The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition ReviewTime: Mar. 18, 2020
The Elder Scrolls series is one of the most popular Western RPG. It was developed by Bethesda Softworks
and while the series originally maintained its popularity on PC, it wasn't until The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
was released for the Xbox 360 that it started to gain more traction among the console crowd.
In case you aren't familiar with the series history, it is an action RPG that allows the user to utilize either a
third person or first person perspective, while the default camera is usually set in first person. The series is
well known for creating dense open worlds that are full of secrets while the main complaint against it is
usually regarding its combat, which can feel clunky at times.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is the remastered verison of the original Skyrim that took the
world with storm on the Xbox 360, PC and PS3 back in 2011. The game won numerous game of the year
awards and was the highest rated game in the series. It is no surprise that Bethesda Softworks has decided
to release a remastered version of this cult classic for the PS4, Xbox One and PC.
So what’s exactly remastered for this new version. For starters, the whole visuals have been overhauled
to fit more with the modern standards. Textures have been upgraded while character models have received
an improvement over the original.Particle and environment effects have been retouched to make the art
style more subtle. This results in a much cleaner looking image quality for the game, especially on the
PS4 and Xbox One.
If you have played Skyrim on the original Xbox 360 or PS3, you will immediately notice the huge jump in
visual fidelity going from the 720p resolution to native 1080p on the current generation consoles. There
are even additional enhancement for the PS4 Pro verison of the game. As we have covered in this article,
the image quality and some aspects of the visuals have been improved for the PS4 Pro.
Aside from the improvement to the visuals, the fabled PC mods have also made their way to the consoles
for the first time. This means that depending on their requirements, some of the PC mods can be easily used
on the PS4 and Xbox One. There is a caveat here for the PS4 users, as the limit for mod size is just 1 GB on
the PS4 compared to the rather larger 5 GB on the Xbox One. This means that if you want to get the better
mod support, you can safely go with the Xbox One version.
Coming back to the actual game, it is clear right from the start that Skyrim has not aged well with time.
Despite the attempts to improve and polish the visuals, the game’s basic combat and gameplay feels
rusty, perhaps for simply being a relic of time. It might have worked when the game was originally released
back in 2011, but it appears rather dated and awkward in 2016. The NPCs don’t have much of a hit
reaction when it comes to the combat, leading to some frustrating encounters throughout the game.
Despite the awful combat, the game still shines in its exploration aspect. The improved visuals help bring
some of the lost beauty of the world to life on screen. It is a joy to explore the world of Skyrim, and end
up discovering secrets that are buried in the world map. The freedom on offer here is unlike many other
open world games, and it was an inspiration for countless others.
While the game seems like a nice improvement over the original, it is unfortunate to see that there are still
some technical issues that still haven’t been ironed out. There have been reports of the game crashing after
installing the update 1.03 (latest), which can hopefully be patched quickly by Bethesda Softworks. While the
frame rate appears to mostly run at solid 30 fps on the PS4 and Xbox One, there have been reports suggesting
that it manages to drop on the PS4 Pro when the game runs at native 4K resolution.
It is rather unfortunate that despite having such an exceptionally crafted world, the combat manages to
diminish its impact. Depending on what type of gameplay you prefer, you can either be a magic user, archer
or simply go for close quarters combat. This is the beauty of Skyrim that still remains in this new Remaster,
allowing the user to play the game as they see fit.