To commemorate the tenth anniversary of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bethesda Game Studios released Skyrim Anniversary Edition on 11 November. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: it’s another Skyrim again.
So, what is so special about the Anniversary Edition? It includes everything you will get in the Special Edition (released in 2016), as well as all the other previously released Creation Club creations for the game.
For the uninitiated, Creation Club is a collection of game content for Fallout 4 and Skyrim that are both made by Bethesda and third-party developers, and include some of the best community creators (they are not community mods which you can download from Steam).
In a sense, you can count these content as the official Bethesda mods. Bethesda also kindly provided a copy of the Anniversary Edition for us to try.
The biggest change to this new edition of Skyrim is the addition of four new creations. They include the Saint & Seducers quests, Rare Curios for additional items that can be found in Khajiit Caravans, the new addition of fishing, as well as a Survivor Mode.
Other than the addition of fishing, the other three creations are already available in Creation Club; you will have to purchase credits to redeem these creations.
They are now made free for this Anniversary Edition, which begs the question: do you really need the Anniversary Edition, considering that it is S$67.50 on Steam right now?
The truth is... it depends on whether you've already played Skyrim. If the answer is yes, then probably not, especially when the Special Edition is S$54.99 and Skyrim always seems to go on sale when Steam feels like it.
That said, to better answer the question, I updated my Skyrim Special Edition with the new Anniversary upgrade (yes, if you already own the Special Edition, you can purchase the Anniversary upgrade for S$28.88), and became the Dragonborn for a while. Again.
Visually, the game looks the same. Barring some small visual updates over the years, the game really has not changed, and this Anniversary Edition is not any different. I mean, this game still looks decent in 2021 despite its age, and if you’re still playing Skyrim after 10 years, I would think that you are generally nonchalant about the slightly outdated looks.
I am not so sure how the new updates will change the experience for players who are playing it on the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox series X|S series since I own neither, but from what I’ve read, the Anniversary Edition is finally a 4K, 60fps experience for console players. So, yay to console players who want a better Skyrim visual experience?
The addition to the gameplay is a little more interesting, though, especially Survivor Mode. If you think that Skyrim is already an impossible game to play at Legendary difficulty, wait till you try Survivor Mode on top of Legendary.
You can easily turn Survivor Mode on in Settings, but seriously, why in the world would anyone even want to do it?
The first thing I immediately noticed was that I was carrying way too many items, and as a result I could not run at all. Worst of all, fast travel is disabled, and I was stupid enough to turn Survivor Mode on in the middle of Dawnstar when I was far, far, far away from my Breezehome.
A few more slow and tedious steps later, I got too chilly (thanks, Dawnstar snow) and I just could not move.
My heavy armour was not enough to keep me warm, and then I got hungry. I was unable to move, I didn’t have any food to eat, I was just stuck, and this was not even the end. I would eventually get fatigued, and my health no longer regenerated itself naturally.
I eventually turned off Survivor Mode after realising I was just going to die a long, slow death. I mean I could have better prepared myself for this (like, maybe not try this mode at Dawnstar and chuck every item I did not need), but Survivor Mode is a straight nope for me and I did not even have the full experience (there are many more features)
That said, if survival suffering is your kind of jam, this Anniversary Edition is absolutely right up your alley. Otherwise, the whole experience for me lasted about five minutes, and I do not think I will ever try it again.
The Anniversary Edition also introduces a series of new quests and new items. I tried the Saints & Seducers quest after painstakingly waiting for Ri’saad to appear in front of Whiterun. The quests were pretty straightforward, and led me to acquiring two new Elytra Nymph pets.
Are these new quests and items game-changing? Not too much. You will have to defeat an annoying wizard Thoron, and my oh my, he was a huge pain in the butt to deal with.
If you bother to do some of the side quests, you will unlock Dark and Gold smithing, as well as the chance to unlock a Daedric artifact; in other words, nothing that really changes the game in any meaningful manner, but if you're a completionist, hey, more stuff!
Now, I am not sure if I can recommend anyone who has already played Skyrim the Anniversary Edition. Even if you really want to pay Bethesda to try fishing (you can check it out here), I honestly think Skyrim has run its course of engaging a generation of gamers.
The game is available in almost every conceivable platform (often on sale too), and while it certainly ranks as one of my favourite games of the last decade, it is about time Bethesda stops milking Skyrim.
However, if you are a console player, perhaps the improved visual experience might be tempting, especially if you have not (gasp) played Skyrim before.
Also, considering console players have no access to any kind of mods that are widely available in Steam, having these creations might be the next best thing to installing any kind of mod on top of the original game (although that just sounds like a DLC, to be honest).
Perhaps, the more pertinent question for me to ask is then: when in the world is The Elder Scrolls VI coming out?
Jay Chan plays a lot of Dota 2 and MTG. He's terrible in Dota 2 and a scrub in MTG, and maybe spends too much money on both games.