Starfield, PC via Steam.
Most 'normal' hostiles have a health bar that looks like a single bar which decreases as you hurt them:
The screenshot above is from an animal on this planet I'm exploring. There is a single white bar underneath the creature's name which indicates its health.
However there are some more difficult hostiles which have two health bars: the white one, and then below it a segmented red health bar.
What happens when you fight one of these creatures, is that the white health bar will decrease as normal when you deal damage. However, once it is fully emptied, one of the red segments then disappears and the white health bar is refilled.
When fighting human enemies like space pirates, these stronger NPCs were more likely to be carrying rare, epic, or legendary loot. And, as humans, I had been assuming that they were using med packs or something and the red segments indicated how many health buffs they had remaining.
But the above screenshot is from a creature, so my theory doesn't pan out. What's the logic of this segmented health bar mechanic? Is it just some convenient way of showing your puny damage against a large amount of enemy hitpoints?
Or, considering this is also a Bethesda game -- is this Starfield's equivalent of Fallout 4's "legendary" enemies, where once you drain their HP they'd regenerate and you'd have to do it all over again? If that's the case, is there an equivalent of Fallout 4's one-hit mechanic -- eg if you can 'kill' the legendary in a single hit it doesn't do the regeneration?