- Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
- Genre: Action Role-Playing
- Release Date: 28th October 2016
- Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
- Game Supplied by: Xbox
If you’re anything like me then you’ve got plenty of last-gen games you’d love to go back and play, but it either means taking time away from recently released games you’re currently playing, or having to hook up one of your older systems. This is where remasters are quite welcome, an improved version of an older title that runs on a current-gen machine, pretty handy if you ask me. Enter Skyrim: Special Edition, a game that I spent 100+ hours on and have been tempted to go back to for a while.
Skyrim is one of those games that I think every gamer should at least try, and I know that everyone likes different genres of games but this is one that I reckon most people would enjoy. As soon as I booted the game up and was greeted by the title theme music, I knew I was going to get sucked back in. If you are unfamiliar with The Elder Scrolls and/or Skyrim, then the best way to describe it would be Open World, Fantasy Action RPG. It’s got different races, magic, dragons… I’m sure you get the idea. The basic premise of the game is that dragons have returned and you get caught up in finding out how, why and ultimately what needs to be done to stop them.
Graphically the game looks stunning, I constantly find myself stopping and taking screenshots of awesome looking landscapes and locations, which is actually one of the things Skyrim does really well, you can be heading for an objective and get distracted by so many things along the way, it has a proper adventure feel to it and it’s great fun heading into a random cave you’ve found along your journey, or checking out houses and people in a village you stumble across. There are a number of graphical enhancements from the original, and these can be found in the game description below.
The soundtrack is as awesome as ever, but for players on PC and Xbox One you may have noticed that the sound isn’t as clear as the original game. Apparently Bethesda included compressed audio files with the Special Edition, so they have stated that they are working on a fix which should be rolled out soon. Basically the sound isn’t as crisp as it should be, however it doesn’t appear that it’s a problem for PlayStation players. It hasn’t stopped me enjoying the game at all, and I’ve gotta be honest I’d barely even noticed!
Skyrim: Special Edition includes the previously released DLC:
Dawnguard – The first official game add-on for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim® – the 2011 Game of the Year. The Vampire Lord Harkon has returned to power. By using the Elder Scrolls, he seeks to do the unthinkable – to end the sun itself. Will you join the ancient order of the Dawnguard and stop him? Or will you become a Vampire Lord yourself? Featuring an all new faction questline and locations, the ultimate choice will be yours.
Hearthfire – With this official add-on to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you can purchase land and build your own home from the ground up – from a simple one-room cottage to a sprawling compound complete with an armory, alchemy laboratory, stable, garden, and more. Use all-new tools like the drafting table and carpenter’s workbench to transform quarried stone, clay, and sawn logs into structures and furnishings. Even transform your house into a home by adopting children.
Dragonborn – With this official add-on for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, journey off the coast of Morrowind, to the island of Solstheim. Encounter new towns, dungeons, and quests, as you traverse the ash wastes and glacial valleys of this new land. Become more powerful with new shouts that bend the will of your enemies and even tame dragons. Your fate, and the fate of Solstheim, hangs in the balance as you face off against your deadliest adversary – the first Dragonborn
The DLC packs add loads of hours to the game and the new quests are really well put together. As most fans of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout will know, becoming over encumbered is a frustrating experience, especially early on in a game. I hate having to drop things and leave them behind, so being able to build my own property and make plenty of storage chests is really welcome. I know you can buy other properties in the original game, but there’s nothing like gathering materials and building your own property!
I’m sure most people will be aware due to the amount of publicity received, but mods are now included on the console versions of Skyrim: Special Edition. There was a lot of controversy regarding Sony because originally it was believed that Bethesda were struggling to make the mods PlayStation 4 compatible, then it surfaced that Sony didn’t actually want mods to be available. Whatever happened, you can now download and install mods on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but Xbox One has a wider variety. Just remember that enabling mods will disable achievements and trophies, the good thing is your save file will be clearly marked with (M) if mods have been installed. I did go through the mods section on Xbox One, but have to say I couldn’t find anything that got me very excited, I’ve read about being able to have Cloud Strife’s Buster Sword in the game but it looks like that’s still PC only for now. Whilst I didn’t download any, the mod process looked quite simple, just make sure you’ve got a Bethesda account so you can access the store page for the mods.
Skyrim is as good as I remember, and better. It’s been long enough since I played it that the game feels fresh enough to play through again, and the updated graphics help to make it feel more like a current game (honestly it looks better than some recently released games I’ve played). I haven’t met many people that didn’t enjoy the original, I find more often than not it’s just that people don’t have time to play through it. If you’re an adventurer like me then I couldn’t recommend this game enough, boot it up, choose a direction to walk in and see what wondrous things you can discover! The only slight issue I have is the price, given that the game has already been given a ‘Legendary Edition’ release on 360/PS3 which included all DLC, charging £49.99 for a remastered version seems a bit steep.