Games Inbox: Looking forward to Starfield on Game Pass

The Monday letters page compares the death of Saints Row to the fall of PES, as one reader enjoys visiting the Sea Of Stars.

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Conceptual issues
The thing that upsets me about Starfield is I think similar to some of the frustrations that GC had, in that the idea is so obviously appealing and yet Bethesda don’t seem to have fully embraced it. Instead, they’ve kept as much as possible the same as Skyrim and their other games.

I wanted this to be an epic space trading/exploration game and it seems that the space elements of it aren’t much more than set dressing. And if it all comes down to basically being a military shooter, what happened to id Software helping out with the gunplay? Doom and Rage were absolutely top notch, and I haven’t heard anyone describe Starfield as that, even in positive reviews.

It seems to me the main problems were at a conceptual level years ago and things that should’ve been said no to at the design stage have ensured the game will never be what many of us had hoped it would be. As many have said, I’ll still play it on Game Pass. But everything I’m hearing says the beginning is the worst bit, so I’m not sure how that’s going to go…

Sowing discord
I do agree that the worst thing about this Starfield review mess, that Bethesda has created, is that it’s caused so much animosity amongst fans. Between the 7/10 scores from IGN and GameSpot to the fact that nobody knows what Eurogamer and GC are going to give it (including them, I assume). It’s a complete cluster… fudge.

I hope Bethesda is happy with this chaos they’ve created but I can’t imagine Microsoft is. They were clearly hoping for this to create a trinity with Zelda and Baldur’s Gate but even those that really like the game have just ended up fighting with other people rather than enjoying it.

People are talking about the game, so I guess there’s that, but none of it seems very positive or healthy.

X marks the spot
So hang on, let me get this straight. Not only did Sony not bother to have a State of Play for the PlayStation Portal but its release date didn’t even get a blog? It was just a tweet?! Something tells me that Sony does not have full confidence that this is going to be a hit. What a colossal was of time.

I hope the rumours of a September event are true but I don’t know what to believe anymore, because at every turn Sony has done even less than the minimum expectation. I think it’s obvious there’s no great plan but what exactly is going on I have no idea.

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Wandering the galaxy
Reading your preview for Starfield I was shaking my head. Any Bethesda games I play, I like to just wander around the map. I’ll travel to the ends of each map and log as many points on the map as I can. I do this for the purpose of fast travel and now it seems like Bethesda have removed it and made it possible as default.

People might be thinking that I would appreciate it but when you’re just meandering along you come across hidden missions and characters. Makes me think there aren’t any secrets if you can’t just fly around or explore.

Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3, 4, and New Vegas. I’ve walked them all and loved the exploration even when it killed me due to overpowered enemies.

Obviously, I can’t be sure Starfield won’t feature some more in-depth exploration so I will wait for the complete review until I make up my mind.

GC: You can explore most planets and there are secrets to be found, as well as random incidents in space. It’s the missions that are a chain of fast travel journeys.

Priced out
I’m sad to see Volition has gone bust too, like the Reader’s Feature at the weekend, but I think the truth is that they had been priced out the market they were going for. It reminds me a bit of the PES and FIFA rivalry. For a time, when there was only so much you could do with a game, PES was able to hold its own but as EA started to throw more and more money at FIFA, and it became its own ecosystem there was nothing Konami could do.

Combine that with how expensive good graphics were getting and poor old PES was brining a knife to a gunfight. It was the same thing for Saints Row and the publisher really should’ve realised that before they went into it, and suggested they do something else.

Third option
Further to my weekend Reader’s Feature about buying either a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X and if, as the hype suggested, Starfield proves a classic, maybe the latter.

The day before those initial reviews were published, I was in town and while there ventured into a store that sells consoles. There I eyed both consoles and told myself that, yes, if Starfield is a classic I will purchase the Xbox and, furthermore, do so that very weekend.

Well, the reviews are in. And of those from reliable sources, including GC’s review of his first day with the game, they are less than complementary.

I was very disappointed. But it has at least forced a decision. What I omitted to mention in my feature is that there is a third option: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X or… a fancy new handbag.

Unlike either of those consoles, my handbag is beautiful and will get daily use. Money well spent!

GC: Is that a GameCube reference?

Family tree
Got a quick question for GC. I haven’t been able to have this question answered by Twitter or Reddit and forums, so I’m hoping anyone can help me out.

I’m considering buying Baldur’s Gate 3. Is it good for a newcomer? How’s the romance options? The gameplay? I understand it is a turn-based title but it’s a new genre for me and I’m alien to it all.
Shahzaib Sadiq

GC: Those questions are impossible to answer without knowing more about your experience and tastes. If this would literally be the first role-playing game you’ve ever played then no, it’s probably not the best place to start. But there’s a clear evolutionary path from the earlier Baldur’s Gate games through to BioWare’s titles – especially Dragon Age – and by association most modern action role-players. So, if you’ve enjoyed any of those there’s no reason you won’t like Baldur’s Gate 3.

Nintendo wallet
Have to agree with the idea that everyone constantly underestimates Nintendo, despite the fact that even in their lean generations they’re still number one in terms of quality games and always make a profit anymore. People like to pretend they’re not competing with Xbox and PlayStation, and it’s true that they’re not doing the same thing as those companies, but it’s still video games. People have only got so much time and money to spend on them and it’s not like they’ve got a separate Nintendo wallet they pay for their games from.

The only reason I wouldn’t agree with the comments about the Switch 2 is that Nintendo always find a way to snatch failure from the jaws of victory, so I wouldn’t say anything about the next console was a dead cert. To be hones though, that up and down nature is probably the only thing stopping them from being completely dominant.

As gamers we don’t want anyone having that sort of power but it absolutely is Nintendo that are the giants, that can come along and change the industry at a moment’s notice, outsell everything else, and get all the top awards. And then some other times they make Everybody 1-2-Switch. The irony is that Nintendo are loved for the consistent quality of their games and yet they’re only failing is that they’re so unpredictable.

Inbox also-rans
Just travelled the Sea of Stars in, err… Sea Of Stars. I’ll bet that space travel is better than any space travel in Starfield!
big boy bent

Where was the weekend Hot Topic?

GC: Not enough people wrote in about it (including you).

For an idea with Starfield, how about a review and a score in progress. So, the first day might be mundane, 7/10. Pick up a bit further in, 8/10. Drop a bit, 5/10. At the end still give an overall, considering all bits, score.

GC: We might offer a provisional score on Friday.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Hammeriron, who asks what is your favourite co-op video game?

Online and local co-op both count but try and give examples of both if you can. Who were you playing the game with and did you choose them for the game or the game for them? How experienced was the other player and how did that factor into the experience?

Do you prefer local or online co-op and would you like to see more of them? Which game that doesn’t have co-op do you wish did?

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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