Skyrim Special Edition is ultimately the same old Skyrim under the hood. While the game has had extensive work done to its textures (something which we covered in a separate comparison article), the game is ultimately the same old content.
That's no bad thing - Skyrim is one of the best RPGs of the last ten years or so. With that said, what happens when you feel you've seen all that the land of Skyrim has to offer? Skyrim Special Edition has you covered in an all-new way thanks to its addition of mod support on consoles. PC players have had access to this stuff all along, of course, but the remastered visuals are prompting many to revisit the game.
Here's everything you need to know to get cracking on Skyrim mods, plus our picks for some of the very best mods available for all three platforms.
Skyrim Special Edition: Where to find the mods list and how to get downloading
Okay, first thing's first: in order to get mods, you're going to need to know exactly how to download them. There's of course that juicy 'mods' option on the game's main menu, but you've more options than that - and it all starts at Bethesda.net, Bethesda's proprietary service that, lucky for them, they need you to sign up for and hang your information over to in order to make the most of Skyrim Special Edition.
To get started you'll want to head to the Skyrim Mods section of the site. Once there you'll notice handy filtering options in the top right of the mod list.. This'll let you filter out what platform you want to look at. There's different restrictions on mods on each platform with PS4 being heavily restricted and PC a glorious and terrifying lawless land of horrors - Xbox One sits in between. As such, not all mods are available for all platforms.
PS4 mods are limited to 1GB and can't add new assets to the game. Xbox One mods can be up to 4GB and can add all-new assets such as new models, sound and so on. Xbox mod support is much more
Anyway - when you find a mod you want, hit 'add to library'. If you don't already, the site will make you link your shiny new Bethesda ID to your console ID, and this will in turn make the mod pop up in your mod list console side on that main menu option. It's pretty simple all old, but that step of visiting the website isn't immediately obvious.
The best Skyrim Special Edition Mods for PC, PS4 and Xbox One
Now you know how to download, what exactly should you be looking for? Well... let's talk about that. Here's some of our top picks for Skyrim Special Edition modding on both PC and console.
Relationship Dialogue Overhaul - get a little more personal
Some of the stuff the Skyrim mod community has created is truly mad, and this is one such mod that blows your mind when you think about it. This mod adds some 5000+ lines of fully voice-recorded dialogue for various NPCs. There's over 50 different types of voice in there. The mod focuses on important characters in the game - and most impressive of all, these new lines have been created by carefully editing existing in-game dialogue.
The aim of the mod is to make followers and various NPCs feel more human and actually have more of a relationship with you - something Bethesda themselves chased in adding more in-depth follower relationships to Fallout 4.
Ordinator: Perks of Skyrim - mix up your level-up world
If you've played a lot of Skyrim already or you simply fancy doing something with your play-through that's quite different to what Bethesda intended, how about completely changing your character build possibilities from the ground up?
Ordinator overhauls the entire perk system in the game, replacing it with over 400 new perks. This is a small mod, but it'll completely change the way you build your character and quite possibly the way you play the game entirely.
Rain & Snow FX - spruce up Skyrim's coldest peaks
We talked a little about Wet & Cold and Frostfall in our previous Skyrim Special Edition Mods post, and Rain & Snow FX offers some similar goodies. This mod is actually included in the challenging survival mod Frostfall, but if you just want the improved effects without all the pain of the survival mod, this will give you that.
This mod basically offers a more realistic impact visually from rain and snow - your character and NPCs will visibly get wet when they encounter rain or other water. They'll drip after swimming., In snow, frost will form on their gear and body. It's a little bit of extra environmental realism.
PS4 and Xbox One Cheat Mods - for all you scumbags out there
Here's the thing: mods disable achievements and trophies on Xbox One and PS4 anyway. And PC players of Skyrim have had the joys of console commands ever since the original game launched. So... why not let console players in on some of that fun?
This cheat mod simply adds a bunch of chests to Whiterun. In those chests you'll find all the items you could possibly need - practically endless crafting items and the like. There's also a trapdoor added which leads to a room that contains one of every item in the game. Wow. There's also a ring included that massively boosts your carry weight, meaning you can take a lot of this stuff without getting encumbered. Handy!
This mod is available for PS4 and Xbox One, and, yes, is largely redundant over on PC. If you want spells, there's also a mod that drops chests full of apocalypse spells. Keep in mind these aren't compatible with the excellent Open Cities mod which featured in part one of our Skyrim SE mods lists.
Enhanced Blood Textures - for all you gore lovers
The Enhanced Blood Textures mod does exactly what its very simple name would have you expect - it improves the quality of the blood in the game. This isn't just about higher quality textures, however - it ups the amount of bloodshed in combat and adds all-new blood effects, such as spurts of blood form the neck when you chop somebody's head off. Yep.
While this all sounds a bit like overkill, this mod is actually pretty good - some of the stuff it adds to the game is pretty impressive, such as how there's different types of blood splatter and how blood reacts differently on different surfaces.
KS Hairdos Light - look your best for adventuring
Honestly, a lot of the hair options that are in Skyrim by default are pretty rubbish. Some people, especially hardcore role-players, dislike this... and so modders have stepped in.
While there are mods out there (especially on PC) with a far more extensive range of options, there's something very pleasing about the KS Hairdos mod - it keeps it simple. It adds 30 new hair styles to the game - 15 for male characters and 15 for female characters. The mod also changes some of the hairstyles of certain NPCs in the game.
Campfire: The Complete Camping System
From the maker of the excellent and challenging Frostbite survival mod featured in part one of our Skyrim SE mods guide comes Campfire - a mod that aims to give camping in-game just as much love as any other feature of Skyrim's simulation.
Campfire includes new survival skills and mechanics, allowing you to build a campfire in the world and gather the necessary items to keep it going. There are multiple types of tents - and this basically allows you to immersively live out in Skyrim's wilderness if you choose. It's more forgiving and less intense than Frostbite, so if that one put you off consider giving this mod a go.
Lore-based Loading Screens - learn something new
Skyrim has a fair number of loads, even if you install the incredible load-reducing Open Cities mod featured in part one of our Skyrim SE mods guide you'll still see a lot of them going in and out of buildings. Skyrim already has interesting loading screens, but this mod aims to spruce that up.
Some real hardcore Elder Scrolls community nerds have picked out interesting facts from the series' lore and ran with it, building this mod that adds over 160 new quotes to the loading screens. Learn something while you wait!
Thunderchild: Epic Shouts and Immersion - level up your dragon shout skills
Thunderchild is a mod devoted to the dragonborn's unique dragon shout ability, adding all-new shouts and abilities that can generally make this a much more important part of your Skyrim game if you so wish. After all - you are the damn Dragonborn.
There's 31 all-new shouts included which have to be learned through meditation. Learning shouts via the story will also help your progress. There's also new quests with new rewards and even some quality-of-life improvements to make swapping shouts more simple - even with a lore reason for that packed in as well.
Vivid Weathers - make Skyrim more turbulent
We've talked a fair bit about weather-based mods, from Wet and Cold in part one of our Skyrim SE mods guide through to some on this page - but Vivid Weathers is still worth a shout out. It adds over 500 'new weathers' - which is nebulous since many of them are transition states, but it still adds a lot to the game.
This mod also improves things like the Skybox and even the lighting indoors, so it goes quite a way to trying to increase your immersion. Being in a thick forest in even thicker fog with this mod is quite an experience.
Dovahkiin Keep - your own little private home
While there are ways to get property of your own in the land of Skryim in the vanilla game, even that isn't enough for some. If you remain unsatisfied, this mod has you covered, adding a large castle you can call your own.
The castle is built to hold all your gear and as such is packed to the rafters with chests. Somewhat creepily it's also home to over 100 mannequins. That sounds a bit mad, but you can use these to hang your unused weapons and armor on as a display piece.
Faster leveling up - for when normal play won't cut it
This mod is really about as simple as they come. Want to level up more quickly? This will sort you out. It'll boost your XP gains on almost every activity, meaning you can zip through Skyrim's levels with ease.
What I like about this mod is that it doesn't just give you EXP - you still have to earn it. What it does however is boost just how much XP you get for each and every act you can undertake in the game, meaning you'll level up more quickly.