Skyrim Special Edition: Worth the buy?

Skyrim Elder Scrolls

By Jacob Condo, Staff Writer

Coming Friday, October 28, one of the greatest games of all time is scheduled for rerelease.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition comes five years after the original release of the award winning open world role-playing game. But the question is, will it be worth the buy?

Well, if you have the game on PC then…possibly not. After all, the special edition is being offered as a free download on Steam for free to PC gamers who already have the original version of Skyrim and its DLC packages.

This generosity is due to the fact that for PC gamers, there’s nothing new being offered that they couldn’t download themselves.

The improved textures, depth of field, and water mechanics are all things readily available to PC gamers through mods.

In fact as I’ve mentioned in a previous (yet sadly outdated) article describing the importance of mods to Bethesda Softworks’s business plans, mods were supposed to be their bread-and-butter this gaming season.

The crowd at their E3 (Electronic Entertainment Exposition) panel exploded at the news.

However, PC gamers can already access mods and have been able to do so since the game came out, thanks to Bethesda’s release of their creation kit to the public.

Modding had already been a long-time staple of PC gaming, so Bethesda gave them the tools they needed to make them better.

For the last five years, PC gamers have been going absolutely wild with the things.

Some mods even completely change the entire map and story of the game, or replace all the dragons with Macho-Man Randy Savage and Thomas the Tank Engine.

With this information, it becomes apparent that this remastered edition seems geared specifically towards that loyal yet disadvantaged group: the console gamers.

With the promise of mod support, the Xbox One and PlayStation Four users can finally join in the fun.

In 2011 I got “Skyrim” and spent a few “years” playing little-else. I wasn’t a kid with many friends and a lot on my mind, so my forays into Tamriel offered much-needed relief from the outside world, where I wasn’t able to solve my problems with swordplay and words of power.

So was this the case for a lot of people, who found themselves lost in those snowy mountain ranges and ancient forests, exploring ancient tombs and fighting dragons.

However, this doesn’t mean that the game was perfect.

With games such as The Witcher3: Wild Hunt we see just how complex open-world games can become. The game world feels fleshed-out and inhabited, whereas Skyrim’s immersion failings become more apparent with its age.

So despite a visual restoration, it wouldn’t be enough to make the whopping sixty dollar price tag worth it. This is why mod support is the key to the success of this rerelease.

Not only are players getting the game they love: they’re getting the option to not only improve the game, but make it their own.

Modders can easily correct these issues of immersion by changing what they please about the game. One particularly popular type of mod makes the major cities feel like they’re populated by more than just twenty people and endless numbers of guards.

Other mods can fix bugs Bethesda never addressed, or change gameplay to suit the player.

For example, there’s a series of mods that change the follower system. With said mods installed followers fight more intelligently and ride their own horses, and now can even bring as many of them with you as you like.

There’s also the option to install content like armor and weapons which modders created on their own.

So if you’re feeling like the selection of items in-game isn’t quite enough to help you define your character, you can download one of these items.

However, there’s a drawback to this mod support, which PlayStation users will feel most of all. There will be no support at this moment for custom created content.

In other words: no Randy Savage dragons or tank engines. No custom-modeled armors or weapons either.

While it’s not clear if this could be changed in the future, it’s likely that this restriction is one caused by the limitations of consoles.

While they are undoubtedly powerful, they’re not PCs. They’re limited in what can and can’t be integrated to their systems.

The mods available will be the ones made with what Bethesda put in the creation kit. For PC gamers this won’t even be an issue.

Like I said, they’ve already got dominion over mods and can do as they please. Hopefully future software updates might further level the playing field.

In the mean time, it seems like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is going to be well worth the buy if you’re a console gamer. Not only are you getting a visually superior version of this game many of us already have, but it’s going to get mods.

With the infinite possibilities this allows, sixty dollars seems well worth it. So fish out those wallets, and prepare to get lost again (if you haven’t already) in the magical land of Skyrim.

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