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Summary

  • If
    Starfield
    is out of reach, other good options are available at a lower price point that can scratch that sci-fi open-world itch.
  • Other space games offer immersive space exploration and RPG experiences for all tastes and platforms.
  • The sci-fi genre has many opportunities for unique space roleplaying, from
    Star Wars: The Old Republic
    to
    No Man’s Sky
    .
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The open-world space RPG genre has found itself in the spotlight thanks to Starfield‘s massive popularity. The Bethesda title has been likened to a Skyrim game in space, and being from such a big name developer and the marketing push that it has had makes it easy to overlook other amazing games of a similar style that came before it. While Starfield has many unique characteristics that make it stand out, there are also lots of other games set in space that offer hours of enjoyment, each with its own distinctive qualities that could set itself up as a new favorite.

Currently, Starfield is only available for Xbox and PC, and there are no announced plans for launch on other platforms. For some, the limitations of being unable to play Starfield on a PS5 and Nintendo Switch, or even the lack of a gaming PC powerful enough, make it impossible to play. However, there are many other good options available that can scratch that sci-fi open-world itch and even at a much lower price point. Here are a few of the best space-themed RPGs set in open-world environments that are worth a look, whether someone is interested in playing Starfield or not.

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10 Elite Dangerous (2014)

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, & PC

Released
December 16, 2014
Developer(s)
Frontier Developments
Publisher(s)
Frontier Developments
ESRB
e10+

Elite Dangerous is listed as an online space flight simulation game, and has many aspects of RPG mechanics included in it with an open-world adventure across the galaxy. Starting out with only a starship and a small amount of money, players take on different jobs to level up and gain money and merit in the game. This can include mining, trading, bounty hunting, exploration, passenger transportation, or even piracy and assassination jobs. Through these jobs, players will gain experience in either Combat, Exploration, or Trading, which ultimately leads to determining their roles and faction alignment.

Besides customizing the look and outfits of the Commander character, there are also plenty of customizations to be done to the player’s starship with different paint jobs and upgrades that change the look and feel of the ship.

For fans of TTRPGs, Elite Dangerous also has a tabletop RPG rulebook available.

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Elite: Dangerous Review: Hardcore Space Sims Can Work on Consoles

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9 Everspace 2 (2023)

Platforms: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, & PC

Released
June 16, 2020
Developer(s)
ROCKFISH Games
Publisher(s)
ROCKFISH Games
ESRB
e10+

Everspace 2 is a combat-heavy space ARPG with beautiful worlds to explore across a series of star systems. While the first game in the series leaned into a roguelike gameplay mechanic, Everspace 2 does not follow the same pattern, and instead is more of a traditional ARPG in space. The single-player game has an exciting campaign narrative and a hand-crafted open world that is rich with puzzles and combat.

In Everspace 2, there are over 100 locations to explore, and players can choose from many side missions in addition to the main storyline. Ship types act as character classes in this game, with each ship having a unique set of skills and abilities that can be upgraded. These different ships allow players to choose what fits their play style best.

8 Star Valor (2018)

Platforms: PC

Star Valor is an ARPG set in space that allows people to have their own spaceship as they explore a large, procedurally-generated galaxy. In this universe, aliens have nearly caused the extinction of humanity, and it is a fight simply to stay alive. The game offers customizable ships, crew members for hire, seven factions to interact and align with, and a lot of space combat during the epic struggle for power and progress.

Starting out as a common nobody in the galaxy, players work to earn a reputation for themselves. Through choices made during the game, factions will see the main character as either a friend or an enemy. With skill progression for numerous areas, the game offers a chance for players to craft their character in many different ways.

7 Star Citizen (Released In Alpha In 2015)

Platforms: PC

Developer(s)
Cloud Imperium Games
Publisher(s)
Cloud Imperium Games
Genre(s)
Shooter , Space , Simulation
ESRB
Not Yet Rated

Star Citizen is an interesting case, as the game is still currently in development with no exact release date, despite it having been launched in Alpha nearly a decade ago. That doesn’t mean it’s stalled out, however, as it receives frequent updates and new content. This MMO space simulator game is still seeing a significant amount of support from the gaming community as well, with many who feel its uniquely realistic space experience is the future of video games.

The gameplay of Star Citizen includes FPS elements and an in-depth narrative campaign for the single-player experience, as well as its multiplayer focus. In the Persistent Universe, players can explore several planets and moons while choosing to focus on trading, bounty hunting, missions, and more.

Star Citizen can be played for free on PC, although there are many starter packs available for purchase that include ships and other additions.

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6 Star Trek Online (2010)

Platforms: PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, & PC

Based on the popular television series, Star Trek Online incorporates familiar Star Trek icons into the virtual world of its MMORPG gameplay. Six different factions are available to choose from, including several variations of Starfleet from across the television series. It takes place over a century after the events of Star Trek: Discovery, after the Romulan Empire has fractured and the Federation and Klingons are at war.

As would be expected, Star Trek Online comes with an in-depth story campaign where the player’s character is able to become the captain of their own ship. As they take charge of their crew, solve conflicts, and explore worlds, they can have junior crew members craft items, send officers on assignments, and more. In addition to the narrative, Star Trek Online provides plenty of combat scenarios, away missions, research, and crafting to provide a well-rounded adventure.

Star Trek Online is free-to-play up to level 65, with many in-game purchases and paid content add-ons.

5 The Outer Worlds (2019)

Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, & PC

Franchise
The Outer Worlds
Released
October 25, 2019
Developer(s)
Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher(s)
Private Division
ESRB
M

The Outer Worlds is a single-player first-person RPG set in a sci-fi environment that takes place in an alternate future timeline. This award-winning game from Obsidian Entertainment puts players in a galaxy where they wake from a coma after decades have passed, and have to figure out what to do next. The game features a heavy dose of humor alongside a deep narrative and beautiful graphics that showcase a unique world.

Choices that a player makes matters in The Outer Worlds, with dialogue choices directly impacting how the game ends. There is also a lot of customization in weapon type, skills specializations, as well as many NPC companions who can join the crew and have their own goals, motivations, and personalities. Similar to Starfield being compared to Skyrim in space, The Outer Worlds has been likened to Fallout in space.

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The Outer Worlds 2 Doesn’t Need To Compete With Starfield

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4 Star Wars: The Old Republic (2011)

Platforms: PC

Released
November 20, 1985
Genre(s)
Free-to-Play
ESRB
t

Perhaps one of the most well-known franchises in space adventures, Star Wars, also entered the open-world RPG genre with Star Wars: The Old Republic. This free-to-play MMORPG is set many years before the movies and offers a choices-matter narrative where the protagonist can end up on the Light or Dark side, the Republic or the Sith. Focusing heavily on the narrative, the story is told through fully voiced dialogue and has companion NPCs.

There are many roles that a character can choose, including Jedi, Sith, Bounty Hunter, and more. Of the eight different classes that players can choose from, each class has a unique three-act storyline that evolves based on the character’s morality on the light/dark spectrum. Star Wars: The Old Republic is free up to level 60, not including any expansion content.

3 Destiny 2 (2017)

Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, & PC

Franchise
Destiny
Released
September 8, 2017
ESRB
T

Destiny 2 is a free-to-play sci-fi first-person shooter MMORPG. The game includes the chance to explore the solar system while engaging with FPS combat in both PvP and challenging co-op missions alone or with friends. Playing as a Guardian defending the Last City of humanity, there are several choices for what type of Guardian class to become and even many Destiny 2 subclasses to further customize gameplay. The open-world RPG takes place in an evolving world in which friends and strangers can all interact while experiencing adventures to save the galaxy.

Though it leans more heavily into its first-person shooter mechanics in much of the most obvious gameplay, it features many RPG elements as well. Aside from the involved story and lore in the game, there is also deep build customization for player characters.

Although the base game of Destiny 2 is free, expansions do come at a price.

2 EVE Online (2003)

Platforms: PC

EVE Online is another example of an MMORPG with a space setting that provides an open-world feel of traveling through space. The experience gives players the option to choose different paths and interact with many NPCs and other players across over 7,200 star systems. Unique ships and a player-driven economy of supply and demand make the game a very player-focused environment that is immersive and engaging.

Players shape the world and the very game itself with never-ending political schemes and warfare among each other, with four playable races and five major empires and societies who do not often get along. The RPG includes in-game professions, resource gathering abilities such as mining, and more, in addition to the traditional exploration and combat, allowing one to fully round out their character in many ways.

1 No Man’s Sky (2016)

Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, & PC

Released
August 9, 2016
ESRB
T

For many, No Man’s Sky is likely to be the first to come to mind when thinking of open-world space games. No Man’s Sky has a truly open experience with procedurally generated worlds complete with unique flora and fauna that can be explored. The game offers more than 30 hours of story content, exploration, crafting, and more, with new worlds literally being created as players need them.

In addition to playing the game solo, there are many multiplayer capabilities for PvP or co-op play for up to 32 people. NPCs can be hired to assist and build outposts or colonies and help man the spacecraft while exploring the galaxy. Players can even construct their own starships in No Man’s Sky now, similar to the popular mechanic in Starfield, which offers the opportunity to make the game more personalized and stretch players’ creativity.

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There’s Officially No Reason To Play Starfield Anymore

Now that Starfield’s one feature with longevity has also been added to No Man’s Sky, there’s officially no reason to play Bethesda’s space RPG.

While the allure of Bethesda’s Starfield is understandable, there are many other games that can satisfy the craving for space exploration. RPG experiences in space are available for people of all tastes, play styles, and platforms or budgets. If Starfield isn’t a possibility for someone at the moment, or for those who have moved on from the game, some of these other options can provide plenty of entertaining gameplay amid the stars.

Starfield Game Poster
Starfield

Bethesda Game Studios presents Starfield – the first original IP from the studio in twenty-five-plus years. Set in the year 2310, the United Colonies and Freestar Collective are observing a shaky truce after a war set 20 years prior. The player will customize their character as a member of a space exploration team called Constellation while navigating The Settled Systems and the conflicts between the warring factions. According to Bethesda, players can explore over 100 systems and 1000 planets to find resources and build their ships, living out their own sci-fi journeys.

Released
September 6, 2023
Developer(s)
Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher(s)
Bethesda Softworks
ESRB
M



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