Can you believe that it’s been 10 years since the release of Skyrim? I sure can’t, especially because Skyrim is a game that’s quite close to my heart.
While I played (and enjoyed) Skyrim when it first released back in 2011, it’s a game that I went back to from time-to-time over the years. In fact, there was even a point in 2013 that I was heavily into Skyrim. I remember that two weeks in December of 2013 clearly where I did nothing but play the game (due to some personal reason). My playthrough of Skyrim didn’t end there as I revisited the game back in 2016 when the Special Edition released.
Now, Skyrim once again has a re-release, this time as the Anniversary Edition to mark the game’s 10th Anniversary. So, does this new release of the game warrant another trip back to the lad of the Nords? And is it a game that still holds up to today’s standards? Especially for for players who missed out on when it first released back in 2011.
Find out here in our Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Anniversary Edition review!
What exactly comes with this edition?
Unlike the 2016 Special Edition which remastered the game’s graphics, the Anniversary Edition doesn’t come with enhanced visuals. Instead, it’s a new package of the game that includes the Skyrim Special Edition, along with all previously released Creation Club creations for the game (including new items and storylines). Existing owners of the Special Edition will also get the additional Saints & Seducers storyline, new goods in the Khajit Caravans, the new Survival mode, and the fishing mini game, all for free as part of the anniversary celebration. If you’re an existing Special Edition owner, you can upgrade to the Anniversary Edition for a fee to get all the Creation Club content.
The four free creations for all Special Edition owners are a nice touch, especially as it gives Skyrim veterans a compelling reason to revisit the fifth Elder Scrolls title. The addition of fishing is something that’s surprisingly compelling, especially for players who love to play fishing mini games in other games. As someone who spent way too much time fishing in the Yakuza games or in Nier Replicant, I found this to be a cool addition, especially because you can display your catch as a trophy or in your own aquarium.
The Survival mode is also an interesting addition as it provides a more immersive experience. With this mode turned on, you’ll have to wear proper gear and seek shelter when in cold environments, lest you freeze to death. Survival mode also means that you’ll need to keep your hunger and exhaustion in check when traveling, so you’ll need to eat food and rest regularly. This makes traveling the world of Skyrim less like exploring a theme park and more of a challenging adventure.
These additions are great, but the new creation that I enjoyed the most is the Saints & Seducers storyline. This new questline features an interesting story, as well as a wealth of new loot and new enemies to contend with. What made this the highlight of my Skyrim revisit is the fact that its story and look is heavily inspired by the Shivering Isles expansion from Oblivion; it even features a mage trying to merge Sheogorath’s realm with the main world (aka Nirn). My only complaint with this storyline was that I wish it was longer.
So, what about the rest of the Creation Club? Personally, I didn’t care much for a lot of the items and other that are in the Creation Club, though I did enjoy the questlines such as the Mythic Dawn-themed ‘The Cause’ and the Morrowind-inspired ‘Ghosts of the Tribunal’. As a big fan of the previous Elder Scrolls games, these additions make the upgrade to the Anniversary Edition worth the purchase.
Does Skyrim hold up in 2021?
Both the free and the Anniversary Edition upgrade content are great and all, but how does Skyrim hold up in 2021? While long-time fans of the game will probably enjoy playing the game again, what about new players?
For starters, Skyrim may be 10 years old, but I feel that there’s still something compelling about it. Sure, open world games are a dime a dozen now, but most of these games have you play as a specific character with a more “cinematic” story. With Skyrim, what you get is an RPG where actual role playing is encouraged; the game still excels in letting you play how you want (or how your character would act).
As for the world itself, I still find Skyrim to look good thanks to its overall style, even if the graphics have aged upon closer inspection. What can bother newer players is the game’s sense of scale. Sure, the map still feels big, but the cities feel quite small, especially when compared to more modern open world titles with more sprawling hubs.
What about gameplay? Well, here’s an aspect of the game that I found to have aged the most. Even when it was released, Skyrim’s gameplay wasn’t all that dynamic; you either pounded enemies with your melee weapon/magic, or you opted to build a stealth archer. In 2021, this simplistic combat of Skyrim can feel a bit boring, especially if you’re used to games with deeper combat mechanics. On the flip side, Skyrim’s basic combat can make it a great game to play if you want to relax.
Final Verdict – 8/10
As an upgrade for Special Edition owners, Skyrim Anniversary Edition is worth it for players who are looking for an excuse to revisit this classic. Sure, there are substantial free additions that mean you won’t need to upgrade to get new content, but the inclusion of more storylines along with the rest of the Creation Club content does make the upgrade a compelling purchase, especially as these storylines feature themes based on previous Elder Scrolls games.
Now, what about for those who are looking to play Skyrim for the first time? Well, the Anniversary Edition is a good package as it includes lots of content. Though the core game does show its age. But if you’re willing to give it a chance in spite of its rather simplistic combat (especially when compared to games today), Skyrim still has some of that Elder Scrolls magic that you just can’t quite get from any other game.
This review was made using a game code for PC provided by the publisher.