Back in 2011 when The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was launched, it became the gold standard in open world RPGs. The amount of quests was amazing, and had more than a fair share of faction options, and there was so much that could be done, being bored was the last thing that could happen.
As of now, Bethesda has not announced another one-player in the Elder Scrolls, instead it brought Skyrim back as a remastered special edition. However, with being a post-Witcher 3 world now, player expectations have transformed drastically with RPGs.
Does Skyrim Special Edition fulfill expectations?
The new Skyrim Special Edition provides reworked effects and arts, dynamic depths of mod and field support that lets players place content of their own in the game, and volumetric god rays. There are three add-ons included to the base game as well, Dragonborn DLCs, Heartfire, and Dawnguard. But wait, it also has all the bugs that were in the original game too.
That’s right, various issues from half a decade ago has somehow managed to make it into the latest edition. Rather than sitting in chairs, characters will merge with tables, freezes occur with dialogue segments, this stuff shows a major lack in polishing. To make it a little worse, this is after the initial 636.1MB patch that says it brings “general optimization”. If it was a new game, these things could be overlooked, but one would expect after five years the issues would have been corrected.
What about the visuals?
Sadly, the game visuals provide the same half-hearted approach. When it comes to the outdoors in Skyrim Special Edition, the environment is very stunning. The vast meadows and snow covered peaks are visually great to look at. The day and night changes happen more smoothly compared to other open world games, with weather effects that go from snow to rain, and sunlight which all add to the effect. Although, when it comes to being indoors, such as caverns or dungeons, it does not have this level of visuals. The difference in detail is so drastic you might think you’re playing two different games.
Also, the frame rate is another concern that’s not so pressing. While the majority of the time it remained stable, there were a couple minor periods of slowness during the assassination animations. In addition, the menus are not as responsive as expected, and while the inventory management feature is simple enough to use, we couldn’t help but wonder why Bethesda has prevented players from viewing the armor and weapons the warrior is equipped with.
Some things remained the same
Now, the game continues to dole out loading screens very liberally, from entering and exiting a house, shop, palace or cave. It doesn’t matter where you are moving to, you can expect a loading screen to welcome you. In games such as Fallout 4, it can be tolerable, with newer Creation Engines used. However, in a game that’s over five years old, you would expect some type of advantages to the new hardware and consoles that could be used to reduce this.
After getting past these setbacks, the adventure itself is a blast. The amount and variety of quests provided is enjoyable. You are able to create romantic friction between human-elf couples, destroy a clan of vampires that terrorize villages, or get your character drunk and disover yourself being transported to another part of the world. Skyrim Special Edition still offers a bunch of things to do, and it’s not all tied into the main quests. You may be inspecting a house and suddenly your fighting an underworld lord, or you may run into a faction after committing crimes, or just catch butterflies.
When it comes to the main quest, you are taking the role of a prisoner without a name, who escapes death because of a dragon showing up and destroying the oppressors. You will quickly learn that you are able to absorb souls of dragons, and learn shouts which are spells that allow you to move quicker, or push foes back using your voice. Additionally, you have the usual, stealth, magic and combat features.
Overall, if you have played it in the past, there isn’t a real reason to spend your money on it again. While it is still providing all sorts of content, it’s not really new content, and there aren’t any added features in the remaster to give an extra experience to justify the price.
However, if you have not played Skyrim yet (or never got far), then the remaster would be a good option to go with. Otherwise, wait for the price to drop.