The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition review


Thomas Kraus, Staff Reporter

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, developed by Bethesda Studios, was released for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC on October 28, 2016. The game also includes 3 downloadable content packs: Dragonborn, Dawnguard and Hearthfire. The game features better graphics and a few minor changes compared to the original Skyrim, which was released back in 2011.

Some graphic improvements in Skyrim Special Edition include very detailed forests and caves and the way in which the water flows. In the past, water used to flow in one direction and cut through textures. Now with Skyrim Special Edition, if a rock is in the middle of a river, the water will flow around it and slow down.

In addition, the NPCs, characters not controlled by the player, now recognize the race of the player. If the player is a Khajiit, the guard in the beginning sequence will say “Step forward, Khajiit.” instead of “Step forward, Prisoner.” Also, if the player spawns in 30 NPCs the game will run smoothly at 30 frames per second. However, in the original Skryim, the game would slow down and run at 15 frames per second.

The game also features mods which were added into Fallout 4, another game developed by Bethesda Studios, over the summer of 2016. These mods can include anything from changing the face of an NPC to adding new enemies into the game. The player can access mods by going to the main menu and selecting “Mods”. “Mod” is short for “modification” because it modifies and changes your game. Keep in mind that achievements and trophies will be disabled if you download mods. 

The game is very enjoyable, however, I have encountered a few glitches and issues with it. First of all, there is not a way to change the safe area. This can be an issue for a majority of players because their screen can get partially cut off. There are times where I will be running through the fields and I cannot tell if I have a little to no stamina left because the bar on the bottom right gets cut off.

Another issue I have noticed is not seeing some of the things Bethesda has promised. Bethesda promised volumetric god rays and a dynamic depth of field. However, I have not noticed a different depth of field. I have also went through forests many times and have not seen god rays coming from the trees.

There are minor improvements I have noticed however. One improvement that makes me really happy is that the characters mouth matches what they are saying. Sometimes there might be a delay, but the original Skyrim used to be delayed and the characters looked as if they were speaking a different language.

Another change I have noticed that many Bethesda fans wanted was shorter loading screens. In the original Skyrim, if you left a building, it could take up to 10 seconds to load. With Skyrim Special Edition, it only takes around 2 to 3 seconds.  

Overall, there are improvements to Skyrim Remastered and while, it may feel different compared to the original Skyrim, I still found it fun. I would recommend this game to anyone who does not mind restarting Skyrim and who is a fan of the original.