A commendable remaster.
It’s been two weeks since Bethesda released the remastered version of Skyrim on the PS4 and Xbox One (and surprisingly on the PC as well). We have been playing the game on both the PS4 and PS3 and we have a comparison here that shows the difference between the two.
Right off the bat, one can expect an acceptable and stable 30 frames per second experience on the PS4 and although there are some slight drops here and there, the performance for the most part remains stable. This is a welcome change because Skyrim’s performance on the PS3 was atrocious at times. However it must be noted that we only played the first few hours of the game and it has been previously reported that during much later in the PS3 version and after completing tons of quests the frame rate struggles to unacceptable levels. This is something we are not able to verify at this stage on the PS4 version due to the fact that we need to invest over a 100 hundred hours into the game, something which is beyond the scope of this article.
However the amount of remastering work that Skyrim has undergone is simply amazing. The biggest difference between the original release and the remaster is the lighting. The change isn’t drastic but subtle changes have been made in the way lighting impacts the atmosphere and the environment. The engine hasn’t been updated to support a full physical based renderer and some might even prefer the old look. It’s a matter of choice if we were to be completely honest with you.
Other improvements include a boost to the foliage density, better shadow quality and a far better anti-aliasing solution along with better texture quality, especially on plants. Speaking about textures, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between the texture quality of the original and the remaster (except the ones on plants). Landscapes, objects and houses largely use the same texture quality but due to changes in lighting they look much better in the remaster. Draw distance has also been improved along with better texture filtering resulting into a increased level of detail across objects. Further improvement includes the addition of depth of field which may or may not appeal to you since its implementation doesn’t matter at times.
However not everything has been improved. Character models are still a tad disappointing and load times are largely similar as the original release. Glitches and dumb AI all make a grand return to this remaster. So it’s a little disappointing that not all glitches were fixed although we did witnessed that some areas where the PS3 did not load textures, the PS4 version was able to load them just fine. Pop in still exists on the PS4 version however they are much less intensive compared to what we had in the last generation
Besides the visual upgrades, Skyrim on consoles features mod support. Although the basic installation is rather easy, the amount of mods on the PS4 are less compared to the Xbox One. We expect this to change over time but PS4’s file size limitations make some mods impossible to support. The PS4 version’s space for mods is limited to just 1 GB, while the Xbox One has 5 GB reserved for the same. This immediately gives the Xbox One version the upper hand as far as mod support goes and it’s rather disappointing to see the PS4 version suffer due to this.
Overall, the remastering here is rather commendable and although we would have loved to have more improvements, we need to understand that this game is almost 5 years old.