There is no denying that when it comes to role-playing games, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is up there as one of the finest ever made. Released 5 years ago and having received countless accolades, the game is a classic that should be played by any self-respecting gamer. Given its status in the gaming world it made sense that Bethesda would want to give Skyrim the remaster treatment and release it on the latest consoles to give old and new gamers like, the chance to play this classic with a fresh coat of paint and other overhauls. Make no mistake about it, Skyrim remains (and will always remain) one of the greatest RPG games of all time but that is not to say that even with the visual overhaul, the game is now started to show its age compared to some of the RPG games that have been released in the last couple of years.
Skyrim Special Edition is available on Xbox One, PC and PS4 with additional support for the PS4 Pro. We reviewed the game on Xbox One so we are unable to fill you in on how the game performs on the PS4 Pro.
Skyrim Special Edition features the official add-ons – Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn. On top of that the game features remastered graphics which covers the art and effects in the game plus volumetric god rays, all new dynamic depth of field and new water and snow shaders. For the console gamers that have been in awe of the PC mods available for console you’ll rejoice in the knowledge that mods are now available on console. Bethesda are also planning some new DLC which will add additional quest lines to the game that you haven’t seen before.
When it comes to the visual on offer Skyrim is a pretty game. It isn’t the prettiest game I have seen on a console but it holds up well with its fresh coat of paint and brings the world of Skyrim to life that has not been seen before on console. The PS4 Pro version is said to have enhanced 4K visuals so seeing those in action would no doubt be a treat but there is nothing wrong with the 1080p visuals that the Xbox One version is cranking out. Whilst the game looks great visually, the frame rate isn’t perhaps what many, myself included would have hoped for. The game runs at a fairly steady 30FPS, which a few drops every now and again which is okay, although I would have preferred Skyrim to be hitting closer to the 60FPS mark.
The opening moments of the game where you survive that iconic dragon attack is as special as ever and the sense of wonder that came with seeing the world of Skyrim for the first time all those years ago holds up well in the Special Edition. The upgraded visual and effects get the game off to a fantastic start but as I started to immerse myself in the world once more it became apparent that this classic is starting to show its age.
One of the first things I noticed is that the animations are a bit clunky. As I started to move around the environment and interact with the world before me there were moments were my character would stutter as they struggled to get over rocks that in a more modern title would be a simple climb.
Flowing on from that the combat system that Skyrim employed remains the same which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but again, when compared to the likes of The Witcher 3, starts to look a bit tired and dated. It is familiar to everyone who has played Skyrim in the past so it is true to the original but is unfortunately against the modern breed of RPG game that has found new ways to do combat.
That same tiredness also shows up in the story. Skyrim has a great story, don’t get me wrong but storytelling in RPG games has evolved a lot in the last 5 years so the way Skyrim goes about telling that story now seems a tad antiquated.
It may feel a bit like I am ripping unfairly on Skyrim Special Edition and that the game isn’t good, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes the game is feeling dated but it is still a wonderful adventure that should be played.
There is so much to see and do that even after 10’s or 100’s of hours in this world there are so many surprises to discover that this game will constantly throw up moments that fill me with a real sense of wonder and completely captures my imagination. It’s a real testament to the strength of the game that even with the elements of the game that are dated you can’t help but overlook them and be amazed at what this game can go and that is why the game remains a must play classic.
As mentioned early, the PC mods are downloadable and playable on Xbox One and PS4. Some of them are good, some not so much but the fact that you can now check them out on console is a welcome addition. If playing the mods is what you want to do then the Xbox One version is the version for you. The vast majority of mods from PC are available on Xbox One, whereas the PS4 version has a more limited selection.
Make no bones about it, Skyrim Special Edition is a fantastic game even with its flaws. The amount of hours that can be put into this game is astounding and the fact that you can put over 100 hours into it and still be filled with a sense of wonderment and awe is a testament to what a special title this has always been. Yes the game is showing its age now but it is one of those timeless classics that manages to transcend time and hold your attention even when stacked up against modern RPG’s.
- 100's of hours of content
- Fantastic Mods
- Still the classic Skyrim we all know and love
- Story, Combat and Animations feel Dated