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Starfield preview - it is incredible how little you’ve actually seen

Xbox presents an extended look at the Bethesda space RPG at Gamescom, as the Starfield preview shows off the game's opening and overwhelming scope.

Starfield preview gamescom xbox presentation

Xbox returns to Gamescom and naturally, the biggest game on all our minds is Starfield. Years of waiting are set to pay soon with the imminent Starfield release date and now I’ve seen how the game begins in a fresh Starfield preview. Despite that huge Xbox showcase and various trailers for the massive Bethesda RPG, it is surprising how little of the game we’ve actually seen – and that’s a great thing.

After a brief video introduction from Todd Howard, Starfield’s opening moments aren’t exactly the makings of meme gold that many hoped it would be. No, I don’t think there will be any jokes akin to Skyrim to be extracted. Not yet anyway. Starfield begins on a smaller scale than expected and not even in the vastness of space. Our currently unnamed adventurer is underground in a mining complex, assisted by faces we’ve seen all over the game’s trailers. Your background is unclear and your reasons for foraging intergalactic soil are shrouded in mystery.

Hallmarks of Bethesda appear immediately, including those unmistakable extreme close-ups when speaking to characters. While the preview is clearly played to present the game cinematically, other tropes like following NPCs at a slow pace, unable to overtake them are present too. It doesn’t take long for something to go wrong. Skyrim had the dragon attack, Starfield has your character getting their mind zapped by an otherworldly artifact.

Starfield Xbox preview gamescom

Starfield character creation comes next, which is just as expansive as all the Starfield planets appear to be. I can imagine spending my first hour of the game purely within this comprehensive suite of sliders, shaders, styles, and skills. The hands-off preview only runs through the options briefly, but Starfield seemingly contains the most in-depth character creator Bethesda has ever built.

I fully anticipate players to create some of the most hilarious heinous creations within hours of the game’s release, as well as recreations of pop culture icons. If PC players are already modding GTA San Andreas’s CJ into Armored Core 6, then it is only a matter of time before he sets off for the stars. There isn’t much to be said of the factions present in Starfield here, but a run-in with the sprawling cast of Starfield characters clarifies the importance of space expedition. It is hard not to think of No Man’s Sky as both games revolve narratively around artifacts and possible alien civilizations, but there is an earnest feeling in the air in Starfield.

Humanity’s quest for knowledge is at the forefront in a wholesome fashion, enchanting me as Inon Zur’s goosebump-inducing melodies dress the galactic frontier. I still can’t fathom how much Starfield is harboring beyond this preview, as this 20-minute condensation of the game’s opening hours confirms this really is just a small step for us all to take.

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One element of Starfield that has haunted my dreams with fear is the game’s combat. Firing weaponry has always been a mixed bag for me in a Bethesda RPG, and while I couldn’t get an actual hands-on feel for it here, it certainly looks the part. Animations operate with respect to the mechanical side of weaponry, as pistols insert new rounds into the chamber with a pleasing metallic thud.

Whether in first-person or third-person, each of the Starfield weapons I saw looked satisfying, no matter the perspective. I’m ready to turn to become the fastest space cowboy in the galaxy, and though there isn’t much to see of the many Starfield powers available, there is the opportunity to become a very deadly scoundrel. It cannot be understated just how ambitious Starfield looks content-wise.

The levels of immersion ready to be absorbed are gigantic and my brain hurts just thinking about where to start. I haven’t even begun to consider paying the rent on my Starfield houses. Whether Bethesda can pull off the seemingly impossible feat of ambition with Starfield is still the question spinning around my head, but what I can say is that the stars are aligned for greatness.

Keep your eyes peeled for more previews, interviews, and coverage of Gamescom from The Loadout over the coming days.

Still looking for more? While a good Starfield wiki can be a handy source of information, our new Starfield Database goes further, offering you daily news, searchable databanks, and even interactive tools.