Of the many remasters we’ve seen requested over the years, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim was pretty high up on the list. Granted, we’re sure fans wanted a full remaster as opposed to The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim Special Edition (and that too for free, but that’s a different issue). Nonetheless, Skyrim Special Edition featured its fair share of improvements and certainly elevated the game’s visuals on PS4 compared to PS3. Our earlier analysis comparing the PS4 version to PS3 showcased increased level of detail, lighting changes that improved environments and objects, improved draw distance and better texture filtering. This is despite texture quality being unchanged and character models coming across as average on the whole.
How would Skyrim Special Edition come across on the PS4 Pro in 4K? As it turns out, this five year old title runs in native 4K at 30 frames per second. While it’s impressive as a whole, there are some minor FPS drops that occasionally crop up. Performance is still roughly the same as the base version of the game though. When playing it on an HDTV, the images are super-sampled, thus resulting in sharper looking textures, foliage and landscapes. It’s also locked at 30 FPS in this mode though honestly, it only looks slightly better than the base version’s performance.
Thankfully, the PS4 Pro does provide other benefits. Along with the improved foliage and better draw distances, loading times are better as a whole. Despite running in 4K, improvements in shadow quality couldn’t be observed. Just another trade-off for running in native 4K we suppose but the overall lack of additional graphical options is somewhat disappointing. It would have been nice if Bethesda had actually provided some more visual modes, perhaps used the added GPU power to run the game at 1080p and 60 FPS.
Skyrim Special Edition has received as typical an update on the PS4 Pro as you’d expect. Visual quality and performance are not greatly improved, especially for HDTV owners. Age could once again be a factor here. After all, the overall number of improvements in the PS4 version could have been more when it came to less pop-in and better frame rate performance but there’s only so much you can do with an older title.
There doesn’t seem to be HDR support here so unless you really want to experience Skyrim in native 4K, there isn’t anything exceptional about it on PS4 Pro. PC junkies may scoff at this but that may appeal to console owners with a 4K display and a PS4 Pro. If you’ve got it, then flaunt it but don’t pick up a PS4 Pro expecting it to massively improve the base Skyrim experience.