The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a retro title now, which means it’s time for another re-release of everyone’s favorite game starring Thomas the Tank Engine. Re-releases and remasters of Skyrim are a meme at this point but it’s easy to understand why Todd Howard refuses to stop.
The gameplay and world of The Elder Scrolls V are as good as they’ve ever been, especially considering it was originally released ten years ago for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The latest version comes as part of the tenth anniversary and offers a few extra spells and whistles that just might be enough to pull you back in for one more arrow to the knee.
The Elder Scrolls V: Again
Skyrim has seen several new versions since its original 2011 release but The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Anniversary Edition promises to be the best update yet. If you haven’t played Skyrim at all then it’s an easier recommendation. Anniversary Edition contains all of the content from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition, the 2016 remastered version of the game, with additional content added in as well, including a new fishing mini-game. But the answer is a bit more complicated if this isn’t your first time at dragon fight club.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Anniversary Edition isn’t my first time playing Bethesda’s favorite game. I was at the 2011 midnight release at my local Game Stop in Battle Creek, Michigan, and it was absolutely electric. The Game Stop employees were kind enough to order dozens of pizzas out of their own pockets, which kept everyone busy as they filtered in and out of the store for their turn with Skyrim, which was set up on a PlayStation 3 console at the front of the store.
Many of us, myself included, chose to play for just a few minutes. It didn’t feel like our copy of Skyrim. After all, the intro is rather lengthy, and creating your own character would have provided just enough time to run from a dragon before needing to pass the PS3 controller off to someone else. This turned the eager pre-order line into a virtual game of telephone, with everyone picking up where someone else left off and moving the Frankenstein’s monster character ten minutes further through the world of Skyrim. And that was all it took to convince anyone undecided.
The snowy winds of Skyrim somehow feel less free than my avatar as I journey across frozen tundras, tall mountains, and damp caves. The main quest of Skyrim exists only technically as I look for stronger swords, cuter (and stronger!) outfits, and complete quests to pad out my experience points so I can grow more powerful. The main story is there but almost exclusively as a chore list to put off until the last moment.
The time spent in between main story moments is part of what’s kept The Elder Scrolls series in the conversation and in everyone’s lives. And in that regard, the latest version of Skyrim feels essential, or at the very least appropriate, to celebrate ten years of seeing a mountain and being able to go to the top of it (before falling and dying).
A world of pure imagination (and lots of snow)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Anniversary Edition is the definitive way to play the game but it may not be worth the price of admission for everyone. If it’s your first trip ever to Skyrim then you can simply purchase the Anniversary Edition for $49.99. The 2011 version is worth that and then some so an improved version containing the base game, technical improvements, and more is an easy answer. Even after ten years of time, Skyrim should still delight new players, especially considering how much Bethesda’s snowy RPG has influenced video games in the years since.
The Anniversary Edition is more difficult to recommend if you’ve already purchased Skyrim a handful of times, especially since it isn’t even part of Microsoft’s video game subscription service, Xbox Game Pass. Typically the company’s published titles are all part of Game Pass, which includes Bethesda titles as of this year, but the 2016 remaster is currently the only version available within the service.
The Anniversary Edition is available as an upgrade for $19.99 for anyone that owns the 2016 version of Skyrim. It’s not a bad deal for what’s being offered but a re-release of Skyrim would have been a great opportunity for Xbox to highlight the simplicity of Smart Delivery free, easy upgrades. It’s possible the decision was made before Bethesda was a part of Microsoft but it seems more likely that Xbox just couldn’t resist making easy money off one of the best-selling video games of all time.
A lot of the content is also available in the 2016 version of Skyrim
A lot of the content included with Anniversary Edition was also added to the Special Edition of Skyrim, including Survival Mode, fishing, and Saints and Seducers, which are among the largest pieces of new content. There is some content locked behind the $20 price tag but nowhere near the amount already waiting within the base game, official expansions, and the untold number of mods from fans that can all be played in the Special Edition.
For the biggest fans of Skyrim, it is most likely worth picking the latest DLC up, at least one more time. Bethesda did include a few treats that will no doubt prove worth it for some, especially during a sale.
Most of the exclusive, new goods come from the Creation Club, and there’s a lot! According to Bethesda (via PC Gamer), the 70+ new items bring over 500 new gameplay components, and it also includes content inspired by Morrowind and Oblivion, the two previous games in the Elder Scrolls main series.
It’s a good time for fans of Skyrim and adventurers alike, even if most of us have all been on top of Todd Howard’s mountains. That being said, video games are better with Bethesda’s vision and influence. Buried beneath the bugs, snow, and various re-releases of Skyrim is an adventure that’s always ready to start for anyone willing and that’s part of what makes video games so unique and special. And while it may be difficult assigning value to special moments in games, you can always sell Skyrim again because I will buy it and so will you.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Anniversary Edition is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC. It can be purchased standalone for $49.99 or as an upgrade for $19.99 for anyone that already owns The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim — Special Edition.