Starfield stealth is pretty terrible, but this awesome mod makes it worth your time

(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Stealth has traditionally been very effective in Bethesda's open world RPGs, but it's surprisingly difficult to use in Starfield.
  • The reason why this is the case is because enemy NPCs are often able to detect the player way too easily, even if they're playing carefully and using maxed out stealth perks.
  • To address this, community member Ixion XVII has created a mod for the PC version of Starfield called Stealth Overhaul that effectively fixes these issues.
  • Specifically, the mod reduces NPC detection cones, makes them less perceptive to sounds, reduces sounds made by players, and more. A link to where you can download it can be found below.

Traditionally, sneaking around while your enemy's back is turned has proven to be one of the most powerful strategies you can use in Bethesda's open world RPGs. We've all seen the memes about Skyrim's absurdly overpowered stealth archer builds, after all, and devastating critical hits are just as effective in the Fallout games. Surprisingly, though, this is not the case in the studio's new sci-fi space exploration epic, Starfield. In fact, it's quite the opposite — often times, going covert feels completely useless.

Though sneaky criticals are just as potent as they were in past Bethesda titles, it's nigh-impossible to actually score any because of how easily the game's AI are able to detect you. Even with full Rank 4 upgrades for the Stealth and Concealment skills, the use of stealth-enhancing gear like silenced weapons, and quiet movement, enemies are always able to somehow see or hear you coming. In many cases, they'll even sniff you out through walls.

The efficacy of stealth is one of the most common things I've seen players criticize since Starfield released a few weeks ago, and I wouldn't be surprised if Bethesda has plans to address it in an upcoming patch. If you're playing the game on PC, though, there's good news: community member Ixion XVII has published an excellent mod on NexusMods called Stealth Overhaul, and as the name suggests, it makes a variety of major adjustments to Starfield's stealth systems.

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Ixion XVII's goal with Stealth Overhaul has been to make sneakier playstyles "more forgiving without making it too easy," and to that end, they've reduced the detection radius of NPC view cones, the AI's general ability to detect noises made by the player, the sound players make while they're out of an NPC's line of sight, and any sounds caused by the use of heavy pieces of gear. They've also made it easier to stay undetected while running (it's still not a good idea), and have made NPCs that are sleeping or in an exterior area a bit less perceptive, too.

I've been testing this mod out for a few days now, and so far, it's made quite a big difference. Though I still find myself getting spotted by enemies if I'm careless, using the environment to stay out of line of sight, moving slowly, and investing into stealth-related perks has proven to be quite fruitful. If you're looking to do a sneaky Starfield playthrough, I definitely recommend giving this overhaul a shot.

Ixion XVII includes installation instructions on the mod's homepage, but the TL;DR is that you can simply unpack the mod files into Starfield's base game directory. Alternatively, you can install it through NexusMods' Vortex mod manager software.

Starfield is finally here, and it's undoubtedly one of the best Xbox games and best PC games for lovers of space exploration, deep RPG gameplay, and the sci-fi genre as a whole. 

Starfield Premium Edition

Starfield Premium Edition

Get your hands on the Starfield Premium Edition to enjoy several exclusive cosmetic items and instant access to the game's first DLC expansion when it comes out.

Buy at: Amazon | Best Buy | Steam (GMG)

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

  • fjtorres5591
    Do those players also have chameleon suits?
    And/or the chameleon skill like Andreya?
    A friend of mine said sneak/snipe was useless but I haven't had that problem. He had neither, though, and I have a rare cameleon suit.

    I would wonder if the game is taking cues from Fallout 76, where there are three levels of chameleon (mutation, chameleon armor, chinese stealth suit) and two separate stealth perks, plus a legendary and armor color.
    The stealth suit is the only one that lets you duck-walk in stealth but you also need a perk to match the Fallout 3 suit.

    I was lucky enough to get a chameleon spacesuit around level 12 that I combined with a modded, silenced, rare AA-99 I went bankrupt to buy early (L5) to snipe my way around, even aboard pirate ships I'm "commandeering". (Three so far by L27).

    The game has 80+ perks plus skills, gear, and powers.

    I'm thinking you need to stack them in combination to get best effect.
    For one thing, I have yet to see any muffling mods or skills so getting FALLOUT 3 god-mode stealth might be a high level effort. In the meantime, strategy might be the best substitute for the mod-free player.