Elden Ring was released last year in February to critical acclaim, praising it not only as one of the best action RPGs of all time but also as one of the best games of all time. For good reason, it is compared to the likes of Skyrim and Witcher 3.
Skyrim was groundbreaking when it came out in 2011 with a heroic main story, an incredibly rich environment, and endless side quests that made you forget what you were even doing in the first place. For both of these games, the role-playing possibilities are endless.
But, what is the difference between the two games? How does Elden Ring compare to Skyrim, and where exactly do they differ? This article will answer all of these questions and more; we will help you decide which game is better for you in an epic clash of Elden Ring vs Skyrim.
The Age Gap Between The Games
Before we begin with the actual gameplay, we need to address the elephant in the room: Skyrim is more than 10 years older than Elden Ring. Gaming as a whole has come a long way since then in terms of both graphical fidelity and gameplay innovations.
A fairer comparison would be the first Dark Souls, but this article is for all of you who want to know the difference between Elden Ring and Skyrim specifically, and how well Skyrim holds up to this day.
The original Skyrim looks and runs worse than modern games do. If you are going to be playing Skyrim in 2023, we recommend you play either the Anniversary Edition or the Special Edition of the game.
The newer versions of Skyrim have better graphics, performance, and bug fixes that make the experience much more enjoyable. Moreover, these versions have updated engines that also make modding easier; we will discuss some modding possibilities later on.
Gameplay Differences in Elden Ring Vs Skyrim
Arguably, the biggest difference between the two games is in their actual gameplay. Elden Ring is a modern game and has many features that make Skyrim’s combat look bare-bones in comparison. In our opinion, Elden Ring’s combat and enemies are leagues above anything Skyrim has to offer.
Elden Ring has more fluid combat; the game allows you to parry, dodge, and jump to avoid attacks. Skyrim’s combat is more like a traditional MMO, where you stand and press left-click until the thing you hit is dead. This can become very tedious after many hours and is, in our opinion, Skyrim’s biggest weakness.
Skyrim’s Combat Mechanics Show Their Age
The combat in Skyrim is very lackluster and was underwhelming even upon its release. Sure, you can parry and jump, with no option to dodge attacks unless you simply run away from them, but blocking is quite simplistic; enemies are spongy, and jumping does nothing in combat.
The mage combat is basically you out-smarting your enemies with your attacks, which is not very interactive. There are some creative spells, but in general, destruction magic is like that.
Skyrim’s AI is also pretty outdated, with one of the most effective strategies being stealth archery, which consists of backing and sniping until the enemy dies. This can be fun for a while but, in our opinion, feels very cheesy and not engaging.
Elden Ring Combat is Based around Powerful, Yet Predictable Enemies
In Elden Ring, enemies have predictable and powerful attacks that require you to strategize in order to beat them. This makes it so that enemies are way more difficult, and on paper sound impossible, but with enough practice, you can conquer any enemy, and that dance is what makes any souls-like game so fun and engaging.
In Elden Ring, Each Move Must be Well Executed to Win. It is a Lot Less Forgiving than Skyrim.
In Elden Ring, every move you make matters; every dodge is potentially the difference between winning or losing. Attacks and power attacks require you to commit to your actions, and if successful, the reward is immense.
In Skyrim, you have conjuration magic, which is similar to Elden Ring’s summons. Both games do this well: if you cannot beat the enemy without summons, you can just invite a few friends to help you out.
This mechanic is a bit better in Elden Ring compared to Skyrim, as you do not need to fully specialize in it. In Skyrim, unless you are a Mage, it is not that useful. On the flip side, playing a Mage in Skyrim allows you to summon some amazing creatures on your own.
However, both Elden Ring and Skyrim allow you to pick and choose how you want to play, with endless possibilities in both games. Therefore, there is no clear winner in this category of our Elden Ring vs Skyrim comparison.
Skyrim’s Customization Options are Fantastic
Skyrim even has numerous in-game customization options that allow you to choose how you want to develop your character. For example, you can use one or multiple Standing Stones, such as the Steed Stone in Skyrim, to boost certain stats for a limited time. You can also choose to feed as a vampire in Skyrim or run around at night as a werewolf if you so desire.
Winner: Elden Ring
Skyrim has three main classes that play very differently:
The good thing is that you can mix and match these in certain scenarios to suit your playstyle the best. Skyrim’s skills also offer endless possibilities, with lockpicking, alchemy, enchanting, smithing, and more.
In this way, Skyrim allows you to play the game however you want and gives you something to work toward.
Elden Ring is similar in that way, where there are many classes, and they all allow you to play differently; the difference is more in the gameplay itself rather than things like lockpicking and alchemy, which have a more indirect impact on the gameplay itself.
Overall, classes in Skyrim are less fixed than in Elden Ring. If you so desire, you can make your character into almost any kind of focused or hybrid class. Therefore, Skyrim comes out on top over Elden Ring in this category.
Skyrim has a very straightforward story, with quest markers pointing you in the direction of the next location. The story is also very predictable at times, with you being the chosen one who saves the world from evil.
This isn’t necessarily bad, but there isn’t much nuance or choice in the main story. The nuance is in the sidequests, however, with many quests requiring you to do some morally gray and downright evil things if you so choose.
We just wish Skyrim players had more choices, with the game being somewhat as wide as an ocean and shallow as a puddle.
Elden Ring is Less of an Open World in Its Available Choices
Elden Ring takes a different approach to its storytelling with there being some cutscenes, but the environment tells more than the actual game itself. The story and storytelling of Elden Ring seem to be more inspired by Dark Souls itself.
Basically, the main difference between Elden Ring vs Skyrim is that Skyrim takes a more direct approach to story and storytelling and feels a bit more like a traditional RPG.
Skyrim’s worldbuilding is excellent; you always get the impression that you are part of a living, breathing world. With different cultures and issues that mimic our real world, Skyrim was truly ahead of its time in that regard.
Elden Ring is more focused on the concept of gods and monsters than on actual towns and societies. This isn’t a bad thing at all; it’s just a different experience from Skyrim, with more emphasis on gameplay and environmental storytelling.
Both games do a good job of immersing you into the world, but we feel that Skyrim does a slightly better job as it feels more grounded.
Amount Of Content in Elden Ring vs Skyrim
Both games have a huge amount of content. Skyrim has so many well-done quests that make it easy to get lost in its world. Elden Ring, on the other hand, has a lot of content in terms of the number of enemies and gameplay.
With many recently released games being unfinished and with little content, Elden Ring is a breath of fresh air. Both games have excellent depth and content; however, we give the edge to Skyrim as its built up such a wealth of content over the last decade.
Which Game is More Replayable?
Elden Ring has a very short tutorial, with the game not holding your hand and throwing you into the world to figure things out for yourself. This means that every playthrough will be different, even if you choose to play the same class.
Skryim has too many repeated elements to be as much fun on repeated playthroughs.
Skyrim has the unfortunate trait of many Bethesda games, which is unskippable sequences, like the long one at the beginning. Often in the main quest, characters will be forced to stand around while another character speaks in order to progress.
The same goes for the main quest being the same way every time; sure, you do not have to play it, but it is very convenient and unlocks some abilities and areas that cannot be accessed otherwise.
Basically, many hours of your playthrough will be spent replaying the same sequences over and over. Therefore, while Skyrim may have more content and more variability, Elden wins the overall replayability category in our Elden Ring vs Skyrim battle just because so much of Skyrim will be the same on a repeated playthrough. Many people instead find themselves trying to get one character very far and see if they can reach the max level in Skyrim.
Winner: Elden Ring
Accessibility And Difficulty
Contrary to popular belief, Elden Ring is quite accessible. The difficulty may turn off some players, but the simplicity of the game’s mechanics makes it so that even the most inexperienced gamers can pick up the game and get better at it.
Saying that Elden Ring is not simple or easy does not do justice to how well it is made in that regard. The difficulty makes your victories feel more satisfying, and dying is an essential part of the game; you will die and lose progress, but that’s okay because each time you do, you learn something.
Overall, Elden Ring has mastered what game difficulty should be, with so much freedom in the way you want to play and predictability in the enemies’ moves. If a boss is too hard, just go somewhere else, level up, and come back.
Skyrim is very accessible to its core, and it is also easily playable, being available on so many platforms. The game has a difficulty slider if you are struggling; the game tells you where to go at all times and overall holds your hand.
Difficulty Adjustments are Handled Poorly in Skyrim
The difficulty of Skyrim is a contentious topic, with the difficulty slider doing nothing more than increasing the health of enemies and the amount of damage taken by players. As a result, Easy difficulty makes the game too simple, but with Legendary difficulty, players die in an unfair manner frequently.
The game is not more difficult with the AI getting smarter and being more aggressive, using more or different attacks; they just have more health and do more damage, which is the worst way to implement it.
Overall, we think there is a clear winner in the category of accessibility and difficulty in Elden Ring vs Skyrim, and Elden Ring comes out on top.
Winner: Elden Ring
Mods in Elden Ring vs Skyrim
A great strength of Skyrim is its modding community—over 2.4 billion mods have been downloaded for the Special Edition alone and 1.9 billion for the Legendary Edition. This is only counting mods on Nexus, not Steam Workshop or Bethesda’s official Creation Club.
The mods here are so advanced and extensive that they will negate almost all of the negatives of Skyrim, including completely new graphics, content, weapons, armor, skills, and even a complete overhaul of the combat.
You are able to implement most of Elden Ring’s mechanics into Skyrim with some work. It will not be as balanced or polished as Elden Ring itself, but it is amazing that you can even do it. Definitely check out mods for Skyrim if you haven’t already.
Impact On The Gaming Industry and Critical Reception
Skyrim’s impact on the gaming industry was huge; it took all the elements of previous Elder Scrolls and some RPGs at the time and made them better. To this day, millions of people still play it, even a decade later, for a good reason.
Elden Ring did not have much time to show its impact, but so far, the game has been praised by critics and players alike, with almost a million people playing it on release. We will just have to wait and see what impact it will have.
That being said, Skyrim, for the time of its release, was a more impactful and “game-changing” game. Elden Ring is a beautifully executed RPG, to be sure, but it’s well-founded in its predecessors as well.
What Are You Looking for in a Game?
We are nearing the end of our Elden Ring vs Skyrim review, and overall, which game is better for you will depend entirely on what you want. Both are fantastic games that will appeal to many RPG fans.
If you are someone who really enjoys good gameplay and has played and enjoyed Dark Souls games, Elden Ring is a no-brainer. Yet, if you are someone who wants an immersive experience with interesting quests that have an impact on the world you are in, you should play Skyrim.
That being said, we urge you to try both games; even if you are not a fan of Skyrim’s combat, you may still really enjoy the game and all that it has to offer. On the other end, even if you are intimidated by Elden Ring’s difficulty, you should try it and see for yourself; you will be surprised by how much you improve and enjoy the challenge!
Final Thoughts on Which Game is Best: Elden Ring vs Skyrim
In the epic showdown between Skyrim and Elden Ring, both games offer an unparalleled role-playing experience, with endless possibilities and unique features that cater to different playstyles.
Elden Ring excels in its fluid combat system and challenging enemies, offering a more engaging and strategic gameplay experience. On the other hand, Skyrim boasts extensive customization options, allowing players to create their ideal character and immerse themselves in the rich world of Tamriel.
Ultimately, the choice between these two iconic RPGs boils down to personal preferences and priorities. Are you seeking a more modern, action-packed experience with thrilling combat mechanics? Elden Ring might be the one for you. If you’re looking for a game with a vast open world to explore, countless quests to undertake, and deep character customization, then Skyrim could be your perfect match.
Regardless of the path you choose, both games promise an unforgettable adventure that will captivate and enthrall you for countless hours. For almost any player, the question of is Elden Ring worth it is most-often yes.
Thank you for reading this review of Elden Ring vs Skyrim. For more Skyrim and related RPG content, check out our website, and good luck with your games!