It may just be the Volumetric God Rays talking, but we are getting pretty exceptionally excited for Skyrim Remastered. Considering we’re just a few months shy of the October release date, it’s getting to that part of 2016 where we all trawl google and YouTube for more cargo on the hype train. Fear not, we saved you time and made a Christmas Saturnalia list of all the brilliant mods, little and otherwise, you should ask for this year.* You are welcome.
*Results may vary. Some sacrifices to Molag Bol may be required.
We know Skyrim is getting a facelift and tummy-tuck, but we think the mod scene is still going to be the hottest look in town. With that in mind no list on pixel pushing is going to be complete without the ferarri of texture packs, NebuLa’s 2K Texture mod.
With 18 million downloads, 2k Textures actually supports up to 8k textures if your machine / smoking crater of an Xbox One is up to the task. The pack is made up of over 600 textures, spread across every environ of the snowy provence, including dungeon and urban textures.
Scorch your retina on the beauty at http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/607/?
Have you ever wanted to wear a wolf’s skin while stalking across Skyrim? How about a full range of Viking shields, painted in a range of patterns and vibrant colours? How about dragonsteel armours and hoods full of sharp edges and shining steel? Hothtrooper44 has you covered with their Immersive Armour pack.
With 55 sets of armor, 396 shields (!) and a ridiculous amount of accessories (eyepatches! Scarves!), Immersive Armor is a fully integrated suite of customisable equipment. The designer has taken care to add the armours to dungeons, quest rewards, npc loudouts and levelled chests so don’t worry about going back to the anvil to hammer them out for hours (although they’ve helpfully allowed that as well).
Wear every single part of the wolf at http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/19733/?
Don’t worry, this is the last Hothtrooper44 mod we’re going to recommend/pine for. This is the perfect companion to the previous mod (for obvious reasons) with matching weapons to many of the sets on offer over in Immersive Armor. Our favourites are the tasteful boneclub shown below, the delightfully complimentary shortbow to go with it and a few pretty excellent akiviri katanas.
The mod promises 224 weapons, broken down into every available category as well as a few little bonuses for us die hards (we will never stop mourning the loss of spears as a weapon skill). As with Immersive Armors, they are integrated into crafting and loot tables so no special methods will be needed to benefit from the massively expanded armory.
Build up your armoury with double-katanas at http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/27644/?
Sounds of Skyrim
Something a bit different now. The sound design in Skyrim was one of our standout features on release, with howling winds and believably deafening waterfalls. The natural beauty of skyrim gave us silent vistas as we took in the full experience of the natural world.
Some moments, however, we want to be louder. Screeching, slicing, whistling sounds should be just as good as the quiet moments, if only for contrast. That is what Sounds of Skyrim delivers in 460+ little sound files and cues. Slotting into every arrow notch and sword sheath, SoS is a total overhaul of the sound design as much as any mod could hope to accomplish. Special mention should go to the urban sprawl set of sounds which amplify the illusion of crowded cities, filling in some of the empty spaces in the world with ambience enough to never check.
Lose yourself in natural birdsong at http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/10886/?
In the biggest leap in history between the quality of a mod and the name, SKYWIND is the most ambitious modding project alive today. With an immense staff list that you will never scroll to the bottom of, they are aiming for nothing less than the total recreation TES:Morrowind in the Skyrim engine. This is a project they have been working at for some years at this point, with all the determination of an indie game studio releasing their next viral masterpiece. We draw your attention to their perfect replica Redoran Guard complete with shell-house, furious Dunmer face and barren wasteland back garden in the video below. All in all a brilliant example of the professionalism and dedication in the mod scene paying off for everyone.
Learn the ways of Ashlander culture and combat over at https://tesrenewal.com/
For the sake of the 5% of people who haven’t jumped the gun and downloaded this as soon as they read the name, you should download this. Undeath is finally delivering on the promise of being a lich that every player has thought to themselves; if I was a super zombie mage priest, I think I would have a lot of fun! And we were right!
Through a lengthy questline full of long and fortuitously explicit notes between conspirators, the player can gut and decapitate a cult of necromancers before giving in to the final sadistic temptation. Returning as an undead lich with boosted magic and necromantic prowess, Undeath is the rampage form we have all wanted since Werewolves and Vampires stopped being cool. Wisely giving is a toggle for our Wraith/NPC Mass-Murderer form, the mod quickly occupies a place of pride in the “cool stuff to do whenever I need a cheap thrill” slot. Download it.
Fawn over ancient tomes of necromantic lore over at http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/40607/?tab=1&navtag=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nexusmods.com%2Fskyrim%2Fajax%2Fmoddescription%2F%3Fid%3D40607%26preview%3D&pUp=1
With a name even better than the mod, Thunderchild is out there for everyone who felt there just wasn’t enough magic shouting in regular Skyrim. While we were always more of a mage, this mod basically picks 29 random awesome effects and gives them to the Nord’s primal screamers instead. Predictable effects such as instant freezing and health regeneration are included as well as more experimental blackhole and star-exploding shouts. This is definitely something to put in the backpocket along with Undeath for those who need a more visceral bit of escapism.
Learn how to undress people with shouting at http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/41376/?