What was Skyrim's biggest missed opportunity

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition

Regardless of whether you like the role-playing games from Bethesda or not, nobody can deny that the makers made history with "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim". A gigantic fantasy world full of stories, in which you can actually invest countless hours thanks to the modding community, made the title one of the most popular games of all time. Now the technically improved version has also been released for the PlayStation 4, and we went to Skyrim to find out whether the work can still make such waves today.

The great epic story

The player starts his journey through Skyrim on the way to his execution, and shortly before life is about to end, a dragon suddenly appears, which is why the self-created hero takes this chance and starts his escape. After a short introduction you will be released into a huge world, while in the story you learn more about the Dragonborn, the political situation in Skyrim and the Empire.

As was the case when it was first published, the main story is shockingly disappointing. The story is predictable, so there are hardly any interesting twists and turns, but with a few exceptions, the characters are not really convincing either. Here you can meet pretty much all stereotypes that you can imagine. The explanations are not really transparent, and in the end you find yourself in a typical hero story that you have seen 1000 times in a slightly different form.

The little charming jewels

If "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition" only offered this main quest, most players would not have enjoyed the title as much by far. Because after the short introduction, the player is given the choice of what he would like to do at all. In fact, you're exploring the world and constantly experiencing surprises, which is how you write your own stories. This adventurous instinct is promoted by the fantastic world, because you are constantly rewarded if you leave the path and explore it yourself without being told to do so.

Many of the side tasks are just as great. While most offer small pursuits, one often comes across exciting stories that do not necessarily determine the fate of the world. It is these that make the attraction, because here you also meet great personalities who turn Himmelsrand into a lively playground. In the end, you have the most fun when you make yourself an adventurer and not necessarily follow the red line. Precisely because of this, the openness is wonderful, but still it is a missed chance that this world is not guided by a good main story in the center.

An old game

Although the world is still really wonderful and full of surprises, you can tell about the game that in many aspects it does not compete against current genre competitors. Above all, that would be the quest design, which often does not come close to the fun of free exploration. The combat system also feels a bit too sluggish, although one can certainly argue about this. All in all, of course, “Skyrim” isn't really that different from the game it was back then, which is why nobody here should expect the criticisms to be improved. The Special Edition only makes the title a little better technically, and brings the entire package with the DLCs to the current consoles.

In return, the ability to shape the character remains one of the greatest strengths. Not only visually you can put together a hero, the style of play is also quite variable. Therefore you can become a strong warrior, a quiet thief or a powerful magician, pretty much every imaginable playstyle is possible. Special paths are even promoted by some quests, which is why you actually have the feeling of accompanying a hero, training him and making him the strongest person in Skyrim. Even the replay value is promoted, because with each class, even the familiar tasks and areas feel fresh.

Not that special at all

In a direct comparison to the PlayStation 3 version, "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition" has become significantly better. Many textures have been revised, the resolution increased and the frame rate made more stable. But especially the foresight, the details, the lighting and the particle effects have been adapted to today's standards, which is why scenes in the wilderness are wonderful to look at and create a great atmosphere. The forests feel denser, the cities more lively. In addition, there are improved loading times, which are not too long, so that you get an all-round better game. Nevertheless, you can tell the game is old, which is why the character models look stiff and the graphics generally require a bit of tolerance. The soundtrack is just as epic as it was in 2011, so you can get over the imperfect synchronization.

Unfortunately, the developers have not implemented these improvements consistently. Especially in the area of ​​textures, the ones that have not been revised are extremely eye-catching, which even back then were not among the prettiest. This results in some really not particularly beautiful environments that would have required a lot more overhaul. This is particularly bad in water areas, because as great the water may look, the worse the banks are noticeable. Equally catastrophic are numerous bugs that persist five years after the release. In addition to some bearable, yet unsightly physics problems, the game can crash, characters disappear or do not react and dialogues run against each other so that nothing can be understood. Selling something like this as a “special edition” is actually very brave of Bethesda. The occasional jerks in more exciting fights and scenes are just incomprehensible.

The mod problem

It is true that you can be annoyed about the inadequate technology, but when it comes to mod support, it becomes more difficult. Because as a PlayStation 4 owner you not only have to look enviously at the gigantic PC range, but even at the roughly twice as large amount of mods for the Xbox One. As far as is known, the creators are not to blame for this, because due to Sony's requirements, it is not allowed to offer mods with external assets. That's why there are no new textures, sounds and other bonuses, just things that are in the game anyway. Although many mods still help to improve the overall package, those who are prepared for interesting experiments are likely to be disappointed.

Rating & conclusion:

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is a nice package for fans and players who have always wanted to go to Skyrim but haven't yet. They receive a technically better package than the original and can experience an unforgettable adventure. But although the exploration of the world and many side quests still guarantee countless hours of fun today, the game shows its age. Outdated mechanics and still many technical problems drag the overall package down and disturb a lot more than it did when it was first released. Nevertheless, the game remains good and can be exciting if you can overlook these problems.

About the author:

When his parents gave little Marco a Game Boy, they didn't know what that would lead to. Nowadays every game has to be played by him, no matter how good or bad it may be. He is now trying to live out his passion as a news writer at PS-NOW - the musical is planned.