How to Loot Destroyed Ships in Starfield
Image via Prima Games.

How to Target Engines in Starfield

Taking them down, one piece at a time.

As you explore different systems and planets in Starfield, you’re going to come across spaceships and crews that aren’t happy to see you. So unhappy, in fact, that they’ll begin blasting lasers into your ship on sight. Now, you can do what any normal space flight enthusiast would do and light them up with all of your weapons until they’re in 12 pieces, but it’s both simple and inefficient. Instead, there’s a way to bring down their systems and cripple their ability to combat you. Here’s how to target a ship’s engines in Starfield.

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How to Destroy the Engines of an Enemy Ship in Starfield

Starfield Targeting Engines
Image via Prima Games.

There are a few ways you can go about taking down an enemy ship’s engines in Starfield. The easiest way is to simply take down a ship’s shields and focus fire on its engines. This will work in some cases but can be inefficient and quite inconsistent. Trying to fire at the engines of a moving target is, naturally, a massive challenge.

Starfield Targeting Control Systems
Image via Prima Games.

Thankfully, Bethesda thought of this and included a way to target specific components. To access this feature, you need a point in the Targeting Control Systems skill, found under the Tech tree. You’re free to put more points into this skill, though it isn’t mandatory. The ranks of the Targeting Control Systems skill do the following:

  • Rank 1: Unlocks ship targeting functionality.
  • Rank 2: Time to lock onto enemy ships is reduced by 15%. Target-locked ships fire at you 25% slower.
  • Rank 3: Time to lock onto enemy ships is reduced by 30%. You have a 10% increased chance of critically hitting a target-locked ship.
  • Rank 4: Time to lock onto enemy ships is reduced by 60%. Deal 20% increased system damage in targeting mode.

With the point invested, aiming at a ship long enough will allow you to press a button to lock onto that target. This puts you in slow motion but allows you to focus on a component of your choosing. Provided their shields are down when you do this, that component should start taking damage until you destroy it entirely.

What Does Destroying a Ship’s Engines Do?

Starfield Stealing Enemy Ship
Image via Prima Games.

If you manage to take down the enemy ship’s engines, their ship will become a sitting duck and be open to a barrage of fire. If you’re trying to acquire some new hardware though, destroying the engines also lets you dock with their ship (if no enemy ships are around). This can be done by flying close to the ship and pressing either the R key on PC or X button on controller. From there, you can kill all hostiles within and sit in the pilot’s seat to jack their ship. Once you bring it to a spaceport, it’ll be part of your ship inventory. From there, you can use it, improve upon it, or sell it for some extra Credits.

If you’re looking into more details about that second use, check out our guide on how to hijack a ship in Starfield.


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Author
Shawn Robinson
Shawn is a freelance gaming journalist who's been with Prima Games for a year and a half, writing mainly about FPS games and RPGs. He even brings several years of experience at other sites like The Nerd Stash to the table. While he doesn't bring a fancy degree to the table, he brings immense attention to detail with his guides, reviews, and news, leveraging his decade and a half of gaming knowledge. If he isn't writing about games, he's likely getting zero kills in his favorite FPS or yelling at the game when it was 100% his fault that he died.