[Top 10] Skyrim Best Graphics Mods For A Better Visual Experience

Skyrim is a beautiful place, and the best way to experience it is with stunning visuals

When Skyrim came out in 2011, it wasn’t exactly pushing the graphical limit. It was a good looking game, but there were issues that became more pronounced over the years. Low resolution textures and low polygon meshes are one of them. Other factors such as limited weather patterns and unimpressive lighting just add to that. As good as it looked, it could look better.

And that’s my goal for this list. Be advised, the mods I’m covering are the ones that suit my taste. That being said, they will undoubtedly make the game look much better and they have all been thoroughly used and tested. For this list, I won’t be looking at things that drastically alter the look and feel of the game either. 

If you’re a veteran, you know all these mods. Newcomers might benefit more from the list I’ve made. But even if you don’t like some of the mods I’ve chosen, you can easily use this as a base and overwrite or replace as you see fit.


10. Enhanced Blood Textures

I’m starting this list with a blood mod, and for really good reason. Unless you’re roleplaying as a pacifist, you’ll see a lot of blood. And this mod takes it much further than the scope of vanilla. I mean more bleeding, blood splattered everywhere, that kind of thing.

First and foremost, this mod introduces high resolution blood textures for your viewing pleasure. But you’ll have more blood from strikes, blood will trail down when health is low, and everyone will leave pools of blood. Insects will bleed green, Dwarven animunculi will bleed oil and blood will soak into different surfaces. There are optional files available to reduce size of splatters, and a LITE version without any of the fancy stuff.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


9. Hybrid Mountains

Skyrim is a mountainous land. So it would be a shame if I didn’t put a mod that overhauls mountain textures. You’re probably going to spend all your time up close as you try to scale those mountains on horseback anyway.

Hybrid Mountains is actually based on another awesome texture mod called Majestic Mountains. It takes the different versions of the base mod and combines the textures to create this version. The end result is that all your mountains will look absolutely stunning. You will spend more time admiring these textures than playing the game.

The files are only for the Legendary Edition, but it can be made to work with Special Edition. You’ll just have to install the meshes of Majestic Mountains and then overwrite the textures from this mod. Make sure you delete or disable the meshes from Hybrid if using SE.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


8. Northfire's Dungeons

I’ve played around with a lot of textures for ruins and dungeons. The competition is tough, and all of them are very well-made. But none of them quite compare to Northfire’s textures.

The textures have a darker feel to them, almost inspiring a feel of dread. There’s also a certain sense of roughness to it, something you would expect from an abandoned burial crypt. It makes the whole experience of delving into a forgotten dungeon much more engaging and spookier. And the textures look great regardless of your setup.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


7. Noble Skyrim

If I had to recommend just one texture mod, it would be this mod. Sure, there are certain textures that this does not cover. And other textures are done better by more specialized mods. But as far as large scale projects go, this one covers everything I could ask for, and with excellent quality.

Right off the bat, the textures are vanilla inspired but they’re different enough to have their own identity. The art-style is somewhat darker but also has more color than the vanilla palette, brilliantly utilizing contrast. Certain textures also have a rougher, worn-out feel to them. The only thing I don’t like are the small tiles that the author prefers, but it’s something that can be easily replaced by other mods.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


6. Cathedral Landscape

Grass mods seem the most subjective to me. I’ve tried plenty, and they all looked great. After trying many of them, I’ve settled on this one for now for a handful of reasons. Among the top of them is performance.

Cathedral won’t flood Skyrim with lush fields of grass. It makes the grass denser, but keeps very close to the vanilla feel to remind you that you’re still in Skyrim. What’s crazier is the performance boost. That’s right! It does that by using simpler polygons for the grass. This might sound bad, but it’s not. It looks amazing.

The mod also complements the grasses with 3D ground cover to enhance the experience. Alongside that, it also comes with high quality ground textures that look really good and believable. And last, but not the least, it reduces the ever-present problem of grass growing through stuff by removing it in unreasonable places. 


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


5. Static Mesh Improvement Mod

I’m ashamed to say that I once didn’t believe that polygons would make that much of a difference. It’s just the model, am I right? Well, I’m sure you’ve guessed how I’ve been corrected and reformed. These do make a significant difference. And you wouldn’t want to go back once you’re used to the better meshes.

This mod recreates many of the 3D models of the game, making them seem a lot more believable and appear better looking. There are many examples of low-poly models, like chains that look like cardboard, or rope that look painted on. There are around 30,000 placements, so it’s impossible for me to recount them all. The only way to appreciate this is by playing it.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


4. Realistic Water Two

Many video games have given us some amazing looking water. Skyrim, unfortunately, was never one of those games. To be truthful, vanilla waters look like folded plastic sheets in motion.

First and foremost, this mod makes the water look better by improving the textures. In vanilla Skyrim water looks the same no matter where you go. With this mod, you’ll have marshy water, ocean water, still water at lakes, just to name a few. But the coolest thing I think is how the water transparency changes as you get inside the water.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


3. Enhanced Lights and FX

The proper lighting can make a huge difference, and I think we all have an intuitive grasp of this fact. Skyrim has two problems in this regard. The first is that the game doesn’t always have the light sources in the right places, causing the shadows to look unrealistic. The other is a minor thing, which is the color of lights.

ELFX corrects this by making sure the light sources are all in the right positions. You just have to see a comparison to see how different things are with and without proper lighting. But if you want more, there’s an Enhancer addition which makes interiors much darker. There’s also an Exterior module which alters the weather, but I don’t recommend it. It’s alright, but any other weather mod is better.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


2. Cathedral Landscape

Weather mods are a huge deal. First, they add a variety of weather. Second, they overhaul outside lighting. While most of the major lighting mods cover the colors of internal spaces, weather mods are responsible for the same effect outside. So you can see why you need it to round things up.

Cathedral Weathers is described as a natural-fantasy weather mod, which is a great balance to strive for. I like some color and variety but I don’t like Skyrim looking too bloomy. It’s based on Obsidian Weathers, which is another awesome mod. It’s a tiny file that implements many different weather patterns to bring naturalistic lights, foggy and gloomy days or a variety of dark and bright, colorful lights. Seriously, the seasonal variety is so well done.

The time of month will also affect the weather pattern, which is a pretty immersive touch. There’s a certain level of customizability, so if you find things a tad bit off with your setup, you can always tinker with it.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special


1. Rudy ENB

Even if you don’t use any other graphical mods, an ENB is an absolute must. At least, if you want to make the game look better. In a simplified manner, ENBs add filters and effects that the base game does not have, enhancing the visuals of the game.

And among all the ENBs that are out there, I cannot recommend anything more than Rudy ENB. It strikes the fine balance between fantasy and realism. You’ll find that it contrasts a darker ambience with a brighter color palette, allowing you to have more life without straying from Skyrim’s tones. And if you’re using textures, the ENB will make them pop out. 

The only issue with this mod is an annoying letterbox, which you can disable from the settings. On a different note, users of Cathedral Weathers can safely use the NLVA version for Rudy. The brightness can be configured through the MCM Menu.


Download Mod: Legendary | Special

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A prolific and published author with a fervor for gaming, I have decided to dedicate myself to these two bring in a way that inspire passion and desires to learn and explore in others.
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Dishonored
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Assassin's Creed 2 , Dishonored

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