Review – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition

When we first heard of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition, Bethesda’s way of celebrating the tenth anniversary of what was, is, and will probably forever be its most successful game of all time, we laughed. We had to laugh, not because of any particular issue with Skyrim itself (that game is amazing), but the fact it’s yet another re-release of Skyrim. Even Bethesda had already poked fun of this game’s many, many, MANY ports with that phenomenal skit with Keegan Michael Key. Welp, they ain’t joking this time around. Skyrim Anniversary Edition exists, it has its supposed selling points, so let’s see if it’s worth yet another sixty bucks from your hard earned cash.

Skyrim Anniversary Edition Hilde

Get your mind out of the gutter. She’s talking about a dragon.

Skyrim Anniversary Edition is essentially the next-gen version of the Special Edition of Skyrim, which was released for PS4, Xbox One, and PC a few years back. It doesn’t take advantage of all of the PS5’s features, as it doesn’t use the DualSense’s capabilities in any meaningful way, but it does have near nonexistent loading times, a vastly improved framerate, and reworked textures and lighting effects. It basically makes the environments look gorgeous, way better than any game from 2011 could have ever dreamed of looking like… but with the same bizarre-looking characters from the original iteration of the game. Uncanny, yes, but nowhere near as bad as the Grand Theft Auto remasters. At least Bethesda had the decency to keep them as ugly as they were in 2011.

The big “improvement” in this version is the inclusion of mods. I know a lot of people who have claimed that “playing vanilla Skyrim is boring as hell”, so for those naysayers, your pleas have been heard… sort of. Essentially, you have access to Bethesda’s Creation Center, which means you only have access to those “paid mods” we’ve been hearing of for the past half decade or so. It’s not as if you have access to all kinds of Steam Workshop mods found on the PC version of the game, which is still the premier way to play it. It adds a bit to the experience, but it’s nowhere near as impressive as the thought of playing console Skyrim with mods can sound like.

Skyrim Anniversary Edition Graphics

All things considered, it DOES look pretty.

Bear in mind that some trophies might get locked in case you play this particular version with mods. Nothing that cannot be fixed with multiple save files, but it’s worth noting regardless. Then again, let’s be real here: if you want to play modded Skyrim on a console, this most certainly means this isn’t your first ride with the game and that you most certainly have (or have had) access to a more “vanilla” iteration of it on other platforms. Trophies or achievements aren’t exactly something you’re going to miss on your trillionth playthrough of the game.

Skyrim Anniversary Edition Arrow in the Knee

Welp, it’s a Skyrim review. I feel like posting one of these is basically mandatory at this point.

The mere existence of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition might be a joke to some, but the bigger joke would be saying this isn’t still one hell of an immersive RPG. Sure, the addition of mods doesn’t exactly make this version an absolute must-have and its pricing and pre-release marketing campaigns haven’t helped it at all, but it’s still Skyrim. It’s still a great game, with a handful of quality of life improvements. Ready to waste another hundred hours of your life killing dragons and stealing cutlery from strangers?


Graphics: 7.0

Improved textures and lighting effects do make this version of Skyrim more visually appealing, but the characters and their animations still look dated even for their time. All in all, gorgeous… at a distance.

Gameplay: 8.0

I am saddened by the lack of DualSense features, but I do appreciate the excellent framerate and virtually nonexistent loading times, which do improve the gameplay as a whole.

Sound: 10

Good voice acting and that phenomenal theme song. If there’s one thing that aged like a fine wine in Skyrim, that thing is its sound design.

Fun Factor: 7.5

Sure, the addition of a few mods is nice and all, but at the end of the day, it’s another novelty-free version of Skyrim. It’s great, of course, but not exactly game changing at this point, considering the trillions of previous ports.

Final Verdict: 8.0

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, and PC.

Reviewed on PS5.

A copy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition was provided by the publisher.