For 10 years, Todd Howard and Bethesda have republished the fifth part of The Elder Scrolls. It became a joke in the gaming industry, the developers themselves sneered about it. But it seems that this time was really the last – the ultimate version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim finally exists!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Anniversary Edition is not a complete re-release – it just brings a lot of custom content to the lands of northern Tamriel. By purchasing the Anniversary Edition, players purchase all available “Creations” from the Creation Club, Bethesda’s in-game store that sells QC mods.
And already at this point it would be necessary to scold Bethesda for such an attitude. After all, what we have in the end: the same Skyrim Special Edition, released in 2016, only mods were stuck on top of it, old bugs were not fixed and new ones were made (more on this later).
But, despite all of the above, I really don’t want to find fault with the next re-release of Skyrim. Because this game has managed to tighten again for 55 hours. The worst thing is that you want to play the same amount.
Nobody does like Bethesda
It makes no sense to talk about Skyrim in detail, enough has been said in 10 years. This is a monumental RPG in which the protagonist is a Dragonborn, able to use his own voice to slay dragons and all those poor fellows that come his way. In addition, they allow you to be a magician, warrior, thief, and at will – to combine all this in any proportion. A huge and well-developed world, interesting mission chains and side plots, many places to explore can drag on for hundreds of hours. There have been no analogues or similar modern role-playing games in 10 years.
And the more attractive the Anniversary Edition looks for the average user. We’re not talking about those for whom Skyrim modification is a hobby. We are talking just about those who do not want to suffer with installing hundreds of mods in order to turn their game into Dark Souls with pretty waifu and screwed on ray tracing.
You can divide the “creations” from the Creation Club into conditional types: Dovahkiin’s equipment, houses for the hero, gameplay improvements and new missions. We will talk about all this.
Home Sweet Home
The very concept of “base” for the protagonist was present in the original Skyrim. You could buy a house in any of the major cities or regions. With the addition of Heartfire, several points were added where a house can be built from scratch and decorated as you wish, spending a lot of resources on it. In the Anniversary Edition, almost all new houses appear after completing certain missions. A couple of examples:
- the mistress of the long house Hendraheim asks to give her a glorious death in battle, as demanded by the custom of her family;
- a pirate ship inhabited by undead and ghosts will first have to be found in a distant bay, and for this you need to find the previous owner and his diaries with records. And behind this lies a whole story of betrayal and deception, and the ship itself is terrifying;
- Dovahkiin’s vampire estate is invited to “dinner”, the main dish of which is all the guests who have come. There is also a small task here, but it rather gives the context of what is happening.
And with the latter there were problems. The vampires turned out to be stronger than my character, I had to flee the estate and leave the rest to die an inglorious death. One of the servants of darkness turned out to be so strong that he killed the character with two hits with a bolt of lightning. Even having “pumped up” to level 46 and arriving later, it was still hard to kill him.
The escape caused a “template break” in the Skyrim scripts. One of the characters present in the estate turned out to be an immortal plot character – a fighter against vampires. He tried to kill the unbelted bloodsucker, but he failed. Artificial intelligence also decided to escape from the estate, which began to cause the game to freeze: the world lives, but my character seemed to be introduced into a dialogue – you can’t move, there is no interface. It turned out that the vampire hunter just wanted to talk to me and tried to catch up with me, but there was an error. But at that moment, when he nevertheless approached me, the flow of time was restored by me through the console by a special command, which means that it was no longer possible to talk to him.
But that’s not all. Wherever I went, the killer of the undead constantly followed on the heels and asked Dovahkiin: “What do you want from me?” It was both comical and scary, because he was not even afraid to enter my hero’s house. As a result, I had to completely remove this character from the game via the console, although this did not work out the first time – the vampire hunter did not give up until the last. I had to look for special teams. The task remained unfulfilled, but they still managed to plunder the estate.
Only the best weapons and armor!
With equipment, everything is easier. Some are crafted at the forge or bought, while others can be found in the world while researching or completing assignments. For example, going through the main quest and reaching the Rat Pit, where one of the important plot characters is located, strange things happen. In one of the passages, the ghost of a magician appeared, who calls upon him to follow him into a small branch in the wall – there the player will find a whole new location with a task and an interesting story, as well as a good reward.
Having stumbled upon notes in the open world, you can start a whole chain of side quests about a gang of murderers “Bloody Daggers”. She broke up, and each member of the criminal group went with his goods to different points of Skyrim. Someone gathered their own gang or tried to start a new life, and some sank to the bottom. For killing thugs, the player is rewarded with both already known types of armor with unique enchantments, and “creations” added by others. It feels like the modders worked together and wanted to make a whole story woven into the world of Skyrim. And they did it.
Other tasks for obtaining armor are usually simpler – go to the point, kill enemies, pick up an item and bring it back. This is not annoying and is done rather in parallel with the rest of the assignments, and sometimes it hides interesting situations-sketches behind it. As an example: a wizard cannot reunite with his beloved in the afterlife while his heart is possessed by the sorcerers in the vicinity of Markarth. After killing them and clearing the heart on the altar, the hero receives armor from happy ghosts as a reward, which is one of the best for a battle mage.
Survive if you can
Improvements or gameplay changes include the following modifications: fishing, Survival mode, the ability to tame horses, new types of enemies, many new recipes for cooking, and so on. All of this works great for immersion.
If you have played Skyrim often before and want some new emotions, then it is recommended to turn on the “Survival” mode from the very start. The hero will freeze, resent, want to eat and sleep – and all these effects can be enhanced under the influence of spells. This is especially noticeable in the battle with magicians, when ice thorns freeze Dovahkiin, destroying almost the entire line of stamina and health.
Now you need to approach battles tactically and think over your actions in advance, lure opponents and separate groups of enemies, and without a partner in general, you can’t even take a step – they have become really useful, and not just serve as bags on legs. Fast travel is also disabled. Because of this, the fifth part of the “Elder Scrolls” begins to resemble Morrowind, and the number of random situations on the Dovahkiin’s path will increase significantly. It seems that the world begins to live and work according to its own laws.
Fishing, shown in the Anniversary Edition trailer, turned out to be just a mini-game at certain points in Skyrim, where you have to press the interaction button in time – just like in Animal Crossing from Nintendo. You can play a couple of times, but you shouldn’t hope for anything serious, there is no depth in this “creation”.
We were pleased with the domestication of wild horses. And here again the modders spied on the mechanics from Nintendo, namely, in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. First you need to sneak up on the horse, jump on it, and then hold on for a while. The filly will kick, throwing the character off itself. It will take time for the animal to get used to the new owner.
Of the new enemies, the zombies are the most memorable. With their appearance in Skyrim, a task is even connected: inept necromancers gave their lives to summon these creatures from another dimension. Now groups of the dead roam the entire province, and finding the place of the ritual will give you the opportunity to learn the spell of subjugation of zombies. In battle, they are not particularly strong, but in the early stages they help out.
New spells and clothes for mages have also been added. We especially tried over the school of “witchcraft”, the main skill of which is to summon creatures. The variety of invoked evil spirits was increased, and also strengthened – for which special thanks. The immortal ghost, whose strength depends on the mana points spent on its summons, has repeatedly saved in desperate situations.
In addition to small tasks, new, global events have appeared. The following “creations” can be counted among them:
- Dead Man’s Horror;
- Saints and Seducers;
- Ghost of the Tribunal;
Each of them is a large, complex assignment. Some even have variability and the ability to go through them a little differently. They are all wonderfully made and written. But they hardly change the world of Skyrim in any way, as if these events simply do not exist for the surrounding world.
Let Dovahkiin help to revive the Tribunal on Solstheim, but this does not affect the inhabitants of the island in any way. The task “Reason” seems to take the player by the hand through the museum of glory of the fourth part of The Elder Scrolls, gives nostalgia and enjoy the atmosphere, but this is all its value. The Seasons allows you to explore a cool Dwemer dungeon with many mysteries and rooms, but the rewards for completing it are almost useless. Each global quest has its own “but”, although this does not make them bad.
Just like 10 years ago
For the technical condition of Skyrim, I would like to give the developers in the neck. It’s been 10 years since the original game was released, but the bugs are exactly the same as before. Squares instead of the text of books and notes in Russian localization, small drawing distance, conflicts between “creations” among themselves, object collision bugs – hundreds of them! And sometimes they can seriously spoil the experience of the game.
To get all the content of the Anniversary Edition, you have to download it from the Creation Club tab. If you don’t like the mod, reinstall the game again and manually select the mods that you want to install. There is no possibility to delete the “creation”! PC players have an alternative – to manually delete files from the game folder, but this can lead to errors and the complete destruction of the character save file. The author has experienced this for himself.
Bugs, errors, problems with launching for some users – Bethesda should be scolded for such a hack, because the technical state of the game has not changed in 10 years almost in any way! On the other hand, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is still good and manages to tighten up headlong, and custom “creations” expand the project, intelligently weaving into the main story and a huge open world.
If you miss the cold province in northern Tamriel and don’t want to spend a whole day installing and checking modifications, then the Anniversary Edition is your choice.