Top 10 ESSENTIAL Skyrim Mods
Kyo Akiara’s Top 10 Mods for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Hey everyone, Shaun Meyers (Kyo Akiara) here again writing about my favorite mods for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. There are various mods I will be covering from graphical overhauls, to audio improvements. The first mods I will cover are the Graphical Improvements. With the Skyrim Creation Kit releasing February 7th 2012, I figured this article would be appropriate to commemorate it’s release with the mods that came out before then.
Graphical Improvement Mods:
1. The First of my many favorite Mods is Vurt’s Skyrim Flora Overhaul which greatly improves the games plant life, making the game feel more alive and lush. While the mod is still a work in progress (much like most of the mods on Skyrim Nexus), the mod already does an amazing job at adding to the atmosphere of the game. Current features of the mod as of February 6th 2012 are as follows: More color variations for the trees, Aspen has 3 different colors, pines has 4 different bark textures and 3 different branch colors,Whiterun tree (both live and dead version, new bark and branches) Ground cover – grasses, ferns and plants retextures. More will be added, Shrubs – new textures for the most common shrubs, Snowy pines, both fully snow covered and half covered versions, Potato Plant. This is one mod for me, I thinks its essential to playing the game!
2. The second of my favorite Graphical mods is a Visual Improvement mod, the FXAA Post Process Injection mod. Created by [some dude], BeetleatWar1977, [DKT70], Violator, and fpedace, this mod does a great job of improving the visual quality of the game by allowing you to customize your own personal settings to the visual style you want. The mod adds FXAA Anti-Aliasing, instead of the games stock MSAA and tools to customize the quality based on your computer’s performance using the FXAA tool. The mod also adds in Improved sharpening, Bloom Effects, Technicolor, and Tone Mapping, all with adjustable sliders to set the game up to your liking, while it requires some tweaking of your own to find your own personal settings, this is another mod that is essential to my gameplay.
3. The third mod I heavily enjoy is the Sexy Cities Series of mods. This series of mods heavily improves the various cities in Skyrim with a bevy of improvements. While still a work in progress, the mod has improved Whiterun, Windhelm, Riften, Winterhold Collect as well as a number of smaller villages and towns. The mod improves the Vibrancy and Saturation as well as improves various textures within the cities. The mod uses a subtle mix of High Resolution textures along with the games Default textures, and produces a very pleasing to the eye improvement. This mod does incredibly well at improving the game and I definitely recommend this one.
4. The final Graphical Improvement Mod I will mention is Xenius’ Character Enhancement Series of mods. These mods I can’t recommend highly enough. They are probably one of the most essential mods to playing the game. The mods Improve various parts of your character. The mods include: Detailed Faces, Detailed Bodies, Detailed Lips, No More Blocky Faces, High Quality Eyes, High Resolution Scars, Weathered Warpaint and Improved Dirt, High Resolution Face Maps for Men, FemFeet by Phygit, Lashmaker Eyelash Alpha Resource. The mods greatly improve the look of characters in the game and it’s difficult to play the game without this mod installed as it’s improvement is so immense. The mod Features are as follows:
- Adds more detail to skin of faces and bodies
- Gets rid of angular shapes caused by compressed normal maps
- Adds a lot more detail to the eyes
- Makes the fingernails more visible
- Removes jagged edges from the lips
- Adds more detailed, healed scars
- Makes the warpaint look more weathered
- Makes the face dirt more detailed
- Adds high quality female feet
- Gets rid of neck seams
Audio Enhancement Mods:
1. The first audio enhancement mod I will be covering is an incredibly well done overhaul called, Psyrim 2.0 Total Music Overhaul. This mod completely overhauls the music within the game adding 61 new music tracks from exploring to the main menu. The music is changed to Psytrance/Ambient Trance music, and it fits the game almost perfectly. It almost has a Mass Effect like feel, but it greatly fits the fantasy setting, giving the game a more mystical and wondrous feeling, more of a mysterious world. I recommend this mod highly if you want your game to feel more mysterious and mystical.
2. The second audio mod I will be covering is the Sounds of Nature Series. This mod is still a work in progress and only has 3 releases as of right now: Water, Fire and Sabre Tooth Tiger sounds, but with just these 3 improvements the game world feels that much more alive and greatly improves your experience and the immersion within the game world. The mods are of higher bit-rate, variety, and audio quality compared to the games default sounds. I highly recommend these mods and to keep an eye out for future releases.
1. The first weather mod greatly improves the sounds of thunder during a rainstorm. Immersive Skyrim Thunder is a mod that adds more oomph and power to the games thunder sounds, which I thought the games default thunder was lacking.
2. The second weather mod that I recommend is called Heavy Rain. As the title suggests this increases the amount of rainfall seen on screen, and makes rainstorms actually feel like rainstorms, another area I felt was lacking heavily.
3. The third and final weather mod that is a great improvement is called Nicer Snowflakes. As you may guess this mod improves the quality of the snowflakes within the game to higher resolution. There are 4 different styles of snowflakes for the mod as well, Light, Magical, Realistic and Whimsical, which all add a different style of snow fall.
User Interface Mods
1. The first User Interface Mod I will cover, and probably the most required mod on Skyrim for PC is SkyUI, which improves the User Interface by 10 fold. The mod adds greater functionality for PC users compared to the default and otherwise clunky and frustrating UI.
2. The second User Interface mod that i recommend is called Immersive Hud. This mod put simply Removes the Hud until you need to see it, IE in battles, but you can also crouch to show the hud to view the compass. I recommend this UI mod to anyone that wants a more immersive experience and doesn’t want their screen clogged with windows constantly.
3. The third and final mod in the article is a font replacing mod, called simply Main Font Replacement. I felt the default font was a bit “un-fantasy”, and this mod greatly changes that and I definitely recommend the mod to anyone that doesn’t like the default font.
That concludes my list of favorite Skyrim mods, there are however many many more mods out there that I would love to recommend and here are a few honorable mentions, JaySuS Swords, Improved Combat Sounds, Enhanced Blood Textures, Dramatic Clouds, Bellyaches Animal and Creature Pack, Bucklers, Shields and other Armors mod, Lost Art of Blacksmith, Midas Magic, Phenderix Magic Evolved, Realistic Ragdolls and Force, The Epic Sounds of Archery Ely’s Uncapper and Smooth Blade Draw and Sheath sounds. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed the mods and articles.
Special thanks to The Elder Scrolls Modding Community for continually making these games that much greater!