Starfield lets spacefarers battles enemies with both guns and melee weapons, but it also allows players to bash their foes with their gun. And it appears not everyone knows about this, as inadvertently revealed by the YouTuber Causal Loop, who completed the game's main story using only the butt of his weapon.
"Guns are designed for a single purpose," Causal Loop begins "but ammo's expensive, heavy, and there's no honour in killing someone who can't even see your face. So what if you wanted to become a true badass who, instead of pulling the trigger, used their gun as a blunt instrument to spread carnage throughout the Settled Systems?"
The rules for Causal Loop's playthrough were pretty straightforward, only kill enemies with gun bashing, no companions unless they're forced by the story (as companions will attack enemies with whatever's to hand), and play on normal difficulty. Causal Loop's only exception to these rules was when the game forced him into space combat, as you can't bash an enemy spaceship with your gun (although you can technically ram enemy ships to do damage).
As you'd expect from such a limitation, exclusively dinging space pirates on the dome with your gun makes Starfield a tad more challenging. "Gun bashing has very poor range and damage, making encounters with groups of enemies especially problematic. There were also no good ways to improve my damage outside of certain weapon and armour effects and chems." There are a couple of points in the video where Causal picks up a pistol or shotgun that doubles bashing damage, but that's really it.
More broadly, the video doesn't really comment on how bashing enemies with your boomstick affects the play experience—it's mostly interested in the simpler question of whether pistol whipping your way through Starfield is possible. Nonetheless, I have to credit Causal on persisting through what looks like an agonisingly tedious experience. Starfield's combat is far from the worst thing about the game, but it only gets truly interesting when you're blasting enemies in low or zero-G environments. The baseline experience is merely passable, and denying yourself any projectile weapons verges on self-flagellation.
Yet what's most interesting about Causal Loop's endeavor are the comments in the video's accompanying Reddit thread [link], written by players who didn't know pistol-whipping enemies was possible at all. "I've played for like 30 hours on PC and I don't even know how to gun bash," says arod0291, while -ATF- says "80 hours in. How do you gun bash on PC?"
Both the video and its comments highlight how extraneous Starfield's gun-bashing is, something that ties into wider speculation regarding how many vestigial features Starfield has. From the lack of consistent space travel to the hugely elaborate base-building system that exists as a means without an end, Starfield is filled with mechanics that are either half-formed or entirely arbitrary. I hope Bethesda open up about its creation someday, I bet it's a fascinating tale.
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