Ever wonder why your buddy insists that playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on PC is the only way to play Skyrim? Well, aside from the fact that it just looks better on a decent gaming rig, PC players also have access to user-created mods that enhance the game in a myriad of ways. For instance, ever wish there was more to see after you've completed every single quest in the game? Dozens of content mods make it so. Or maybe you think the default textures for things like blood and clothing look like garbage. Guess what--there's a mod for making them look more detailed.
Pretty much anything you could dream up has already been dreamt up and created in the form of mods. In fact, head over to Skyrim Nexus, and you'll find thousands of them to download and try. But how do you know which ones are actually worth checking out and installing? Don't worry, we've got you covered.
User interface mods
Alright, first up on the list are some mods meant to "enhance the user experience"--in other words, ones that transform Skyrim's menus from a practically unusable nightmare into an easily digestible directory.
Okay, so this isn't a visual enhancement, per se, but SkyUI turns Skyrim's god-awful interface into something a bit more user friendly. We'd love to think that if Bethesda were to re-release Skyrim with a next-gen makeover, it'd take a note from this mod and redesign the UI. Oh, and while you're at it, you might as well grab the Unofficial Skyrim Patch, which fixes hundreds of bugs that you'll still encounter in Skyrim's most recent (official) version.
A Quality World Map - With Roads
Open up the world map in Skyrim and what you'll get is a very vague overview of the landscape. This is great for those of you who just want to explore the vast setting without ever knowing where you're headed. But, if you kind of wish the map displayed basic things like, I don't know, roads, then be sure to check out the A Quality World Map - With Roads mod. It doesn't unveil any undiscovered locations, but it does at least show where each road is located.
Better quest objectives
The time is nigh. You've spent hours tracking down a quest chain to get a super badass weapon that'll make destroying every living being in Skyrim a simple endeavor. But first, you must perform one simple task: destroy a special monster. "Easy," you think to yourself. "I'll just load up the quest log to see where it is and wait a minute. I have no goddamn clue where this thing is located." Welcome to Skyrim's quest log system, which doesn't give a shit about context. Here's a simple fix: download and install the Better Quest Objectives mod, which adds a helpful bit of extra explanation to each quest.
Categorised Favourites Menu
Skyrim's vanilla menus aren't the best. Sometimes you can end up clicking on something you don't want to, other times you could be scrolling down a seemingly infinite list of items until you find the one you want. If you've already downloaded the SkyUI mod, you may also want to grab the Categorised Favourites Menu mod by favmenumodder as well. This gives you several favorites menus that are broken down into subcategories, so you'll have access to whatever items you need with a quick click.
Better Dialogue Controls and Better Messagebox Controls
We're sure there's been a few times in which you pissed off a NPC in Skyrim because you accidentally selected the wrong dialogue option with the wonky selection controls. Better Dialogue Controls keeps the mouse and keyboard controls from conflicting, so you'll know exactly what option you are choosing. Also, with the Better Messagebox Controls mod your mouse clicks will feel more accurate and you'll have keyboard functionality for all message boxes in the Skyrim interface. They're small changes, but they definitely make a difference.
Ever wish your character's face or clothes looked a little more realistic? These mods exist to give Skyrim an ultra-pretty makeover.
Want to instantly make Skyrim look a billion times prettier? Just install one of the various ENB mods out there, which add post processing and lighting effects to enhance the game's visuals. There are various flavors available, each with their own style of graphical tweaks, so you'll want to take a peek at what's available before choosing one. Our recommendation? RealVision ENB, which provides a lot of the benefits of visual ENB without sacrificing your frame rates quite as hard as some other options.
Pure Waters makes Skyrim's many rivers, streams, and swamps look unbelievably real. How? By tampering with the transparency, reflections, and colors of the water while HD foam and shoreline textures are icing on the cake.