Well, it’s been a week since Bethesda Softworks released their remastered version of one of their best selling games, Skyrim. It’s honestly a bit hard to believe that most of us took our first steps into the frozen north of Tamriel a mere five years ago and I must say that it is nice to be back.
Having watched numerous videos on YouTube about how Skyrim Special Edition was a less than spectacular thing, I was a bit hestitant, regardless of getting the game for free on PC. Still, I decided to take all of the points made and keep them in the back of my mind so I could make my own opinion about the game while still taking into account what the reviewers had to say. While I won’t say I completely agree with them, I don’t disagree either.
As a primary PC player, I have had the gift of mods for games like Skyrim and Fallout 3, New Vegas, and 4 since they came out. However, being a gamer on a strict budget, I never had the type of PC that could run the best Graphical mods and ENBs that were out there so, at best, I got a slightly tricked out version of the original game. Now, consoles, on the other hand, are another story. If you were one of the thousands of people who only played Skyrim on console, welcome to my house.
All this being said, my current install of Skyrim Special Edition is VERY basic. I’m now able to play in 1080p HD with average fps of about 20 (for all you out there who are less than knowledgeable about PC stuff, that’s really good.). The only mods I have installed are one that adjusts the lighting of the game to make Skyrim darker and a couple of Survival based ones (Frostfall and Campfire).
Here’s the scoop on this. If you had an above average PC and were able to play Skyrim with max settings and all that cool stuff, you are likely to be underwhelmed by this release. The biggest thing it does is it is now a 64 bit engine,whereas it’s predecessor was only a 32 bit. This means the game is now able to take full advantage of your processor and memory on your PC. It also takes full advantage of the power provided by the Xbox One and PS4 making for buttery smooth frame rates and a view distance so good that you can almost see the trees swaying on a mountain side that is miles from you. It is truly a much more immersive experience than before. Here’s a few examples:
HEY! I saw Blythe steal that guard’s Sweetroll then shoot him in the knee with a bow and arrow from here!
A Vanilla Waterfall… It’s okay to cry from it’s overwhelming magesticness… I did.
The biggest thing with Skyrim Special Edition, however, was the controversy around Bethesda’s decision to give the game to owners of the PC version for free, so long as they owned all the DLC. Meanwhile, Console players had to pay the entire $60. Honestly, I can see why Bethesda did this. PC players have had a Skyrim like this for years so it wasn’t that big of a thing for us. Honestly, the only thing we get out of this is the 64 bit engine. On the other side, though, console players FINALLY get to play with mods! This makes for so many replay-ability options and even additional DLC sized Mods like Falskaar and Moonpath to Elswyr that make this 5 year old game feel new.
As far as Gameplay is concerned, nothing has changed from the original game. This “remastering” is entirely graphical. Simple things like increasing the Viewing Distance or making the water flow in a natural manner, rather than in a static direction that seems to just vanish when it hits the coastline. Honestly, my biggest complaints are very few. The fact that Bethesda did nothing to improve the textures of the people in this world keeps them looking like their 5 year old counterpart and, since the game was ported over using the engine that made Fallout 4, I wanted a better Character Creation tool. I would almost go as far as to say that Bethesda left these things in on purpose to give the modding community something to do. Still, it would have been nice to have these out of the gate.
The bottom line is that Skyrim Special Edition is still a wonderful game and, in my opinion corrects a lot of the things that made the original game feel less Immersive. It’s a beautiful world when rendered at 2k in High Definition and well worth the $60. And now that Consoles get to play with Mods makes it even more worth it! If you were a fan of the original on console or loved Fallout 4, certainly give this a go. While I don’t own a next gen console I can certainly tell you I would buy this game if I did. (For the record, I may or may not own Borderlands 2 on PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3…) Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go turn into a Werewolf and kill me some Vampires. FUS ROH DAH!