The Special Edition of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is still a great game. But while it should be a tempting piece for newcomers, AAs (Adventurers Anonymous) should beware.

There are just a few games where I consider myself an addict. Except the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series, Skyrim is definitely on the list. I’ve spent more than 200 hours when combining the editorial account and the private one. I remember trips with Lydia, my small home in Whiterun, the first visit in the College of Winterhold and finally becoming an Arch-Mage. It’s hard to forget hundreds of daggers forged just to level up, as well as meeting the most powerful dragons. Oh, and I’ve got lost in a Dwarven tomb. Three times.

The last Dragonborn starts his journey
The last Dragonborn starts his journey

Worth every penny

My good memories from Skyrim are numerous, but after those journeys it’s hard to start it all over again. That’s not a negative aspect of the Special Edition in any matter – as I wrote in the lead, this version is a tremendous piece for all people, who didn’t have a chance to become the last Dragonborn. There aren’t that many open world RPGs on current gens and each gamer should try this adventure.

As I’ve played on PC, I’ve received an upgrade to the Special Edition as a free copy (it’s separate to the original game) on Steam. People playing on consoles were required to pay the $60 price, but discounts are already there. It’s a title worth having even with the full price.

For PC players, who own a rather good rig, graphical updates might not be enough. A few mods were able to deliver an even better graphical fidelity. But for those with medium hardware and people playing on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, those changes guarantee the most effective set of features. And I just wonder how those updates will influence the modding scene on PC.

Improved lighting and shadows
Improved lighting and shadows

Take a look

If you played the vanilla Skyrim on PC or even worse, on consoles (argh, that framerate on the PS3…), you’ll instantly see the difference. No, the game wasn’t redesigned and it’s far from the titles releasing for the first time in 2016-17. But let’s say it now looks good and proper on current-gens.

You’ll surely notice god rays (crepuscular rays) – the effect which reminds me of the latest Bethesda’s title, Fallout 4. It’s easily noticeable in forests and places where light falls through various obstacles. Those rays of sunlight are easily one of the most welcome additions. To accompany those, a lot of work was done in the matter of shadows.

The other big addition is the depth of field, or the focus range as it is also called. Basically, the area within the DoF is sharp, while the space beyond it appears blurry. In dialogues it allows to focus on NPCs, but with improved textures you’ll appreciate various views. It’s also powered by improved FoV – the draw of distance is much greater and with those combined effects there’s a lot to see in Skyrim.

Flora HD
Flora HD

For better and worse

Except the graphics there are no new additions gameplay-wise. Character models are the same as before and that’s what may result in a bit of teeth grinding. Oh, and the voice acting – it isn’t the worst that has ever happened in video games, but even after playing for 200 hours it’s hard to get used to a few voices used for dozens of NPCs.

On the other hand, there’s a much appreciated quick save option and after the initial start all loads are very fast. The Special Edition works at stable 30 FPS, but it’s far from 60 FPS that some people expected when this release was announced.

Surprise: there's snow
Surprise: there’s snow

People familiar with Fallout 4 for consoles should notice that mods for Skyrim are available on PS4 and XO as well. It’s a bit tricky because both systems have their limits and I must admit that Microsoft’s console is a much better environment this time – it allows 5GB of mods in comparison with 1GB on PlayStation 4, where add-ons are additionally limited and can’t use external assets.

Closing statements

I am repeating myself here a bit, but The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is a great bundle for people, who didn’t have a chance to play it originally. It’s the most comprehensive release with each expansion (there were some region and availability problems in 2012), mod support and tweaked visuals. A must have if you love open world RPGs.