Starfield: Review Predictions
Within 24 hours, critics across the world will be sharing their thoughts on Starfield. And it’s clear that they have something pretty special in their hands.
Honestly, I’ve never seen this level of hype from critics before. Everybody seems to be sharing hints and teasers. Some are saying it’s their biggest review ever. I’ve seen at least one review split into two videos.
Notice so far I haven’t said anything about good. None of the above precludes an 8/10, or even a 7/10. Ambition and scale isn’t the same as quality, and that’s where the real interest is going to come from when reviews are launched tomorrow.
Now, as it happens, I think it will get very good scores. Potentially even generation-defining levels of discussion, as we saw before with Fallout 3. But ultimately it’s still a score. It’s still on the same scale as Hannah Montana: The Movie and Ride to Hell: Retribution. A 9 is a 9 and a 3 is a 3, regardless of genre or ambition.
But for something this big, there is a very narrow point that it seems likely to hit. This is split into a couple of questions. Will it hit 90 on Metacritic, and what if it doesn’t? Can it hit 95+?
Starfield – Will It Hit 90 on Metacritic?
Deathloop got 89 when it released on Xbox. A score in the high 80s would put it at around the same level as Fallout 4 and the Doom reboot. This is respectable. It would be interesting to see the discussion, but this would not be a bad score at all.
And that is where I’m comfortable putting our starting point. Leaks seem to hint at this being the least buggy, most ambitious Bethesda game yet. That counts for something. Naturally, expectations have moved on since Fallout 4 and Doom, but it seems like, as a baseline, this is one we should be quietly confident in. It will get at least 88.
I don’t think there’s too high a score to predict. It’s not going to get 100, or even 99. Statistically, that is unlikely. But Red Dead Redemption 2 managed 97, as did Breath of the Wild. These are games that suck players in, and redefined their respective genres. Starfield has the chance of doing that, but it must be deserved. Then there’s the exclusivity of it all – take a drink every time someone mentions that in their review. It’d be nice to think that wouldn’t factor into things, but outlets will highlight it. Frequently.
If I were a betting man and wanted to play it safe, I would say the score settles somewhere in the low 90s. Anything in the 93/94 range is fantastic, as it puts it above most of Sony’s output and will be a soft indicator that Microsoft have turned it around. That’s not necessarily true, but expect to see that pop up.
But this has the potential to score to 95 and above. That’s no easy task, and I would be brave enough to call it. But it has all the ingredients. It just needs to taste right.
But What If It Doesn’t?
A lot has been made about Starfield and exactly how it fits into the narrative around Xbox. This is, semi-unironically, Xbox’s last big chance.
That’s nonsense, of course. Fable will be their last big chance too. So will Perfect Dark. That’s just how the feeling around Microsoft is. They’re not going anywhere, and there’s plenty of last chances on the horizon.
But there is something special around Starfield. In the specific category of AAA action games, Microsoft have been lacking. This is supposed to be the start of the next era of Xbox. We’re at that awful juncture again where an 89 isn’t necessarily one point less than a 90.
85 or below would be unthinkable. The XBOX IS DOOMED articles would fill Starfield’s thousand planets. It would still be a respectable score, and it would still be an incredible game. But it would cause some damage to the brand.
So there we have it. I think we’re looking at an ambitious game that’ll be extremely successful, and that fans will be lost in it until gone Christmas. I expect to be, anyway.
No one can question how big Starfield is. There is an awful lot in there. That explains the excitement from critics. The score, ultimately, will come from how that ambition is turned into a video game. A 9 is a 9.
I am predicting between an 89 and a 93 – a wider range than I’d like, but it’s too close to call. I can’t imagine it dropping lower, and am hesitant to go above in the effort of being specific. Realistically, this is a 97 waiting to happen. The devil will be in the detail.