At 10 years of age, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition is a rather unexpected re-release that I’ll be looking at in this review.
The game is available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC via Steam. In this review, I won’t be going into too much detail in terms of the story or gameplay of Skyrim, but will instead look at what’s new in the Anniversary Edition and if it’s worth getting. As a score will not be assigned like in our other reviews.
Is the Anniversary Edition a step-up from the widely played Special Edition of the game, or is it an unfortunate step down, like GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition? Read on for our review of Skyrim Anniversary Edition!
Anniversary Edition vs Special Edition
Note that on Steam, the Anniversary Edition is treated as DLC for the Special Edition of Skyrim. If you already owned the Special Edition, you can purchase the Anniversary Edition upgrade. If you don’t own Skyrim Special Edition, then there is a bundle on Steam which you can purchase to get both editions of the game. With that out of the way, let’s look at what’s new in the Anniversary Edition.
The Anniversary Edition comes with all three main expansions for Skyrim, namely Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn. However, the new stuff is mainly Creation Club content. Everything from quests, equipment and even game mods, there is certainly a lot of things to do in this already content-rich game.
For example, you can get The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind weapons and armour from the “Ghosts of the Tribunal” quest. There is also Survival Mode that adds survival elements like hunger and temperature management. These are just the tip of the iceberg of the sheer amount of content that is added in the Annniversary Edition.
Besides that, there are also the standard graphical improvements that come with remasters. Expect more visually appealing textures, dynamic depth of field, screen-space reflections and more. Finally, playing the game on PS5 or Xbox Series X and S will also bring with it faster load times and overall better performance. Note that for PS5, there is unfortunately no DualSense support or haptic feedback features.
But wait…there’s mods!
The sad fact is that you can experience the vast majority of the content that comes in the Anniversary Edition through mods in the Special Edition. For example, while the graphical improvements of the Anniversary Edition are nice, mods will make the game look even better.
The Survival Mode that was mentioned in the previous section of the review already existed as a mod way before Skyrim Anniversary Edition was announced. One of the biggest reasons why Skyrim is still a popular game is thanks to its incredible modding community. The Anniversary Edition simply cannot compete with the years of mods that were created and supported by the community.
Technically, Skyrim Anniversary Edition is indeed a step up from the Special Edition. That is, if you completely ignore the existence of mods. In all honesty, what the Anniversary Edition offers should’ve been a free update for the game instead of a paid remaster.
As such, I can’t, in good conscience, recommend getting the Anniversary Edition when you can already experience it legally for free by installing mods on the Special Edition.
For more information on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition, check out its page on Steam.