What is Skyrim Remastered? Here's The 10 Most Important Things To Know

skyrim, elder scrolls, dragonborn, dawnguard, rpg, remastered 2106, dragon, Dovahkiin
Please keep your hands and arms inside the dragon while in the air.

Everything You Need To Know About Skyrim Remastered

In a world of dragons, daedra, and Dunmer, the fifth of the Elder Scrolls series took the world by storm. With over 30 million copies being sold in its first 5 years, Skyrim was hard to miss and even harder to put down. While we await the next exciting installment, we are lucky enough to get a revamp of Skyrim.

In 2016, Bethesda released a remastered version of the game to address the hordes of bugs and glitches that came as part of the original. Skyrim Remastered, also known as Skyrim Special Edition, includes all 3 official expansion packs, Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn. If you’ve lived with the mudcrabs for the past few years and missed the releases, below are ten things that are worth knowing about Skyrim Special Edition.

10) Skyrim Special Edition is free if you already own the Hearthfire, Dawnguard, and Dragonborn DLCs

Kahjiit, free, edition, remaster

You might not even need coin...

Those who already own the 3 official DLC released in 2012/2013 or own the Legendary Edition through Steam will have access to a free version of the Special Edition. However, PS4 and Xbox One owners will have to buy it as a separate entity (at $32.30 and $32.23 respectively). 
 
The expansions as separate entities are hard to find and Skyrim is now sold as the Special Edition as default for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

9) Hearthfire

bard, steward, children, pets, carriage, house, land, drafting, workbenchComplete with paintings that follow you with their eyes.
 
All official DLCs are included in the Special Edition and the first to consider here is Hearthfire. This allows the player to build their own house. This essentially allows the Dovahkiin to have a house in every hold (except Winterhold).
 
There are 3 bits of land available to build on in the snowy Pale, forested Falkreath, and marshy Hjaalmarch. You can buy these from the Jarl’s steward during the normal process of becoming the Thane of a Hold. You’ll collect clay, wood, and other raw materials to assemble a house on a plot of land. 
 
You'll begin by building a small house with new crafting stations - the drafting table to design and the carpenter's workbench to create! Eventually, this small house will serve as an antechamber to an extensive mansion. You'll be able to fill every nook and cranny with everything from enchanting tables and alchemist labs to kitchens and armories and turn it into a home. 
 
The outside is also full of potential. You can plant a flourishing garden of Skyrim’s flora, including Nirnroot and Jazbay Grapes. Different locations offer other equipment, for example, the property you build in Hjaalmarch offers a mill. Explore the expansions of your newfound luxury!
 
While the player can add personal touches from a range of items, the house has all the personality of an Ikea cupboard. The build is predetermined and cannot be customised in the vanilla game, although you can have a carriage driver, which is infinitely convenient, and a bard to entertain your family whilst you're off slaying Hagravens. 
 
You can also have most followers stay at your home to watch over your spouse, children and their pets. Your follower then becomes your personal steward. Sometimes, that'll mean stamping out skeevers or chasing off bandits that attack your home.
 
This DLC also allows you to adopt up to two children from various locations, provided there is a Child’s Room decoration added from the Jarl’s steward for them to stay in. Bringing gifts or giving gold is a quick way for boosting Speech by activating the Gift of Charity. 
 
You can also play games with your kids, play tag or hide and seek! Your spouse will often surprise you with a homemade pie for your long travels. It'll give you a better advantage than most food too, boosting health, magicka, and stamina regen by 25% - tasty!

8) Dawnguard

vampire lord, dawnguard, crossbow, gargoyleAre you feeling lucky, punk?
 
The Dawnguard organization are on a warpath to wipe out the vampires that come with this expansion. The vampires, who have some adverse feelings to this, are exacting an equally murderous campaign on the Dawnguard. The Dragonborn must choose a side to support.
 
2011 saw Dawnguard shake Skyrim awake and brings the fabled Elder Scrolls into the present. With powers of this ancient artifact, the legendary vampire, Lord Harkon, aims to blot out the sun. If you so choose, the Dragonborn could be the one to realise this goal - at the price of becoming a vampire. 
 
Vampirism holds both boon and burden. Trade weakness under the sun for powerful spells to drain the life from your enemies or obliterate them as a swarm of bats. 
 
There’s interesting depth in the quests and interaction with the vanilla werewolf mechanic, adding a perk/skill tree for those who choose to become a vampire or werewolf. Vampires can feed on their enemies to unlock perks to summon Gargoyles or a cloud of bats that will feast on your foes. Lycanthropes can also feed on their dead prey to unlock perks to summon your werewolf brethren to battle or increase your damage with Bestial Strength.
 
The Dragonborn also gains new items, such as the powerful crossbow and unique jewellery that helps make the most of vampiric and werewolf forms. New areas are available, such as the mysterious Soul Cairn where even the souls of dragons may be found. Bone-crushing and elegant Dragonbone weapons can also be forged to deal immense damage.

7) Dragonborn
dragonborn, miraak, pillar, battle, ride dragon

Jack Sparrow is in some real trouble.
 
This expansion sees the first Dragonborn of all time order his cult to assassinate you and, when you prevail, they lead you into Solstheim - an island far from Skyrim, under the view of Morrowind’s Red Mountain, spewing out ash. 
 
Your Dovahkiin and Miraak, the first Dragonborn, will face off in this remarkable adventure. Explore the realms deep in Daedric tomes of untold and forbidden knowledge to gain the power to strike back! Assume the mantle of a dragon with the Dragon Aspect Shout - making you stronger and your Thu’um more potent. 
 
In the ashy south, you'll find giant mushrooms inhabited by a powerful wizard, leaning over the sea where Netch families roam. To the north, treacherous icy mountains hide fierce Riekling tribes and rare Stahlrim ore, which can be shaped into weapons and armor. Known as enchanted ice, it's one of the rarest materials in the game - see if you can find Deathbrand the pirate’s full suit of Stahlrim armor.
 
Solstheim has strong links with The Elder Scrolls lore, making for good immersion and continuity from earlier games, such as Morrowind. This new landscape secrets new wearable items that the player is likely to become very fond of, as well as several strange, new species.
 
You’ll encounter both ash spawn and werebears in this add-on. You'll forge new armors of Chitin and unique Bonemold. In this new and challenging wasteland, heed the hidden Nord people, the Skaal, who will guide you in defeating your ultimate nemesis, Miraak.

6) Visual upgrades
sharp, clear, natural, stunning

Left: sfumato style. Right: live feed.
 
The biggest emphasis of the remaster of Skyrim is on the graphics. While the PC graphics do improve, the most obvious difference is on the console platforms. 
 
From the official website, the graphical improvements are “remastered art and effects, volumetric lighting (“God Rays”), dynamic depth of field, screen-space reflections, and new snow and water shaders.” In short, this brings console players up to the visual standard that has been commonplace for PC gamers. 
 
Flowers and trees have a real-world quality; water flows and splashes beautifully over rocks and river courses. The colour palette is still pretty limited, but more sharply defined. The world is also much lighter with warmer hues, which makes exploring much more aesthetically pleasing.

15 Best Skyrim Graphics Mods You Should be Using Right Now

5) Bugs

chaurus, bug, glitch, Dude - that's a big bug.
 
Another advantage of the Special Edition is the attention to fixing some of the more persistent bugs. After five years of fans producing their own solutions, Bethesda released the remastered version. This has helped smooth out the gameplay. 
 
On an Xbox 360, there were several quests that could never be completed due to glitches or the player would have to load a previous save, if there was one available, and potentially lose hours of gameplay. As a convert to PC, this isn’t such a disaster, as the command console is available. As a console player, this wasn’t an option.
 
Now, quests are much less breakable (although still temperamental) but it’s a large improvement on the original. The Butcher quest and Arniel’s Endeavour to meet the dwarves in particular are still fairly buggy. 
 

4) New Shouts and items
Ahzidal, dragonpriest, fire, solstheim

Ommmmmmmmmmmmm...
 
 
New Shouts are available in the DLC parts of the Special Edition. The Bend Will Shout is the most useful Thu’um, as it allows you to ride dragons. You can also use fast-travel while riding the mythical beasts and use them to attack your foes from the air. 
 
Hearthfire adds several new food items to help with your health, such as clam chowder. There are also new items to craft in order to build your house, such as nails and hinges. There are also clothes and toys that you can find or craft as gifts for your adopted children.  
 
For the werewolf aficionado, the Ring of the Hunt allows your health to regenerate in werewolf form without having to feed on bodies. Be sure to equip it before you transform, as you can’t access your inventory when in Beast Form.
 

3) Xbox One or PS4?
Shouts, thu'um, dragon, Dovahkiiin

“Wanna go take PC’s lunch money?” “Heck yes. He’ll be SO faas-ru-maar’d.”
 
The justification of buying the Special Edition, especially for the console players, is that it enhances the way you play.
 
It's now much more feasible and enjoyable to play a stealthy character. With the upgrade, you can see far enough into the distance to adequately prepare for a noiseless kill, helping turn the Dovahkiin into an efficient assassin. It’s also more rewarding to have companions that you can see and, therefore, avoid tenderising in a gloomy Nordic ruin. 
 
Access to mods is another attractive feature. Overhauls, like immersive speech, and new areas (such as Falskaar and Elsweyr) expand the map and allow new items and quests. This puts a new layer of enjoyment and engagement into the original game.
 
However, the Xbox One seems to have the upper hand over PS4 users when it comes to mods. Sony does not allow third party content and allocates only 1GB for mod space, while Xbox One users have 5GB with an extended pool of mod choice of 4697 versus 2406 for PS4 players. 
 
For those staying in the console camp, Xbox One is the best choice. For those who are converting from console to PC, note that Skyrim will allow you to plug and play with a USB Xbox controller to ease you in.
 
The 76 Best Skyrim Mods and Why You Need Them

2) Tech Specs 
arcane enchanter, enchanting, wizard, mage,

The needs of the enchanted boxes!
 
For PC, the requirements have risen a little. The original minimum stats are listed as:
Windows XP to 7 (32 or 64 bit); 
Dual Core 2.0GHz or equivalent processor;
2GB System RAM; 
6GB free HDD Space; 
Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 512 MB of RAM; 
DirectX compatible sound card. 
 
The remastered version minimum requirements are listed as: 
64bit Windows 7 to 10;
8GB RAM;
12GB HDD space;
upgraded graphics card [NVIDIA GTX 470 1GB /AMD HD 7870 2GB].

For consoles, PS4 needs 20 GB of free space in North America or 33 GB in Europe. The Xbox One needs much less at 17 GB in North America or 25 GB in Europe. That’s not including your mod space.

 

1) Overall gameplay

arrow to the knee, joke, meme, proposal, adventurer like you

Insert joke here.
 
With shorter loading times, you spend more time playing as opposed to watching a slowly rotating Giant. For those avoiding the fast-travel option, it makes for much better immersion and continuity of gameplay.
 
The DLC are much more seamless when interacting with the vanilla game and adds advantages early in the game. Backpacks are available early on and vampire skins from the Dawnguard expansion permeate the vanilla characters in a subtle but pleasing way. 

Conclusion

While it was the original Skyrim that wooed us, it’s the remastered version that stole our hearts. The cleaner, sharper images with more stable gameplay really makes all the difference, especially for our console brethren. 
 
Make no mistake: the Special Edition is not perfect. Textures and items are nicely integrated but it would have been nice to see more involvement with the vanilla story lines. For example, with the introduction of the vampire arc, it might have been nice to be able to call Sybille (court wizard of Solitude) out on her vampirism. 
 
Also, Dragonborn’s Solstheim could have been so much more. Instead, the player goes from icy grey landscape to ashy grey landscape. To get some environmental variety, you still need to approach user made content, such as Moonpath to Elsweyr. Also, you can’t become a werebear with the Special Edition - you still need third party content, like Moonlight Tales, to do this. 
 
There’s been no dialogue update. The guards still snort about your sweetroll, even after you save the world, and if you choose to play as a Khajiit or Argonian, the dialogue options remain unchanged and rather modernised. There are also still bugs and glitches that need a command to fix. 
 
Arguably, Oblivion would also have been well received as a remastered game. However, the age of the technology would result in a mountainous task, effectively building the game from scratch. Thus, Skyrim was volunteered to receive the upgrade.
 
That being said, the Special Edition is a good investment and it really does give new life and reliability to the gameplay. It allows for drastically different gaming styles and expands on an already huge in-game terrain.

Whiterun, Skyrim, travel, third person

Off to Rorikstead then.

Videos

Skyrim Special Edition Gameplay - Miraak BOSS FIGHT

Skyrim: How To Become a Werewolf (Gameplay/Commentary)

You may also like:

10 Movies Every Skyrim Player Should Watch

Top 15 Games Like Skyrim. If You Like Skyrim, You'll Love These Games

What Will Be The Next Elder Scrolls Game?

 

Sarah is a civil servant from the Shire of Devon by day and werebear bard by night. Creates delicious meals and enjoys an extra skill point when reading. A compulsive leaner, she is interested in ALL!
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Skyrim, ARK, and Pokémon GO/Emerald
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Mass Effect 2, Portal
This article makes me feel: