Starfield vs. Fallout 4 - Which game is better?
Bethesda has established a reputation in the gaming industry (both positive and negative) with its popular first-person open-world RPGs. It has alread...
Bethesda has established a reputation in the gaming industry (both positive and negative) with its popular first-person open-world RPGs. It has already delved into the fantasy genre with The Elder Scrolls and the post-apocalyptic future with Fallout. Starfield, a science-fiction RPG crafted from the same mold as its previous games, is propelled by an even more ambitious direction.
The game is often described as "Fallout 4 in space," which is not too far-fetched, as a brief glimpse into the gameplay of Starfield will demonstrate. However, with such a comparison, the question arises as to which of the two games is superior. And what better way to settle the debate than by directly juxtaposing the two Bethesda games side by side?
5 Setting And Theme - Starfield
The most obvious difference lies in the setting of Starfield and Fallout 4. Starfield strives to provide an immersive experience centered around space exploration, visiting various planets, and encountering alien civilizations. In contrast, Fallout immerses players in a specific state or city on a radiation-ravaged, post-apocalyptic Earth inspired by the 1950s. Fallout showcases a world destroyed by humanity, while Starfield exemplifies the potential that humans can reach. The two games could not be more different in their themes, akin to night and day.
Starfield is a game about adventure and exploration in what could be described as our ideal future. On the other hand, Fallout revolves around surviving in a world that has transformed into a hellish landscape of our own making. Fallout also leans more towards socio-political themes as players navigate through a devastated world where various factions vie for dominance.
On the other hand, Starfield reveals that there are only two major factions with which you must contend. In this regard, Starfield is more akin to Skyrim in terms of handling the political environment within the game. In terms of map size, Starfield is approximately 20 percent larger than Fallout 4.
4 Storyline - Fallout 4
Both games are tightly intertwined with their main campaigns and impressively deliver on their individual storylines. Starfield draws inspiration from classic space opera tropes, presenting a narrative that propels you from one galaxy to another, engaging in space and ground combat while uncovering long-forgotten ancient civilizations.
On the other hand, Fallout 4 is noticeably more grounded in its scope, with its story revolving around a parent searching for their lost child in a brutal and unfamiliar world. Fallout 4 also leans more towards being a moral game as you navigate through numerous situations, bearing the weight of the decisions you make.
One aspect of Starfield's story that is highly appreciated is that it never gives the impression of rushing you through the numerous main and side quests. You can play the game as you wish, at your own pace, and it will not penalize you for taking your time to complete missions. Overall, the main storyline of Starfield aligns well with the overall concept of the game, and nothing feels jarringly out of place, which can be an issue with some of the side quests in Fallout 4.
The fact that the story of Fallout 4 is more personal and revolves specifically around you somehow makes it more relatable. Although the story could have benefited from some additional polishing, the main campaign of Fallout 4 surpasses the standard 'McGuffin' cliché found in Starfield. Both Starfield and Fallout 4 offer memorable side quests, and it is hoped that Starfield will continue to evolve in terms of lore, as the potential is there and the seeds have been successfully planted.
3 Art Style - Tie
Comparing the graphical quality of two games that are eight years apart is not entirely fair. Starfield is undoubtedly the more visually stunning of the two games. However, in the interest of objectivity, let us compare the art styles of both and determine which one has hit the bullseye in that regard.
Starfield offers a total of 1,000 explorable planets, made possible through the use of procedurally generated landscapes. This means that, compared to Fallout 4, Starfield will have an astronomically larger variety of places to visit, but it also means that many of these generated worlds may lack the same level of detail and personality. In contrast, when comparing this to Fallout 4, practically every location you can visit will have interesting details and hidden clues. The world of Fallout 4 is filled with background stories, and that is because the world was painstakingly crafted by the developers.
While Starfield does have some unforgettable locations, these are primarily part of the game's overarching campaign. When venturing beyond the scope of the main story, you may encounter places that feel soulless. Essentially, the quality of the AI-generated planets is akin to playing a slot machine; you never know what you're going to get.
2 Gameplay Mechanics - Starfield
At their core, both Starfield and Fallout 4 have almost identical controls. This is not surprising, as both games were developed using the same engine, specifically an enhanced version called Creation Engine 2, which Starfield utilizes. Starfield also delves deep into the concept of space travel, as you have the opportunity to build, upgrade, and pilot your own ship in specific sections of the game, even engaging in battles with other spacecraft.
Fallout shares similar controls, but most objectives and gameplay revolve around a lighter version of survival mechanics, such as scavenging debris, crafting, and building bases or settlements. You also have to contend with the hazardous environment due to radioactive radiation, which further heightens the overall tension when exploring a devastated world. This stands in stark contrast to the comparatively more relaxed and cheerful atmosphere of Starfield.
Overall, Starfield feels like a more polished version of Fallout 4 that takes a few steps forward thanks to the liberation from yesterday's technologies. For example, the base-building feature from Fallout 4 returns in the form of a highly detailed ship construction. Weapon customization is also present, with Starfield offering a more diverse and imaginative selection of science fiction weapons.
Consider Fallout 4 as a trial run for implementing new features and mechanics, while Starfield is the actual presentation. Pretty much all typical Bethesda game mechanics have been improved and better integrated in Starfield. Although the characteristic V.A.T.S. targeting system from Fallout has been omitted, the first-person shooter mechanics in Starfield are significantly superior, and this is an aspect where Bethesda has typically lagged behind.
1 Final Verdict - Starfield
Both Starfield and Fallout 4 are massive games that offer players a ton of content. Both games are packed with numerous side quests, collectibles, and challenging achievements that can be unlocked.
When it comes to gameplay, performance, and presentation, Starfield has the proverbial edge. The Bethesda team has clearly poured their heart and soul into the development of this game, and it shows. While Fallout 4 is certainly a great game, it does have certain shortcomings compared to Starfield, while the latter shines like a supernova.