Starfield: Update 4 Tested! 60fps, Maps, Ship Designer, and More

Starfield New Update Review
Credit: Bethesda

Starfield New Update Review
Credit: Bethesda

The first significant update for Starfield since launch is finally here after spending time on Steam Beta. It’s taken eight whole months for the team to deliver a worthwhile patch that brings some proper changes to the game.

So, is this latest patch any good? For me, the answer is yes; for others, maybe not so much.

When Todd Howard claimed that 30fps on Xbox consoles was an 'artistic choice,' I was skeptical. It seemed more likely that this was due to the Series S console needing to match the performance of the Series X versions, and as the less powerful console, the S was unable to achieve 60fps.

We are about nine months later and have 60fps for Series X only. I get that Microsoft had to push the much more wallet-friendly option to consumers as the cheapest entry to next-gen, but holding back the flagship X so games ran similar was not the smartest move.

Anyway, I digress. Last night, I finally got to play the new update for Starfield; I watched with envy as the glowing reports came from Steam players enjoying the advanced trial on Steam Beta.

Is the new Starfield update good? I'll address it here: If you like Starfield, it is now even better. If you always hated Starfield, that won't change with installing this patch.

Starfield Update 4
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Credit: Bethesda

Starfield: Update 4 Features

Now that that's out of the way let's deep dive into this new patch and some of its features.

60fps

This was my most anticipated feature; for this entire generation, I have favoured buttery smooth movement over even shiner lighting, so performance mode is my go-to setting for all next-gen games.

Seeing the mode finally added here is fantastic; now, while Fallout 4 recently got a next-gen patch, also bringing performance modes, the results varied a lot more.

Starfield Update 4
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Credit: Bethesda

While flying around cities like New Atlantis or Akila, the frame rates dropped severely, and noticeable stuttering occurred in busier crowd moments. Space battles seemed to benefit the most here; the enclosed nature of traversing space benefits here, although that may not be the case during busy moments such as the giant space battle seen in Legacy's End.

While I'm not entirely disappointed, as when the mode works, it's fantastic, this will need further polish to be a standout for Bethesda. I'm glad they got it running; leaving behind Series S for this was the only way to make it happen, and it's a choice more developers should make going forward.

Related: Fallout 4 Next Gen Review

40fps

As I do not own a VRR display, I could only test the 60fps on my standard 4K TV. However, Lewis White from our sister site, Gfinity, graciously tested this 40fps mode out for us; here's what he had to say.

Starfield’s 40fps mode is the perfect option for those with a compatible display, but it doesn’t smooth out every performance issue in the game. You’re getting a much better experience with nearly every location locking to 40fps with crystal-clear visuals."

"However, the large performance dips when jetpacking through the entrance of Akila City or taking huge jumps off the top of New Atlantis still result in massive framerate drops as the game streams in a tonne of assets."

"Nevertheless, 40fps Starfield is the obvious choice for those who have the option, and it’s a huge improvement to the game overall.”

Maps

Even with days' worth of playtime in Starfield, I still get lost in New Atlantis and Neon. Looping round and round before stumbling across where I wanted to be was expected during a session until now.

Starfield Update 4
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Credit: Bethesda

Bethesda has listened to the complaints and finally added usable 3D pop-up maps that display exactly where you want to go in each location. Even handier is that once you find a location, you can quickly travel to it by opening the map on the pause screen and selecting the place you want to visit again.

As a nice little bonus, each time you go to a new place, 'Location Discovered' will pop up at each notable spot on the map. This is not retroactive, so no matter how many times you have been to the Viewport Bar, it won't instantly be 'discovered' when you install the patch.

Ship Designer

For fans of decorating, you can now add your touch to the interior of your ship to make it truly feel like home. This is a nice new addition that was a glaring omission at launch.

Starfield Update 4
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Credit: Bethesda

Now, this feature may not be one I have complete faith in after I lost a whole load of collected weapons I had displayed in my Mantis' Razorleaf, thanks to a previous update wiping them. However, I am sure Bethesda will iron out the kinks of the past, and customizing will be smooth sailing going forward.

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Give Cora Books

During my main playthrough of Starfield, I took Sam Coe with me for the adventure after losing Sarah Morgan during a particular story mission. With Sam comes his daughter Cora, who is obsessed with technology, ships and reading.

Starfield Update 4
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Credit: Bethesda

I always felt this was a missed opportunity when the game launched. She always asked you to bring her books, but it was nothing more than a throwaway line. Now, speaking with Cora Coe will give you the dialogue option to give her any books you have in your inventory.

You get a little XP for each book given, plus it just feels like something that should have been there from the start.

Related: Starfield: Things We Wish We Knew At The Start

Starfield Update 4
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Credit: Bethesda

That about covers everything I found while testing out Update 4. While I enjoyed what it offered and will play more of the game now because of the enhancements, I would have liked those space buggies to have come with it.

Now, I know we will get those later this year, possibly alongside Shattered Space, but to have them now for someone who has finished the story multiple times would have been a blessing to explore all those barren worlds without running and boosting my way for miles on end.

Will this update sway the naysayers? Put simply, no. If you hated Starfield before this patch, you’d still hate it; if you loved it, you’d like it even more. This isn’t a fix-all magic solution that will have the haters coming back on their knees, swearing they always liked it, but it has taken Starfield to a point where I wish the game was when it launched.

What did you think of Update 4? Let us know in the comments below.

READ MORE: What We Want From Starfield In 2024

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