How Starfield’s Exploration Compares to No Man’s Sky | Games Rants
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How Starfield’s Exploration Compares to No Man’s Sky | Games Rants


  • Starfield, while a highly anticipated RPG, will face constant comparisons to No Man’s Sky due to their shared space exploration concept.
  • No Man’s Sky offers a mostly untouched universe with barren planets, while Starfield presents a populated universe with a focus on unique stories and interactions with characters.
  • No Man’s Sky emphasizes discovery and scanning, while Starfield leans more into RPG elements and offers fragmented space gameplay with loading screens and limited freedom of control.

After years of anticipation, Starfield has finally hit store shelves, and it seems to have lived up to many expectations so far. It has everything that Bethesda RPG fans could want within a brand-new setting that the studio has never attempted before. However, unlike Fallout which seems to stand on its own, Starfield has entered an incredibly crowded market that will see it compared to other space games for years to come.

One such space adventure that Starfield will likely be compared to forever is Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky. That game’s launch is infamous for failing to deliver on its premise, but the studio has since made the game one of the best sci-fi games around. While Starfield may be doing its own thing with the genre, it also seems to have many elements that feel extremely similar to Hello Games’ outing. Specifically, both games seem to handle space exploration in a similar but also quite different way.

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Starfield and No Man’s Sky Tackle Exploration Very Differently

Ship Landing

The essence of Starfield and No Man’s Sky is about exploring a vast galaxy of possibilities. Starfield sees players join Constellation to explore a massive populated universe in search of artifacts. While not every planet has massive cities on it, players can definitely feel like they are traversing planets that humanity has touched. On the other hand, No Man’s Sky throws players into a vast universe that feels mostly untouched by society, and that leads to a vastly different type of experience.

No Man’s Sky‘s galaxy has pockets of life, but the majority of its planets are rather barren. Players spend most of their time flying to different planets, cataloging the things on it, gathering various resources, and then heading off into space to go to another planet. They will occasionally run into outposts or random scenarios involving different species during their journey. However, the majority of their time is spent making their mark on these barren worlds and discovering all the secrets that these planets have to offer.

Not only are the two galaxies hugely different, but so are the core exploration features. No Man’s Sky puts a much larger emphasis on discovering and scanning the unknown while Starfield is more about following countless unique stories across the stars. It is much more of an RPG than a simulator, which leads to a different type of gameplay loop. While elements of scanning and cataloging exist, players will spend most of their time in Starfield interacting with characters as they embark on a wild sci-fi adventure.

The space gameplay of Starfield also feels a bit more fragmented than No Man Sky’s version. No Man’s Sky players are able to soar through the stars, enter and exit atmosphere, and will only encounter loading screens when they jump to new sectors. Starfield often interrupts these moments with loading screens and prevents players from actually having full control of their ship during flight. They cannot enter and exit the atmosphere, they are unable to fly through a planet’s skies, and their sector traversal is rather limited.

Starfield and No Man’s Sky challenge players to explore the stars but each do the concept a bit differently. Players who want a more freeform simulator space game may want to stick with No Man’s Sky, while those looking for a Bethesda RPG in space should take Starfield for a spin. While No Man’s Sky may do exploration a bit better, Starfield is still one of the best sci-fi games in years.

Starfield is available now on PC and Xbox Series X/S.

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