How does combat work in Starfield?

A character walking across a rocky planet in Starfield.

A character walking across a rocky planet in Starfield.
November 3, 2023 - We've updated our guide on how the combat system works.

Combat plays an important role in every RPG game, and Starfield's combat is no different. During the recent Starfield Direct presentation, the developers showcased over 40 minutes of gameplay, and Bethesda unveiled a new combat system for their exciting new release.

Unlike previous Bethesda games, Starfield has a quite distinct combat system. But it does possess some common elements with The Outer Worlds’ combat. So without any further delay, here's all we know so far about Starfield combat.

For more on the game, here's all you need to know about Starfield download size. We've also got a complete list of Starfield achievements along with instructions to crouch in the game. This and even more can be found in our complete Starfield Hub!

Starfield First Person and Third Person overview
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First and third-person perspective combat in Starfield

When diving into the world of Starfield, players will quickly notice that combat can be experienced from both first-person and third-person viewpoints, similar to other popular Bethesda titles such as Skyrim and Fallout.

However, the gunplay feels more natural and seamless in the first-person perspective. So in order to enhance the experience, the game has a camera system that adjusts based on the player’s actions and surroundings, resulting in a cinematic experience.

Starfield jetpack gameplay
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Zero-gravity and jetpack combat

Another standout feature of combat in Starfield is its movement system, allowing players to sprint, jump, and slide through their surroundings effortlessly.

The game has a focus on space exploration, which implies that players will have the ability to move in zero-gravity environments. This could involve using thrusters or other propulsion systems to navigate in space.

However, the game also has a jetpack (called a “boost pack”) that adds a new dimension to movement and combat. It also allows players to gain high ground, find cover effectively, and navigate their environment dynamically.

Starfield character loadout menu
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Player choice and character customisation

Starfield shines with its emphasis on player choice and character customisation options that extend into combat. The game offers various approaches to engage in battles, catering to different playstyles.

Moreover, players have the option to choose from a wide range of gameplay options, including stealthy tactics, brawling, demolitionist approaches, and the use of abilities. Players can customise their combat style by selecting perks and skills that enhance their playstyle.

Starfield Gunplay overview
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Gunplay and weapon types

The shooting mechanics in Starfield are said to resemble those from the last parts of Fallout. The game displays the enemy type on the top of their head along with the health bar during the battle.

When it comes to firearms, Starfield offers a wide variety of weapons that are divided into three main categories: ballistic, energy, and Mag. Ballistic weapons use gunpowder to propel projectiles, while energy weapons use different energy sources to create beams or projectiles. At the same time, Mag weapons use electromagnetic technology.

Additionally, players can customise their weapons in Starfield by adding mods and attachments to improve the weapon's stats. Mods can be found throughout the game world or crafted by the player, while attachments can be purchased from merchants or found in loot chests.

Starfield skill tree example
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Starfield skill trees and perks

Starfield features a total of 82 skills divided into five different categories: Physical, Social, Combat, Science, and Tech. Unlocking perks and skills allows players to customise their playstyle by enhancing their attributes and abilities. For instance, players can improve their health regeneration rate or accuracy with certain weapons.

The specific skills within each category have not been fully revealed, but some examples include Concealment, Persuasion, Leadership, Astrophysics, Security, Targeting Control Systems, Starship Design, Wellness, Bargaining, Diplomacy, and Gastronomy. It is also worth noting that players may start the game with three skills already equipped based on their chosen Starfield backgrounds.

So that's it for our guide on how combat works in Starfield! For more on the game, be sure to check out our guides on how to swim in Starfield along with how to fast travel in Starfield.

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