Cyberpunk 2077 and Starfield are often compared, especially in 2023, due to being two of the largest open-world sci-fi releases available. Both games had exceptional levels of hype but received mixed responses when it came to the actual release. However, Cyberpunk 2077 recently received its Phantom Liberty DLC, which has overhauled the game into something new. Meanwhile, Starfield is still in its infancy.
So, when comparing Starfield vs Cyberpunk 2077, which comes out on top?
Cyberpunk 2077 wins with gunplay and variety due to how polished and fun it can feel. That's not to say that Starfield's gunplay is terrible; it's merely passable and could use a lot more polish. Mostly the weapons are reskins of older Fallout weapons, and the enemies you face will mostly be human. Some great weapons are mixed in here and there, but the gun design could be more futuristic and unique for a sci-fi game.
Both games suffer from enemies being bullet sponges. However, Cyberpunk 2077 fixes this earlier in the game with better weapons and modifications. You'll also have a multitude of options at your disposal, and combat feels fast-paced and engaging. Melee builds also feel viable, and melee combat can be fun. On the other hand, Starfield requires you to get a bunch of weapon skill upgrades and luck out on the modifiers before you can truly enjoy the combat.
Starfield's stealth needs to be updated. They're using the same old Bethesda formula where Stealth equates to crouching, maybe pickpocketing, and hacking. Besides this, there's nothing unique there, and the stealth itself can feel inconsistent until you invest skill points into stealth skills. Meanwhile, Cyberpunk 2077's stealth mechanics offer various options to engage and deal with enemies. These include several takedowns and options that involve hacking into enemy systems.
As far as additional combat content goes, Starfield might have Cyberpunk 2077 beat here with the inclusion of its Powers and Starship Battles. You can create and customize every aspect of your ship and engage in Space Battles. Cyberpunk 2077 plans on adding vehicle combat, and we'll see how that turns out.
This comparison comes down to comparing the quantity and quality of the main quests and the side quest content.
Starfield's Main Quest, with your companions from Constellation and their search for the Artifacts, as they fight against the Starborn, is considered by many to be one of the best Bethesda main stories. However, this isn't a high bar, and the main quest starts slowly. You don't really know what's going on for the first several hours.
Meanwhile, Cyberpunk 2077 provides a cinematic experience with its main quest, as everything in the game serves this main storyline. All the characters put in here showcase those CD Projekt Red writing skills that make their stories have so much realism and impact. Deal with the Ghost inside your mind and navigate the corrupt corporate world of Night City.
Starfield has several dozen hours of side quests and side content to experience. This is Bethesda at its best, with some quests that will have you make some important choices; you can join the space cowboys, become a corporate espionage agent, infiltrate a pirate fleet, and much more. There are a lot of great side quests to get lost in. If you want several hours of interesting branching story quests, go for Starfield.
Cyberpunk 2077 has a primary focus on its story, which, to be fair, is also relatively short. While the quality is on par with the best Starfield quests, the overall content can feel lacking, giving Starfield an edge in this category. If you want a concise and well-polished story, go for Cyberpunk 2077.
Open World Exploration
Both games are very different in this department, and the comparison may not be warranted. But we'll make it since there's one similarity they both share - a lack of depth.
On the surface, Starfield's exploration of thousands of planets sounds amazing. However, once you get exploring, besides the handcrafted cities and points of interest, a lot of the content is RNG-based copy-pasted events that spawn whenever you land on a new planet. These quickly get old, taking a lot of the fun out of most of the exploration in Starfield, and you rarely feel rewarded for it. Not to mention the endless loading screens that players collectively hate. Space Travel isn't really space travel; your ship is a glorified loading screen that takes you from one orbit and landing spot to another.
Cyberpunk 2077 should be great for the open world and exploration aspect due to its hand-crafted nature, right? Well, not really. Most of the buildings can't be entered or interacted with in any meaningful way. Night City is immersive, but most of it has little substance. You'll mostly be better off running from quest marker to quest marker, as there is little incentive to stray off the beaten path. Furthermore, you're locked to a single district in Cyberpunk 2077 until Act II, which takes around 4 hours to reach.
Starfield wins here as long as Bethesda sticks to their tried and true formula of massive DLC expansions supported by an enthusiastic modding community. This is honestly one of Starfield's strongest points, as the game was announced as a modder's paradise. On top of several upcoming DLCs and updates, Starfield plans on providing a dedicated modding kit.
If there's one thing we know about Bethesda games, the community will create mods that polish it up to a quality several leagues ahead of the base product. Starfield is still in its infancy, and many of these issues might be resolved through mods. Give it a year, and we might see a completely new landscape and outlook towards Starfield.
If you're looking for a shorter and more well-polished experience, we suggest going for Cyberpunk 2077. If you want and are willing to spend dozens of hours exploring space, then Starfield will probably scratch that explorer's itch. Furthermore, with the addition of QoL fixes and other upcoming mods, Starfield might become one of the best games in the market.
Those are all our thoughts on the Starfield vs Cyberpunk 2077 question. While you're here, check out the latest Starfield Roadmap and our Astronaut Training Manual to give yourself a head start in the vast galaxy that awaits.
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