Starfield: A captivating gaming addiction or harmless curiosity?
The World Health Organization recognizes video game addiction as a real disorder. However, for a diagnosis to be made, the behavior pattern must cause significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. This behavior must also have been evident for at least 12 months.
As I write this, Starfield has only officially been released for a day. Still, the pre-release version has been in players' hands since September 1st. Starfield has been constantly in my thoughts since then. Would the WHO consider this an addiction? Maybe not, but there's no denying that Starfield is incredibly addictive.
How Starfield excels at eating away our time
I want to begin by stating that this isnt't a criticism of the developers. Starfield is an excellent game, and despite its flaws, it’s captivating. There are moments when I feel the urge to play rather than work — and that's concerning.
Starfield draws players in with a plethora of activities. The game world is vast, overflowing with missions to complete. Whenever we finish a mission, lo and behold, another turns up to take its place, often accompanied by others. These side quests are brilliantly designed and more intriguing than the main story.
The game continues in this manner, encouraging players to aim for 100 percent completion. However, this is not easy. According to the creators, completing Starfield will take around 100 hours. I've already spent almost 30 hours on side quests, exploration, checking different game mechanics, or hunting for ships that I can’t yet afford.
You can also spend hours building your spaceship. The ship editor is complex and requires some time to understand. With some imagination and skill, you can create a functional ship in a couple of hours.
Neon is a fantastic city for playing around in photo mode. The skill tree in Starfield is broad and not entirely intuitive at the start. Sometimes we lack certain skills, which makes accomplishing missions or upgrading equipment difficult.
Much remains unknown in Starfield. Therein lies its appeal — the urge to explore and discover the scope of freedom the game world offers. The locations of powerful weapons or spaceships remain mysterious, given the sheer size of the universe.
The game is constantly surprising, filled with references to other Bethesda games like Fallout 4 or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Even surprising is a functional "cut here" sign that genuinely works.
There's one trade-off though – Starfield consumes a substantial amount of time. Factors contributing to this include long loading screens, an unintuitive interface, and time-consuming spaceship launches. While these might sound disheartening, they do add to the gameplay duration.
Is Starfield genuinely harmful? On the contrary. It's refreshing to have a game that ignites my curiosity and one that I enjoy playing without any doubt. And for that, I've fallen in love with it.