There are a bunch of mods already available for Skyrim Special Edition that help throw you into the world of Skyrim with increased immersion. If you've wondered around with sword and shield feeling rather disconnected, then just install weather, lighting, and ambience mods to really bring the game to life.
Enhanced Lighting and FX
ELFX is a superb mod and is always a must-have whenever I'm installing Skyrim for another playthrough. It's aim is to make the game more realistic and atmospheric by removing lights without a source, adding lights to those with sources and throwing in effects like smoke and more for good measure. Dungeons and interiors are darker (less fog, yay!) but feel more real as you scram for the nearest lantern or whip out a spare torch to light up approaching foes.
Vivid Weathers Special Edition
We covered True Storms in our best Skyrim Xbox mods list, but Vivid Weathers is also worthy of a shout out. I'll allow the mod description to do all the talking:
- Over 500+ Weathers - Clear, Cloudy, Blizzards, Snowstorms, Rainy, Rainstorms, Foggy and Thunderstorms... everything you need!
- Complete replacement and enhancement of every imagespaces, so a ENB is not needed to have a immersive weather experience
- Adjustable Interior and Night Brightness via ingame menu
- Adjustable Saturation and Bloom via ingame menu
- Support for: Dragonborn, Dawnguard, Falskaar, Wyrmstooth, Summerset Isle (Conversion OG -> SSE in progress)
- Over 150 new cloud textures
- 16 new deep thunder sounds for bad weathers
- Immersive sunrise and sunsets by selective cloud coloring
- Extended ground-fogs that adds volumetric fogs on foggy weathers
- Real Skyrim Snowflakes that add in-game particles snow for a completely new snowfall and blizzard experience
- New stars and galaxy textures
- Distant mountain fogs and rain effects
- Moving fog particles seen during heavy fogs
- Immersive sunsets/sunrise textures
- Several replacements and fixes for smoke and fog textures (Vivid Clouds and Fogs)
- Enhanced ENB-Friendly Ambient, Tints, Fogs, and Clouds colors
Yes, that list is huge, and yes you should install this. There's nothing like a vampire rushing out to bite you from darkened fog during the night.
The evenings in vanilla (unmodded) Skyrim are far too bright. It just doesn't look right. Yes, I get we're Dragonborn, but come on. I shouldn't be able to see for miles at 2a.m. This is where Darker Nights comes in by making the nights darker. The mod gives the player the choice as to how dark the nights become, just in case you're not one to carry torches around and like to spot enemies before they carry out an ambush.
Formally known as HQ Snow Texture, Nordic Snow enhances all the snow across Skyrim. There's a lot of snow in the game so it makes sense we take the time to install a mod that improves the quality of the fluffy stuff. It even glistens and shines in the sunshine of a new dawn, which is always a sight to behold after you come out of a cleared dungeon.
Wet and Cold
This is a superb mod to have in your arsenal. Characters now have water dripping from them during rain and after coming out of a swim session, footsteps now cause splashing, breathes are visible in colder areas, snow accumualtes on armor and hair during snowfall, and blizzards cause a reduction in movement. It makes the snow parts of Skyrim feel much more real.
This is our shortlist of immersive mods, which should take your Skyrim experience to the next level when traversing the massive landscape. Using the aforementioned packages with other mods can create some memorable moments, but what do you use? If you happen to have a mod or two installed that you feel should be in our list, be sure to shout out in the comments!
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.