5 role-playing space games you should try while waiting for Starfield

Starfield will be Bethesda's first new IP in over two decades (Image via Reddit)
Starfield will be Bethesda's first new IP in over two decades (Image via Reddit)

Starfield is getting ready for its release in November this year. Although Starfield hype is building up in the community, fans are yet to see any gamplay showcase.

The most recent update from the developers was a discussion of how the music in Starfield is composed, which teases some ideas about its world, but strays far from displaying some hands-on gameplay. While fans wait for Summer Game Fest for Bethesda to finally provide the gameplay reveal, there are a lot of games that can fulfill a craving for sci-fi space RPGs. This article lists five such RPGs that a Starfield enthusiast should try out while waiting for the big release.


5 space RPGs gamers can play while waiting for Starfield

1) Prey

Developer/Publisher: Arkane Studios/ Bethesda Softworks

Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One

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Prey is likely the only game published by Bethesda that comes close to Starfield in its tinge of futurism. Developed by Arkane Studios, it carries all the fun gameplay gimmicks that Dishonored enthusiasts will be familiar with. However, its particular leanings are closer to the old cult classic, Arx Fatalis, in terms of world-building.

Prey is set in the space station Talos 1, infested with Typhon, an unknown alien life form that can morph into anything. The player takes on the mantle of Morgan Yu, the VP of Talos 1, on whom falls the onus of solving the Typhon crisis.

Typhon is one of the most innovative ideas for the rank-and-file enemy in any RPG, and players themselves can channel their morphing abilities from early on. Other than morphing-related puzzles, the level design and scope for experimentation is made even better with tools such as a foam gun whose projectiles coalesce into a solid block.

2) System Shock 2

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Developer/Publisher: Irrational Games, Looking Glass Studios/ Electronic Arts

Platform: PC, Dreamcast

Released in 1999, System Shock 2 is a dated relic of a bygone era of game development. However, it is a time capsule of the most brilliant game design elements of the era. It would not be surprising to see even Starfield pay homage to this game.

The game is set in 2100, in a space station called Citadel. While the first game was written around an AI takeover, dubbed 'SHODEN', the sequel goes for a much more complex plot with espionage and cyber-politics of a time where faster-than-light travel has just become a reality.

Above all, System Shock 2 is a masterclass in layered, in-depth character progression. It is an interesting counterpoint to Bethesda, whose modern approach to the role-playing game advocates for more open-ended homogeneity with jack-of-all-trades player characters.

Instead, System Shock 2 is an inspiration for the more 'hardcore' school of RPGs, such as Deus Ex. This is best expressed with its prominent and distinct classes: the Marine, specializing in regular guns, the Navy, which has the ability to use more futuristic energy weapons, and the O.S.A., which is essentially a space wizard.

3) Mass Effect: Legendary Edition

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Developer/Publisher: BioWare/Electronic Arts

Platform: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One

The original Mass Effect trilogy was the video game equivalent of a space opera, written by BioWare in their heyday. There is, however, a clear distinction with Starfield here, which is the contradiction BioWare's hub-based world design poses to today's standard of open-world games.

Mass Effect: Andromeda, for all of its failings, made a move to bolster the gameplay front. The original trilogy does not have its wide-open areas, or even its much-improved modernized combat, but it holds up as a classic in its own right.

The key takeaway, as with any BioWare title from their golden age, is one of the earliest western action-RPGs to truly deliver the Black Isle Studios experience. Before The Witcher, Mass Effect was the true roleplaying experience where player choices are not a cosmetic illusion of agency, but they actually come with weighty consequences that sometimes materialize much later in the game.

4) Borderlands: The Pre-sequel

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Developer/Publisher: Gearbox Software, 2K Australia/Aspyr

Platform: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, Android, iOS

Borderlands: The Pre-sequel was set to bridge the narrative gap between Borderlands 1 and Borderlands 2. However, the game received a lot of negative criticism because it was not up to expectations at launch.

The game was delegated to 2K Australia, where they worked on a tight budget and a skeletal crew. The primary way in which this lower budget manifests in the game is its lack of content compared to the 3-DLC behemoth that Borderlands 2 became at that point.

However, it did try its best to take things up a notch with new mechanics. It took to space for its setting, and added the Oxygen mechanic, which brilliantly played into a double-jump and puzzle setpiece, something fans might even get to see in Starfield. Despite its substandard rating, the game boasts one of the most colorful motley crew of Vault Hunter classes, one of which is a Claptrap bot.

5) The Outer Worlds

Developer/Publisher: Obsidian Entertainment/ Private Division

Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

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The Outer Worlds was essentially set to be the Fallout-killer as Obsidian's first new intellectual property in a long time. In practice, its sales did not quite meet the mark to qualify as such. However, what it did deliver was a tight PS4-era quintessential Obsidian experience.

Out of all the entries on this list, The Outer Worlds possibly hits most of the Starfield checkboxes. It is the only Obsidian game to be actually set in space. Although purposefully not as grand on an actual scale as Starfield is advertised to be, its depth and richness in worldbuilding still makes for some great exploration beats.

Despite its heavily linear narrative and lackluster amount of side-content, The Outer Worlds does have a great deal of RPG goodies, one of which is its in-depth character progression. For what it is worth, The Outer Worlds makes for the perfect game to play while waiting for Starfield.