We were excited to go back to Skyrim but what was expected to be a jaunty walk down memory lane leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. It’s like going back to your first home only to find the current occupiers have much better taste in interior design, they’ve built the extension you could never be bothered to do and if the place looked like that when you lived there you’d have never sold it. The truth is though, once you look past the fancy new furniture, the new double glazing and the grey carpets and wall coverings you realise it’s still the same old place and there’s a reason you moved on from it.
Yes, it’s great to be back in Skyrim and yes it’s great to be slaying dragons again, but I’ve bought this game once before and all its add-ons on the Xbox 360 and now having paid £35 quid to get it all again seems like money I could have spent on other things.
The new scenery and backgrounds and everything else is brought to life by the power of the Xbox One but they don’t seem to have taken much time remastering the way the people are drawn or some of the enemies. It can be a little unsettling to have a beautiful vista across a village only to have it ruined by a badly drawn guard wondering in front of you. They still haven’t managed to get hair quite right and the older and more grizzly characters still have wrinkles the size of chasms and it’s all just a bit half hearted.
Skyrim on the Xbox 360 was pretty much the perfect game, it had such incredible attention to detail and incredible story telling in a video game, and while it’s nice to have it redrawn you’ll be amazed at how much work your imagination did to fill in the gaps in graphical niggles in the first place. With the Special edition after 20 or 30 minutes of gawping at scenery once you get into it then you don’t notice all the improvements to the graphics because your brain did half the work first time around.
Handily Skyrim special edition does come with all 3 of the DLC add-ons the first game didn’t come with so you won’t be having to buy all that again at least but this whole thing seems like an exercise in extracting money from rubes like myself who’ll pretty much lap up anything Elder Scroll’s until we can’t take any more and even then, we’ll try and fit more into our sated corpses.
As someone who plays the Elder Scrolls online on the Xbox One I’d have loved to have seen them incorporate this more into their current generation offering. Sure, ESO isn’t perfect but it’s got a plenty decent main campaign as well as multiple individual alliance campaigns. For the hundreds of hours you can sink into Skyrim you can do so 4 fold in the Elder Scrolls online and still have a satisfying experience, just without the Dragons which I admit is a downside but with the upside of killing a Daedric prince to go with some PvP options as well. Parts of Skyrim are available in ESO, you can bumble around Eastmarch and Riften everything feels familiar but it would be nice seeing as they’ve gone to the bother of redrawing the whole place to throw it into ESO.
All that being said, it’s still the classic game we all know and love and despite all the downsides of having to buy a game again you’ve already bought I’ll still play it to completion because I love the story and I love the game. By playing through with a different character of a different gender of a different species in a different approach to weapons and magic there’s more than enough variety in the game to make the experience different enough to warrant giving it a go. Besides, I’ve paid for it now!
If you played Skyrim on the Xbox 360 then don’t bother buying it again, some fancy new scenery shouldn’t be enough to make you part with your hard-earned cash. Get the Elder Scrolls online and try something in a new experience. If you haven’t played before and are looking at buying it for the first time on Xbox One it’s actually a bit of a bargain, particularly with all the DLC thrown in for free. Be Prepared to lose hundreds of hours of your life.