Starfield’s Overhauled Animations Make Combat Satisfyingly Smooth

Yes, there are still swords in Starfield.

by J.R. Waugh
Starfield Combat Animation Smooth
Image: Bethesda Game Studios

Starfield is the belle of the ball at the Xbox Bethesda Showcase in 2023. In fact, it’s the most ambitious game being showcased seemingly all year, if not one of the most ambitious ever conceived. With Bethesda Game Studios at the helm, and utilizing the full power of the Xbox Series X|S and PC, this game is poised to be pushed as the console’s next killer app. In addition to the immersive roleplaying and exploration elements though, we can’t help but note Starfield’s overhauled animations, and how wonderfully smooth it promises to make the gameplay and combat.

From Combat to Terrain Traversal, Starfield Has Some Gloriously Smooth-Looking Animations

In a game where you’re empowered to explore the reaches of a largely-untouched galaxy, it’s surprising that Starfield is seemingly promising to look and feel as good to play as it seems. It’s not just a world, but a collection of worlds on an unprecedented scale, so seeing satisfying ground combat and exploration makes it feel surprising in how intimately detailed the game truly is.

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It appears that the stiffness of previous Bethesda character models is gone, at least for the player character. Guns feel like they have proper weight, you have a surprising degree of freedom to propel yourself in the air using small jets mounted in your suit. Alien creatures are lively and responsive, and enemy death animations, in a move that seems set to try and upstage the bombastic Fallout deaths, are really satisfying.

But beyond Starfield’s character combat animations, the worlds you can explore feel lush, diverse, and alive. Small details like reloading your gun, and combat effects including damage animations really make combat feel satisfying and dynamic, with fluid motion in Starfield. Combat in zero gravity is an added challenge, with the weapon kickback pushing you backward in the air, which you can attempt to use to your advantage.

But In terms of pure, gimmick-free combat, Starfield might just be the best Bethesda IP yet, and yes, for Elder Scrolls fanatics, there are swords. The power of possibility will manifest gloriously in this game’s release on September 6, 2023.

- This article was updated on June 11th, 2023

About The Author

J.R. is a content creator with AOTF and has been covering gaming and entertainment in the industry since 2022. Along with a B.A. in History from the University of Cincinnati, he has studied at the University of Birmingham, UK, and part of his M.A. at the University of Waterloo. You'll find J.R. particularly at home writing about the hottest manga and anime. He is highly passionate about horror, strategy, and RPGs, and anything about Star Trek or LOTR. When not ranting about fan theories or writing guides, J.R. also manages his local movie theater.