It feels nice when you remember a game that caused you to spend days in front of your console or computer. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of those games, considering that it was one of the best games to appear in 2012 (has it been that much?). Skyrim had a lot of aces up its sleeve, and the biggest were the incredible sub-stories and quests that got you hooked on the in-game world.
Bethesda, the developing team behind The Elder Scrolls, believed that now is the right time for the homage to the great success Skyrim made (no, no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the money). That’s why they released The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition. Caution – this is not a new game. Instead, it is a revamped version of the original entry that comes with some extra content and offers mod support for consoles.
It’s Just the Way You Remember It
The first thing that you notice after you start the game that it reminds you a lot of the original. The plot is the same, which means everything will look familiar. While that might be a good thing (if you never played Skyrim, give it at least half an hour, and you will see how hooked you will be), it also means that Special Edition suffers from the same issues as the ‘regular’ one. That means those character models are still imperfect, which is particularly noticeable while you go through the process of making your character. The camera zooms far closer than it should, and you can see all the mistakes in the graphics.
The problem here is that Bethesda had two reasons why they should fix the issues. The more important one is that they had five years for that, and the other is the fact that they now have the added strength of the next-gen consoles. Regardless of that, the character animation is still far from perfect, and that looks like they just didn’t care.
Fortunately, things get better once you make a step outside. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition does offer a significant improvement regarding the beauty of the surrounding landscapes. The view of the endless sea is incredible, and there is a bunch of new effects that make the entire visual experience better. I would like to emphasize the screen-space reflections and volumetric god rays particularly. It’s hard to make a remastered version of any game look like it’s a new-gen title, and Skyrim Special Edition manages to do that in some places. Some areas still need a vast improvement, but it’s a leap forward compared to the past.
The Consoles Benefit More
If you are looking for true value in Skyrim Special Edition, you will find it as long as you are a console owner. The most important thing seems to be the fact that Bethesda implemented mod support for Xbox One and PS4. Believe it or not, there are a bunch of modes available in the stores of the respective consoles (although the Microsoft’s device has more of them). The mods alter the game in various ways – starting from minor changes that you can use to your convenience, all the way to major things that might require a reinstall once you want to play the ‘clean’ version again. There are some restrictions to console mods compared to PC, but they are not that important. What matters is that you have a bunch of modes you can install and be sure that they will work with the game.
As for the PC owners, the biggest benefit they get is that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is an all-in-one package. Aside from the regular game, the new version comes with add-ons included. So, if you didn’t have time to play Dragonborn, Dawnguard or other extensions of the original Skyrim, you can use the opportunity to get them all in a single package.
Regardless of the hardware, you choose to play on; the controls are still as intuitive as they were. Both keyboard and joystick control systems are straightforward and easy to pick up.
The PlayStation 4 Benefits the Most
There is one reason that fans of Skyrim who own the PS4 console will get the best-revamped version. Despite the fact that there are fewer modes available on Sony’s device, the audio is what sets it apart from the others. The sound fidelity is increased, which can be crucial for the gaming experience, especially when you are set to explore the wilderness or talk to non-playable characters. For some reason, PC and Xbox One editions suffered in quality because their files were severely compressed. It’s a shame because you can’t see the superb voice acting and writing in its full effect.
Once you play the game for several hours, you start to notice that small improvements made to it. For example, now you can use a quick-save feature, and the loading times are noticeably shorter. The saves are also listed by characters, so you don’t have to look for information on which save belongs to which hero. Another cool addition is the fact that you can use a simple tap to make your character automatically run across the tundra. I know I mentioned that Bethesda didn’t care about making enough changes, but after playing Skyrim Special Edition for a bit, it seems that I was wrong. Yes, it’s still a shame they didn’t iron a big issue such as character models, but the developers did try to adapt the new version to today’s demands.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is the all-in-one package. The add-ons are included, so you get a complete game, and the graphics are revamped enough so that you get the feeling that you are playing a next-gen title. The console owners will be glad to hear that they will get mod support and a bunch of other new features. Overall, Skyrim: Special Edition is the ideal game to get hooked on the incredible in-game world, whether you are new to the franchise or its experienced player.