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The 10 best Starfield mods to upgrade your gameplay

Let Deep Space ReShade and Instant Digipick take you to a more abundant deep space

Artwork from Starfield: On a distant planet, as a giant moon sets, a lone astronaut turns their eyes to the heavens. Meanwhile, a robot welds the hull of their ship Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks

In Bethesda’s expansive role-playing game Starfield, not even the sky is the limit. When you decide to become one of its spacefaring inhabitants, you may quickly start to feel like there are infinite planets and potatoes to conquer. It could take a lifetime to do it all. Could you ever want for more?

Um, of course — you’re human. That’s why, whether you’re looking for prettier graphics or an easier trek through spacetime, you need to try these 10 Starfield mods.

While Starfield does not yet have official mod support (it’ll arrive “in a big way” in 2024, director Todd Howard said earlier this year), the following mods should work on PC with either Steam or Game Pass after you follow their download instructions.

First, a practical Starfield mod

Achievement Enabler

A Starfield player pointing their gun at others, in an abandoned warehouse. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Installing any Starfield mods currently disables your achievements. But there’s no need to start eulogizing those little words of congratulations. You can counter Bethesda with your own protective measure — download the popular Baka Achievement Enabler, which saves achievements from going dark.

Note that this is a Steam-only mod that requires you first download the Starfield Script Extender. But once you do, unless you’re a Game Pass player (it’s more touch-and-go, but there are working achievement mods out there for you, too), Baka Achievement Enabler is one of the best ways to keep your game relatively pure.

Best Starfield mods that improve the graphics

Deep Space ReShade

A woman in Starfield, in highly saturated lighting thanks to the Deep Space ReShade mod. Image: Xtudo/Nexus Mods

Starfield, for all its planets and people, tends to work within a limited color scheme. Gray, beige, white — hospital oatmeal colors. You could think of it as a realistic palette for living in vacuum-like space, or you could think of it as unfairly subjecting you to dogs’ dichromatic vision.

Those in the latter camp will appreciate the Deep Space ReShade by Xtudo. It pan-fries your game, making everything crisper, a little darker, and more dramatic overall. Expect sharper images and deeper shadows while maintaining Starfield’s typical frame rate.

Stellar Water

An screenshot featuring water in Starfield, modded using Stellar Water to look even better. Image: CyanideX/Nexus Mods

Stellar Water is a more niche visual improvement — it exclusively enhances Starfield’s water — but it’s a part that works to improve its whole. Creator CyanideX promises in the mod’s description that their “hand-crafted, custom” textures will dutifully replace the soft peaks and dips in Starfield’s default “‘wavesoft’ variant,” which looks like skimmed hair gel.

Stellar Water, alternatively, could reasonably make up the white sand beaches you find on your Instagram explore page. Focusing on water specifically creates a relatively small graphic improvement, but the difference is so noticeable that, once you have Stellar Water downloaded, it will be difficult to look at Starfield without it.

Enhanced Blood Textures

Two bloody corpses in Starfield, using the Enhanced Blood Texture mod. Image: dDefinder/Nexus Mods

Like a rose needs its thorns, HD water requires HD blood. What would be the point of getting your hands dirty otherwise?

You would think that Starfield would be red with blood, considering all the random pirate attacks and bullet hail you frequently find yourself stuck in. But the RPG likes its world to stay clean, sometimes illogically so. Enhanced Blood Textures adjusts for the reality of violence, making blood pools and gashes bigger, and offering an array of spatter, injuries, and textures.

Best quality-of-life mods for Starfield

Dark Mode for Terminals

A terminal in Starfield but with a dark backdrop, to help with eye strain, thanks to the Dark Mode for Terminals mod. Image: animandan/Nexus Mods

So you’ve upgraded your graphics, but the terminal screens in Starfield continue to offend your eyes. For existing in the future, they’re way too bright. Wouldn’t we have learned more about retina health by then?

Animandan’s Dark Mode for Terminals — which, they note in their Nexus Mods description, is compliant with the modern-day Web Content Accessibility Guidelines — is here to help. This mod repaints in-game terminal and kiosk screens with nighttime-friendly dark colors, and it decreases their brightness. If you like, you can pair it with Starfield’s large menu fonts, an accessibility feature included in the game’s options, for improved readability.

Enhanced Player Healthbar

A screenshot in Starfield where the character is standing on a base, with a health bar that has more information thanks to the Enhanced Player Healthbar mod. Image: SilverEzredes/Nexus Mods

This mod by SilverEzredes won’t augment your Starfield health bar, a typically white bar that changes shades based on what’s afflicting your character, but it will make it more informative. It’ll usefully change your bar’s colors when it’s drained to 75, 50, and then 25%, either making it a traffic light transition (green-yellow-orange-red color scheme) or turning it the colors of a shifting flame: blue, yellow, orange, and red. Enhanced Player Healthbar is compatible with large menu fonts, too.

Instant Digipick Start

A digipick screen in Starfield, showing the digital lockpicking puzzle. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Starfield follows Bethesda tradition and lets players pick locks, this time with digipicks, baton-shaped picks that trigger multilayered puzzles and give you access to hidden treasure. Like jiggling a stuck key in real life, some of these tricky puzzles require a few minutes of your careful attention, as does a brief introductory animation that plays before you can fiddle with any lock.

For those who value near-instant gratification, this seconds-long animation might be excruciating. Honestly, I relate. And I think you’ll appreciate Instant Digipick Start, a mod that fast-forwards lock-picking animations until triggering a scene is a “basically instant” experience, the mod’s description says. Think of all the things you could do with those extra seconds you saved; I’m thinking of writing a book.

Ship Skip

A Starfield screenshot where you can see out the front of a ship, from a cockpit. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Ship Skip, likewise, is a perfect mod for the most persnickety Starfield players. Hey, no shame in it — you have aliens to face-blast and potatoes to stockpile in an office closet, and time is precious.

Similarly to Instant Digipick, Ship Skip removes, in its own words, “painfully slow” ship docking scenes. It also gives you the option to cut takeoff and landing scenes too, so that you can experience super-fast travel instead of having to confront the splendor of the same array of digital stars so many times that you ultimately decide you’d rather look at your phone.

Starfield mods that change characters’ eyes

The Eyes of Beauty

A collage of lots of different fancy colors your Starfield character can have if you install The Eyes of Beauty mod. Image: LogRaam/Nexus Mods

If you’re going to look at your phone — or, since you’re playing Starfield, into the unromantic splash zone of a non-playable character’s pallid face — do it with style. The Eyes of Beauty thaws the ice in Starfield NPCs and makes their eyes glitter. Creator LogRaam has been making this mod for nearly a decade’s worth of Bethesda titles, most popularly for Skyrim, and then for Fallout 4.

It replaces Starfield’s gorgeous but noticeably flat eye textures with the soft starbursts of humanity (extra highlights, reflections of eyelashes, and more vibrant colors), making observing NPCs more like noticing the glint in your best friend’s iris than passing over the unblinking fish at the supermarket.

The Eyes of Beauty applies to a range of Starfield eye colors, some true to life (coffee grounds brown, sunny sky blue, a shade of hazel you might find twinkling inside a geode) and some fantastical (a hot “copper” shade befitting a dragon, stormy “iron” gray, and gooey white cataracts for “dead” characters). But they’re all, I’d say, a really lovely and human improvement to the default.

Eye Blink Fix

The close-up profile of a character in Starfield. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

It’s usually small, unpredictable things that snap a video game’s attempt at realism. For Starfield, one of those minute details is its NPCs blinking.

NPCs sometimes blink unnaturally fast, like they’re racing to spit out a hunk of space dust, and sometimes they blink too slow, like you’ve hypnotized them with your gameplay. Eye Blink Fix slots them into a comfortable middle — NPCs will blink no less frequently than every five seconds (up from the original three) and no more than every seven and a half seconds (a tiny boost from the original five). It’s a tweak with a heavy impact. Eyes, as you know, are windows to your soul, or, in the case of Starfield, the heart of your leisure time.

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