- Starfield fails to keep its players motivated for exploration due to the lack of rewards and points of interest.
- Baldur’s Gate 3 offers excellent replayability with over 17,000 endings.
- Despite various playthroughs, multiple factors keep Baldur’s Gate 3 fresh for its players.
Bethesda‘s executive producer Todd Howard said in an interview that Starfield was “intentionally” designed to be played for a long time. In truth, Starfield fails to deliver on that intention and many other expectations from the game. On the other hand, Baldur’s Gate 3, which was a game Xbox and Microsoft thought wasn’t worth much, ended up surpassing all expectations.
Larian Studios’ Baldur’s Gate 3 was released a month ago than Starfield, with a much smaller budget than Bethesda, and managed to become what Starfield was expected to be. However, that doesn’t mean Starfield is a bad game by any means; it’s just not the one you could keep playing for long. Whereas Baldur’s Gate 3 might not feature thousands of planets for exploration, what it offers is attention to detail.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is very different from Starfield in many ways. The most prominent one is the fact that Baldur’s Gate 3 implements RPG elements beautifully and rewards the players generously. It focuses on the game’s story as well as exploration and excels at both. From what it looks like, Baldur’s Gate 3’s world, story, gameplay features, and memes will keep the game relevant for years to come, unlike Starfield.
Bethesda and Todd Howard raised the expectations of many fans worldwide. It was a new IP, after all. Starfield was supposed to be a game that promises to allow players to travel galaxies and explore endlessly for years. However, the reality has been somewhat different. While it does allow players to travel through space, the way it does it is pretty underwhelming.
Freedom And Depth Of Exploration
Starfield is currently the most massive game out there, if not too massive. There are hundreds of star systems, and each of them is filled with unique planets. While this may sound pretty tempting on paper, exploring each planet fully only to find barely anything worth it and jumping on to the next can get quite tedious. Not to mention the means of transportation are quite mediocre.
Starfield has no ground vehicles, meaning you have to walk or fly around everywhere. Yes, exploring the first few planets thoroughly is fun, but it does get boring in a while. Meanwhile, Baldur’s Gate 3 is set in Faerûn, a fictional continent from the world of the Dungeons and Dragons, a table-top RPG. Baldur’s Gate 3 features a smaller but rewarding map where you can always find a corner you missed on your last playthrough.
The dice roll system can easily alter the course of your playthrough in the DnD-inspired RPG. Both story and exploration are fairly dependent on these dice rolls. Some story choices lock you out of some parts of the map, encouraging multiple playthroughs. But the thing that stands out the most about Baldur’s Gate 3’s exploration is the freedom it gives to the players.
The players can use jumps and spells to traverse through the lands of Faerûn, rewarding the player’s curiosity in a generous way as you’re not restricted to doing only one method to go to a hard-to-reach place. The point is that there is always something to find in Baldur’s Gate 3; it rewards you generously.
On the other hand, Starfield’s exploration can get a bit boring due to the lack of life and rewards on planets. And, if you’re just a fan of exploring for the sake of exploration, No Man’s Sky is a pretty good alternative for that, and the space travel it offers is fun as well.
Engaging Story With Great Replayability
Baldur’s Gate 3 features an engaging story with 3 Acts, each of which takes a while to complete. The game easily offers 50+ hours of content on a regular playthrough. Meanwhile, Starfield’s story can be completed in a mere 20+ hours. However, in Starfield, you can do plenty of stuff by delaying the conclusion to the main story, which will be the case with many players if they want to explore.
But, when it comes to the quality of the story, Baldur’s Gate 3 wins over Starfield by a huge margin, featuring over 17,000 different endings. Each playthrough feels different and unique, and you can also do an entirely different evil playthrough. The dice roll system also dictates how your game will go, so unless you’re reloading saves, you might end up with a different outcome than what you’ve had hoped for.
This feature adds tons of replayability to the game as you might fail a roll on a story-defining dialogue option on one playthrough, might win it on the next, or go for an entirely different option on the next playthrough. On the other hand, Starfield also offers plenty of decisions that can drastically alter the course of your playthrough. One of the more important decisions is where you have to decide if you’re willing to end the story.
Once you’ve finished the final mission of the main story, you will automatically trigger a New Game Plus playthrough, causing the player to lose all their progress except their skills and level. Even if you choose to finish all sidequests alongside the main story, most of the time, you’ll find yourself exploring the massive galaxies in Starfield, which can also get boring pretty quickly.
Mods And Their Effect On The Game
Mods have been an integral part of Bethesda games, and it’s the same with Starfield. Starfield offers great freedom to modders, which is something Baldur’s Gate 3 is lacking. Baldur’s Gate 3 might have more mods than Starfield as of now on NexusMods, but none of them adds new NPCs or quests. Starfield is winning in that department, and who knows what the modding community might pull off in the coming years.
Starfield is set to receive full mod support in 2024, which will allow modders to modify the game further and fix any issues that are present in the game. But till that happens, Baldur’s Gate 3 isn’t going to die off right away. The game has consistently kept itself secure in the top 10 most-played games on Steam since its launch in August.
For now, Baldur’s Gate 3 is the game you can continue playing for a long time without getting tired, as there’s always something new, something unique that you’ve yet to discover. Starfield is huge, but that’s all it is. You can go to hundreds of new planets only to find them completely barren or with very little life and points of interest.
Starfield is a great game, but not something you can continue playing for long, let alone for years. Baldur’s Gate 3, on the other hand, is something you can continue playing for months. There are different classes, choices, and many ways you can progress in exploration and story. Starfield focuses on many different things but cannot excel at anything, while Baldur’s Gate 3 does everything it can exceptionally well.
There’s a lot to explore in Starfield, but it can get tedious and overwhelming. The effort-to-reward ratio is also pretty low, making it difficult for players to keep themselves motivated for exploration. But Baldur’s Gate 3, despite having a much shorter map, offers attention to detail. There is always something you can find, or you’ve missed.
There’s still hope for Starfield. The modding community might fix every single issue that is there with the game, the same way they did it with Skyrim, making Starfield a game that could be played for a long time. But, as of now, in Starfield’s current situation, it isn’t easy to consider it a game that anyone could play for a long time.
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