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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition Review

Psycho Killer, Quest For Me? Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa FUS RO DAAAH!

Game: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
Developer: Bethesda
Publisher: Bethesda
Reviewed on:

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(Review copy provided by publisher)

Before we dive deep into the boots of this I need you to know one thing; I have sank 500+ hours of my life (on the PC) into multiple adventures spanning across the entirety of Skyrim and to this day, I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve seen everything this game has to offer. If that doesn’t give you an idea of a) my love for this game b) how insanely huge this game is, then I don’t know what will. The Skyrim Special Edition is the newest member of The Elder Scrolls family in the form of a remaster of Bethesda’s critically acclaimed “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim”. It was originally released on November 11th 2011 on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC but thankfully due to upgrades in modern technology and a bucket load of common sense, you can now play this magnificent game and it’s 3 expansions (Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn) on all forms of the Playstation 4, Xbox One and get a free upgrade of the PC version if you’ve bought the original on Steam. I mean let’s face it, 5 years ago – this was the best damn role playing game on the market and in many was for me, it still is. Bethesda have a way of making games within this genre that other developers just can’t compete with. Don’t get me wrong, this remaster feels a wee bit outdated, but as a whole it’s still pretty damn solid!

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After a quick update and a new game is started; I am greeted, hands bound, by a strapping Stormcloak Rebel by the name of Ralof and I instantly feel a sense of de ja vu. I tell myself, I’ve been here before but it didn’t look as beautiful as this on my last adventure. Ralof gives me some oversight as to what’s coming next by berating a thief for getting caught stealing a horse and we arrive at the village of Helgen. We’re shuffled off the cart one by one, surrounded by soldiers from the Imperial Army and the names of my former travel buddies are called out until I am left on my own; and that’s when it happens. Hadvar asks that all important question; “Who… are you?”. I instantly begin to panic because instead of deciding of what race and combat style that I wanted to roll – I was dancing around the room to that listening to that glorious soundtrack. I’d not thought that far ahead and it’s rude to keep the headsman waiting. I say to myself, screw it… I’ll try something different this time – how about a battlemage? But alas nay, I stuck to my guns and Puddles, the grey maned, blue eyed, pointy eared Khajiit (basically a lanky man-cat) was born and my new adventure to become King of the Criminal Underworld (and eventually the Dragonborn, I suppose) had begun…

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Bethesda have done an excellent job of recapturing the beauty of Skyrim with the addition of a bunch of new features that include fully remastered art and effects, volumetric god rays, a dynamic depth of field, screen-space reflections and new water/snow shaders. I and not going to pretend that I know half of what that is but there is a visible 1080p boost in resolution and you can get a fairly solid 30fps, however that does occasionally drop every now and then depending on how much is on the screen at any given time. Obviously I am yet to play this on the Playstation Pro, but I’ll revisit this review after the 10th of November when I have done and update you on just how sexy those 4K textures are. Players also now have the ability to play PC mods on the console of their choice enabling them to experience the new quests, characters, armor/weapons and so on created by the modding community. Here’s to hoping for the Fus Ro Fart and the Macho Man Randy Savage dragon mods get ported! It’s about at this point that the game lets itself down a little as there is no new content outside of the mods that can be downloaded; yet currently the mod selection is a tad limited. I suppose it’s still early days though and only time can tell.

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Just to touch on a comment I made earlier; I still feel like there is a lot more to see. I’ve completed the main quest line, mastered all the guilds and dealt with a Civil War several times but it’s always felt like a fresh experience. I was looking for a way to get the most out of this game and the guys at Prima Games sent me a copy of their Skyrim Special Edition Strategy Guide. The guide is over 1100 pages long of complete Bethesda-approved content, reveals all the quests and gives you the best outcomes, has an exhaustive bestiary, comes with a 2 sided map and even access to an e-guide you can access on your smart phone. Honestly, I’ve been able to go through the bits I’ve missed and that’s thanks to the guys at Prima Games. It’s available now on their website at £14.99.

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VERDICT

It’s not perfect, no game is – but the Skyrim Special Edition is as close to perfect as you would expect a remaster to be. Bethesda have fixed the buggy quests and it’s by far one of the most beautiful games I have had the pleasure of playing but with the fancy lighting and new textures it’s easy to tell where the game is a bit out dated. If you’re a new player or and fan of the series returning to conquer Skyrim then don’t let that last comment put you off… Skyrim (Like it’s predecessor Oblivion) will always hold a special place in my heart.

8.5/10 – Be sure to check back after the 10th to see my comments on the 4K upgrade!

Join the discussion
  • thisisbexx

    The game has just stepped up, I too have gone for my usual (dark elf) but I have been trying to fight using different tactics, select different missions and I am discovering new and wonderful ways to play. It’s like a brand new game, but admittedly I haven’t played as much as you though.

    • Damien O’Neill

      I had played it to the death over the years but it feels like a new experience again and thankfully I can enjoy it on the console too. Playimg with a controller instead of a trusty mouse and keyboard took a bit of getting used to though!