Top 10 Best Skyrim Mods: Make Skyrim More Awesome

Best Skyrim Mods: Make Skyrim even more awesome with ten great mods that will overhaul your entire experience of the game.

by on 15th Jan, 2012

Best Skyrim Mods

best skyrim mods

Skyrim for the PC may be the best version of the game thanks to its mods, but it isn't without its share of problems. Like every other Bethesda game, it's got plenty of bugs to go around, but nothing too detrimental to the experience as a whole.

That being said, I'm not here to rant about the game's bugs. Instead, I would like to divert your attention to the game's exceptional modding community. As with Oblivion, and Morrowind before it, Skyrim's modding community is the pride of the game and promises to get even bigger once Bethesda launches the Elder Scrolls Creation Kit on Steam.

The community, being huge as it is, has spawned countless mods—some of which are great, but a great many are mediocre at best. Sifting through the pile can consume an entire day, so instead of wasting your time, I've decided to do it for you by going through the whole list myself to bring you the best mods. I personally use everything in the following list, which I've compiled in no particular order.

#10 Skyrim Enhanced Shaders

Download it here.

First and foremost is the Skyrim Enhanced Shaders by tapioks. Built on Boris Vorontsov's fantastic ENBseries shaders, Skyrim Enhanced Shaders adds new visual effects into Skyrim. It makes the whole game look a lot less dull and lifeless by adding more vibrant shades, high dynamic range lighting (HDR), adaptive bloom, sharpening, and a framerate limiter.

In particular, the FPS limiter helps players with lower-end configurations by providing a consistent framerate. Everything else just makes the game look nicer.

For the best results, grab the FX Beta version of Skyrim Enhanced Shaders—and don't forget to remove the custom sunglare that comes with it, which detracts from the overall visuals.

#9 Realistic Colors and Real Nights

Download it here.

If you're not a fan of the saturated colors of Skyrim Enhanced Shaders, you can always opt for the best alternative the modding community has to offer: Realistic Colors and Real Nights.

Based on a real life color palette as opposed to simply looking pretty, RCRN replaces the game's color palette with a new layer of colors.

RCRN provides a rich, but desaturated (i.e. realistic) look for Skyrim, gets rid of that awful green haze in the vanilla version, and all the goodness of HDR lighting.

Best of all, it even works with Skyrim Enhanced Shaders—though you'll have to do a bit of tweaking to get it to work.

#8 Realistic Water Textures

Download it here.

Now that you've made the game all nice and pretty with the Skyrim Enhanced Shaders, you'll want to grab Realistic Water Textures by isoku to make the world come even more alive.

As you can see in the video above, this mod completely revamps the way water is presented in the game. No more jelly water.

The mod comes in different versions—notably 'crystal clear' and 'vanilla underwater'. I personally use the latter, but if you like looking at riverbeds, you'll want to go with the former setting.

#7 Real Ice

Download it here.

Besides the water, another thing that doesn't look too right with Skyrim is the ice. Unlike real ice, it's barely reflective. The Real Ice mod by Yuril fixes that.

For some reason (Skyrim was built for consoles, after all) the default textures for the ice are about as undetailed as they come. Real Ice adds parallax texturing, so it reflects the environmental light a lot better than the vanilla version.

#6 Skyrim Flora Overhaul

Download it here.

Skyrim Flora Overhaul by vurt does exactly what its description says by overhauling the game's flora in its entirety. It replaces the textures of every tree, shrub, and ground cover in the game with more detailed versions.

It might not seem like much given the game's already-detailed textures, but you'll thank me for installing this one.

#5 Enhanced Night Skyrim

Download it here.

The environment may look pretty, but what about the skies? Funny you should mention that, because CptJoker71 has just the mod to make the skies every bit as vibrant as the previous mods.

Enhanced Night Skyrim replaces the drab looking night sky with a much more detailed one, and it comes in multiple versions—in color, and monochrome. Best of all, it doesn't conflict with the game's built-in constellations.

#4 XCE - Xenius Character Enhancement

Download it here.

Your world is pretty, but your characters still look like crap. Thanks to Xenius Character Enhancement, the citizens of Skyrim will no longer resemble Minecraft characters.

This mod integrates the various mods that add more detailed faces, detailed bodies, detailed lips, less blocky faces, weathered warpaint, high resolution face maps, and numerous other mods that cohesively improve the way Skyrim's characters look.

#3 Glowing Ore Veins 300

Download it here.

If you've ever tried searching for ore in the wilderness, you'll know how difficult it can be to spot a good vein.

Thanks to Glowing Ore Veins 300 by ByblosHex, you'll be well on your way to becoming Skyrim's richest prospector.

#2 A Quality World Map - With Roads

Download it here.

Despite playing Skyrim for over a hundred hours, I still find myself getting lost from time to time. Suffice it to say, the world map offers no help with that.

Thanks to this mod by IcePenguin, the world map is finally useful. As the title suggests, "A Quality World Map - With Roads" replaces the world map. It comes in two versions: a highly detailed world map, and a classic paper-style map. I like the latter, as it gives the map an authentic feel instead of a god's eye view of Skyrim.

If you prefer to find your way through the wilderness on your own, you can grab the version that only comes with the main roads that link major cities.

#1 SkyUI

Download it here.

Last but not least is SkyUI, an overhaul of Skyrim's user interface. It is designed specially for PC gamers on the mouse and keyboard.

It's nicer to look at, offers icons in place of text for inventory sorting, and makes the system much easier to navigate with a mouse and keyboard.

In addition to the inventory, it also revamps Skyrim's magic menu, and barter and container menus.

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