Space Exploration has become a lot of the rage, and what better place to host RPG games than the vast expanse of space? Being able to live in a Sci-Fi world where humanity has expanded into the cosmos is a fascinating exploratory journey into how our species could eventually get there and how it would affect our societies and the people living in them.
Living as a resident of one of these worlds is a concept that millions find exciting and would love to roleplay. That's where today's contenders, Starfield and The Outer Worlds, come in. Today, we'll compare Starfield vs The Outer Worlds and see which space RPG comes out on top.
Scope and Exploration
The scope of both these games is vastly different. Starfield provides you with an incredibly expansive universe with 120 Star Systems and 1000 planets to explore. However, the Outer Worlds chose a more compact approach with a single Galaxy.
Space Exploration and space activities are a significant part of Starfield's experience, and you'll spend a lot of time traveling between various galaxies. Some people dislike this and complain that it's a glorified loading screen, but there's no shortage of content available in space.
Before you get tired of it, and you WILL get tired of repeating the same RNG events in Starfield, you'll be able to spend several dozen hours just exploring the vastness of space and the hundreds of characters and quests within Starfield.
Compared to this, the Outer Worlds is a single galaxy, and the game plays pretty linearly. While the Outer Worlds may seem like an open-world game, the areas designed are smaller, and the quest paths are pretty direct.
You won't stray off the beaten path too often, but you'll be treated to handcrafted content at every step. Some people might feel that this means the game fails as an open-world RPG, whereas others might prefer the level of story The Outer Worlds is able to deliver due to this conciseness.
Starfield has way more variety in presentation, but The Outer Worlds has a unique and stylized art style emphasizing brightly saturated colors, similar to No Man's Sky. Meanwhile, Starfield goes for gritty realism with very grey and muted tones.
Starfield has produced one of the better main stories from Bethesda Games Studio. The journey across the vastness of space, ultimately culminating in the standoff against the Starborn and the discovery of the Unity, is quite the spectacle.
Furthermore, it attempts to probe some philosophical questions, which was also a welcome addition. However, the overall main story suffers from some pacing issues, and the game's vastness fragments and breaks the immersive aspect of it all. Not to mention, due to all of this, there will be sudden dips in the quality of dialogue and content.
On the other hand, Outer Worlds is a much tighter and handcrafted experience with some of the best dialogue choices and immersion available in modern RPGs. Every choice you make seems to have some realistic and long-lasting impact, and you see the consequences of all your actions by the end of the game. Starfield has something similar with multiple endings, but it could be better executed.
The Outer Worlds story is about the struggle against massive corporations and serves as a short but well-executed and well-written adventure in terms of storytelling. There is some genuinely great storytelling and well-performed dialogue in there that fans of RPGs will appreciate and love. The quality is more or less consistent throughout the entire game.
A story is nothing without its characters, and The Outer Worlds also seems to have an advantage here. It comes with six companions you can choose from and develop your relationship with compared to Starfield's four companions you can romance. Starfield also has crewmates, but they're not real companions. The Outer World's characters feel more diverse and unique with their own aspirations, backgrounds, and motivations. You follow their stories because you want to see how it goes.
Starfield is going to take the cake when it comes to side content. When we say "Starfield is bigger", we won't ignore that much of this vastness is relatively shallow. Procedurally generated planets with barely anything to do on them are pointless, and some people will prefer the concise handcrafted experience from The Outer Worlds. However, this does not mean that Starfield lacks handcrafted content - quite the opposite.
Starfield has hundreds of side quests and several major faction storylines with a lot of diversity available for you to jump into. Many of these faction quests are better than the actual main story of the game. You can join the space pirate fleet or become a space cowboy. Go to the cyberpunk dystopia of Neon City to become a corporate spy or enjoy the futuristic metropolis of New Atlantis. Between the vast emptiness of space, there are several dozen hours worth of handcrafted content that you can enjoy and get lost in.
The Outer Worlds has some decent combat that's good enough for what it is. However, going back to it, it felt pretty dated. You can turn the difficulty up, but its design is still too simplistic, and the variety of weapons is not impressive by any means. Add to that the fact that enemy spawns were fixed, and there's a significant lack of enemy variety; you get a pretty middling combat experience. Oh, and there's no space combat, either.
Starfield, on the other hand, pulls out all the stops with its combat. My only complaint is some enemies feel way too spongy to keep the fight exciting. Besides that, the gun variety, handling, weapon upgrade systems, and enemy variety make Starfield's combat very exciting. It's Bethesda's best attempt at an RPG shooter, and all issues aside, Starfield stands on its own quite well as an action FPS with just its combat system.
There's also a fully dedicated shipbuilder where you can change every aspect of your ship. Take it into space and get engaged in explosive space combat. The Outer Worlds has nothing of this sort regarding combat and spaceship activities.
Another category where Starfield performs better than The Outer Worlds is skill and gear progression. Starfield has a character creation menu that lets you choose your background and traits when you first start. However, you'll level up throughout the game and invest points into skills.
The skills in Starfield are all fairly impactful, and investing skill points into something feels like a meaningful upgrade. The same can be said for finding and purchasing better guns and gear. The game doesn't allow you to instantly go into god mode and invest in every skill simultaneously. That's why builds and roleplay elements factor in and add to the immersion, having you create your own unique playstyle.
A major complaint with The Outer Worlds is that skills are too easy to level up despite its status as an RPG. You can specialize in certain areas, but if you play well enough, you can quickly outpace the game with your skills and levels. It's easy to enter god mode and become a jack of all trades early on in The Outer Worlds. This lets you experience everything but does take away from the feeling of progression and the importance of upgrades in The Outer Worlds. The same does happen in Starfield eventually as you play through New Game Plus, but it'll still take a good while.
Suppose you prefer a short story, focusing primarily on the dialogue, character, and story quality. In that case, The Outer Worlds is a must-play experience we recommend over Starfield. However, if you want a true Triple-A space experience, Starfield has The Outer Worlds beat in almost every category. The flaws could also be fixed as Bethesda launches more DLC and the modding community gets to their usual business.
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