The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition – Should You Buy? (Xbox One)

This remastered version of Skyrim has everything you loved about the original game plus so much more.

Coming back to Skyrim, I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve played the game for I don’t even know how many hundreds of hours on my Xbox 360, and I thought I’d done it all. But, being the fanatic that I am, the chance to experience it with better graphics and mod support for the console seemed like the world’s greatest early Christmas gift.

Booting up my copy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition on my Xbox One, the first thing I did was to install some mods. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it the right way. I decided not even to give it a chance without the mods – after all, that’s one of the things that appealed to so many players about this edition. I first went to the mod option on the main menu, and after quickly setting up a free account with Bethesda, I went straight into it and searched for three mods deemed essential by numerous other players and articles about the game. These three are the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch, which seems to give the entire game a slight overhaul, Skyland: A Skyrim Texture Patch, which enhances textures of Skyrim’s terrain, and Cutting Room Floor, which does what it sounds like: restores content that was left out of the original game.

With my mods loaded, I started up the game. And just like that, I was instantly taken back into this fictional world that has taken away so many hours of my life.

The first thing I noticed about Skyrim Special Edition was that the character models did not seem all that different. In the back of the cart, bound up and awaiting my final fate, my character looked around at those in custody with me. I noticed that the hair especially looked rough and clunky; it didn’t move with the wind or have any realistic texture to it. This wasn’t as much a disappointment as it was a surprise; after all, playthroughs of The Witcher 3 have spoiled me.

The landscapes, however, looked like they had been given an incredible facelift. The environment of Skyrim seemed to come to life; it is now more believable, more textured, and richer than it has ever been before. This is undoubtedly due to some of the mods, as out of curiosity I toggled them off and then back on to see the difference. It’s not like entering a completely revamped and remodeled game. It still looks like Skyrim; just a smoother version instead of a full revamp.

Armor and weapon designs are still very much the same, just nicer looking. Which is really what you’ll find to be the case with everything in Skyrim Special Edition – if you play it without mods, that is. For those looking for a classic Skyrim experience who have never played the original game, I would recommend playing it with The texture mods and the USSEP mentioned above. This way, you still get the exact same game that so many of us have become fanatics over without much difference, besides the game looking nicer for you than we had it on our first playthrough. Damn kids! You’ve got it so easy these days! Back in my day, Skyrim looked blocky and gray!

But for those who are bored to death with the original game, the extensive amount of mods that are now available for the Xbox One are more than worth the asking price. The Cutting Room Floor adds slightly new dialog and a few new aspects to the game, but nothing revolutionary. The true strength of these mods lie in the more extreme or outlandish mods.

You can skip leveling up, you can get brand new, unique armor designs, and you can even cause trains to fall from the sky. For real. If you’re in the mood to simply go insane and have a blast with Skyrim, it has never been easier than it is now.

In my case, I just wanted to play the game all the way through again. And although I’ve done it before, this time seemed fresh and unique. I’ve loaded up numerous mods to help me achieve this; guards have new outfit designs, NPC interaction has been altered, and the inclusion of all three DLCs makes it damn near impossible for anyone to ever get bored with the amount of things there are to do.

Even more tantalizing are the mods that allow you to explore brand new player-built towns, complete with interactable NPCs and new questlines. The Xbox One version has a huge leg up on the Playstation 4 version, however, due to the fact that there are more than one hundred mods available that aren’t available on the PS4. The Playstation version is still a great looking game with a lot to do; unfortunately, players on this console will be missing out.

Realistically speaking, if you did not enjoy Skyrim the first time around, these differences probably will not be enough to sway you. If the combat system to too simple and you’re not a fan of the leveling system, you shouldn’t drop the asking price for Skyrim Special Edition.

As for me? Well, I’ve got to finish writing this so I can go back to exploring Blackreach and update my home at Lakeview Manor. Oh, and there’s a bandit hideout I’ve been meaning to raid…

See you in another one hundred hours or so.

The Geeked Gods Score: 10/10. Skyrim is one of my favorite games ever made, and this Special Edition just makes it so that I have the privilege of playing through it once again.

Read my initial article on Skyrim here.

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