Starfield Could Learn A Lot From Fallout: New Vegas’ Wild Wasteland – DualShockers

Posted: September 29, 2023 at 7:11 pm


Searching the galaxy in Starfield is a task of monumental proportions. With more than 1,000 procedurally generated planets, moons, and asteroids that you can explore (except for the gas giants, but it's hard to fault Bethesda for not letting you land on a non-solid surface with gravity that would immediately implode your ship), mapping everything for your friends at Constellation or your LIST buddy Phil Hill feels like something that would take months of playtime. I've been dedicating most of my gaming time to Starfield since its release, and I've only achieved 100% exploration on about a half-dozen celestial bodies.

All that being said, it can get pretty tedious. Cataloging flora, fauna, and mineral and gas deposits isn't exactly a staple of any video game genre, and it's not hard to understand why, but at least booting up your scanner will lead you to a number of points of interest across the surface of each planet.

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Still, even these didn't hold my attention after the third of fourth abandoned research facility I came across. The landmarks lead you to natural formations like caves and tectonic faults, where there's usually not much to see; small settlements, which at least give you a place to sell some of the junk you're probably hauling around, and abandoned United Colonies and Freestar Collective facilities, which have been taken over by Spacers. Or the Crimson Fleet. Or Ecliptic mercenaries. Whoever's running the joint now, they're all pretty interchangable, as they'll shoot on sight (unless you're part of the Crimson Fleet yourself) and all serve the same purpose of pumping out more guns for you to sell.

Except here. No one wants to live on this planet anymore.

It's not terrible, but it's pretty repetitive FPS combat, and I wish Bethesda would have mixed it up a bit when it comes to the kinds of things you can find out there in the wildkind of like when Obsidian took back the reins of Fallout and added in the Wild Wasteland perk to Fallout New Vegas. If you never took this perk, boy did you miss out. Adding more than 20 random encounters and fun interactions to the ones you can find out in the Mojave in the base game, and umpteen more when you factor in what it added for the combined DLC, Wild Wasteland took what was already great about New Vegas and added in fun little tongue-in-cheek allusions and homages to present-day pop culture.

The most famous example is the fedora-clad skeleton in the refrigerator, alluding to the cringe-worthy escape sequence in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but there are so many others, like Rodents of Unusual Size from The Princess Bride, a pair of charred skeletons named Owen and Beru, hostile securitrons doing their best impression of Dr. Who's Daleks by shouting "Exterminate" at you, and not one but two references to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Go ahead, John Williams. Make me cry again.

There are other events not tied to specific movies and TV shows, like the gang of old ladies in pink dresses that come at you with rolling pins, and sure, there's room for that kind of humor in Starfield too, but there are plenty of opportunities to bring a bit of our current timeline to the 24th century.

And it's not like the people in Starfield don't know anything about what life on Earth was like before the magnetosphere disaster. There are people on Mars who practically worship their now-barren next-door neighbor. Wealthy people have antique basketballs and other old-Earth antiques stored behind glass cases, and you can make a pretty penny peddling them off, too.

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And those aren't the only people who'd know about the distant past either. They may be disjointed from the rest of society, but the crew of the ECS Constant, the old colony ship that took generations of isolated lives to travel to their new home planet of Porrima II without the use of a grav drive, spend their school years watching old movies in class. There are a few ways to complete the quest associated with this ship, and only one of them kills everyone on board, while the other two either set them up on their home planet of choice or have them resume their search for a new home, but now with a grav drive to speed them along.

The ECS Constant: Humanity's last and best hope for zany hijinks. It would be shaped like that, wouldn't it?

That last option sounds like a prime candidate for some pop culture goodness. Imagine, if you will, a group of people who've lost contact with the rest of humanity for hundreds of years. They eventually reintegrate themselves into society, but they don't really fit in, in part because they've missed out on so much already, and in part because core of their historical knowledge is based on parables gained from cinematic fiction. Why, we could have entire cities, even planets, populated by people living out their fantasies.

A Westerosi planet where farming rights are determined in trial by combat? A brightly colored planet where everyone is named Barbie or Ken? Hey, we're all from outer space, so where my Killer Klowns at? If you can borrow it from some other IP, you can do it. The possibilities are endless.

Would that just be a rehash of The Kings from New Vegas, a gang that maintains law and order in Freeside while embracing the time-honored Vegas tradition of impersonating Elvis Presley? Kinda, but they were one of the best parts of that game, and I'd be down for more of that.

NEXT: Fallout's VATS System Has Ruined Starfield's Combat For Me


Starfield Could Learn A Lot From Fallout: New Vegas' Wild Wasteland - DualShockers

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