With having no internet at the moment I’ve had a chance to go back through my steam library and play games I wouldn’t normally go back and play, and Skyrim is one of them. With the new remaster, and no modding capabilities while I’m offline, what better way to experience the game than the “Vanilla Deluxe” version. I will make this clear now, this game is not a “Special Edition” but a plain simple remastered version.

My biggest issue with going back to games that I’ve already sank hundreds if not nearly a thousand hours in is the replay value. I’ve done everything from: mages, rogues, 2-handed thief warriors, to all round gods of destruction and chaos. Will making some changes to the graphical setting really make it nice to play again?

The game begins the same but being bound on that cart, “heading” towards your execution. It lets you take in the small details they have added in the environment and the up close look of Hadvars face while he talks to the horse thief. You can see the snow in the air and the mist through the light of the trees. The bump in graphical fidelity makes such a difference to opening sequence alone. However, if you played Skyrim on PC this was all available already to us in the form of mods from Nexus. So this is nothing spectacular to me, but then Helgen is attacked and I then see the little things. The steps in the tower look a little nicer and lighting making everything instantly feel more alive. There just seems to be a little more buzz, and life in the events going on around me, but how will it fair in the open world? With Helgen behind me, I decided to go and explore the more spectacular looking places Skyrim has to offer.

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Now, nothing captures lighting effects like sitting in a very dark basement. The nearest place for that was Anise’s Cabin, so quick trip across the river to go loot an old woman’s basement. I was pleasantly surprised. Before going in, I remembered how it used to look, very dark and that lighting was very dim. However, once I entered the basement I was taken aback by how crisp and defined the lighting was. The alchemy and enchanting table added to the light of the room making it feel almost worthwhile, until I went back outside.

As I explore the word it feels bland again. Only one or two ‘wow’ moments in the space of 10-15 hours. Even though it is 64x instead of 32 the difference isn’t all that noticeable. I’ve asked a few friends who got the remaster on console’s and they said for Vanilla, they didn’t notice and meaningful change in the way it looks. However, with mods made it all worthwhile for them.

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With the ever emerging trend of remastered games being released of some the most popular games, it would be good to see more re-imagined games in this day and age. Some remasters don’t really add any meaningful replay quality. Bring something like Oblivion recreated in a more comparable version of Fallout 4’s engine and let us experience the imperial capital in an all new glory. Explore the planes of Oblivion and actually feel the impending hell it was designed to look like.

Overall I would say the remaster is not worth paying full price for, but as a game I got free for having the full version Steam, it has filled a few hours of my week. What I really want to see if Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic, fully reimagined. I’ve been following the fan project closely and wish it would be possible for a full release, however due to legal infringement issues, this could never come to light. I just have to hope EA, have a KOTOR 3 in the works instead, and see where we go from there, so I can worry if they will do the series justice.

What’s your impression of remasters? Do they have a place as full price games or should they be given for free to those fans who invested time and money in the franchise?

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