Skyrim was best known for its immersive world which just begged to be explored. As well as that, Bethesda created the perfect platform for the modding scene to explode into the mainstream, creating thousands upon thousands of mods for gamers to install, adding more value to the overall experience. Now that Skyrim Special Edition has been released, we've taken a look at how it performs on PC, most notably when you throw in a fair number of mods.
So before I go into just how I found the overall experience, let me go through exactly what we're packing inside the PC case:
Bethesda understands just how important mods are to the Skyrim experience. You'll be hard pressed to locate players who run through a vanilla build, aside from achievement hunters. And that's part of the reason why the company released the Special Edition for free if you're on PC and owned all the DLC.
This new version adds a bunch of new features that help make the console experience better too. For us PC folk, we've got the incredible 64-bit support, as well as engine enhancements baked right in, eliminating the need to have mods for certain features like depth of field, flora improvements, and more. Of course, it's possible to mod these newly added features, but it's handy that you don't have to.
Here's a list of mods that we have added to Skyrim Special Edition (35 in total — I'm eagerly waiting for other mods to be ported across):
- Alternate Start
- Belt-Fastened Quivers
- Book Covers Skyrim
- Combat Evolved
- Cutting Room Floor
- Darker Nights
- Enhanced Blood Textures
- Enhanced Ore Veins
- Immersive Armors
- Immersive Sounds
- KS Hairdos Lite
- Lanterns of Skyrim
- Modern Brawl Bug Fix
- Nordic Snow
- The Paarthurnax Dilemma
- Realistic Ragdolls and Force
- Realistic Lighting Overhaul
- Realistic Water Two
- Relationship Dialogue Overhaul
- Run For Your Lives
- Static Mesh Improvement Mod
- Simple Auto Unequip Ammo
- Total Character Makeover
- True Brows
- True Eyes
- Unique Uniques
- Unofficial Skyrim Patches
- UNP Female Body Renewal
- Vivid Weather
- When Vampires Attack
With the above setup alone, I'm more than capable of enjoying a 60 frames-per-second experience, which is what is generally considered as the minimum for smooth gaming (and is technically the highest the connected monitors support). That's a constant 60FPS too, throughout the game, regardless as to what I happen to be doing. I also loaded a similar mod order for the original Skyrim game and noticed that while frame rates were too hitting the cap, there were odd instances of stutter.
Bethesda has seemingly done a solid job optimizing the engine, throwing in some improvements. Even in the character screen when passing through available hair styles and the like, everything felt smoother with animations that masked the super-short object load times. It's worth noting that one shouldn't expect to have trouble with Skyrim Special Edition with just under 40 mods installed. I'll be working to add texture packs and other additional content to really test the title as more are released.
The improved engine and DirectX 11 support ensure you're in for a good time in Skyrim. Should you have a massive list of favorite mods to install, the game will gladly be of assistance without issue. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to my immersive universe. I have some bandits to slay and some fur to produce. Be sure to sound off in the comments how you're getting on with the improve engine and your mod configuration.
Rich Edmonds is 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 over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.
Where's Zed the Merchant?
He took an arrow to the knee
All I need is Sky UI
Latest patch (1.1) is causing the game to crash constantly.
I don't like the new mod management interface that's only accessible from within the game.
Can't you use nexus mod manager for that?
I never used nexus mod manager. Not sure if it's compatible with the special edition.
And I highly recommend giving it a go
What? Not a single "slooty" mod installed, or did you just forget to mention them Rich?:-)
More PC benefits... That's the only reason that would make me want to go back to PC gaming. Console is just so convenient.
****** yeah! They added static mesh and nordic snow (HD snow), wildlife sounds as well as realistic blood. All I need now is enhanced combat AI, and sky replacement that turns the galaxy into a super high res series of stitched shots of the milky way.
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