Top 5 Visual Mods for Skyrim

Skyrim is by far one of the best looking games of this generation. It's only been out for less than a week and modders have already begun to work on making Skyrim look more detailed than it has ever been—at least on the PC version of the game which supports mods.

Before downloading and installing any of the following mods, players who own the PC version of the game will first want to pick up the Large Address Aware patch, which allows Skyrim to use more than 2GB of RAM. By default, the game only allocates a limited amount of memory for use. Installing this performance improving patch will allow you to have a much smoother experience with the game. You'll want to install this whether or not you plan on modding the game.

Some, like myself, may prefer to play Skyrim the way Bethesda intended. However, all of these mods are well worth looking into—if only for the options they offer.

1. Detailed Faces and No More Blocky Faces

These two mods will get Skyrim further into the realistic territory, giving it the kind of naturalistic detail on faces that would give Crysis 2 and Gears of War 3's faces a run for their money.

Detailed Faces | No More Blocky Faces

2. Enhanced Blood

This mod will improve the default blood textures for map placed blood decals by increasing the texture size from 512 to 2048, giving them exponentially better detail. No longer will blood spatter look like spilled grape juice.

Enhanced Blood

3. Enhanced Night Sky

If you fancy the idea of stargazing in Skyrim, this mod is for you. The mod offers a high resolution texture replacement for the night sky, and it's based on real starfield photography, to give you the kind of detail that could (realistically) be seen from some place like the Arctic Circle. However, as the stellar density may be overwhelming to look at, the mod comes in three variations—low, medium, and high—to choose from.

Best of all, Tamriel's constellations are stored in a different file so you'll have both the constellations and a detailed sky.

Enhanced Night Sky

4. (Cinematic) Skyrim Sunglare

Staring directly into the sun can burn out your retinas. In Skyrim, the sun glare looks pretty realistic as it is—unlike other games, where staring at the sun can give you the impression that you're looking at the sun from behind a camera lens, or a pair of really thick goggles. This mod adds that "cinematic" sun glare effect you often see in movies.

Skyrim Sunglare

5. FXAA Post Process Injector

Some have also suggested I include the FXAA Post Process Injector mod, which purports to "enhance your graphics with FXAA and post-processing effects." The mod has a minimal performance footprint but its impact will leave your eyes bleeding, for it oversaturates the game to the point where it looks no longer like Skyrim but like a generic "videogame." Your mileage may vary.

Display Time on Loading Screen

Finally, if you've ever found yourself spending ample amounts of time in Skyrim that an entire weekend goes by without you knowing, this mod is for you. Never lose track of time again with this mod, which adds a clock right into your loading screens so you'll always know what time it is to take the dog out for a walk, have your dinner, or go to sleep.

Display time on loading screen