Comparing Skyrim and Skyrim Special Edition: An In-depth Analysis

‍Welcome, fellow adventurers, to an epic tale of two worlds – the classic realm of ‘Skyrim’ and its enhanced doppelganger, ‘Skyrim Special Edition’. In this in-depth analysis, we will journey deep into the heart of these two fantastical universes, examining their similarities, dissecting their differences, and ultimately answering the age-old question: Which is the superior choice in the ‘Skyrim vs Skyrim Special Edition’ debate?

This isn’t just a simple comparison; it’s a thorough expedition into the immersive lands of Tamriel, where every mountain peak, every dragon’s roar, and every sword slash matters.

As your faithful guide, we will navigate the intricate details of both games, providing comprehensive insights with enthusiasm, expertise, and a genuine passion that mirrors your own.

So, strap on your Daedric armor, ready your spells, and join us on this exciting journey, where we traverse the expanses of ‘Skyrim’ and ‘Skyrim Special Edition’, not as mere observers, but as true inhabitants of these breathtaking worlds. Here, in the camaraderie of gaming, we don’t just play; we live the adventure. Welcome to your ultimate guide, where we dive headfirst into the rich, enchanting depths of Skyrim’s dual realities. Let the quest begin!

A Brief Overview of Skyrim and Skyrim Special Edition

When Skyrim initially launched in 2011, it was an instant hit among role-playing game (RPG) fans. The immense open-world experience, coupled with a gripping storyline and immersive gameplay, made it a fan-favorite. However, in 2016, Bethesda Game Studios released the Skyrim Special Edition, promising a more refined gaming experience.

The Skyrim Special Edition is essentially a remastered version of the original game. It boasts upgraded visuals and an array of performance enhancements. More importantly, the special edition game was made available for consoles like Xbox One and PlayStation 4, expanding its reach to a broader audience.

The Key Differentiator: 32-bit vs. 64-bit

The primary difference between Skyrim and its Special Edition counterpart lies in the game engine they run on. The original Skyrim operates on a 32-bit engine, whereas the Special Edition uses a 64-bit engine. But what does that mean for gamers?

In simple terms, the 64-bit engine allows the game to utilize more system memory (RAM), resulting in a smoother, more stable gaming experience, especially when running numerous mods. The 32-bit engine of the original Skyrim could only use up to 4GB of RAM, often leading to crashes and performance issues when overloading it with mods.

Visual Enhancements in Skyrim Special Edition

When it comes to visuals, the Special Edition is a significant leap from the original Skyrim. The remastered version offers improved lighting, more detailed textures, and an overall enhanced depth of field. Weather effects are more realistic, with rain and snow appearing less blurry in the distance. Moreover, the color palette is more vibrant, adding to the game’s visual appeal.

Mod Support: A Game Changer

One of the biggest attractions of the Elder Scrolls series is the support for mods, allowing players to customize and enhance their gaming experience. Mods for the original Skyrim have been around for years, with the gaming community developing a wide range of customizations.

However, the Special Edition brings a significant improvement in mod support. The 64-bit engine allows for a more stable modding experience, reducing the chances of crashes and performance issues. Moreover, the Special Edition also introduced mod support for consoles, a feature not available in the original game.

The Introduction of the Creation Club

With the release of the Special Edition, Bethesda also introduced the Creation Club — a collection of premium, community-created content for the game. This was a significant addition, bringing an array of new quests, weapons, and more.

However, it’s worth noting that the Creation Club content comes at a price, unlike the majority of community mods available for Skyrim. While some players appreciated the high-quality content from the Creation Club, others preferred the vast array of free mods available for the original game.

The Impact of DLCs

Downloadable Content (DLC) plays a crucial role in extending the game’s lifespan, adding new quests, characters, and features to the game. Both versions of Skyrim offer three major DLCs: Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn.

However, the Special Edition has an upper hand here. It comes bundled with all three DLCs, making it a more valuable package for newcomers to the game. In contrast, players of the original Skyrim need to purchase these DLCs separately.

Skyrim Special Edition: A Better Choice for Console Gamers

For console gamers, the Special Edition is undoubtedly the better choice. It brought Skyrim to next-gen consoles like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, offering an improved gaming experience with better visuals and mod support. The Special Edition was also released on the Nintendo Switch, marking Skyrim’s debut on a portable gaming console.

Performance Comparison

In terms of performance, the Special Edition shows noticeable improvement over the original Skyrim. Thanks to its 64-bit engine, the game runs more smoothly and is less prone to crashes.

Moreover, the Special Edition also brought several performance adjustments, resulting in consistent frame rates and quicker loading times. However, it’s worth noting that the Special Edition requires a more powerful system to run smoothly, with its system requirements being similar to those of Fallout 4.

Skyrim vs. Skyrim Special Edition: Which One Should You Choose?

The choice between Skyrim and its Special Edition counterpart largely depends on what you value most in your gaming experience. If you’re a PC gamer with a high-end system and appreciate improved visuals and a smoother modding experience, the Special Edition might be your best bet.

However, if you’re content with the original game’s visuals and have a vast collection of mods, the original Skyrim could be the more suitable choice. Moreover, the original game has lower system requirements, making it more accessible for gamers with less powerful systems.

The Future of Skyrim

As Bethesda continues to develop and improve upon the Elder Scrolls series, the future of Skyrim remains bright. The introduction of the Special Edition and the ongoing support for the game through the Creation Club indicates Bethesda’s commitment to the game.

Whether you’re a veteran Dragonborn or a newcomer to the world of Skyrim, both versions of the game offer an immersive, captivating experience that continues to stand the test of time.


Our epic journey through the vast landscapes of ‘Skyrim’ and its enhanced counterpart, ‘Skyrim Special Edition’, has been nothing short of enlightening. As we’ve traversed the intricate details of both games, we’ve unearthed key differences and similarities that make each version unique. To recap our adventure:

  • Engine Differences: Original Skyrim runs on a 32-bit engine, while the Special Edition boasts a 64-bit engine, enhancing performance and mod stability.
  • Visual Enhancements: The Special Edition offers improved lighting, detailed textures, and a more vibrant color palette.
  • Mod Support: While both versions support mods, the Special Edition’s 64-bit engine provides a more stable modding experience and introduces mod support for consoles.
  • Creation Club: The Special Edition introduced the Creation Club, offering premium, community-created content.
  • DLC Impact: The Special Edition comes bundled with all three major DLCs, whereas they’re separate purchases for the original.
  • Performance: The Special Edition shows noticeable improvement in performance, especially on next-gen consoles.

As we close this chapter of our tale, we invite you to continue the adventure by diving into the “What Next?” section. Your quest in the world of Skyrim is far from over!

What Next?

We always strive to provide something actionable for our readers, ensuring that your journey doesn’t end with just reading. Here are steps you can take to further immerse yourself in the world of Skyrim:

  • Compare First-hand: Play an hour of both versions to personally experience the differences.
  • Mod Exploration: Dive into the modding community and explore the top-rated mods for both versions.
  • Join Forums: Engage with fellow adventurers on Skyrim forums to discuss experiences and tips.
  • DLC Deep Dive: If you haven’t already, explore the three major DLCs to expand your gameplay.
  • Feedback to Bethesda: Share your feedback on the Creation Club and other features directly with Bethesda to shape the future of Skyrim.


Nick Sinclair

Nick Sinclair, a gaming aficionado since the Commodore 64 era, studied Creative Computer Games Design in university before founding his own gaming company. Discovering a passion for content creation, Nick now helps gamers squeeze every drop of fun out of their favorite gaming hardware

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