The best ‘Skyrim’ mods

Can't get your Skooma fix? Try these 'Skyrim' mods instead

Valve Paid Mod Refunds
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is nothing short of legendary. Skyrim, as its often called, sold more than 23 million copies since its release, and, with the remastered Skyrim: Special Edition that launched in October, sales are likely to continue climbing.

The title’s long lifespan can be attributed largely to one thing: its massive modding community. From simple modifications that upgrade graphics and textures to extravagant additions that transform Tamriel into a nightmarish version of the Mushroom Kingdom, there’s an enormous number of mods that have preserved and expanded the Skyrim experience. Though many of the game’s most popular mods have yet to receive updates for Skyrim: Special Edition — or aren’t going to at all –there are still plenty of mods that have received overhauls and bug fixes since the game’s release. Read on to find out which mods are our favorites.

Author’s Note: Please keep in mind that not all mods are available for all platforms. The PlayStation 4 version of Skyrim: Special Edition, in particular, has an extremely limited selection, since it lacks the ability to import external assets or mods larger than 1GB. Though both consoles boast a sizable mod pool, there are far more mods available for PC gamers. Many of these mods (especially the graphics mods) can also have a significant effect on your game performance. 

Visual enhancements

These mods, which are all available for Skyrim: Special Edition, are built to make the world of Skyrim even more beautiful. Though the remastered edition included several upgrades to Bethesda’s Creation Engine — including improvements to snow and water shaders — the modding community will stop at nothing to make Tamriel’s northernmost province a photorealistic paradise, even if they have to sacrifice frame rates along the way.

Total Character Makeover


Skyrim is full of beautiful vistas, lush forests, and eerie swamps that draw you in and make you feel like you’re really in the world of the Elder Scrolls. Unfortunately, the game’s character models do not look quite as stunning. In particular, many characters’ faces just look terrible and unrealistic (we’re looking at you, Hilde). Luckily, “Total Character Makeover” fixes all that! The mod improves textures and skin meshes for NPCs and playable characters, so people look more like people and everyone’s bone structure isn’t so messed up.


Skyrim Flora Overhaul


The trees and bushes in Skyrim look great from afar, but if you step too close and you’ll notice that the textures lack precise detail. Enter “Skyrim Flora Overhaul,” which replaces most of the game’s trees, grasses, and plants with original models, including 16 new trees and more than 180  new textures for plants and ground cover.


Vivid Weathers SE


It’s tough to feel “in the moment” when a storm front rolls through Winterhold, but it consists of 10 droplets of water and a few measly snowflakes. “Vivid Weathers” corrects the issue by adding a ton of new weather effects, complete with both visual and aural cues to let you know when a fierce thunderstorm or a blanket of fog is headed your way. This mod also replaces the default snow texture, and new cloud textures make for some truly spectacular sunsets. Keep in mind, though; it may not work well with other weather mods.

PC Xbox One

Surreal Lighting


Where most graphics-targeted mods zig, “Surreal Lighting” zags. Instead of enhancing textures or reshading drops of water, this mod aims to make Skyrim feel like more of a fantasy world than some sort of ancient version of Canada. The mod simply alters brightness, contrast, and color in outdoor settings, resulting in gorgeous skyboxes filled with shades of pink and blue. “Surreal Lighting” isn’t a dramatic add-on, but it helps bring a little color to Tamriel’s often-dreary landscapes.

PC Xbox One PS4


Blizzard’s latest hiring spree is likely for the unannounced ‘Diablo 4’

Activision Blizzard is hiring for more than a dozen positions on unannounced Diablo projects. Some of the roles are likely for the unannounced Diablo 4, the next mainline entry in the series.

Everything we know about 'Red Dead Online', including the new mode Gun Rush

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.

Fortnite V-Bucks being used by criminals for money laundering on dark web

Criminals are using Fortnite's V-Bucks for money laundering schemes on the dark web. Epic Games, apparently, is not doing enough to prevent the game from being used for the illegal activity.

Relive the 8-bit gaming era with the best NES emulators for Android and PC

For years prior to the release of the NES Classic, emulators have offered a means to every NES game ever created without needing the console. Here are the best NES emulators for Android and PC.

Mortal Kombat 11 Kollector’s Edition comes with a life-size Scorpion mask

The Mortal Kombat 11 Kollector's Edition will come with a human-sized replica of the mask of Scorpion, one of the most iconic fighters of the series. NetherRealm Studios has also announced the game's preorder bonuses.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Xbox app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.

These are the best indie games you can get on PC right now

Though many indie games now come to consoles as well, there's still a much larger selection on PC. With that in mind, we've created a list of the best indie games for PC, with an emphasis on games that are only available on PC.

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.

Goodbye, Machinima: YouTube gaming channel pulls the plug after 13 years

Machinima, a YouTube gaming channel that was launched in 2006, has suddenly shut down, with all of its videos set to private. The #RIPMachinima hashtag is now making the rounds in social media to reminisce about the channel's content.

Overkill’s ‘The Walking Dead’ delayed indefinitely for PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Overkill's The Walking Dead for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been postponed without a new release date. The co-op zombie shooter suffered massive delays, then received lukewarm reviews once it launched for the PC through Steam.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.

How you can give your PS4 a fresh start with a factory reset

Learn the many ways you can factory reset your PS4. From reverting your settings to factory to doing a full wipe and reinstalling the latest PlayStation firmware, we cover it all here, step by step.
1 of 3