Hope you had a nice holiday, because a certain open-world space RPG certainly did not. As of right around December 25, 2023, Starfield had received enough thumbs-downs on Steam to push its user rating status into “Mostly Negative” territory. It’s an upsetting fall for such a hyped title from one of the most celebrated developers of the modern era.
Announced in 2018, Starfield saw its anticipation remain quite high in the years leading up to its September 2023 release. The first original IP from renowned developer Bethesda in decades, it had fans of the studio’s vast open-world games eager to jump into an epic space opera featuring over 1,000 explorable planets. In the months following the game’s launch, however, Starfield has faced a lot of fan and media criticism for its shallow narrative offerings, the segmented, loading-screen-gated presentation of its galaxy, and a sense that there just isn’t much to do but wander around barren, though pretty, planets. That disappointment has now coalesced into a cratering reception on the world’s most popular and important storefront for PC gaming.
Read More: Starfield: The Kotaku Review
Starfield had already started hitting some rough waters on Steam in recent weeks, landing at its previous low of “Mixed” status around November. Meanwhile, the game had seen many people depart from its galactic offerings; a trend that might be common with other single-player open-world games, but is notable in Starfield’s case as Bethesda and Microsoft have insisted that it was made to be played consistently and for years to come.
Folks on the r/Starfield subreddit took notice of the sinking review status right around Christmas, when the game received an influx of 245 negative reviews on Steam. “Cyberpunk’s revival definitely didn’t help” reads one comment, followed by a mention of Baldur’s Gate 3, which snagged Game of the Year at this year’s Game Awards ceremony (Starfield, notably, scored only one nomination and brought home zero awards).
Starfield Steam reviews: ’Just buy Cyberpunk’
One of the top Steam reviews for the game currently reads “Just buy Cyberpunk.” Other fans have drawn direct comparisons to other Bethesda games: “Do not play after Skyrim or Fallout 4 or Fallout New Vegas or Fallout 3 […] You will be so [disappointed].” Another review describes the game as an “excess of nothingness. An open-world RPG that is so overstuffed with meaningless content that seams are starting to split and the empty calories are spilling out.”
Negative Steam reviews aren’t anything new for Starfield. Previously, Bethesda had begun to officially respond to individual reviews on the platform after the game hit an overall rating of “Mixed.”
Starfield is expected to receive new features and updates into 2024, such as “new ways to travel.” Bethesda has said its aiming to deliver such updates at a pace of once every six weeks, starting in February.
Read More: Here’s How You Can Beta Test New Starfield Updates
Will these updates be enough to turn fan sentiment around? Well, in a world where Cyberpunk 2077 literally won an award for getting its act together, it’s not entirely implausible.