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Skyrim Remastered: To Mod Or Not To Mod?

 

elder-scrolls-skyrim

 

There’s no disputing that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was a massive hit. Those of us that played it when it originally released can swap stories about quests, random NPC stupidity or the odd dragon crash landing on you out of nowhere in the middle of the mountains. The game was epic, the world amazingly realized and the gameplay was just absurdly fun. With Bethesda bringing the game back to the fore of our minds with the release of Skyrim Special Edition for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, I thought it was time to see how the new version stacked up against the original in one very important regard: modding.

 

Modding is a huge part of PC gaming in general, and Skyrim in particular. Don’t believe me? Thats my current list of mods, and there are at least 40 more I’m still trying to find Special Edition compatible versions of.

 

 skyrim-nmm         

 

While there are a few mods that don’t work right now, I have faith that they will be updated soon. But, some of you may be confused. So, for the uninitiated, lets talk Skyrim mods, shall we?

Many of the most popular mods for the game are centered on improving the graphics. Adding dynamic lighting, dust effects, depth of field, lens flare, more grass, better trees, insanely high resolution textures. You name it, and you can add it to Skyrim. As an example, lets take a look at these two screenshots. 

 

skyrim-remaster-unmodded-120161125114105_1

 

The shot on the left is from the vanilla remastered version, running with no mods. The one on the right is running a variety of graphics enhancing mods. Of course, upping the texture resolution isn’t the only thing you can do. Lighting also plays a huge part in making a game more immersive, as seen below.

 

skyrim-remaster-unmodded-220161125125550_1

 

Again, the shot on the left is from the vanilla version. Among the other mods that are quite popular are weather mods that improve fog and weather effects, more realistic water and enhanced blood textures. Just in case the gore was too unrealistic for you…

 

20161126140350_1 20161126144017_1

 

And of course, lets not forget about the plethora of other mods, most of which I won’t post shots of here. There’s the mod that turns all of the dragons into the engines from Thomas The Tank Engine. There’s the giant rabbit mod, the skimpy anime style battle armor mod. There are mods that put in more realistic armor, add helpful roadsigns to the main routes in Skyrim. There’s even a mod that adds BIRDS to the game, just for the sake of immersion. Basically, if you can dream it, theres probably a mod for it. On PC at least.

 

Having tested the in game mod manager that Bethesda has bundled with the game, I have to say it’s pretty anemic. The interface is fiddly, obtuse and generally an utter pain in the ass to use. In fact, it reminds me strongly of the menus system in the game and in Fallout 4. Someone should really fire whatever alien makes the GUI on Bethesda games and hire a real human. Or at least do some focus testing. (Hint: When the test subjects gouge out their own eyes, it’s a bad design.) But I digress. The in game system is serviceable at best. If you want to add a few mods here and there just to try out, it will get the job done. Just don’t expect navigating to the mods you want, downloading and then activating them to be a pleasant or hassle free process.

 

20161125123350_1 20161125121036_1

 

The PC on the other hand, has multiple ways to install and use mods. Most people will opt for the Nexus Mod Manager, at least until someone updates the Skyrim Script Extender to be compatible with the Special Edition of the game. Until then, NMM works just fine, allowing you to download, install and activate or deactivate mods in a simple window, as seen at the top of this article. And while the process may be frustrating sometimes, at least console owners finally have access to mods. And there are a lot of them in the Bethesda curated offerings. Still, the only way to get some of the more interesting ones remains the PC. 

 

Whatever your platform of choice though, MOD AWAY! Oh…and just because it’s remastered, doesn’t mean the bugs have been totally squashed…

 

20161125125543_1

 


November 26th, 2016 by
This entry was posted on Saturday, November 26th, 2016 at 7:55 pm and is filed under Gaming, General, PC, Playstation, Xbox. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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