I'm still looking for a likable character in Starfield
I am still quite early in Starfield, as far as I can tell. I have collected a few artifacts and placed them in the lodge, and from here, I will likely...
I am still quite early in Starfield, as far as I can tell. I have collected a few artifacts and placed them in the lodge, and from here, I will likely need to follow further clues. According to the instructions, I have already encountered all the unique story companions, but I can still recruit some additional crew members for outposts if I have enough cash or happen to encounter them in certain quests. I have spoken to many people, searched bars for information, helped those in need, and gotten into fights with police officers after stealing an expensive steak, thinking no one could see me. I have already spent several hours with the game, but so far, I haven't come across a character who hasn't annoyed me.
Bethesda's priority with Starfield seemed to be less about creating interesting characters and more about developing a variety of systems, most of which annoy me. To be fair, most of the fun I had with previous Bethesda games came from exploration and surprising questlines - none of the companions I ever had in those games were particularly likable or interesting. They were just there to carry equipment and deal extra damage to enemies. I shouldn't have expected more from Starfield, but I did anyway because it's 2023, and you know, characters matter and all that.
I have found that the Constellation companions in Starfield are theoretically interesting, but in practice, they are boring. Barrett has a certain attitude and is considered a troublemaker who always gets into trouble. Sam is a single father and a spoiled child who hates his father. And Sarah is... the leader, who seemingly has few other distinct characteristics. Andreja is slightly interesting because she is a bit mean and distant, which makes me want to know what her damn problem is exactly. However, in practice, these characters contribute nothing to your game because their personalities have very little to do with the decisions you make or the way you play. It is especially painful coming from Baldur's Gate 3, where your companions are everything.
The people you encounter on your journey are no better. Each one feels like a walking stereotype, completely superficial to avoid any nuances. Some of them have interesting background stories, but the majority of them are lifeless zombies with the most boring remarks imaginable. I feel drawn to a cheerful janitor in New Atlantis, and then after the initial quest I complete for her, she has absolutely nothing interesting to say. My interest is piqued by a grumpy owner of an electronics store in The Well, and then he returns to complete insignificance.
The problem doesn't really lie in not every character being interesting, but rather in the dialogue being so poor. Bethesda is known for its NPCs who spout absolutely irrelevant nonsense when you interact with them—you know, "took an arrow to the knee"—but I thought they would have put a little more effort into it, considering that Bethesda dialogue has become a total meme by now. Every character vomits exposition at my feet in the least subtle way possible, and I really have to question if this is what we want from our biggest, high-budget games at this point in gaming. Even conversations with companions are unbearably boring and superficial. At this point, the most I can learn from them is about their history and hobbies, which feels extremely lackluster after Baldur's Gate 3.
It's as if I'm being pursued by a group of robots instead of characters with whom I can interact naturally. There's no point in engaging with them unless they indicate that they want to talk to me, and the whole thing bores me. Once again, I'm searching for reasons to continue playing Starfield and coming up with no results. If it's not the characters, the systems, or the story, then what could it be?