There’s no question that Skyrim Special Edition makes some pretty broad and noticeable improvements to the game’s graphical capabilities, but as the YouTuber known as Brodual points out, there are also plenty of subtle changes which longtime fans should appreciate as well.
The video showcases five subtle changes in total, although the fifth change (the addition of a wearable torturer’s hood, which you can loot off an early-game NPC), is a bit of a throwaway, leaving four more expansive changes to look at. The overall improved stability should be a boon for modders, or for anyone who likes to just spawn in NPC’s and have them wage large-scale battles. Not only does Skyrim Special Edition crash far less often, it can also handle more NPC’s on the screen at once and have them perform complex actions, like combat.
Then there’s the Z-Fighting fix, which makes it so that distant mountains and other scenery don’t flicker while your character moves, and the realistic water fix, which makes it so that flowing water realistically winds and bends through curves in a river or around obstacles like logs and rocks.
However, my favorite fix by far is the inclusion of rain occlusion, which makes it so that falling rain and snow don’t clip through roofs and structures while you’re outdoors. This used to drive me absolutely crazy back in the days of Morrowind and Oblivion, and I remember being outright baffled that it was an issue Bethesda still hadn’t fixed when Skyrim first came out. Better late than never I guess.
Sadly, the disappointing state of modding for the PlayStation 4 version of Skyrim Special Edition means that the above subtle changes are about the extent of the improvements which PS4 players will be able to experience.