I love a good plastic door flap. When I was a kid, the local grocery store used these big hanging curtains of plastic to separate the front area of the store from the back where the bottle return and the bathrooms were. Walking through those swinging weird rectangles was always strangely satisfying. It was a captivating and alien room transition experience I couldn’t have in my home that somehow felt like I was doing something cool.
So, every time a video game has these unusual dividers in it, I take notice! They’re the perfect sort of stupid object for a video game to show off both its graphics and physics simulation. They’re mostly transparent, often all scuffed up, and they swing around into each other. Their need to both flap into each other and also curve around a character or object makes them computationally challenging, yet almost as satisfying as the real thing.
Starfield, the hot new RPG from Bethesda, has some of these flap guys in it like ten minutes into the game — and then again occasionally throughout its comically massive world. They’re among the best plastic door flaps I’ve yet seen in a game. They perfectly distort the lighting and game world around them, and I can’t help but run back and forth through them each time I encounter some in the world. I haven’t had this much ancillary fun with door flaps since the Physx patch for Mirror’s Edge.
The flaps are but one of dozens of different unnecessarily detailed styles of door or room divider throughout Starfield’s gigantic play space, and they perfectly encapsulate the care put into player immersion in the game’s visuals. The game frequently prioritizes player fun and reward over realism in the design, but the visuals are wonderfully detailed and pseudo-realistic at every possible level of scope.
Here, in no particular order, are some other great spoiler-free things I’ve liked about Starfield so far. I’ve played as two different characters, though neither has reached the ending of the main story yet, but one of them is close.