the desired outcome's needs. So of course you can't change that in the surgery menu.

Ah, Bethesda. Dear, lovely, backwards idiots.

But there's a way around that. You can open the console and use "slm 14" (like you could in FO4 to force the looks menu) to force the game to allow you to change all kinds of things that you should be able to change, but that raises ANOTHER issue: using console commands wrecks achievements.



So the workaround for THAT is to grab one of the achievement enabler mods and install it before you start messing around with the console.

Since the results are mostly what I was aiming for in the first place, I'm happy enough with the face that I don't need to start wading through mods just yet. But I'm glad the options are there for when I'll need them.

Although really...I don't care about achievements. I've always seen them as something to do when you're done with the game and have nothing else to play.

Speaking of useless endeavors, there are "challenges" you can complete to open up...hell, I don't know. New tiers for talents or perk points or something. I wasn't paying attention and I'm still not. Point is, they're these idiotic tasks, such as "loot 20 chests" or "eat 30 boogers" to progress towards some goal. I don't know. I can't say I even care.

One thing to remember here is that in my current state of mind, taking my (lack of) enthusiasm for the game as the basis for your own opinion of the game and all it entails is not really recommended. If you walk back my apathy by a degree or two, you may find it accurate. Or not. It really depends on you: what do you want out of the game?

I really have no idea what I wanted, to be honest: Mass Effect with more freedom to explore weird planets? Thief in space? Those sound much better than what's currently sitting on my hard drive right now.

On a side note: I was disappointed in the original Mass Effect's lack of truly bizarre planets. It used the Unreal engine, after all...anyone remember the original Unreal? Unreal II? I miss the Skaarj.
It seems because through time and space
Though names may change each face retains the mask it wore

Silver Sorrow

I was thinking about reinstalling Unreal 2 again, but then I remembered that a good chunk of the game was dedicated to defend-the-base scenarios and my enthusiasm fled. Oh, well.

Sometimes I still wonder if whatsername's snake tattoo ended right at her waist or went further, but then I realize that I just don't care.

Anyway, I was scrolling through YouTube looking for something to watch while I disappointed myself with breakfast, I stumbled across the following video, which kind of summed it all up:

And so it goes.
It seems because through time and space
Though names may change each face retains the mask it wore