Now that it’s available on all major VR platforms, it dominates any other game on the market if you want to go on a wild adventure and explore a handcrafted fantasy world in full-body VR.
And if you aren’t already aware, the PC version of Skyrim VR is built on top of a slightly older Skyrim: Special Edition client, meaning that many Skyrim: SE mods are compatible out-of-the-box for Skyrim VR.
If you’re new to all this “mod” talk, here’s the laydown:
Mods are defined as any user-created add-on module that replaces or extends existing content in the game. This is how modders autonomously keep Skyrim fresh and interesting over time, despite the game having originally released in late 2011.
In fact, the sheer amount of things you can do in Skyrim VR with mods is astounding.
You can even burn 1,000+ calories in a single session of play.
Also, Skyrim has one of the most dedicated modding communities of any modern game. Which is why a few people have jumpstarted their own game design careers by creating popular Skyrim mods.
For a how-to guide on installing mods, check out our beginner’s guide by Jayson Paglow!
And once you’re comfortable installing mods onto your own copy of Skyrim VR, you’re invited to dive into my list of the top 25 Skyrim VR mods (set in no particular order) that you should download to get started:
1. Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch
When there’s something strange—in the neighborhood—who’re you gonna call?
Silliness aside, the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch (USSEP), headed by Arthmoor, is a compendium of bug fixes—forgotten or ignored by Bethesda—that members of the mod community have squashed for your convenience.
Because of how much of Skyrim VR’s core logic is altered (for the better) by USSEP, it’s the only critical “you need to play Skyrim with this, or else” mod that I’ve featured on my list.
Here’s a breakdown of USSEP by YouTuber GameGear. While he’s playing Skyrim: Special Edition with a controller, the mod still functions the same in Skyrim VR.
Here’s the takeaway:
Don’t install any other mods for Skyrim VR until you’ve installed USSEP!
If only because many mods rely on USSEP to function.
- You must install an extra patch to get USSEP to work with Skyrim VR:
Skyrim VR USSEP Fixes
2. Static Mesh Improvement Mod
But the subtle additions made present by SMIM can figure into a far more enjoyable, immersive experience.
Don’t believe me? Check out these two braziers:
Or these two skeletons:
Or these two blood-soaked grog steins:
I mean it’s not like you’re going to take a drink out of it; the added realism is a net positive!
- When installing the full version of SMIM, you may run into performance issues. I recommend opting for the Lite edition which is less performance-intensive in VR.
In regular Skyrim VR, many of the skills that you can use in the game are imbalanced.
Ordinator, by EnaiSiaion, is a complete rehaul of the skill and perk system, which makes it viable for you to play a character who specializes in a few specific skills instead of falling into the pattern of always developing that one character who does everything.
It even adds combat abilities to the Smithing and Speech skill trees, giving you the option to play solely as a master smith who uses cannons to fight—a concept that is totally absent from the base Skyrim VR, but killer nonetheless—or a bard who uses music to soothe or even incapacitate enemies.
And that’s only pecking at the surface. I’ve barely explored the wealth of character options in this mod, and I’ve already experimented and created a full-blown necromancer, akin to the classic necromancer of Diablo 2 glory.
- In order to get Ordinator running in VR, you need to install two additional mods: Ordinator Fix and VR Perk Extender
4. Imperious Races
Or so it first appears.
The problem with the ten playable races in regular Skyrim is that certain races offer useless perks, and in some cases, they fail to set themselves apart.
It’s all sort of… basic.
Imperious Races of Skyrim, by EnaiSiaion, makes each race unique and powerful in its own way, adding special abilities and attributes that are geared towards particular styles of play.
For example, Wood Elves can now see enemies through walls when crouching in place. They can also eat corpses to regain health—which is hilarious in VR—and gain extra damage against enemies that are marked by a mysterious harrier.
Imperious Races also includes quests for each race that both teach you about the race’s lore and add additional race-based abilities once you complete them.
Skyrim VR is all about fighting dragons and absorbing their souls to unlock special dragon “shouts”, superpowered spell-like powers that you can only unleash every so often.
Hunting for Thunderchild shouts is also a great end-game activity once you’ve leveled up to 81 and unlocked everything else there is to find.
Magical items in base Skyrim VR are limited to a few variations, causing treasure chests to induce yawning rather than excitement after you’ve progressed so far into the game.
Summermyst, by EnaiSiaion, fixes this issue by adding a plethora of new enchantments to the game’s leveled lists.
This introduces a wild variety of new ways to play the game. For instance, I found a random sword that hurls enemies into the air after they’ve taken enough damage.
But it’s cool to finally find some enchanted loot that I want to keep instead of selling. Thanks, Summermyst!
There is one massive issue that I have with combat in Skyrim VR: it’s too easy.
You can wobble your controllers around until your enemies slump over and you collect the gold coins off of their ragdoll bodies.
Which, after a while, gets pretty lame!
So, what does Wildcat do? It adds dynamic combat that includes injury simulation, resource exhaustion, and other pain-points that force you to carefully consider your approach to combat.
In regular Skyrim, the standing stones—points of interest which give you a permanent power-up to specific attributes—are as dry as cardboard.
They don’t do anything worth talking about.
But fortunately, we now have Andromeda, by EnaiSiaion, which makes every standing stone come with a bonafide superpower!
Be warned. Since you can only have one standing stone active at a time, the one you choose can severely underpower or overpower your character’s build.
As with item enchantments, regular Skyrim is lacking in the spells department.
Apocalypse – Magic of Skyrim, by EnaiSiaion, adds 155 new spells to the game, which make playing as a spellcaster much more interesting than before.
Even cooler, the most powerful spells added by Apocalypse require you to become the Archmage of the College of Winterhold, a title which previously only came with a robe and a pair of boots.
10. Skyrim Flora Overhaul
It’s a noticeable improvement over the visuals that come with the base game, which can make a difference over time as Skyrim is more immersive with SFO than without it.
Ravengate, by EnaiSiaion, is a brand new quest series that takes you underneath the Riften sewers to become a champion gladiator.
It is fully voice-acted and contains hours of new content. It also adds an element to Skyrim VR that was sorely missing: arena battles. That was my favorite part of Oblivion, and it’s good to see Ravengate pick up the torch.
This isn’t so important to me because vampirism isn’t my thing personally, but I’m sure there are some of you out there who will get a real kick out of the vampire-love granted by Sacrosanct’s additions.
- In order to get Sacrosanct running in VR, you need to install an additional mod: VR Perk Extender
13. The Forgotten City
How might people of different backgrounds and ideologies behave together when breaking a single law could kill them and everybody they know?
Now slated to become its own title after receiving the very first Australian Writer’s Guild award granted to a game mod, The Forgotten City by Nick Pearce is a breathtaking, heartbreaking adventure module that explores the subtle darkness of human nature.
You will spend around six to ten hours poking through the titular Forgotten City, hidden behind a waterfall near Markarth, as you solve a murder mystery (before it happens) by exploiting—and bridging—an infinite time loop.
The only caveat? When you screw up, everybody dies. And when everybody dies, you must go back and start over.
This is made even cooler when you get unique dialogue options on subsequent tries.
Kill or steal from a certain character? You can lead a full-on conversation about it after you’ve gone back in time to “reset” the city, and that character will be appropriately freaked out by you.
If you feel like vanilla Skyrim VR’s characters and quests are too dry, abstract or emotionally uninvolved for your taste, then you owe it to yourself to try The Forgotten City.
Warning: The ending will leave you in tears.
14. Windsong Immersive Character Overhaul
In VR, you can see details on character’s faces and bodies that are usually obscured in flatscreen mode.
It makes characters gorgeous to look at without going overboard or breaking lore, and it freshens the game up to make it feel like it fits in a modern game release.
15. RS Children
Something about the children in regular Skyrim VR has always unnerved me.
After I finally figured out that most of the children in the game use carbon-copy meshes and character designs, I knew I had to do something about it.
This simple mod makes the children of Skyrim VR look more distinct, diverse, and detailed.
16. Climates of Tamriel
The dynamic weather system in Skyrim VR was already pretty fantastic.
Climates of Tamriel, by jjc71, makes it better by adding hundreds of new weather pattern variations, outdoor color correction, and even darker nights if you enable them during the installation process.
- When using Realistic Lighting Overhaul (listed below), make sure that Climates of Tamriel interiors are completely disabled; do NOT install them together!
17. Realistic Lighting Overhaul
Skyrim’s lighting has always felt a little lackluster.
Fortunately, Realistic Lighting Overhaul, by sydney666, completely rewires the lights all across Skyrim VR to be more detailed and believable. Interiors are gorgeous, and towns are now lit up for miles.
You can mix Exterior and Interior modules with Climates of Tamriel exteriors. However, do not install Climates of Tamriel interiors with RLO interiors.
18. Immersive Music
After a while, Skyrim VR’s soundtrack gets a little old and repetitive.
Admittedly, I haven’t played Skyrim in weeks. Guess what’s still playing in my head? Two of the most contagious city themes I’ve heard in any RPG, both from the Immersive Music mod.
Here’s a taste:
19. Immersive Weapons
Vanilla Skyrim VR has only a few weapon selections to choose from.
With Immersive Weapons, by hothtrooper44, you can now use tons of new weapon types—including but not limited to: clubs, spears, javelins, tantos, wazikashis, scimitars, katanas—and the list goes on.
Even better; certain weapon classes are more valuable/rare/powerful than others, making rare drops more exciting than before.
When paired with Summermyst, you truly never know what you’ll find around the next corner.
20. Immersive Armors
As with weapons, regular Skyrim didn’t give you too many options to deck your character out in unique-looking armors.
Immersive Armors, by hothtrooper44, solves this problem by adding more new clothing and armor options than you can fit in an Imperial armoire.
21. Legacy of the Dragonborn
It includes a new Dragonborn museum, as well as the Explorer’s Guild which you must build up by completing adventures throughout the game.
Let me explain what that means:
When you finish The Forgotten City, you earn a special suit of armor that is then given its own special space to be displayed in the new area added by Legacy of the Dragonborn.
If you have Ravengate installed, a new area of the museum opens up and you can deck it out with what you earn in that module.
The more adventures you complete, the better you can deck out the Dragonborn museum and flesh out the Explorer’s guild.
It’s pretty sweet to have a place where your grand adventures can be recounted forever (or until you uninstall the game), and it even contains support for item mods like Immersive Weapons and Immersive Armor.
22. VR Inverse Kinematics
Skyrim VR is missing a handful of features that add VR presence, such as inverse kinematics that allow you to look down and see your body. It’s also bit jarring that your weapons float around mid-air by default.
Not only can you look down and see your own arms and hands, but it appears that the fidelity of the animations is pretty accurate too; the hand rotation and shoulder adjustment seem like they track your movements aptly. Additionally, it seems like you can grab arrows and pull them out of enemies and surfaces with this mod, which is something you might think you should be able to naturally do in Skyrim VR.
What does Inigo do, however, that the regular Skyrim companions don’t?
Unlike regular party members, Inigo develops a relationship with you over time with contextual dialogue and input for almost everything you do.
He’s so lively that he manages to make you feel like you’re not actually alone when you play Skyrim VR, despite it being a single-player game.
Also, Inigo’s backstory and voice acting are excellent.
She’s got tons of personality and customization options; she levels up as a separate character unlike other companions who simply scale to match your level, and she has her own set of outfits that you can tweak and change to your liking.
But more importantly, she comes with her own entire AI framework.
If you’re in a town, she might decide to go shopping or take a trip to the tavern for a drink. She’ll ask if you need to sell anything. She’ll even bond with your children and your housecarls.
And I’m still only scratching the surface of what she can do.
Did I mention that she and Inigo were developed jointly by their respective mod creators, and that if you have both characters in your party at once they’ll develop their own friendship over time?
25. Immersive Creatures
Skyrim VR is already full of dangerous wildlife. But after a while, Skyrim’s regular monsters become predictable.
Immersive Creatures fills Skyrim’s bestiary with all kinds of new enemies, many of which were included in past Elder Scrolls games but pulled from Skyrim due to development time concerns.
It’s exciting to walk down a path and run across an entirely new kind of monster that you’ve never fought before, especially when you’re at a low level and you don’t know if you can survive the fight.
Adding mods to Skyrim VR can be a headache if you haven’t modded a Bethesda Softworks game before.
Here are a few frameworks that you should always install to your game, whether or not you plan to download any mods that rely on them.
- Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE) – Download the current VR build and follow the readme.
- xSHADOWMANx’s DLL Loader – Install instructions are on the main Nexus page.
- SSE Engine Fixes (requires SKSE) – Follow the instructions on the download page. This framework comes in two parts.
Skyrim VR is a vast, exciting fantasy RPG; the first of its caliber on the VR platform.
But when you first get started in Skyrim VR, especially if you’re using it to burn calories regularly, you might find that a few things aren’t to your liking.
Everybody who knows Skyrim from experience knows that the best part of the game is its rampant selection of user-created mods!
So I hope that at least one of my top 25 mods for Skyrim VR helps you tweak and expand your own version of the game to your liking.
Because truth be told, your perfect version of Skyrim VR may look completely different than my perfect version of Skyrim VR. And that’s OK.
What are your favorite mods for Skyrim VR?