Skyrim Vs. Skyrim Special Edition

We are deep in the era of remastered games, and one thing’s for certain, no one has enough time and money to play them all. So, should Skyrim Special Edition make the Christmas list?

In the last few months without including Skyrim Special Edition, we’ve seen the likes of The Bioshock trilogy, Assassins Creed The Ezio Collection, Batman: Return to Arkham, and countless definitive/special editions coming out faster than negative No Man’s Sky reviews. So to say the market is a little over saturated would be putting it lightly, but we all loved Skyrim right? So shouldn’t we all get this superior version?

Well I will warn you first of all, if you’re getting Skyrim Special Edition for an instant wow factor, you’re going to be disappointed. Unless you’ve played literally nothing since Skyrim was first released you’re not going to see any great difference with regard to textures as every game released between then and now has been gradually getting better up to this point. This negates the effect of it’s main graphical overhaul quite significantly. The difference is even less noticeable on steam, as with graphical mods in circulation they’ve technically had the upgrade for a while, I mean there’s already a mod to upgrade the graphics from the special edition!

Skyrim Special Edition Lighting Display
Skyrim Special Edition Lighting Effects

I will say though, It’s all about the little things, one of the first things that did give me an audible “ooooooo” reaction was the addition of sun beams coming through the trees, this and similar effects do make a great deal of difference graphically. Another addition is adjustable Depth of Fieldwhich if you didn’t know, is the effect of auto-focusing. Like right now you’re looking at your computer screen or phone, and everything outside of that is blurred. This effect makes close-quarter situations notably prettier which, considering you spend most of your time in caves, is quite an important add-on.

Heading back to the over-world, something it took me a little while to notice, the render distance for high resolution textures seems to have greatly increased. You wont always be in a position to notice this, primarily due to Skyrim’s weather, but when you do it can look drop dead gorgeous. I’d recommend heading to the stretch of flatland, from Rorikstead to Eastmarch if you want a good display of this.

Skyrim SE Far Distance

I could go on and on about the subtleties; like the bats that I only remember seeing in Bleak Falls Barrow are now a lot less rare and accompanied by peripheral birds that act similarly in a few forests. But your main reason for deciding to get this, and any remastered game for that matter, shouldn’t revolve around the graphical upgrade but on the basis of whether or not you really want to play it again. Personally I’m a sucker for nostalgia and have bought remastered games in the past that I played for 10 minutes, instantly remembered why I stopped playing the game, and put it down never to be touched again.

I’d greatly recommend Skyrim Special Edition to anyone that never had a chance to play the DLCs. It comes with all of them (Dawnguard, Hearthfire, Dragonborn) which add a vast array of characters, quests, items, spells etc. If you’ve only played vanilla they will give you quite a different experience for sure. Otherwise, if you just want to see what Skyrim looks like in the current gen, I’d give this one a miss. The changes are very subtle, and you only notice them when you’re purposefully looking for them you’re not really playing a game, you’re sight seeing.