Starfield is Bethesda's latest title. Many comment that Starfield is just another rehash of the Bethesda engine that places Skyrim in space. However, looking at the setting and gameplay, it's more apt to compare Starfield to a game like Fallout. So today, we'll be doing Starfield vs Fallout 4 and see if Bethesda has put in enough effort to warrant the upgrade.
Story and Dialogue
There's not much point to discussing the story besides the fact that Starfield has twice the amount of dialogue and many more quests and NPCs. The dialogue options in Starfield and how they're handled are superior to Fallout 4. However, when discussing the consistency and quality of the quests and characters, Fallout 4 ranks much higher than Starfield. This is also due to the densely packed nature of Fallout 4 compared to Starfield's vast expanse of space.
As for the main story, we have the same concept as above. Starfield has you searching for mysterious Artifacts in a classic space exploration-style story. However, you don't know and consequently care for what these do until much later in the story when things start coming together. This is not to say that Starfield's main story is terrible, as its writing is nearly on the same level as Fallout 4. Fallout 4 gets the edge as it tells a much more personal story that some people might find a lot more immersive due to both games being roleplay experiences.
Starfield also takes a step back in the number of companions and their range of moralities.
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Starfield has a leg up on Fallout 4 in all aspects except one. Let's discuss the good first. Regarding weapon variety, Starfield beats Fallout 4 in both quantity and design. Gunplay feels a lot smoother and more satisfying. In the sound effects department, as well as the recoil handling and feel of impact, Starfield's gunplay is a straight-up upgrade to base Fallout 4.
However, Fallout 4 has the iconic V.A.T.S. system that gives its combat a unique aesthetic and feel that Starfield doesn't have yet. Starfield's combat can be replaced with any generic shooter, but Fallout 4's combat, while antiquated, exudes a lot more personality and charm. As for the polish, you can work around this with some modwork.
While Starfield has superior gun quality, variety, and gunplay, unfortunately, we can't say the same for enemy variety. Starfield will have you mostly fighting three different factions of enemies we can refer to colloquially as 'Space Pirates' because there are no significant differences between them. Starfield does have some unique enemies, like the Starborn and Terrormorphs. However, there aren't enough of these to fill out the roster.
Space combat at least retains a unique feeling, and it's a system that has a lot of potential once some more polish is put into it. More on this later.
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Exploration and Feel
Starfield is an exploration game, and Fallout 4 is a survival title. Starfield makes use of procedural generation, while Fallout 4 is handcrafted. Both these factors result in a significantly different overall experience for both games. The first few hours of Fallout can be incredibly stressful as there are many threats all over the barren wastelands that can kill you. Starfield provides a much more casual and player-friendly experience, even on the highest difficulty settings.
Due to the procedural generation and sheer amount of content, Starfield can feel overwhelming for most players. Those who can process it realize that the interesting content is spaced out too much to enjoy as a cohesive unit. The endless menus and loading screens don't help Starfield's case much here. It's an epic space adventure that looks and feels pretty with a fun enough aesthetic. However, it's bogged down by many menus, a lack of convenience, and systems that sometimes make it a chore to play. This gives the game a feeling of being wide without much depth; consequently, it lacks its own unique personality.
While Fallout 4 cannot compare to the vastness of space and the scope of Starfield's world, it manages to compete due to its handcrafted areas and quests that give you a much nicer and more cohesive feeling of progression than Starfield. Fallout 4 plays out like a videogame rather than the cinematic adventure that is Starfield. That being said, the handcrafted sections of Starfield, such as its cities, are much more impressive than any settlements in Fallout.
Building and Crafting
Lastly, we have the crafting and building sections for both games. First off, let's compare the outpost building sections for both games. Outposts in Starfield are custom bases and mining stations that you can set up anywhere in the galaxy. However, there is little incentive to do so, and many players opt to skip this unless they reach endgame. Fallout 4 has a settlement system where you create a home base to defend against the apocalypse. While neither is particularly spectacular, Starfield's system feels much more meaningless and needlessly complex. Plus, the customization options are still quite limited.
A custom building aspect that Starfield excels at, however, is shipbuilding. Starfield has one of the most impressive ship-building systems, where you can create a custom ship. Some players have taken the system to its limits, and if shipbuilding is something you're interested in, you should check out our ships of the week for some inspiration.
As for weapon modding, Starfield has a much more in-depth system that lets you change up a lot. However, Fallout 4, while not as fleshed out, is a lot more convenient in terms of weapon modding.
Similar to our Starfield vs Skyrim feature, once you add mods into the mix, this contest becomes incredibly unfair for Starfield. There isn't much to say besides that Starfield can't compete with Fallout 4 yet due to its years of dev support and mods that have polished it into a much better game with all of its flaws addressed. Meanwhile, Starfield is still quite rough around the edges and requires a lot more DLC and mod support to get up to standard.
Starfield has a superior base model and much more vanilla content than Fallout 4. With time, we'll see it reach its full potential.
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