The comparison between Starfield and Baldur's Gate 3 is a bit of an unfair one, as both games belong to different genres and are trying to achieve something very different. However, contrary to popular belief, there are actually more similarities between the two games than what initially comes to mind. Let's go over Starfield vs Baldur's Gate 3.
Starfield is a Sci-Fi RPG with shooter mechanics that emphasises exploration and discovery. You also have several different skill systems and mechanics, such as shipbuilding, space combat and outpost building alongside the crafting section taking place. Expect a ton of dialogue, gunfighting, and a whole load of exploration and loading screens. Starfield focuses on this core loop of exploration paired with its combat and looting systems.
Baldur's Gate 3 is also an RPG game, but its combat and gameplay is a top-down view with a turn-based approach to combat. The setting is high fantasy and features several races, classes and the standard D&D shenanigans one can expect. Expect a ton of dialogue and less action and exploration. Baldur's Gate 3 emphasises the roleplay and character immersion factor through its in-depth dialogue choices.
One thing to note is that Starfield is far more accessible to wider audiences due to Bethesda's style. Yes, it has a ton of menus, but the Baldur's Gate 3 UI can be a nightmare to understand sometimes. Those unfamiliar with D&D might find themselves at a loss for several hours before they finally understand what's going on and the options they have. Baldur's Gate 3 requires a bit more investment to understand fully.
World Building and Exploration
Starfield's world-building is comprehensive, with several factions covering the Settled Systems. Each faction has its own unique goal, aesthetic, purpose and history. The main story quest is about pushing the boundaries of exploration and discovering a new frontier. Unfortunately, the thousand-planet exploration model isn't as good as it sounded on paper. Exploration suffers from tedium, a lack of diversity, and meaningful rewards. The best side quests and experiences are mostly available in the major cities.
Baldur's Gate 3, on the other hand, has little in the way of exploration. However, progression and discovery are all handled very well. One of the most interesting aspects of the game is how excellent the writing is both for the various areas in the game and the characters. Dialogue is fun and organic and rarely ever feels janky. Much care has gone into bringing these characters to life, and it's truly a masterclass in RPG writing and gameplay pacing. The companions in Baldur's Gate 3 are much more interesting than the Starfield Companions, and the same goes for romance.
As we mentioned earlier, Starfield is an action RPG, meaning you'll be getting into a ton of gunfights both in first and third-person view. You'll mostly face human enemies with boss mobs here and there. Combat suffers from a lack of variety in weapons, enemies being too spongy, and the best weaponry taking a while to get to and unlock with skill points.
You might be hesitant when you hear the words "turn-based combat". However, the turn-based combat in Baldur's Gate 3 can feel incredibly intense due to the variety of the encounters and how dynamic they can feel depending on your environment and available options.
Quality vs Quantity
Starfield wins out when talking about the sheer quantity of content available. However, Baldur's Gate 3 takes the cake if we're talking about quality. A lot of care has gone into each character in the game, and it feels like a finished product with loads of polish. Starfield, however, feels like a giant unfinished sandbox waiting for its final touches to be added.
You can spend several hours enjoying a lot of the content in Starfield. However, not all of it will be up to a certain quality standard. Baldur's Gate 3, on the other hand, keeps its quality high throughout its 50-hour plus runtime.
Regarding performance bugs and glitches, both games are working out on the combined jank between them with regular updates. However, Starfield requires higher-performance hardware and is prone to slightly more bugs. That being said, in the typical Bethesda fashion, these are often funny rather than just plain frustrating.
We'd describe Starfield as wide and Baldur's Gate 3 as deep.
Baldur's Gate 3 is the better option for those looking for a complete and polished RPG experience. However, it won't give you the thrills of space combat and intense gunfighting. If you can enjoy turn-based combat, you'll get back worth more than your money with Baldur's Gate 3.
If you're choosing between these two, we'd suggest holding off on Starfield until the DLC arrives. At that point, and once the modding community can go into full swing, Starfield will probably become a game that can give Baldur's Gate 3 a run for its money and stand as one of the best RPG games of this generation.
That concludes our thoughts on the Starfield vs Baldur's Gate 3 discussion. Also, check our thoughts on Starfield vs Cyberpunk 2077.
For more Starfield, stick with us at Starfield Portal!
For more articles like this, take a look at our Features page.