Starfield's got a skill that's just 'jetpack,' and that's got me pumped for what looks like the best combat Bethesda's ever done

Space cowboy reloading rifle
(Image credit: Bethesda)

The jetpack, man. That damn jetpack in the Starfield direct, the one with its own skill that's just, "jetpack" (ok "boost pack training"). I'm ready to rumble⁠—it's been 20 years since Bethesda let you float around in one of their games without the use of mods, and it's not like you could do much while you were up there in Morrowind. 

Whether or not Starfield's thousands of planets manage to live up to the hype and deliver an open world like nothing we've ever seen, I'm more confident than ever that Starfield's going to make a great venue for just messing with space pirates, orcs, whoever I'm going up against in fun and inventive ways.

Bethesda games have never been great at combat⁠—I don't care what anyone tells you, swinging and missing at a polygonal lump in Morrowind for three minutes at at time is not fun⁠—but they manage to be these jack-of-all-trades platforms that give you so many different options, you don't mind if each one on its own is just a little bit shallow. 

I've always been a sneaky guy in these games, and even if it always winds up boiling down to just crouch walking down corridors and pressing a button to instagib enemies, the Elder Scrolls series always punched above its weight in making me feel like some kind of master thief or assassin.

Seeing a jetpack man careen above a pirate base while firing on enemies just really did something for me, it feels like a promise. The shooting looks a helluva lot like Fallout 4, this slightly stiff but broadly above par affair, but it seems like a fine enough connective tissue if Starfield can deliver on its promise of giving you options, letting you embody your very own space guy. We've still only got this very cursory understanding of its skills and builds system, but I'm already getting that familiar RPG character creation anxiety: what type of guy do I want to be

The jetpack gunslinger fantasy beckons, but the direct also showed some sneaky melee guy, vent clambering antics that really speak to my inner immersive sim-liker, and that's not even touching on the promised "Xenosociology" skill that'll let you befriend alien monsters and turn them to your side.

My hope for Starfield, and one that was really bolstered by this trailer, is that it'll have good enough combat to let it be a great RPG, and I can't wait for this fall to just go absolutely ape and put all my points into "jetpack."


Starfield factions: Find a cause to quest for
Starfield cities: See the big spaces in space
Starfield companions: Collect cosmic comrades
Starfield traits: Give your hero some history
Starfield ship customization: Make your spaceship special

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.