The Answer Isn’t That Simple
Ever since Starfield was released, players’ reactions have been mixed. Some appreciate Bethesda’s design philosophy and enjoy the game, while others find it dated and unfit for 2023. These differences resurfaced with the release and updates of Cyberpunk 2077, pushing players to weigh the two games against each other.
The comparisons have reached a fever pitch on social media, to the extent that a Cyberpunk 2077 developer responded to a comparison favoring their game over Starfield. They expressed their genuine admiration for Starfield. So, which one is the clear winner: Starfield or Cyberpunk 2077?
Cyberpunk 2077 is great at making you feel like you’re in a movie, paying close attention to creating lifelike environments with lots of small details.”
When we talk about Cyberpunk 2077, a first-person RPG heavily focused on cinematic experiences, we’re discussing a unique aspect of the game. It provides cinematic scenes while maintaining a first-person perspective throughout. This approach, which was unconventional and initially concerning to many, has turned out to be one of the game’s strengths.
The first-person perspective adds a unique charm to cinematic scenes
Most of the time, you control the camera freely, allowing you to observe and react without scene interruptions. You find yourself in a tense negotiation, part of the action but not its center. You look around, follow the heated discussions, and evaluate the situation from a personal perspective. Someone from the other side of the table suddenly looks at you and maybe points a gun at your head, asking a tough question that you have seconds to answer before your fate, as well as the outcome of the negotiations, is determined. This system is a complex design that doesn’t come across as simple as it might seem.
Moreover, the first-person perspective doesn’t force you to look in a specific direction, ensuring you don’t miss anything. Despite this freedom, scenes unfold naturally, and the characters interact with you. The design process involved meticulous placement of various characters in scenes, the movements of each character during conversations, and the timing of each line spoken. These are all crucial variables the developers focus on to present scenes as we see them. Creating some important scenes took years, according to a statement from the game’s expert quest designer.
The stellar voice acting is another critical factor, which many might overlook.
In Cyberpunk 2077, every character, whether major or minor, has distinct traits and unique interactions. Night City is filled with diverse characters, and each encounter with them feels like a meeting with a genuinely unique personality. The Polish studio takes voice acting to an extraordinary level, setting itself apart not just in this category but in the entire industry. Imagine a game that features Hollywood legends like Keanu Reeves and Idris Elba, delivering iconic performances, and yet the entire voice cast matches their caliber. From the main character, V, to the least significant characters, everyone plays a pivotal role in “Night City”.
Starfield puts player freedom first, allowing you to carve your path in a classic RPG environment
If you’ve played previous Bethesda titles, you’ll know what to expect from Starfield. It’s a pure RPG experience with a classic twist, setting it apart from Cyberpunk 2077.
Starfield places the entire galaxy in your hands with a wealth of unique content. When we talk about Bethesda titles, including Starfield, one thing that immediately comes to mind is the sheer volume of content with consistent quality. From quick side missions to lengthy quests that can last over ten hours, the game is packed with side quests that could easily be standalone game stories. These side quests come with intriguing characters, wonderfully paced events, and locations exclusive to these missions.
In Starfield, you can decide to go anywhere in the galaxy, and you’ll find activities that capture your interest. Whether it’s establishing bases on deserted planets, flying your spaceship, engaging in intense space encounters, or even just strolling through the main cities, each with a unique atmosphere, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a time portal as you explore them.
This freedom extends to deep customization, from building and personalizing your spaceship using the fantastic and intricate building system to every aspect you’d expect in a classic RPG like Starfield. Building bases for resource extraction, crafting, and modifying gear, and, of course, character creation and defining their backstory, which reflects on dialogue choices and open skills from the start.
Countless dynamic and engaging events make wandering in Starfield worthwhile.
Simply wandering among the public in Starfield holds value. There’s a high chance you’ll overhear someone’s conversation, leading you to a mission that could become your favorite in the game. All of this can happen by pure chance. You might get high-quality hours of gameplay just because you listened to someone talk on the street. This makes free exploration and wandering highly valuable. What serves this purpose is the lack of a clear map of the cities, a design choice that many considered a flaw, but I see it as a design choice that serves the purpose of freedom and immersion in the streets and alleyways.
Dynamic events extend into space as well. When you fly your ship in Starfield, you’ll encounter various people with different motives and diverse lives. From someone who asks for a small favor to help fix their ship, to those who take you on entirely new missions, claiming their ship has been missing for hundreds of years, and they were cut off from the world, and now they need your help! All of these events are unique and interesting in their own way, making them one of Starfield’s standout strengths that you definitely won’t find in Cyberpunk 2077.
So, where’s the answer?
So, where’s the answer? Starfield or Cyberpunk 2077? In reality, my friend, we’ve asked the wrong question, and unfortunately, you won’t find the answer you seek here. That’s because Starfield isn’t better than Cyberpunk 2077, and vice versa.
Each of these games has its unique design philosophy. One focuses on cinematic immersion with limited interactive dynamic events and a concise map, while the other delivers extensive content that lets you chart your course, with the world reacting to your choices and countless dynamic events. Of course, both games aren’t without their flaws, even when we place each game in its respective category.
Between Cyberpunk 2077 and Starfield, the only thing these two have in common is the futuristic timeline they have. Granted, they’re both shooters. However, Cyberpunk 2077 deals with an in-depth storyline of a character who is out for their brand of justice. With Starfield, it’s about saving humanity.