Starfield: How to space travel and scan planets

Bethesda /

Starfield is a GIANT game, and that is putting it as mildly as possible. For such a huge game, Bethesda did a great job of balancing the hand-holding and allowing independent observations for the player to figure on their own. Two of those are space travel and planet scanning. Below, our handy walkthrough talks you over the basics.

There are over 1,000 planets in Starfield with just over 100 of them fully populated.  Traveling from one to another is easy, but that’s once you get used to it. You can see each individual star system and the planets within it, but also zoom out in order to see the entire universe. The visual is similar to Mass Effect, but the travel is much different. Once you find the system you need to travel to, you must plot a course to “jump” at light speed.  This is done utilizing your Grav drive on board your ship.

Plotting your course will sometimes see you going through multiple systems to arrive at your destination due to the distance between them. You will notice in the right hand side a fuel consumption gauge. As long as it does not use all your fuel, you can travel there.  The “dots” that indicate the systems show up blue if you can reach them and red if you can’t. When you find the one you need, hit the jump button to begin. Normally, games would just start your course of travel.  Starfield, however, is a bit different. You need to manually activate your Grav drive,  which the game doesn’t tell you.

In order to do so, you’ll need to press down on the D-pad in order to highlight the ships controls.  You will have to make sure at least 1 bar of power is in the Grav drive,  which will be taken away from another aspect of the ship. Once this is done, a timer pops up on screen and counts down to your jump. I didn’t realize this at first, and I spent about 5 minutes trying to boost my way through space not realizing I was standing still.

Once at the planet, of course you can’t just land there. It would be too easy. You’ll first need to scan the planet from orbit in order to reveal its POI’s. These are landing spots, mining zones, etc. Resources such as metals and minerals are also revealed. Many missions require certain resources to complete, so you can pin their locations in order to land at the nearest spot. Pressing LB on the surface brings up your scanner and allows you to see the items highlighted for retrieval. I recommend upgrading your scanning and surveying skills a well. These let you scan items without being right next to them (saving you much travel) as well as revealing rare materials from space.

There are many other skills that let you acclimate to crazy environments and have more Oxygen to let you run farther. There’s no limit on levels so you can earn every skill if you take the time, but the scanning and surveying will help greatly at the start of the game.

Next. Starfield review: A wondrous journey through the stars. dark

Starfield is out on September 6 on Xbox and PC, with early access available now. Get out and explore!