All Versions Of Skyrim Compared To One Another & What's Changed (2022)

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  • Skyrim Base Edition
  • Skyrim Special Edition
  • Skyrim VR
  • Skyrim: Anniversary Edition
  • Skyrim Special Edition vs. Anniversary Edition

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the RPG genre's best-loved titles, and given its popularity, the game's developer, Bethesda, has published multiple versions of the game across separate console generations. In the decade-long wait for Elder Scrolls VI, Bethesda has ensured that Skyrim has used up every possible source of revenue across all platforms. Said approach has been heavily memed online, but there's no denying it's also yielded positive results for Bethesda, as well as those Skyrim fans willing to reinvest in the title on different consoles, as more content has been added to it with each update.

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To prevent Elder Scrolls fans from completely losing interest in the franchise as they endure a seemingly endless wait for The Elder Scrolls 6 to release, Bethesda has invested in re-selling its most popular title until people decide to stop buying it. Fortunately for Bethesda, players are still very much interested in playing Skyrim. This is partially down to just how massive the game is, with old-time players not experiencing everything the game has to offer, and newer fans only just beginning their journeys as the Dragonborn.

Related: Skyrim: What Happens If You Don't Kill Paarthurnax

Trying to bring something new to the table every few years when releasing the exact same game is not an easy feat, but Bethesda - with the help of its modding community - has managed to do so for the most part. Whether a player has only ever experienced the original game or has played each of Skyrim's many different iterations, each of these versions offers a slightly different taste of the same dragon-slaying dish. There's no wrong way to play the game, but there are definitely versions that provide a more comprehensive experience overall.

Skyrim Base Edition

Available on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 upon release, the original Skyrim was a truly epic RPG. There were a number of hiccups involving bugs and other technical glitches in Skyrim, but those imperfections have cemented themselves in players' memories and have become one of the game's most endearing qualities. The unintentional silliness and hilarity that these bugs and glitches brought to a serious game was enough to immediately turn Skyrim into one of the most memorable (and meme-able) games to ever exist.

Notably for the base edition, however, is that not every version was equal. The PC version has always been hailed as inherently superior for a number of reasons, including better graphics and framerates as well as the invaluable ease of access when it came to modding and console commands. The Xbox 360 version worked as intended, but Skyrim on the PlayStation 3 was made unplayable by a nasty bug that erased game memory after a certain point in playtime. This was eventually fixed, but Skyrim was borderline unplayable on the PS3 at launch. Check out the first trailer for Skyrim below:

Skyrim Special Edition

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Five years after the fifth Elder Scrolls title dropped, a remastered version was released for consoles and PC, with Nintendo Switch following three years later. As expected, the Skyrim: Special Edition included upgraded graphics and polished effects as well as all three DLCs - Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn - included in the purchase. It also introduced mods for consoles, which was a benefit previously only afforded to PC versions of the game.

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More bad news for PlayStation players followed the Remaster's release, however. Although the corrupted saves bug had been fixed, the number of mods available to PS4 was only a handful compared to those allowed on the Xbox. Sony put this restriction in place over fears of console security, and there wasn't much Bethesda could do to fix it.

When Skyrim Special Edition port for Nintendo finally rolled around (trailer above) some players were skeptical that a game as massive as Skyrim could run smoothly on a portable system. Skyrim on Switch may lack survival mode but it still handled Special Edition pretty well. The Nintendo Switch port supported the enhanced graphics and even offered motion control as a unique bonus, something players considered incredibly entertaining for its gimmicky difficulty. There were a couple of problems with compressed text and audio, but overall the Nintendo version was very well received.

Skyrim VR

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Virtual Reality is a more recent video game trend, but one that Skyrim made good use of. Skyrim VR added to the adventures of the Dragonborn, it took on a whole new universe of immersion. At the same time the Special Edition was released for Nintendo Switch, Bethesda had optimized Skyrim for VR across a range of platforms that offered it. VR in terms of slaying dragons and flinging spells at the undead introduced a whole new experience for even the most seasoned Skyrim fans, injecting the gameplay with an added layer of intensity and difficulty.

Related: Best House In Skyrim To Buy: Top Locations For Player Homes

Naturally, players couldn't spend hours on end immersed in VR as they could on other ports due to quickly growing exhausted, but it did make players understand the rigors that their character has to go through each time they log on. Carving out an existence in Skyrim is harsh, and playing it in VR makes that more apparent than ever before. Eating 20 cheese-wheels and other foods in Skyrim at once, running for days on end, and never getting a wink of sleep is bound to take more of a toll on VR players than any other kind. Skyrim's VR port was still successful though. Check out the official trailer below from GameSpot Trailers on YouTube:

Skyrim: Anniversary Edition

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Most recently, Bethesda celebrated Skyrim's 10th birthday in 2021 with a special Anniversary Edition that was made available for all of its platforms. Players can purchase the game as a whole, which includes all of Skyrim's base game and its three DLCs, or they can upgrade from their previously owned Special Edition for much cheaper. The game upgrades include further enhanced graphics and gameplay along with reduced loading screens. Fishing has been added as a new mechanic and all the approved Creation Club mods are present, as well as some brand-new mods to tweak the appearances of weapons and armor.

Some more additions to the Skyrim: Anniversary Edition include a Survival Mode mod, which makes the consequences in the game far more realistic and dangerous. For example, the player needs to sleep, cure any diseases and eat enough food before too much time passes or they will suffer permanent damage. There are also some added quests in the newest edition of Skyrim, going by the name of Saints and Seducers. A host of new crafting ingredients and recipes are available to find all over the world thanks to the Anniversary Edition's Rare Curios DLC.

Skyrim Special Edition vs. Anniversary Edition

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The differences between Skyrim Anniversary and Skyrim Special editions makes it clear that players who have not yet experienced the game at all would be fine with either purchase, but the Anniversary Edition contains both more content and better graphics, making it the best version of Skyrim available in 2022.

Players looking to try a different kind of Skyrim Special Edition should check out the official video of Skyrim's release via Amazon Echo and Alexa:

Skyrim has been such a successful title that Bethesda has deemed it worthy for multiple releases, and although this ritual has become a joke among Elder Scrolls fans, it would appear that Skyrim will make frequent appearances in game stores for a while to come. The only thing that will cease the addition of new versions of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is the inevitable release of The Elder Scrolls 6.

Next: Skyrim: How To Make A Fortify Smithing (Blacksmith) Potion

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