One of the best features included in Skyrim Special Edition is the ability to apply user-created mods to the Xbox One and PS4 versions, adding new features and content that can dramatically change how the game performs. Obviously Skyrim mods have been a major part of the PC original for years, but now console gamers can get a piece of the action. This guide will list the best Skyrim mods available for PS4 and Xbox One, as well as the best Skyrim mods on PC.
PS4 and Xbox One - Which Version has the Best Skyrim Mods?
The best Skyrim mods for PS4 and Xbox One are hosted on Bethesda's website, and there's a dedicated Skyrim mod section listing creations ready to be downloaded for Xbox One and PS4 (and PC). Bethesda and Sony struggled with bringing Fallout 4 mods to PS4, but it did get included in the end.
There are restrictions, though - Skyrim mods on PS4 can only use the assets that came on the game disc, while the Xbox One version of Skyrim is able to use additional content like new textures and audio files. The PS4 has a memory limit, too, meaning that Skyrim can only support mods up to 800MB in size rather than the Xbox One's rather more generous 2GB. This memory limit isn’t as bad as it sounds as modders aren’t dealing with large new assets.
As a result, a large number of the best Skyrim mods aren’t compatible with the PS4 version of the game - if there's even a single file that didn't ship with the game, you're going to be out of luck. The good news is that there is still be a huge range to choose from. Just remember that trophies and Achievements will be disabled when you're playing with mods - otherwise, it'd be too easy to exploit them.
It’s fair to say that if you want to experience the vest best Skyrim mods possible you’re going to have to play on a PC, and a pretty beefy one at that. The best Skyrim mods on console can be found on Xbox One.
The Best Skyrim Mods
Whether you want to improve your Skyrim experience as a whole or just goof around and have fun, there are myriad mods out there for you to try. We've collected the very best Skyrim mods and split them up so you can target the platform you want.
- Best Skyrim Mods for Improving Graphics and Effects on PS4 and Xbox One -- Skyrim Special Edition already looks good, but that doesn't mean it can't do without fun additions like weather and ... better book covers (sure, why not)?
- Best Skyrim Mods for Improving the UI -- These Skyrim mods improve the UI and making other tweaks for ease of use and access.
- Best Skyrim Mods for Improving NPC and Creature Behavior -- Skyrim's NPCs are a bit on the cookie-cutter side, so these adjustments allow for a more varied and colorful world.
- Best Skyrim Mods for Improving Skills and Magic -- These mods give you more of what you crave: More skills, more magic, more Shouts.
- Best Skyrim Mods for Xbox One -- If you're not in the mood to pick through which PC mods will work on console and which ones won't, consult our list of mods guaranteed to be compatible with the Xbox One. Modders have been busy, and the XBO version of Skyrim Special Edition enjoys a good deal of support as a result. There are mods that fix bugs and glitches, mods that change animal behavior, and mods that let you straight-up cheat (if that's your jam -- no judgements here). Pick your poison and install it without hassle.
- Best Skyrim Mods for PlayStation 4 -- As we've already gone over, modding Skyrim Special Edition for the PlayStation 4 is tricky business. Nevertheless, modders have been working with what they've got, and there are some impressive results to be had. Here are our favorites, all easy to download and install.
The Best Skyrim Mods of All Time
Here, we've rounded up the single best Skyrim mods that the community has to offer, listing them all in one handy section for you.
- SkyUI -- As you might have guessed from the name, SkyUI greatly enhances the user interface of Skyrim's menus, making them generally easier to navigate and far less cumbersome.
- Pure Waters -- A Simple mod, but one that players generally agree is near essential is Pure Waters, which drastically enhances the textures within Skyrim's many waterways.
- Immersive Armors -- Skyrim might not generally offer the most detailed of Armors for the player, so this mod picks up the slack, adding a bunch of new Armor varieties that all tonally fit with Skyrim.
- Alternate Start -- A more powerful mod that entirely changes the beginning of Skyrim, Alternate Start allows you do exactly what it says on the tin - start from Skyrim from a different perspective, be at as a Necromancer in a lair, a farmer, or a tavern owner.
- Moonpath to Elsweyr -- Perfect for those who have seen and done everything in Skyrim, this mod takes players to the homeland of the Khajit, bringing entirely new quests and characters with it.
- Interesting NPCs -- This mod performs as you'd think, giving every NPC in Skyrim entirely new and varied dialogue options and responses, entirely changing up how you can experience the game.
- Skyrim Redone -- Perhaps the biggest mod in terms of pure file size, Skyrim Redone completely overhauls the game, and not lightly. Perks and Characters are entirely changed, as the game itself comes to resemble something closer to that of Oblivion or Morrowind.
- Unofficial Skyrim Patch -- One that you simply can't miss out on, the Unofficial Skyrim Patch fixes everything that Bethesda won't with the game, fine tuning it and removing a ton of bugs and other problems with the game.
- Unofficial Dawnguard Patch -- Exactly like the mod we previously listed, this Unofficial Dawnguard Patch fixes a bunch of problematic bugs in the Dawnguard expansion.
- Unofficial Dragonborn Patch -- The last mod in this list that fixes bugs (we promise), the Unofficial Dragonborn Patch rounds out many bugs that pertain to the Dragonborn expansion.
- Skyrim HD - 2K Textures -- Boasting to be the most downloaded HD mod for Skyrim, Skyrim HD doesn't skimp out on the details, fully upgrading all the visuals throughout the game.
How to Install the Best Skyrim Mods on PS4 and Xbox One
In the game's main menu you'll see a new (to this edition) entry called Mods. Selecting this will prompt you for your Bethesda.net login, so go ahead and enter that. If you haven't got a Bethesda.net account already you'll need to create one, and you might well prefer to do that on your computer rather than the misery of entering your details using a controller.
Once logged in, you'll see a view not unlike Netflix with your currently installed mods at the top, currently popular mods just beneath, and then absolutely everything else listed underneath that. Also like Netflix, there is a dizzying collection on show, so be prepared to spend some time browsing and finding something that you like.
Not all of them may work on your console, although most are labelled according to platform so you should be able to see at a glance if something is ready for Xbox One or PS4. Press X (or A on Xbox One) to view details, or Square (or X) to search for a particular type of mod. Once you've found it, choose Download and then go to My Library, select the mod and choose Activate.
You can install more than one mod at once, and some mods are built on top of other mods and require them to work - this means they have to loaded in a specific sequence, which you can view and change by selecting Load Order with Triangle or the Y button. You can only run as many mods as your console memory will support - you can see the available space on the meter in the top right-hand of the screen.
Fixing crashes with Skyrim mods on console
Mods change the game in quite elaborate ways and it's not uncommon for crashes to result. It's most common when you have multiple mods installed. Resist the temptation to load up your PS4 with a mass of different updates, and apply them one by one, launching the game each time to confirm that it works - this way you can track exactly what works and what doesn't.
If you hit a crash you just can't get past, good news - the game the game automatically duplicates your existing save game and creates a new one every time a mod is activated, so you can revert back to the original. Go to the load screen and hit Y or Triangle to switch characters, and then choose from the saves that aren't modded.
How to Install the Best Skyrim Mods on PC
Modding PC games isn’t always easy, but you shouldn’t have too many problems modding Skyrim on PC thanks to the game’s integration with Steam Workshop. Simply find the mod you want and click ‘subscribe’. This will download the mod and install it, ready to play or use the next time you start the game.
If you want to use a mod not featured on Steam you’ll have to follow the instructions detailed for each. You may well have to add files to C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\Common\Skyrim\Data, and Windows will ask if you want to overwrite files. As you’re making changes manually there’s a higher risk of things going wrong, so it’s wise to make a backup of the folder being changing anything.
For more advice, visit our comprehensive collection of guides on Skyrim remastered.
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