Remastered games aren’t for every console gamer. There’s a sizable chunk of the gaming public that just doesn’t want to go back in time, better graphics or not.
But if there’s one game on the market that deserves a second look on curren-gen consoles, it’s “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition.”
The fantasy role-playing game was a massive hit in 2011 and has a unique ability to keep players coming back and starting all over with new character builds and ways to play, even after five years. Stories of players logging more than 500 hours in the realm are more common than just about any non-sports or fighting game in recent memory.
That innate ability to continually lure faithful players into the world of dragons, draugr and daedra makes it one of the best candidates for an HD upgrade for console players — less so for PC gamers.
The improved visuals make “Skyrim’s” already impressive vistas all the more stunning and its dungeons that much more grimy. Each of the varied environments looks much closer to today’s standards, although it’s not quite on par with the elite visuals seen on some of 2016’s standout titles. Note that the humanoid character models look a bit better than they did five years ago, but this has never been Bethesda’s strength and nothing has changed with this special edition.
The real hook for many console-exclusive gamers to pick this one up will be the addition of mod support, a rare treat for those who eschew mod-heavy PC gaming.
Unfortunately, the unlimited modding at PC gamers’ fingertips is capped by size limits on the two consoles. Xbox One owners fare better, with a 5 GB cap on mods. PS4 supporters are stuck with a Sony-imposed 1 GB limit.
The result leaves scant game-changing mods available to enjoy on PS4. Trophy/achievement hunters will want to skip these entirely as the use of them turns off the chance to earn them for that particular save file.
But progress is progress, and it’s still neat to have the ability to mod games on consoles. If Sony and Microsoft relax restrictions in the future, perhaps players will get to sink their teeth into some worthwhile downloads.
Regardless, “Skyrim” remains the same enthralling experience that’s at least on par with the 2015 modern classic “Witcher 3” in the fantasy RPG space from a gameplay perspective. The Special Edition is a must-own remaster, if there ever was one.