Jonks That’s my takeaway about their design philosophy too. Bethesda games do feel like their design is rooted in the 90s PC game of just messing about with the various systems. They are 90s games as opposed to being what you remember of 90s games. They do so much but all of it is relatively simple so I think that’s where the lack of depth critique comes from.
I will say that this time around, more focus has been directed toward dialogue and character interaction as opposed to being mostly wandering and collecting like what was seen in Skyrim and beyond. There’s a swath of NPCs who you can have paragraphs-long conversations with and I find it interesting. It’s nice to just exist in a galaxy that isn’t on the brink of destruction. A friend and I likened the faction quests to seasons of a TV show or perhaps a mini-series set in a particular universe. That’s what Starfield feels like to me and perhaps that hyper-non-linearity is what’s offputting to a lot of folks.
Also, I gotta give it to Bethesda for bringing back the best Oblivion character.