June 24, 2024

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Fortunately, this grand sci-fi game is limited by artificial intelligence

Fortunately, this grand sci-fi game is limited by artificial intelligence

Name a revolutionary technology, and you’ll quickly find a gamer sighing: Yes, we’ve been doing something like this for years. For example, programs that can automatically generate text and images. In games, terrain, enemies, or objects are often computer generated, based on existing parts and complex algorithms. You can do a lot with it, and even build an infinite number of planets to visit. But there are downsides, as the creator of the space game discovered No sky man (2016): The end result does not seem endlessly captivating, but rather resembles a series of gentle cut-and-paste actions. Now game giant Bethesda wants it Starfield They do the same trick, on an astronomical budget, funded by new owner Microsoft.

Can you manage that?

no. Because Bethesda Starfield It doesn’t leave it at all to generative software, but above all it does its best to give the illusion of infinity with that technology, while providing enough literal man-made labor to keep the universe alive. Yes, you can go to any planet – provided your ship has enough fuel – and land anywhere on that planet. But there the game creates a restricted area, filled with landmarks that were clearly hand-designed. The number varies: some planets are extinct, others are occupied, and sometimes even with capitals filled with human-written characters who roam man-made shops and offer (many!) human-designed quests.

The infinite view of space may not be one of them No sky manBut for every limit you get something in return. Starfield It’s best played investigatively, constantly moving from galaxy to city to space station. Along the way, you stumble upon surprises, with at least one story or oddity in each destination that wows you, even if only for a moment. Bethesda has always been good at building large game areas that you want to explore. And now they’re doing it effectively on the scale of the Milky Way. Visually, the old software that Bethesda has been using for years has been given a major update. Errors exist, of course, but they are sporadic.

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Discover a new planet in Starfield.
Image by Bethesda Studio

Dear idealists

The weakest is the company, as usual in the main story. You play a miner – whose background, face, and personality can be highly customizable – who accidentally bumps into a special piece of metal with gravity-bending properties. Immediately, you will be enthusiastically recruited by the Collective Scouting Constellation. They want to find as much of this mineral as possible, just out of curiosity. This is of course a good recipe for adventure and disaster. But the story itself remains consistent, only in the final hours does it become strange enough to arouse the player’s curiosity as well. What doesn’t help is that all of the Constellation members are perfect – the voice actors are stronger than ever in a Bethesda game, but the depth is missing. You can go with four of them. Of course there are two men and two women, so the romantic player also has something to choose from.

Happy Deals Starfield There are too many other distractions, short stories, and deep systems that don’t keep you immersed in the story for long. You choose a goal: for example, a new floor in your base. You need more aluminum to make this happen, so you have to quickly find a planet that has a lot of aluminum in the soil. Once you get there, you will meet a farmer who is being harassed by pirates. Can you help him settle a years-long neighbor dispute so they can all fight the pirates together? With a little effort, you convince your angry neighbor, and the reward comes: now your pockets are full. First stop at a nearby space station to put extra cargo storage on your ship so you can throw all the aluminum into it later. In Spaceship Salesman, you accidentally end up in a job interview that leads to…

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This is how the hours fly More in a moment. Yes: there are some mistakes in the story, a lack of variety in enemies, and a somewhat formulaic way that weapons work. But if you, as a player, stop thinking about these issues only after fifty hours of flying from a hot spot to them, then you have to admit: secretly, this game works great.