How to target ship parts in Starfield

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A ship in Starfield exploding.
September 8, 2023: The public release is here, so brush up on how to target ship parts in Starfield.

Knowing how to target ship parts in Starfield doesn't come as second nature. You're shown how it works early into your galaxy-sized adventure, but it's taught alongside a cavalcade of other lessons that are easily forgotten by the time you need to use those skills again. Here's how to get your earn your wings all over again.

Though you're able to lock into ship parts in Starfield by default, without having to unlock anything other than your first ship, there's a better way to go about things. It's very similar to Fallout, another Bethesda game, so you'll feel right at home if you decide to unlock the advanced feature. We'll touch on both.

For more Starfield reads while you're here, check out how to increase carry capacity, how to craft, and how to invert flight controls. They all relate back to space travel in some regard. There's even an easy way to get XP fast in Starfield. You might need that if you're looking to learn how to deal damage with jetpacks and get legendary weapons, too.

How to target ship parts in Starfield

To target ship parts in Starfield individually, you need to put a point into the Targeting Control Systems skill in the Tech tree. You'll find in the first tier on the far right, so it'll only take another level up opportunity to reach.

With the first rank unlocked, you'll be able to use the default button prompt (R on keyboards) to lock onto enemy ships when they're in view. If you're in a larger battle, use E to select the correct target.

Once you press the Targeting button, you'll zoom into the enemy ship and see its visible individual parts labelled. Select the system you want to target using your left/right movement controls and fire away.

A screenshot highlighting the skill needed to target ship parts in Starfield.
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The bar above your ship's system parameters depletes as you run out of time to target. After that, you'll need to enter the Targeting mode again to select a new system to shoot at.

By default, you'll be taught that targeting ships in Starfield is as simple as tracking them in your sights long enough for your ship to lock on. Firing your weapons and landing hits will deplete shields first and, as the ship's HP dwindles, knock out its thrusters. That's a very basic idea of targeting ship parts in Starfield.

By putting a point into Targeting Control Systems, you'll unlock a more accurate and efficient method of dogfighting. Rank the skill up further to increase regular lock-on mechanics, deal more damage, and take less damage in return.

For more Starfield stories, turn your attention to the community. The game includes a moving tribute to a fan who sadly didn't live to play it, and despite reviews painting a picture of it being Bethesda's most polished release, streamers have already encountered hilarious bugs you can see right here.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Guides and Starfield page.