Five years on and the much loved The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim is the latest game to receive the remaster treatment with this Special Edition release for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Skyrim tells the typical Elders Scrolls tale by beginning its story as you, the captured, is granted an opportunity to flee your current predicament which leads on to a tale of rags to riches, you’re the chosen one on a path to greatness. A true tale of destiny.
If you’re a returning player such as me, there is more than enough reason to return to the world of Skyrim. In 2011, it was one of the finest looking games on the market and in present day, while it arguably doesn’t look as visually refined as let’s say, Fallout 4 (which is the fairest comparison I can think of), given that both games still run on the same engine, this Special Edition release isn’t too far off from that standard at all.
While the game still plays identically to its original release, the team at Bethesda has done a great job in bringing this game in-line to the current gen standards. Yes of course there are better looking games out there right now, that’s a given, but it’s fair to say that there are also far greater amount of games that doesn’t look quite as good. While the character animations could have been better, sometimes the sheer beauty of Skyrim’s world can still take your breath away.
Not only has environment textures been improved upon, but more density has been created, with more wildlife, tree’s, plants and overall aesthetics. Even in 2011, Skyrim provided some of the most visually pleasing backdrops any game had to offer, but unless you owned a decent enough PC, sharing those visual delights was never an easy process. However, not only does Skyrim look better than ever before in 2016, but its draw distance has also been greatly improved. With the PS4 and Xbox One now offering incredible ease when it comes to sharing moments from your favourite games, there’s never been a better time to share those stunning mountain top snowy landscapes across social media.
One other huge aspect of Skyrim, well practically every Elders Scrolls game released for that matter, has been its sublime soundtrack and Skyrim is no exception. The work created by composer Jeremy Soule is nothing short of magnificent and despite some of the bugs that persisted Skyrim’s initial release, the melody of its soundtrack helps ease the games minor issues away with its relaxing tone. That is until you’re on the verge of finally scaling your way up a huge mountain, about to reach its peak for an epic screenshot moment, only for a pesky Frost Troll to appear out of nowhere like Randy Orton, killing you in one foul swoop. This reminds, remember to save a lot in Skyrim, because instant deaths can happen at any time and the last thing you want to do is lose a load of progress. So please, remember to save as frequently as you can, call yourself Sir Save-a-lot during the character creation process if that helps.
The Skyrim Special Edition also comes with all previously released DLC, which includes Dawnguard, Dragonborn and Hearthfire. Without giving to much away, if you’re yet to experience Skyrim, Dawnguard will revolve around you joining either one of two Vampire clans, which by the way, can grant you some epic powers. Dragonborn will see you go against the first ever Dragonborn; Miraak, who has been consumed by corruption and aims to take over the world. All in all, it could easily take you anywhere between 10-20+ hours to finish either piece of DLC, depending on how you play. The third and final piece of DLC is Hearthfire, which will allow you to build your very own home and adopt children.
You of course then have all the community mods available to console for you to download. These can range anywhere from graphical improvements, impressive new homes, new areas, powers and abilities, to the downright insane by adding psychotic Macho Man Randy Savage and Thomas the Tank like monsters, I kid you not. However, a word of warning, enabling any mods will disable your Achievements/Trophies, whether there mods that make you more powerful or just improve the games visuals. So if Achievements/Trophies are important to you, then I would recommend that you try them out during a second or separate playthrough, perhaps on another save file. Also, if you owned the original Skyrim on PC and purchased all of its DLC, you will get the Special Edition upgrade at no extra cost.
Even after 5 years, it’s still easy to see why this is seen as one of the greatest games of all-time, certainly one of the best RPG’s. It still has some niggling bugs that persisted the original release (like many open-world Bethesda games), but there’s enough ingredients to make them all somewhat forgivable and immerse you well and truly into its world for months to come (perhaps more). Even now, it’s a game that is just as enjoyable as it ever was and even if you’ve never really considered a fantasy RPG before, The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is worth a consideration as it’s a fantastic world to truly lose yourself in. Just be weary of those f@cking Frost Trolls!
Game Review: The Elders Scrolls V – Skyrim Special Edition was last modified: December 14th, 2016 by Richard Lee Breslin
+ The world looks better than ever before, with greater detail and density
+ Comes with all previously released DLC
+ An insane amount of gameplay hours in one bundle
+ Community mods for consoles
+ Still one of the most epic RPG’s of all-time
- NPC’s haven’t had quite the same level of makeover love
- Some of the Bethesda bugs from original still remain
Richard Lee Breslin
30+ years of gaming with no signs of ever stopping. I have a BDes Hons Games Development and Digital Media, and I hope to one day turn my passion for gaming and writing into a living.
My favourite gaming series are Resi Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted and The Last of Us. I collect gaming merchandise, comics and movies. I love football (namely Aston Villa) and WWE. I can also often be found wondering the outskirts of Raccoon City.
Follow me on Twitter @Solidus5nake