As you'd expect, the folks over at Digital Foundry have already spent lots of time poring over every little detail in Starfield, resulting in a huge deep dive tech review. We've included the video version of this up above — which almost feels like a documentary on all-things Starfield tech — so you can take a look at what the experts think.
The long and short of it is that while Starfield still has some rough spots akin to a typical Bethesda RPG, this is a huge step up from the studio's previous efforts - even 2015's Fallout 4. Here's a section or two of the deep dive in written form, so you can get a gist of the overall review:
"Still, despite these criticisms, I was really surprised and impressed by how stable the game is overall. 30 fps is not a high frame-rate, I get that, but it's almost always stable and that counts for a lot. I also want to give special mention to the game's audio. For starters, Inon Zur composed the soundtrack to Starfield and it's absolutely phenomenal - hugely atmospheric with powerful themes driving the experience, but the sound effects work is also equally impressive. It makes full use of surround sound, enveloping you in the action. However, what I really love are the ways in which sound playback varies per environment. The difference in weapons fire audio within an internal and external environment is huge."
"So, what about the game in general? Starfield is a Bethesda RPG at its core - as you'd expect. In practice, it feels like a perfect blend of something like Skyrim or Fallout combined with the original Mass Effect. It's driven by a huge selection of interesting and often unexpected quests. Land on an empty planet and you may end up stumbling on events that lead to entire quest lines. Breaking up the game world into planets also means increased variation in the types of environments you'll play in - taking a mission on a rocky planet feels very different from infiltrating a base, for instance.
I've often taken issue with open world games and the endless amount of traversal they involve but weirdly enough, Starfield's segmentation (and yes, its loading) addresses this issue and it means you spend more time doing more interesting things instead. That's not to say you can't go off and explore if you want, but simply running across a landscape over and over again isn't the primary goal."
This is looking and sounding like a very impressive package from Bethesda Game Studios then, which we're slowly learning as we dive in via early access. Base game players, there's not long to go - Starfield lands on an Xbox Game Pass-shaped planet on September 6.