Skyrim was released over three years ago! In video game terms it's a senior citizen, and by all rights should be long gone. But it's still insanely popular, in large part down to the variety of game-changing mods available for it.
From UI tweaks to texture overhauls, thanks to mods users are able to customise almost any part of Skyrim they want, resulting in a game that can be as fresh and as weird as their imagination (or system) can handle.
If you've been out of the Skyrim loop for a year or two — understandable, given the game's age and the way people move on! — or have just got around to picking it up in a sale, here are the best mods for the game. If you haven't already, you'll want to install them ASAP.
There are two main places to go to get hold of mods: Skyrim Nexus is the OG destination, while you can also get stuff through Steam's workshop and plug it straight into the game.
These days, most of the biggest mods have been thoroughly tested and polished, but still, a word of caution: some of these mods might not play nicely with other mods, so there's no guaranteeyou can put everything here in your game and have it running 100%.
The original must-have mod, and still the best. SkyUI beefs up almost every aspect of the game's interface, from the inventory screens (giving more information on items) to the map (you can search by name) to the HUD (active effects can be shown on-screen).
It's not the most exciting mod here, nor the prettiest, but it's far and away the most useful.
This mod really improves the game's weather and lighting. You get new sunsets, new clouds, new night scenes, a new sun, new lightning, new atmospheric weather conditions and an all-new lighting system for the game.
The difference this stuff makes to your wilderness wandering is profound. If you don't believe me, check out this video.
Sure, Bethesda released their own HD texture pack a while ago, but this fan-made set is waybetter, with a resolution clocking in anywhere from 2-8x bigger than the official collection.
Not only does this result in prettier landscapes out in the countryside, but towns and dungeons have been cleaned up and improved as well. Oh, and the water as well, though if you want more specific mods for that, you might want to look into something like this.
The map that comes with the game is fine for fast-travel or getting your general bearings, but if you need to get more specific — or just want a prettier map — get this. There's a "cloth map" option available for it as well, if you're feeling particularly nostalgic.
This one's for all the completionists and OCDers out there. It's simple, too: if you haven't read a book, it glows. Don't worry about dupes, either, as all copies of the same title are considered the same book.
For a number of reasons, horses just weren't as useful in Skyrim as they were in Oblivion. This mod fixes that, turning them into trusty companions with improved AI and combat skills. They'll also help you out by looting corpses and harvesting herbs.
Skyrim used to be full of bugs. Bethesda squashed many of them, but by the time they stopped supporting the game, there were still some left. This patch tries (and is still trying) to get the rest of them.
That should be more than enough to get you started. If you've got a personal favourite that you think I've missed or overlooked, drop it below and I'll see about including it!