What you need to know
Starfield releases in Early Access on PC and Xbox tomorrow, September 1, 2023.
Today, the embargo for Starfield critic reviews lifted.
At the time of writing, the game has received mostly positive reviews, though some critic responses are mixed.
The main launch day for Starfield is September 6, 2023.
Xbox and PC players have been waiting for months or even years to get their hands on Starfield, Bethesda's open-world action RPG that's all about space exploration. Starfield Early Access launches tomorrow for those who purchase the Premium Edition. Ahead of that, the review embargo has lifted and several critic reviews are already available for reading.
These critic reviews have mostly been positive, but some are definitely mixed, leading to an overall Metascore of 87. More critical reviews will be recorded as the day goes on and could change what is currently seen on Metacritic at the time of writing this.
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In our own Starfield review, co-managing editor Jez Corden gave the space-faring adventure a 90% score, noting the game's incredibly rich world is filled with some of Bethesda's best environmental work. He also praises the game's space combat and improved gunplay. However, he notes that the main plot takes too long to become interesting and states that the amazing voice acting is marred by "ugly and stiff" NPC animation.
Of the Starfield scores recorded on Metacritic at the time of writing this, seven critical reviews have given Starfield a 100% score. However, the vast majority of critics have given the game a score between 80% and 90%. Meanwhile, DigitalTrends, GameSpot, and PCMag have all given the game a 70% rating, making them some of the lowest Starfield ratings to be recorded thus far. Altogether, this gives Bethesda's latest game the mostly positive Metascore score of 87%, as mentioned before.
Select Starfield critic ratings
Game Rant - 100%
Washington Post - 100%
Attack of the Fanboy - 100%
Windows Central - 90%
DualShockers - 90%
Siliconera - 90%
Game Informer - 85%
NPR - 85%
Inverse - 80%
IGN - 70%
GameSpot - 70%
Digital Trends - 70%
PCMag - 70%
Starfield Early Access opens tomorrow, Sep. 1, at 5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET on PC and Xbox Series X|S and is available to anyone who purchases the game's Premium Edition. The rest of the players must wait until the game's official launch date of Sep. 6, 2023.
Windows Central's take
I've spent over 24 hours playing Starfield so far to write guides and other content, but before I dive into what I think about this game, I want to give a little bit of perspective. When it comes to games like Starfield that have been hyped and eagerly anticipated for years, it's very easy to expect too much from the developers and find ourselves disappointed with what gameplay actually offers. We need to remind ourselves as with the release of Cyberpunk 2077, that this is an open-world game like many others out there and not something completely different that we've never seen before. It just has a different theme, plot, and characters.
Bethesda rewards the faithful with one of Microsoft's best exclusive games in over a decade. With great storytelling and an exciting new world, Starfield is a triumph.
As for my own personal take on Starfield, I'd say it's a good game but nowhere near the best ever made. In many ways, Bethesda delivers the exciting exploration game it promised, but it also feels like several basic mechanics are missing, such as land vehicles. It's a rather tired point to compare Starfield against No Man's Sky, but the fact still exists that the games do share some of the same spacey attributes. Sometimes, Hello Games does a better job of implementing the same idea. Of course, No Man's Sky was a buggy mess at launch, and it has achieved its revered status now through repeated patches and updates, so the same could be true in Starfield's future.
I'll also say that the main Starfield storyline doesn't do a very good job of pulling you in at first. In fact, the game's introduction is very lackluster compared to the exciting openings of Skyrim and Fallout 4. You'll need to keep pushing forward and try to find your own fun, taking on sidequests and behaving the way you want. Eventually, the main story does pick up and will get pretty crazy.
Now, audiences and critics don't always agree on the score of a game, so it will be interesting to see what the general player base thinks once Early Access becomes available tomorrow. My guess is that there will be a lot of disappointed players. So, if you're worried about being disappointed, just note that the game plays very well, but it isn't a humongous game-changer.