It has been almost 2 weeks since my last Starfield Chronicle, and since then I’ve just about doubled my hours spent with the game to be now just shy of 40 hours spent. My philosophy has been very much to hold aside much thought on what Starfield might one day be with the aid of mod creators, to be best able to enjoy Starfield for what it is today, now.

But my recent sudden increase in interest in just ‘Checking out what Skyrim and Fallout 4 have been up to modding-wise’ of late suggests to me that I’m now looking down the barrel of either making a quick decision to beeline through the main story of Starfield or be content adding it to the pile of Bethesda games I’ve never (and likely will never) complete the main story of.

In case you’re now also wondering…

This isn’t even, in my opinion, the most impressive mod setup available for Skyrim. This one has a very specific goal of retaining as much of the original ‘vanilla’ feel of the game as possible, with more of a focus on upgraded visuals. But! I think it’s also one of the better showcase vids, as it gives you the before/after view at the start, just in case your memory is trying to tell you ‘That is how Skyrim always looked’. It really isn’t! Memory is a fickle beast.

Similar to the Skyrim example — this isn’t even necessarily the pinnacle of where Fallout 4 modding has landed these days. I’m very likely to instead play the StoryWealth collection, should I pick up the game again. I did find it interesting though that, at least on a technical and graphical front, there seems to have been much less of a push in Fallout 4 as there has been for Skyrim. e.g., no mods that I encountered that add raytraced global illumination for fallout! This led me to believe the player count was significantly less than Skyrim, but that isn’t the case either. It is less — but not hugely.

One sentiment I found echoed across both player groups though: The best time to replay an older Bethesda game is right after a new one comes out.

And this is starting to resonate, especially when I reflect back upon the years where I issued myself the Five Game Challenge. Side note: Wow! 2020! I had no idea it was that long ago. Perhaps it’s time to bring it back… At least the fun-post part of it, which was to make a list of games that I would choose, if I were forced to limit what I played to just five games total… For a year.

Of course, sticking to such a small set of games for a whole year is well outside the realms of something I would voluntarily subject myself to, but, the ‘challenge’ part came in attempting to stick to my selections exclusively throughout the month of November. Often a month with other big title releases!

The reason I bring it up again here though, is if I were to consider running this challenge again now, would Starfield dislodge Skyrim, or even Fallout 4?

This gun seemed good enough to make me reconsider the whole Diplomat/Pistol’s only theme of my character.

Well…

If I was to game my selection with the knowledge I’d only be sticking to it in reality for a month, then, yeah, maybe I would pick Starfield. But if I was really sticking to the spirit of the picks, and making picks I could see myself having any chance of sustaining me over the course of a year? Then absolutely not.

I’m enjoying the Bethesda spin on a Mass Effect game greatly, even in it’s vanilla form. And further I would like to call out this is probably a more appropriate comparison to make. I’ve seen a lot of, “Lul, No Man’s Sky is kicking Starfield’s ass” type content of late and some of it is doing my head in.

Because, first of all, no it isn’t. Not in terms of player count at least, Starfield is still holding strong with many times NMS’ current player counts. But secondly, they’re not even remotely attempting to be the same kind of game. Sharing a theme of ‘space’ is about as far as the linkages go.

To be clear, I’m not trying to say it’s wrong to hold an opinion of preferring No Man’s Sky. I love NMS. But much of the comparison content seems to, whether by intent or oversight, miss the fact they’re not the same things, nor trying to be.

If I thought that Starfield was now all that it would ever be — I’d still be able to enjoy it for what it is, but…

Equally, it’s hard to deny that my long-term hopes for the game… My belief that it will still hold relevance 10, 15, 20 years from now, lies entirely in the hands of the modding community and what they can do with the systems and hooks that Bethesda has gifted them.

Given the amazing things achieved in the other games, through to entire combat overhauls even, I’m pretty hopeful personally.

Buuut maybe let’s not expect it to happen too quickly, either. Let the modders cook for a year, or two, or five… Then we can check-in again to see what wonders have been unleashed. :)


Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

4 Comments

Nimgimli · September 20, 2023 at 2:47 am

Starfield seems to be a lightning rod for the sh*tposters and hateposters, I guess because it is not only coming from Microsoft but that it isn’t coming out of PS5?

It’s why (present company excepted) I’ve basically sworn off reading any posts about Starfield… because they are all so extreme. On both sides, really. People coming up with specious or flat-out untrue reasons to hate on it, and on the other side people who refuse to acknowledge that the game certainly has some issues.

As for me, I’ve played maybe 4 hours of games other than Starfield this month, and those were just because I didn’t want to “lost track” of what I was doing in them (FF XVI and Persona 4).

    Naithin · September 20, 2023 at 9:17 pm

    Yeah, no doubt still a lot of people upset it didn’t come to PS5 after Bethesda’s acquisition.

    Starfield certainly has its issues, but I do hold some hope, even if equally I think it’s never likely to rise to the same heights that Skyrim did.

    When it comes to the exploration aspect, there is really something quite unmatched by simply being able to strike out in any direction and just… go… Something that Starfield’s version of exploration doesn’t (yet) have any way to match or even come close to.

    I guess what I’m saying is…

    Bring on TESVI! xD (Although no doubt we’re still 3-5 years away from that.)

Jeromai · September 21, 2023 at 1:34 am

What’s really impressive is that original Skyrim looks almost as good.

Yeah, with mods it now has that higher contrast lighting that newer games seem to love, and the details and textures have gone up in quality, but it seems almost an aesthetic choice rather than anything else.

    Naithin · September 21, 2023 at 3:39 pm

    First, yay, nice to see you!

    Second, agree — Skyrim holds up remarkably well on its own merits, graphically, all these years later. Sure there has been Anniversary and Special Edition releases which added some touch ups here and there, but nothing toooo crazy.

    In some defense of the more modern lightning techniques though — even from video, I was a bit of a disbeliever at first too.

    I remember seeing the Metro Exodus Raytraced edition Digital Foundry video and being utterly underwhelmed. ‘It’s just… brighter’, I thought.

    It wasn’t until really getting it live in front of myself and under my control and being able to see the bounce lighting dynamically respond to whatever was going on or whatever I was doing that it started to click as to what a leap forward the tech was.

    I haven’t tried out any of these fancy raytraced lighting technique mods in Skyrim yet to see how well implemented they are, but having gained the appreciation for the techniques now, I can at least say the video does make it look somewhat impressive!

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