We were first introduced to the massive world of Skyrim back in November 2011, on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. It soon became one of Bethesda’s most popular titles, winning “Game of the Year” in multiple awards shows. Now, with the next generation of gaming consoles able to display their games in super detailed 4K High Definition, the game has been re-released, with the highest of approval from fans. How does it rate against the original?
I personally bought my first copy of The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim for Xbox 360 back in January of 2012 after hearing high praise from many of my friends. I constantly heard about how beautiful the environments were or how addicting the 300 hours of gameplay could become. One of my friends even brought his laptop to many of his college classes just to play. Seeing as I was never really a huge Bethesda fanboy, I kind of picked on him for how much the fantasy land had consumed his life, but something about this game had me curious. I needed to see what all of the hype was about, and oh boy was I about to find out.
After 5 years of constantly improving technology, the 360 is pretty much obsolete, and unfortunately my old gaming system hasn’t stood the test of time. I always wished I could still play Skyrim from time to time. Then in June, Bethesda announced to the world at E3 that they would be releasing a remastered version of Skyrim, along with the DLC expansions. My faith was restored in humanity, and I saved up my pennies for a preorder copy on Xbox One.
I bought the Best Buy Exclusive Dragonborn Bundle, so I received an awesome steel collectors case and a Dovahkiin mask with a copy of the game. Obviously I played with the mask on the whole time.
Upon first starting the game, you get the classic Skyrim loading screen, and as soon as I heard that theme play, it took me back to all of the great times I had on the 360. The sound for the Remastered Edition has been redone to make every sound crisper and clearer, including the clashing of swords, the growling of Draugrs, and the sizzle of lightning bolt spells. With a great TV or soundbar, it will sound like you are right in the fight.
A huge addition to the Remastered Edition is you can choose to download mods straight from Bethesda.net, which wasn’t supported previously with the original Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 editions. Now you can replace dragons with Thomas the Tank Engine, make mud crabs fancy with monocles and top hats, and (my personal favorite I’ve seen) replace the roar of the bears with an auto-tuned version. Oh you can also get cooler texture packs, shaders, fan-made weapons and quests, and other stuff too. As of right now, I haven’t downloaded any mods, but definitely will be in the future.
The biggest difference between the original and the Remastered editions of Skyrim is the graphics. It’s absolutely mind-blowing. The original version of the game was very blocky and geometric to begin with. Later updates to the game helped this out a little, but I was always caught up on how much better the game could have looked. This also may have been covered in some mods, but as I said earlier, only PC gamers could benefit from that. Now, with most households having smart TVs with 1080 p/i screens, and many hardcore gamers choosing TVs that can support 4K HD gaming, Bethesda has upped their standards. The new textures in the game are more organic, your character can now perceive depth (meaning when focusing on close objects, the background objects are blurred), and light rays (volumetric God rays) are viewed during sunrise/sunset. In total, it’s a fantastic and sorely needed overhaul.
The overall gameplay of the original was fantastic. The main storyline was a little short for my taste, but with over 300 hours of quests total, many more hours added on in later DLC like Dawnguard and Dragonborn, and even more time spent customizing your in game house with Hearthfire, it’s easy to see how Skyrim has become such an instant classic. It’s a constant battle between trying to maintain focus on continuing your main quest of living up to your Dragonborn title, and getting lost in the fun and sometimes ridiculous side quests. Now, with the special edition, all of the DLC is included in the game. I’m happy Bethesda decided to include these additions instead of following in the footsteps of other game developers who charge for add-ons. I personally never got to enjoy Dawnguard, Hearthfire, or Dragonborn, but now I can.
For the most part, I had a super smooth time with the game. However, there were a couple of times where I found glitches. There were some minor environmental glitches where your enemy or friend would get stuck on a rock or a tree. Other times I noticed that flowing water wouldn’t load in and there would be a square of the river that would be bare. But mainly I had no issues.
Overall, I’m very excited to dive back into this game again! With the drastic graphics updates and the entire DLC package included, it’ll be easy for me to spend a good amount of time on my Xbox One this fall and winter. Plus, with the addition of mod support, there will be even more ways to adventure in the world of Skyrim.
+ Fantastic graphics and sound updates
+ Mod support
+ Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn DLC included
+ Same old Skyrim feel and gameplay
– Some minor glitches
So what did you guys think of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition? Let us know in the comments below!
Trevor White is a HUGE fan of Skyrim and requests that you refer to him as Dovahkiin from now on. He is also a huge fan of Star Wars and pizza.