Starfield Falls to Mixed Reviews — Here's What the Players Are Saying and How it Compares to Previous Releases
Bethesda's space-faring adventure Starfield was released on the 5th of September 2023, and as of this week, it has fallen to Mixed reviews with 69% positive ones out of 79,404 (at the time of writing). What was anticipated to be one of their greatest release since the original The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 12 years ago in 2011 has instead become their second weakest developed release since Fallout 76; though, that's up for debate, with the latter having 76% positive reviews from 48,218.
The hit to Starfield's success continues to plummet nearly three months after its original release, with recent reviews being only 59% positive with almost 10,000. The reviews aren't the only dip that the newest IP is facing, either; 24-hour peaks to concurrent players keep hitting new lows each week and haven't recovered since its original peak when the game released, having 330,723 players. Now, Starfield sees mid-to-high 30,000 on strong days, seeing a 90% dip over the course of three months.
Of course, as a finite, single-player experience, it's no surprise that a lot of the biggest fans of the game have already finished the storyline, likely several times. After 12 years of mod support to Skyrim, its replayability is much higher than its new in-publisher competitor; the latter still has 30,000 peaks at its best despite its age. Though The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition saw a much lower all-time peak of 69,906, the original release (now delisted) had nearly as much success as Starfield, with 287,411 at its peak and even daily peaks from 40,000 to 90,000 up to five years after its release.
The top-rated review by Square Zer0, with 99 hours on record, hundreds of awards, and thousands of positive votes, states that Bethesda missed the mark by focusing on the narrative aspect of the game, feeling constricted by a story that forces you to be "good". A response by the developer refutes this, but it seemingly had no effect, as at the time of writing, it still stands as a negative review with no edits.
The main complaint iterated throughout the reviews is that it feels repetitive — starting slow, becoming enjoyable, and then losing its charm by being too predictable. Also mentioned frequently is the number of loading screens Starfield has, with the statement that it fails to feel like an immersive open-world experience due to consistently having to jump into menus.
Most positive reviews praising the title tend to receive dozens of jester awards from the community, whilst criticism of the gameplay, open-world, storytelling, and seemingly linear aspect of the gameplay is received with praise, upvotes, and "Take My Points" by the dozens. Meanwhile, many of the responses by the developer are received with negativity, being a copy-paste response that, sometimes, contradicts itself.
Starfield is the second Bethesda-published title that missed the mark this year according to overall user reviews, with Redfall, developed by Arkane Austin, sitting currently at Mostly Negative with 32% positive reviews of 1,848, though recent changes have seen a surge of positive reviews, it's unlikely that we'll see Redfall pass Starfield in total review score any time soon.