Wake Up

You need to play the decade's most important RPG ASAP

It's never too late to dive into the most iconic open world games ever made.

It’s an exciting time for Bethesda fans. Microsoft just closed its deal to acquire the publishing giant leaving players to wonder what’s next. We already know that some of Bethesda’s games will be exclusive to Microsoft platforms going forward, while others will honor their deals with partners like Sony. The company won’t have more news to share until later this summer.

While we wait, it’s a good time to catch up on the company’s catalog. What could be more classic than the most iconic RPG of all time? Yes, it’s once again time to play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Whether you’re returning to the open-world game or starting it for the first time, this spring is a perfect opportunity to dive in while we wait for news on the franchise’s future.

Xbox Game Pass players can play it with their subscription, but it’s readily available on other platforms too. Whether you want to play it on Switch or in VR, you have a world of options available to you.

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At this point, recommending Skyrim is something of a meme. The 2011 RPG is notoriously available on just about every platform across multiple generations. Every time a new gaming system or service comes out, it’s only a matter of time before Bethesda rolls out a Skyrim edition for it. Yet somehow, there are still lone souls out there who have somehow dodged it for a full decade. It’s honestly impressive at this point.

That said, the addition of Skyrim on Game Pass leaves gamers who have yet to jump in one less excuse. Bethesda’s RPG is an industry running joke for a reason — it really is that important. Set in the vast world of Skyrim, the game’s massive world set the groundwork for an entire decade of games. Every open-world game that’s come out since has a bit of Skyrim’s DNA in it somewhere. Games were doing open worlds before it (even other Elder Scrolls games were), but Skyrim brought that style into the mainstream and turned it into a trend.

That’s not to mention the role-playing aspect of it, which is still at the top of its class for RPGs. The game features in-depth character creation tools and allows players to get nitty-gritty with the intricacies of building a character. It’s not the kind of game where players can max out all their stats and call it a day; the choices matter. That means playthroughs can radically change from one to the next.

Game Pass users get the special edition of the game, which is something of a definitive edition of the game. Released in 2016, the double-dip features remastered visuals and effects. In addition to buffed visuals, it includes all of the game’s DLC. That means players get the Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn expansions at no added cost.

Most importantly, the special edition includes mod support for consoles. While Skyrim is an experience in its own right, playing Skyrim with mods is a game in and of itself. Players can turn dragons into Thomas the Tank Engine, add lute-toting bard bears, or replace the sound of skeleton footsteps with blaring trumpet noise. That’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the crazy ways fans have found to tear the game apart over the past decade.

Skyrim is a cultural touchstone for a reason. Even after all these years, it’s still one of the most compelling open-world experiences out there and games are still borrowing lessons from it to this day. The fact that it spawned such a vibrant, weird modding community is a testament to how much freedom it gives players to flex their creative muscles.

Considering that we still know next to nothing about The Elder Scrolls VI, it’s as good a time as any to see what all the fuss is about before the hype train leaves the station.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is available now on Game Pass for Xbox consoles and Android devices.

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