Are you torn between Skyrim Legendary Edition and Skyrim Special Edition? You’re in the right place! This comprehensive guide will illuminate the key differences between the two and guide you toward the best choice for your gaming experience.

What is Skyrim?

Skyrim, officially known as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, is an open-world role-playing game developed by Bethesda Game Studios. Known for its expansive lore, immersive gameplay, and a vast open world full of distinct characters, quests, and creatures, Skyrim has established itself as one of the most influential RPGs of the decade.

Skyrim Base Edition

Skyrim Base Edition

The base edition of Skyrim serves as the foundation for all other editions. It provides the core game with the original graphics, mechanics, and features available during the initial release. It’s the raw, unaltered version of the game, serving as the starting point for the evolution of Skyrim into its various editions.

Skyrim Legendary Edition

Skyrim legendary Edition

The Skyrim Legendary Edition was the first significant step up from the base game. This version included the original game and added all three DLC expansions: Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn. Additionally, it had a variety of minor DLCs and patches that improved the game’s stability, performance, and overall quality.

Skyrim Special EditionSkyrim special Edition

Skyrim Special Edition is a remastered version of the original game. It includes all the content from the Legendary Edition but also upgrades the game’s technical aspects. It boasts improved graphics, better performance, stability, and the significant addition of mod support for consoles.

Critical Differences Between Skyrim Legendary Edition and Special Edition

Now let’s dive into the key differences between Skyrim Legendary Edition and Skyrim Special Edition.

System Architecture and Performance

System Architecture and Performance

One of the significant differences between the Legendary Edition and the Special Edition is their system architecture. The Skyrim Legendary Edition is a 32-bit program with a 2GB RAM limit, while the Special Edition is a 64-bit program that can utilize more than 4GB of RAM. This significant upgrade in the Special Edition leads to better stability and performance, particularly for players using mods.

Graphics Quality

Graphics Quality

While the Legendary Edition has the original graphics from the 2011 release, the Special Edition introduced several visual upgrades. These include remastered art and effects, dynamic depth of field, volumetric lighting (‘god rays’), and more. This leads to a significant improvement in the overall visual quality of the game.

Mod Support

Mod Support

Another significant difference between the two editions is the addition of mod support for consoles in the Special Edition. While mods have always been a substantial part of Skyrim on PC, the Special Edition allowed Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players to download and install mods, vastly expanding the potential for customization and extended gameplay.



Skyrim Special Edition is generally considered more stable due to its 64-bit engine, which allows the game to utilize more system resources effectively. This results in fewer crashes and better performance, particularly for players using many mods.

System Requirements

software requirements

As we’ve mentioned, the Skyrim Legendary Edition and Special Edition have different system requirements due to their different architectures. With its lower standards, the Legendary Edition is suited for older hardware or less powerful systems. On the other hand, being more demanding, the Special Edition requires a more robust system for optimal performance.

Gameplay Comparison

Gameplay Comparison

While the core gameplay of the two editions remains similar, the addition of console mod support in the Special Edition offers the potential for a vastly different gameplay experience. Mods can alter almost every aspect of the game, from adding new content and mechanics to overhauling the game’s graphics and visual style.

Price Difference


The Special Edition is generally more expensive than the Legendary Edition due to the added features and improvements. However, it’s worth considering that the Special Edition often goes on sale, especially during major sales events on platforms like Steam and holidays.

Final Thoughts

In the battle of Skyrim Legendary Edition vs. Special Edition, the Special Edition generally comes out on top. With improved graphics, performance, stability, and mod support for consoles, it offers a superior Skyrim experience for most players. However, the Legendary Edition may still be viable for players with less powerful systems or those who prefer the original, unaltered Skyrim experience.

No matter which edition you choose, you’re in for an epic journey through one of the most immersive and expansive worlds in gaming. So grab your sword, ready your spells, and prepare to explore the land of Skyrim!


Should I buy Skyrim Legendary Edition or Skyrim Special Edition?

The choice between Skyrim Legendary Edition and Special Edition depends mainly on your needs and circumstances. If you have a less powerful system or are primarily interested in the original Skyrim experience, the Legendary Edition may be the better choice. If you want the best graphics, performance, and the option to use mods on the console, the Special Edition is the clear winner.

What version do both offer?

The Skyrim Legendary Edition and Special Edition offer the original base game and all three significant DLCs: Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn. The Special Edition also includes several technical upgrades, improvements, and mod support for consoles.

What’s the difference in optimization?

The Special Edition is generally better optimized than the Legendary Edition. It’s a 64-bit program, allowing it to utilize more system resources for improved performance and stability, mainly when using mods.

How many DLCs are there for Skyrim?

Skyrim has three significant DLCs: Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn. All three are included in both the Legendary Edition and Special Edition.

Richard is an experienced tech journalist and blogger who is passionate about new and emerging technologies. He provides insightful and engaging content for Connection Cafe and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.