Starfield is My New Diablo
I was pretty darn excited for Diablo IV over the course of the last several years. Unfortunately, while the final game is a technical achievement as far as artwork, sound effects, and music go — the core game isn’t very fun to play.
It’s designed more like a slow free-to-play slog than the Diablo games of the past, almost like it was meant to benefit from the still-unfinished Microsoft Activision deal that would have seen it show up on Game Pass. On a subscription service, its cruddy pacing and microtransactions wouldn’t be nearly as much of an issue as they are inside a full priced seventy-dollar game.
Game Pass just got another big RPG in Starfield, and its direct-action gameplay and single purchase monetization design couldn’t be more different from Diablo IV, yet I think it hits many of the notes I was expecting from the next generation of the iconic hack-and-slash loot series. Starfield takes Bethesda’s traditional open-ended design and mechanics, and pairs them with a wildly huge amount of content.
The game’s marketing promises 1,000 planets to explore, and indeed, there are a ton of procedurally generated worlds in the game to go along with its impressive fully written story. These worlds function a whole lot like good Diablo levels. Pick a landing zone on a planet, and the game quickly whips up a stack of fun content to explore. There’s animals and plants to scan. Beasts to fight. Installations and caves to poke around in. Enemies to overcome. Quests to complete. And loot — so much loot.
Starfield is more of a loot game than any past Bethesda title. You’ll find weapons, spacesuits (armor), helmets (armor again), and clothing (armor again again) all over the place, alongside the usual assortment of fun Bethesda stuff like various food items and random junk you can put on a desk.
The randomized equipment takes the core loot design from Fallout 4 and kicks it up a thousand notches. Loot comes in several color-coded rarities. You’re more likely to find better loot…