Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: Oct 27, 2016
Available Platforms: Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Reviewed Platforms: Xbox One
Let’s not pretend that those in the gaming world have no knowledge of the Elder Scrolls series and the latest game they released in the long running franchise. Skyrim, when originally released back in 2011 was huge. I was overseas, lots of free time on my hands, and I had many adventures in this wonderful world. I’ll admit, it’s been awhile since I’ve returned, while it’s showing its age a bit more than some games, Skyrim Remastered does a few things to bring a better console experience than before and provide the ultimate edition for this generation of consoles.
For the small few that never had a chance to experience Skyrim, let’s go over a quick synopsis and recap: As a prisoner, players are taken to a camp for execution, upon almost getting the axe, a dragon appears and it’s not delivering sweet rolls, it’s burning the place to the ground. This leads way to a pretty exciting escape sequence, maybe not in comparison to big blockbuster set piece driven games, but for an open world RPG, it’s solid. Soon after players are let loose into the world of Skyrim set to adventure on their own, or follow the quest line as they see fit.
The best thing about the franchise is while there is a core story to tell, Skyrim is more about the players own story and adventure they go on. From exploring decrepit ruins or maybe climbing the tall snowy mountains? It’s a world players can get lost in and totally craft their own experience. This starts with the character creation segment in the intro but ultimately transcends into the entire gameplay experience. I put in almost 80 hours in the original game and I probably only saw about 30% of the content of the entire game. So it’s an experience that offers tons to see, do, and explore.
The remaster aims to provide console players with a more optimized and better version then prior release. This is shown in a few ways from better graphical effects, sharper textures, and improved loading times. It’s still Skyrim and it’s not going to look vastly different. The framerate is pretty solid at 30fps with minor dips here and there, but if people experienced with the 360 or PS3 versions were able to handle those framerates, these are a godsend in comparison. The biggest issue visually and that could take players out of the experience is the animations and some of the character models. I feel these aspects have aged more so then the environmental or gameplay mechanics. That said, after a period of adjustment, the gameplay takes over and I found myself getting sucked into the world of Skyrim once more. The small issues I had with the dated aspects seems to melt away. The remastered version even comes with all the prior DLC, a common place in these re-releases, but seeing as I never completed either DLC, this is another great reason to jump in and of course adds many more hours to overall experience.
Another great feature for console players is the inclusion of mods. While PC players have been playing with mods for years, this is fairly new ground for consoles and it’s a great feature. Unfortunately achievements cannot be unlocked when using mods, but it’s definitely recommended to start two games and use one to mess around with them. The Xbox One mod community is already getting pretty big with a ton of options for players and as the game just launched it’s rather impressive and makes me excited to see what else might come in the near future.
Skyrim Remastered isn’t a huge step forward from the original, especially if players are accustomed to the PC version. Console wise, it’s the best it’s ever been and with the small refinements, inclusion of mods, and DLC. It’s the best way to play Skyrim when not doing so on a PC. It’s dated, as anything from 5 years would be, but everything added up, this is an extremely solid package and for the amount of content, I see no reason not to jump back into the world, unless the price point is your biggest worry. That aside, hours of time will be lost to Skyrim once again and I’m looking forward to it.
Retails for: $59.99, Recommended Purchase Price: $59.99
An Xbox One code was provided by the publisher for review purposes.