Game Rant takes a look at the best modifications for the Skyrim Special Edition, ranging from unique quests and new content to gameplay enhancing adjustments.
Almost 5 years after its original release, Skyrim has returned as the apparent gift that keeps on giving. Now that the Skyrim Special Edition has released, gamers are returning to the land of Skyrim en masse to relive the return of the Dragonborn and enjoy the graphical enhancements. One of the largest differences between the Special Edition and the original game, though, is that those playing on the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 now have the opportunity to install modifications, allowing the Dovahkiin to experience a modded playthrough on console for the first time ever.
While the Special Edition isn't without its own problems, console gamers have been enjoying many fan-made creations which were previously only available to PC gamers. While Xbox One gamers have a numerical advantage when it comes to the modifications offered, we'd like to take a look at the best modifications currently available for the Skyrim Special Edition. While new modifications are popping up everyday, every modification on this list has stood the test of time on PC, and we think any console gamer who can download these Skyrim Special Edition mods should certainly consider doing so.
Without further ado, here's the best modifications that the Skyrim Special Edition has to offer:
We've written about Falskaar before, so it should be no surprise to see it included on a list of the best Special Edition modifications. On a scale of size and scope, Falskaar is unmatched by any other creation, and those who install the landmass mod can prepare themselves for an unprecedented 20 to 30 hours of new gameplay content to enjoy. The modification adds an entire new landscape beyond the scope of Skyrim, and this new location plays host to 26 different quests, 9 of which revolve around a brand new central storyline.
The inhabitants of Falskaar are all fully voiced thanks to a combined effort from around 30 different voice actors recruited specifically for the modification, and Falskaar also boasts around 60 minutes of original music to help give the adventure a unique feel. To trigger the quest the leads to Falskaar, players must go to Riften and speak with Jalamar. Shortly after, players will be able to enter the Nord-settled land as 'the traveller', triggering a massive lore-friendly series of events in their wake.
The Falskaar modification is available on Xbox One and PC.
Survival enthusiasts who haven't partaken in one of Skyrim's most popular mods of all-time have been missing out, so those returning to the unforgiving landscape for the Special Edition should certainly download the Frostfall survival modification. The Dovahkiin may be able to shrug off sword cuts and spells alike, but the Frostfall modification adds another component to watch out for: temperature and wetness. Those who install the modification must keep themselves warm, lest they succumb to the harsh and cold environment of Skyrim. Treading through water makes the player wet, which can turn a damp situation into a life or death experience, requiring adventurers to dry themselves off before hypothermia sets in.
Of course, one of the best ways to keep dry is with a campfire, so the Frostfall modification integrates an entire camping system into the game. Players travelling across the land can set up camp in spots they'd like to hunker down, and can then craft torches and campfires to keep themselves warm through the night. Frostfall is without a doubt one of the best immersive survival modifications one can hope to find for Skyrim, and it's a must-have for anyone seeking an entire new kind of challenge from the game.
The Frostfall modification is available on Xbox One and PC.
Alternate Start - Live Another Life
Many gamers can recall the first time they booted up Skyrim and found themselves in a wagon slowly trotting towards an Imperial execution. While the introductory sequence for Skyrim was a great way to introduce players to the civil war that played along concurrently with the appearance of dragons, many roleplayers didn't want to put themselves in the boots of The Dovahkiin, and others simply didn't want their characters to start off being unlikely survivors from a dragon attack.
To give options for role-playing enthusiasts, the Alternate Start - Live Another Life modification was created. Starting out in a dungeon, players pray to the Gods for another chance in life, and receive an answer: they can now choose a brand new life to slot themselves into. Players can start off as a traveler at a variety of inns and docks around Skyrim, or choose a more dramatic storyline like a shipwreck survivor or a Warlock's Thrall. With the long Helgen introduction out of the picture, players can finally be whoever they want to be.
The Alternate Start - Live Another Life modification is available on Xbox One and PC.
The Forgotten City
With so many modifications available for Skyrim, it takes a lot to get noticed, so when one modification adds almost 10 hours of game time and wins multiple awards for its craftsmanship, gamers take note. The Forgotten City sends players on a murder/mystery quest filled with time traveling and interrogation.
The winner of the Australian Writers Guild Award for Interactive Media (2016) boasts a non-linear storyline with fully voiced characters and an original orchestral soundtrack, setting this modification far above the reach of a typical quest addition. Gamers interested in downloading The Forgotten City should expect more than just combat, too, as both the interrogation scenes and the environment itself feature many logical puzzles to solve.
The Forgotten City modification is available on Xbox One and PC.
Relationship Dialogue Overhaul
The Dovahkiin could be forgiven for getting tired of Lydia forlornly stating she was sworn to carry their burdens, and truthfully most companions in the vanilla Skyrim experience feature dialogue too limited to cover the bulk of a long playthrough. Thanks to the appropriately titled Relationship Dialogue Overhaul, though, adventurers can now brace themselves for more banter than ever. The modification adds over 5,000 lines of unique dialogue from friends, spouses, followers, and rivals, each carefully spliced together from other lines from the actual voice actors.
The end result is that NPCs have plenty more lines to deliver where none were before, and the modification also corrects some incorrect line usage brought over from the original title. As if this weren't enough, the Relationship Dialogue Overhaul also allows players to recruit members of the Thieves Guild (and a few other NPCs) as followers once they've completed respective quests. It can get annoying listening to repeated dialogue (no more arrows to the knee jokes, please), so this modification is a much-needed breath of fresh air for the Skyrim Special Edition.
The Relationship Dialogue Overhaul modification is available on Xbox One and PC.
Conan Hyborian Age
Movie buffs will instantly recognize the name Conan, which was synonymous with a certain bulky barbarian before a red-haired comedian stole his way into our hearts. The Conan Hyborian Age modification refers to the former, and introduces players in a somewhat lore-friendly manner to Conan the Barbarian. With items ripped straight from the 1982 movie and a runtime longer than the movie itself, this is a very polished quest modification that should leave both movie fans and challenge-hungry gamers satisfied.
To trigger the quest that leads gamers to a massive dungeon, players must first find a mysterious book in House Gray-Mane of Whiterun. The creator recommends players be at least level 10 before attempting the quest, where adventurers will face entirely new enemies and bosses, along with a custom soundtrack and the ability to light embers with torches. The 3 level dungeon will provide ample challenge, although the fact that it's Conan the Barbarian may scare away gamers who want to preserve as much Skyrim lore as possible. Still, there's no doubting that this is one of the best Skyrim Special Edition mods out there so far.
The Conan Hyborian Age modification is available on Xbox One and PC.
Phenderix Magic Evolved
The Phenderix Magic Evolved modification does exactly what it sounds like, adding over 370 new spells into the game. These spells range from the ability to launch barrages of projectiles at enemies, spells that teleport enemies to specific locations, and even spells that mutate enemies into chickens. Put together, these provide many more options for players who are more inclined to use their magicka to solve problems.
When gamers install the modification, all of the additional spells can be found in tomes from vendors around the land, making it so that the modification blends itself in with the vanilla Skyrim content exceptionally well. For the less patient gamers who don't want to hunt down each individual spell, the modification also includes a 'cheat chest' with each spell tome that can be found next to Farengar in Dragonreach.
Unfortunately, the creator had to remove 20 spells from the PS4 version of this modification so that it would be compatible on the console.
The Phenderix Magic Evolved modification is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
It may not seem like a dramatic change, but removing the load-screen gates from each major city makes a huge difference in Skyrim Special Edition, and not just because of the immersion factor. Without these load screens, players engaging in dragon fights near city borders can now experience full support from the city guards, who now must truly protect their citizens from the dangers beyond the wall.
Once players install the modification, they'll need to wait approximately 24 in-game hours for the AI city inhabitants to adjust to the new changes. Since this modification makes such a drastic change to the cities of Skyrim, the creator recommends that gamers don't install any other modifications that affect cities to prevent errors from popping up, although he states that the Alternate Start modification list above should still be compatible.
The Open Cities modification is available on Xbox One and PC.
Cutting Room Floor
Not everything a developer makes finds its way into the finished product, and the Cutting Room Floor modification aims to bring back content that found itself lost in the development process. The modification restores everything from entire villages to questlines that were never quite finished, although the creator admits that the civil war content was too complicated to safely bring back within the scope of this modification.
The mod creator also went above and beyond the call of duty and gave homes to the restored NPCs where applicable, assigning the AI characters daily routines to follow so as to immerse the newly returned characters into the existing world. Since the majority of this content was already partially developed, it's safe to say that this is a lore-friendly modification that adds plenty of nice touches to the game, and players can do no harm in including content that was clearly intended to be there.
The Cutting Room Floor modification is available on Xbox One and PC.
The Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch
It may not have the pizzazz and interest factor that the other modifications on this list have, but the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch may just be the most essential modification any gamer could download. The optional addition fixes hundreds of bugs that were left in the game by Bethesda. Featuring fixes for everything from quest glitches, NPC behavioral modifications, text errors, and object placement bugs, gamers will ultimately enjoy a much smoother playthrough with this unofficial patch silently running in the background.
When the patch first came out far before the Special Edition was announced, it made hundreds of small individual game-fixing modifications obsolete in an instant. We recommend that players start with this modification installed and add other modifications to the game after this one, so that no game-breaking bugs have a chance of coming to light.
The Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch modification is available on Xbox One and PC.
All of the above modifications add an intangible amount of enjoyment to one's Skyrim playthrough, and whether players simply just want to set up battles between giants and dragons or even horrify themselves via Macho Man Randy Savage, we believe the 10 modifications listed above are well worth considering.
Console gamers have a limited amount of space reserved for Skyrim, so as more content is added to the Besthesda library, gamers will have to start picking and choosing which modifications are worth keeping. We hope this list helps.
The Skyrim Special Edition is available now on PC, Xbox One, and PS4.