The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition became one of first games to support mods on console when it released on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2016. Ever since then, the game’s dedicated community has created countless mods that alter, improve, or completely overhaul the base Skyrim experience in amazing ways, as also seen with the best Fallout 4 mods. Mod support is uncommon among the best Xbox One games today, which makes it crucial to experience the best Skyrim has to offer.
Due to the sheer number of mods available, though, it can be hard to figure out which mods are the best. We’ve compiled this extensive list of top-notch options, whether you want to make Skyrim run better, look better, or add new gameplay systems.
Skyrim: Special Edition is the current-gen version of the legendary 2011 classic, featuring a more stable engine and some awesome visual enhancements like god rays and dynamic depth of field.
Note: You’ll need to a make a Bethesda account to access mods, which you can do from within the game on your Xbox. Also, keep in mind that achievements are disabled while using mods. Lastly, check mod descriptions and follow the instructions on where to put each mod in your load order if they’re there.
These mods are designed to make Skyrim run smoother and with more stability overall, either by tweaking some graphics down or by fixing troublesome bugs. These mods will be helpful to Xbox One users in particular, as it’s the weakest of the Xbox One consoles. It’s important to note, though, that the bugfix mod in this section is something everyone should download.
Unofficial Skyrim: Special Edition Patch
This incredible mod squashes countless bugs that are present in vanilla Skyrim to this day. The Unofficial Skyrim: Special Edition Patch fixes everything from engine problems to issues with quest scripting, and everything between, too. It’s highly recommended that you install this mod before any other, as it will provide you with the most stable and bug-free version of Skyrim available as a foundation.
Source: Bethesda Game Studios
FPS Boost will considerably improve your framerate by reducing the resolution size of snow, rain, and leaf effects in-game. Since these effects are so small, most people won’t even notice the quality reduction, too. Overall, this is an excellent mod if you want to boost your performance without sacrificing the game’s visual appeal.
Disable God Rays
Disable God Rays does exactly what it sounds like: it removes the volumetric god rays that Bethesda added into the Special Edition version of Skyrim. This will give you a decent performance increase, although it will mean that sunlight in the environment won’t be as pretty.
No Radial Blur
If you’re looking for something that improves your performance in combat, No Radial Blur will help. It disables the radial blur effect that happens when you get hit by enemies or perform a killcam finishing move. This can save you valuable frames, especially in larger combat situations where you’re getting hit frequently.
These mods are geared towards folks who want to make their Skyrim look as modern as possible. Though graphics mods options aren’t nearly as advanced as what you can get on PC, you can still make Skyrim look incredible on Xbox One. Be wary, however, that some of these mods may negatively impact your performance. If you have an Xbox One X (or are planning to own an Xbox Series X) this will be much less of a problem due to the stronger hardware.
Natural and Atmospheric Tamriel
Natural and Atmospheric Tamriel (NAT) is a weather, lighting, and effects overhaul, all in one complete package. You may not be able to use the advanced ENB lighting and post-processing mods you can find on PC on your console, what NAT provides is the next best thing. If you want one mod that will instantly make your game look better without any performance hits whatsoever, this is the mod for you.
The all-in-one version of the Skyland mod massively improves the texture quality of nearly everything in Skyrim. From the game’s vast earthy landscapes to the wood-and-stone structures that make up each city and nearly everything between, Skyland will make all of it look phenomenal.
Static Mesh Improvement Mod
The Static Mesh Improvement Mod overhauls the look of what Skyland does not, such as things like furniture, food items, and other miscellaneous objects. As a result, this mod’s impact is mostly felt in interior spaces, although it covers plenty of outdoor objects as well.
For Xbox One users, Veydosbrom is the best overall grass mod since it adds beautiful, dense grass to Skyrim without hitting performance too hard. This is a great mod to pick up if you want your Skyrim to feel more lush. Make sure to pair it with Landscape Fixes for Grass Mods.
Skyrim Flora Overhaul (Trees Only)
The trees only version of Skyrim Flora Overhaul pairs excellently with Veydosbrom, as it significantly pretties up Skyrim’s trees. After all, it would look weird for the grass to be incredibly detailed but the trees to look vanilla.
Realistic Water Two
The Realistic Water Two mod completely revamps Skyrim’s water, making it look much more realistic thanks to new textures, colors, and visual effects. The performance cost isn’t that bad, either, so this is a great pick for performance-focused players as well.
If you’re looking to freshen up the Skyrim experience with some changes to the gameplay, these mods will be right up your alley. They add more depth to the game’s mechanics and systems, and they bring more overall roleplaying potential to Skyrim.
Alternate Start – Live Another Life
Alternate Start – Live Another Life is perfect for people who want to quickly start new playthroughs without having to go through the Skyrim intro sequence every time. It allows you to pick a background for your character and then have them teleported to an fitting location in the world with the appropriate starting gear, which is awesome for roleplaying.
Ordinator – Perks of Skyrim
The Ordinator – Perks of Skyrim mod completely overhauls the game’s skill trees, unlocking countless new perk options for players to experiment with in their builds. What’s awesome about Ordinator is that it even revamps less popular skills like Speech or Pickpocketing in order to make them more viable and interesting, which is a great way to encourage build variety. None of the new perks are particularly overpowered, either, ensuring a balanced experience.
Apocalypse – Magic of Skyrim
Apocalypse – Magic of Skyrim is essentially the mage version of Ordinator in that it adds countless new spells to all of Skyrim’s schools of magic. From raising magical stone walls to block enemies with Alteration to casting devastating tornadoes with Destruction, Apocalypse is chock-full of creative and fun spells to try out. The mod automatically distributes them throughout the world as well, so finding them won’t be difficult (the best place to look is with a Jarl’s court wizard).
Wildcat – Combat of Skyrim
Wildcat – Combat of Skyrim is a phenomenal combat mod that breathes new life into the Skyrim hack-and-slash experience we’ve all gotten used to by now. It makes enemy AI smarter, makes attacks deadlier (for both the player and enemies), adds in locational damage, and makes it so all attacks drain stamina instead of just power attacks. All of these changes make Skyrim more difficult, but they also make the combat system feel more skill-based. Additionally, overcoming foes with Wildcat combat is much more satisfying than it ever was with vanilla Skyrim. We can’t recommend this mod enough.
Beasts of Tamriel
If you want some more variety in the ranks of Skyrim’s creatures and critters, it doesn’t get any better than Beasts of Tamriel. As you explore the lands, you’ll start to see and encounter monsters you’ve never seen before, including female giants, massive whales, flaming wolf spirits, big bipedal frogs (you can ride them like horses!) and many more.
iNeed – Food, Water, and Sleep
iNeed – Food, Water, and Sleep turns Skyrim into somewhat of a survival game. As you play through the game, you’ll need to make sure your character stays well-fed, hydrated, and rested. This is an excellent mod for people who are looking for an extra bit of challenge, and it also gives you more of a reason to stop by in Skyrim’s smaller towns while on your travels.
Quests dictate nearly everything we do in Skyrim, and over the years talented modders have come up with some truly incredible quest mods that add in brand new stories with professional voice acting, new worldspaces, and more.
The Forgotten City
The Forgotten City is arguably the best quest mod in existence in terms of writing, as it won a National Writers’ Guild award for its script. In this 8-hour long adventure, players will work to uncover the truth behind a murder mystery in an ancient underground city. The mod’s voice acting is stellar, and the fact there are multiple endings means that the quest has lots of replayability as well.
Project AHO takes players to Sadrith Kegran, a hidden settlement owned by Great House Telvanni and built over the ruins of an ancient Dwarven city. As they play through this DLC-sized adventure, players will uncover the secrets of an extremely advanced Dwemeri invention: the Aetherium Hyperspace Observatory.
Made by the same team behind Project AHO, Carved Brink is centered around exploring a Daedric plane of Oblivion controlled by goblins. Over the course of this quest mod, you’ll find new treasures, meet new characters, and eventually you’ll be tested by the trial of the Daedra.
The Notice Board
Unlike the previous mods we mentioned, The Notice Board is aimed towards players looking for short, repeatable adventures. At every city or town you will find notice boards where NPCs have posted jobs for adventurers like you to complete. These jobs typically entail clearing out bandit camps, delivering secret messages, saving captured civilians, killing beasts, going hunting, and more.
Did we miss any of your favorite mods? Have you got one you think should be on the list? Let us know in the comments below!