3 Lists of 3 Skyrim Mods

Hello, folks, Uncle Geekly here. Skyrim Special Edition has been out for a few years and that means that console players have the same joy of Skyrim mods as those of us who play on PC. Your uncle Geekly has played Skyrim Special Edition a lot on both PC and console, so I’ve found some mods that I like to play with whenever I fire up this almost eight-year-old game.

Sounds like a good time for a Skyrim Mod 3 Lists of 3. There are a few mods that come standard in Skyrim Special Edition like realistic weather effects and improved graphics–I’ll have to remember which ones I don’t have to load for Special Ed—and I’ll try not to include any of those. The other hard part will be determining how to split up each mod type. Let’s see if Geekly’s up for the challenge.

Role Playing

OrdinatorMod

Ordinator and Apocalypse Magic

It’s our first mod in the first section of this write up, and I’m cheating by combining two mods. For shame!

It’s my list; I do what I want.

Ordinator and Apocalypse Magic come courtesy of the same modder Enai Siaion, and they’re available in a download bundle, so I’m putting them together because I seldom play Skyrim without both and I see them as two branches of the same limb. Ordinator increases the perk pool by over 400, while Apocalypse Magic adds 155 spells across all magic families.

With 400+ new perks gamers can customize their play style to a point where no two Skyrim builds are the same. One of my favorite builds is a dream master where I unlock as many Illusion perks in that branch of the magic tree as I can, but there’s more than the “dream master” branch within Illusion. There are so many paths to take that gamers can find their character’s story within the story and craft their own journey. Why is my hero drawn to dreams instead of creating pandemonium?

And that’s just one magic school. The magic schools have as many branches and the other perk trees specialize gameplay. Now it matters which one-handed weapon a player chooses. One may gain bonuses and special attacks for maces and not axes.

Apocalypse Magic Mod

Apocalypse Magic further differentiates the magic families. I don’t know how many times I used to begin Skyrim with every intention to play a pure magic user only to have the game devolve into a spellsword—emphasis on the sword—but Apocalypse Magic adds so many play options and cleans up many issues with Skyrim’s magic system that a pure magic user is an option, and a fun one at that. I can be a Thalmor who only cares to explore the reaches of the magic school Alteration.

I picked Alteration in this example because the added spells for this school in this mod are amazing. I can control the weather. I can sap armor from my attackers and give it to me and my companions. I can entomb one character and free them when I want. Yep. I am a Thalmor wanting to learn everything I can for a few schools of magic.

Imperious Race Mod

Imperious Races

Let’s face it. Race specific abilities have gone downhill in recent Elder Scrolls games. Fortunately, Imperious Races aims to make each Tamriel race unique.

Wow! I just realized that this is another mod by Enai Siaion. If you’ve liked what you’ve read so far, you may want to check out some of their other mods. I could make a list of just Enai Siaion’s mods, but I’d like to share the love—after Imperious Races of course.

Imperious Races adds race specific quests, bonuses, and powers. The quests play into the game’s lore. For example, Bosmer (Wood Elves) go on a great hunt to unlock their bonuses and power, while Altmer (High Elves) pluck the wings off butterflies—there’s a whole transformation or rebirth belief for High Elves that I won’t get into here, but butterflies play a key role. Each race has their own specific requirements or quest that adds another layer to character creation and world/lore immersion.

The race bonuses kick Elder Scrolls back to an age where it mattered to which race your character belonged. Altmer are naturally gifted mages, Redguard are fantastic warriors, and so on.

The race powers can, at times, play well with Elder Scroll lore as in Dunmer (Dark Elves) calling on their ancestors or Bosmer converting wild animals into allies, and other times these race powers create wrinkles for the different races. Anyone who’s played Skyrim knows that Nords can be xenophobic—to put it kindly—or downright racist. Their “Purge” ability allows them to choose a race at levels 10, 20, and 30 and deal bonus damage to members of that race. I don’t usually play human characters in Elder Scrolls games, but I’d consider playing an elf-hating Nord.

Again, this plays into character building as there may be a reason why my Nord is an elf-hater. There are so many new roleplaying options with each race.

LiveAnotherLifeMod

Live Another Life

Finally, we come to a mod by a different creator Arthmoor. Live Another Life does exactly what the title states: players can change their past as a wrongfully accused prisoner awaiting execution and skip the lengthy intro sequence at Helgen. With this mod players can start the game as a landowner or a marooned sailor or a highway robbery victim. Heck, players can begin the game already a member of one of the guilds or as a bandit.

Most of these new beginnings come with small bonuses and/or disadvantages (bandits begin the game with a bounty), but the true bonus of Live Another Life comes in the form of roleplaying. Players can literally rewrite their past. Live Another Life, like other mods in this section, add character and player choice to Skyrim.

One note: Live Another Life may have some minor compatibility issues that the previous two mods, or three mods, don’t.

Added Story and/or Content

ProjectAHO Mod

Project AHO

Most, if not all, the mods in this section will center around new areas to explore and/or new stories to experience. Let’s begin this section with a relatively new mod (released in late March 2018) by Haem Projects, Project AHO.

The content for this mod pans out to a medium-sized DLC, so a little less than Dragonborn or Dawnguard, but significantly more than Hearthfire. Players are treated to a hidden, Telvanni settlement Sadrith Kegran that’s built from the ruins of a Dwarven city. The player characters start as indentured servants and must uncover the area’s secrets as well as determine the fate of this closed off society. I won’t spoil the story here, but there are many ways for players to resolve Sadrith Kegran’s conflicts, based on character build and personality.

Project AHO comes close to full-fledged Skyrim DLC. Over 20 fully voiced NPCs have unique problems and quirks, each character acts out a daily routine, the quests and locations work and stay lore-friendly, and the DLC even has its own music by German composer Forhir. There are even reactions from these new characters that derive from the player’s choices in the main game and DLC. Project AHO does a great job of showing how some Dark Elves have carved out their own corner of Morrowind.

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Beyond Skyrim: Bruma

I couldn’t leave out Beyond Skyrim: Bruma from this section. If Project AHO is a medium-sized DLC, Beyond Skyrim: Bruma is living large, about the size of Dragonborn or Dawnguard.

Players can travel to Cyrodiil’s northernmost county Bruma that borders Skyrim. Similar features to Project AHO await as NPCs have their own voice actors with dialogue options, quirks and routines, and the player character can meddle in the affairs of Bruminians (or is it Brumans?). If you’re an Elder Scrolls fan and you miss Cyrodiil or want to know what happened to Bruma’s residents after the events of Oblivion, give Beyond Skyrim: Bruma a try.

Beyond Skyrim may not be as prolific a modder as the others I’ve mentioned so far, but they do great work and have some plans for future Skyrim content. With Elder Scrolls VI years away from release Elder Scroll fans won’t say no to future mods of this caliber.

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The Tools of Kagrenac

While Beyond Skyrim: Burma went large, The Tools of Kagrenac is a much smaller mod (perhaps even smaller than the Hearthfire DLC), but it’s a rewarding experience that’s done as well as any other in this section. The titular Dwemer Lord Kagrenac crafted three enchanted artifacts: Keening, Sunder, and Wraithguard. If those names sound familiar to Elder Scroll fans, they should. All three played a key role in the events of Morrowind.

So, The Tools of Kagrenac is lore-friendly—perhaps the most lore-friendly of all the mods in this write up so far—and it even suggests a cause for the Dwemers’ disappearance. In short, it’s a must play.

Beautiful Little Extras

ImmersiveWorldEncountersMod

Immersive World Encounters

We’ll start this section with a mod that’s almost a necessity. Immersive World Encounters makes all those random encounters players experience in vanilla Skyrim worthwhile.

The following scenario may sound familiar to Skyrim veterans. You run into a random thief, he hands you something to hold onto for them (something they stole), and then you make a choice to turn him in or throw his pursuers off his trail. But what if that character had more of a past or the encounter changes depending on who they are or there are multiple outcomes depending on what the characters chooses?

Immersive World Encounters adds a lot of that to Skyrim. It functions like “Wild Wasteland”, but the encounters are more unpredictable than wacky. Just because you’ve picked the same option before during one of these encounters, doesn’t mean you’ll get the same result. I’ve encountered an injured bear in the road and had the option to help it. The first time I helped a bear, I ticked off a hunter who then attacked me because I robbed him of his kill. The second time I helped a bear, it ran off and attacked another person; I had to kill the bear because it was headed toward a town. Maybe I should stop helping bears.

Regardless, kudos to Sette Lisette for this great mod.

LucienFullyVoicedFollowerMod

Lucien: Fully Voiced Follower

I don’t usually care for follower mods and I’m not the biggest fan of Imperials, but Lucien must be one of the best follower mods, and he happens to be an Imperial. He owns so many unique strands of fully voiced dialogue that he has an opinion on just about everything in Skyrim. The fact that Lucien is an Imperial is important too. He provides the player with an Imperial’s viewpoint.

Even better, Lucien has a dynamic personality system where he adapts to the player character’s choices; just because he’s your follower doesn’t mean that he agrees with everything you do. Players can alter how he fights, so he can complement the main character and Lucien’s training system can be adjusted as well. He has his own quest and storyline and can interact with other follower mods like Inigo, Hoth, and Auri. I almost want to play with these additional followers just to hear them banter with Lucien.

A small point, but one that makes me smile, is that Lucien has a small pool of in game books that he can read aloud to the main character, so long as the book is in the player’s inventory. I don’t know how long it took Joseph Russell to create Lucien, but this follower is well done. Wow!

HolidaysSkyrimMod

Holidays

As the name suggests, Holidays adds Tamriel holidays to Skyrim. If the player character walks into a town on the holiday in question, the villagers will be celebrating the appropriate holiday in a manner according to Elder Scroll lore.

I feel like I’ve said this a lot during these three lists, but Holidays is another mod I can’t see playing Skyrim without. Isoku has a done an excellent job of getting these celebrations right. Small details like Saturalia decorations won’t appear on Whiterun’s Gildergreen unless it’s fully grown and healthy, and Winterhold not celebrating any holidays due to the state of their town are nice touches.

There are so many other mods I could’ve included like Andromeda or Wild World or Open Civil War that nine—or technically ten—Skyrim mods don’t do the subject justice. There’s a reason Skyrim is a relevant game eight years after its release; it owes its prominence to some phenomenal modders. What are some of your favorite Skyrim mods? Let us know in the comments.

3 Lists of 3 Mini Games in Video Games

There are some mini games—small games within larger one—that are more fun to play than the original video game in which they’re found. Mini games are so pervasive in video games that there are some video games that are nothing but compilations of mini games. Uncle Geekly’s looking at you, Mario Party and Wario Ware.

But which mini games are the best in the business? Which ones are ones someone could play for hours on end without finishing the main questline? Your uncle Geekly will give you his answer with this week’s 3 list of 3.

Great Mini Games

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Project Gotham Racing 2 (Geometry Wars)

Geometry Wars had its humble beginnings in the popular racing game Project Gotham Racing 2 as a hidden joke. The designers threw in this minimalist retro puzzle game, and it became so popular that it received a standalone release, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved.

This twin-stick space shooter had such addictive gameplay and stunning visuals that gamers didn’t care about the game’s uncompromising difficulty. Slap me around and call me novice.

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Super Monkey Ball (Monkey Target)

Rolling monkeys inside giant, transparent spheres is no easy task. I never got into Super Monkey Ball’s main game, but I’m up for a multiplayer game Monkey Target any time. Your monkey rolls down a huge ramp, and once they’ve built up enough momentum, those large balls open up to form wings. Then, players glide their monkeys gently through bananas and power-ups to land on targets found in the middle of the sea.

Gliding is relaxing, Monkey Target’s controls are far better than Super Monkey Ball’s, and the mini game is joy. I could play—and have played—this mini game all day.

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Animal Crossing (Nintendo Entertainment System)

Who needs a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Classic when you can collect in-game NES cartridges in Animal Crossing?

Sure, this one’s a little bit of a cheat because they’re classic NES games coded within a Wii game, but I got excited whenever I found an NES cartridge in Animal Crossing. I picked up Donkey Kong Jr. Math. Woo hoo!

 

Final Fantasy Mini Games

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Final Fantasy X (Blitzball)

I was going to make this list by incorporating Final Fantasy mini games within the larger list of great mini games, but I came up with 2 out 3 games coming from Final Fantasy, so FF’s getting its own list. I’m not even sorry.

The first one in this list is the one I didn’t include at first because the premise is the strangest of the three: Blitzball. Final Fantasy X’s Blitzball is underwater soccer meets basketball. It makes no sense. It’s also awesome.

I don’t know how many hours I wasted playing Blitzball instead of finishing Final Fantasy X’s main story line. I didn’t care that Sin was going to destroy Spira. I want to sign the best Blitzball goalie Nimrook to a long-term contract. I’m also going to transition from Wedge, who’s a great shooter early game, to a combination of Nedus (very fast and a great prospect for shooting) and Nav Guado (great counter-attacking forward). I’ll assemble a team that no one can beat. Mwah-ha-ha!

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Final Fantasy (Chocobo Racing)

Final Fantasy VII introduced chocobo racing, and it was a blast. The breeding system didn’t make a lot of sense, but the actual act of racing your chocobo (those are ostrich-type creatures for those who don’t play much Final Fantasy) played well. You had to know when to sprint your chocobo and when not to. I’m king of the chocobos.

The mini game was so popular that Final Fantasy brought the sport back for several iterations. Final Fantasy XIII-2 had a complex system where players could develop their chocobo’s statistics. You had to strike the right balance to achieve victory. Final Fantasy XV allows players to ride chocobos in the open world, which felt great, especially when Prompto makes up words for the song that plays every time a chocobo graces the screen.

“I like to ride my chocobo all day.” Me, too, Prompto. Me, too.

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Final Fantasy VIII (Triple Triad)

I find that most gamers fall into one of two mini card game camps: Triple Triad or Gwent. While I admit Gwent is a great game, it got its own release separate from The Witcher after all, I’m in the Final Fantasy VIII’s Triple Triad camp. I’m an older gamer. Deal with it.

I never used Quezacotl’s Card Mod Ability on any rare card. Keep your 100 Megalixirs; I want my Bahamut card. The same goes for three Diamond Armors. That Seifer card is too awesome.

I even cast the card capture spell so many times I lost count. I didn’t even care if I won a battle, I just wanted my cards. Sure, it’s a little like Pokemon, but I had to collect them all.

 

Fun skill checks that may as well be mini games

This one may need a little clarification. There are games within games, but there are also skill checks that can happen (like sneaking or fishing) that can occur within a game that’s really another mini game within a larger game. Here are three good examples of skill check mini games.

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Bioshock (Pipe Hacking)

A lot of games feature some lame computer hacking mini game—I’m looking at you Fallout 3’s word searches and Mass Effect 2’s matching blurry lines of code that you couldn’t pay me to play—but Bioshock took the classic game Pipe Dream and added a steampunk twist. One had to find and match pipes to make water flow where you wanted it to before the water escaped the system.

It’s a fun mini game that gets a little old after the hundredth hack, but it’s a great throwback in an equally great game.

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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Fishing)

Gamers can fish as a mini game or skill check in numerous titles. Legend of Zelda even has several titles in its series where fishing is possible, but Ocarina of Time proves to be the best of the best.

The big payout is a piece of heart, but I liked it when I caught a fish so big that the guy who runs the plays deemed it “illegal.” Screw him. I threw his hat into the pond.

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Skyrim and other Bethesda titles (Lockpicking)

Skyrim started the old hair grip and screwdriver method of opening locks. Bethesda has perfected this rumble controller feedback, dexterous challenge. I know that I’d never be a great lockpicker in real life, but for a few hours, I can pretend with Skyrim, Wolfenstein: The New Order, and Fallout 3.

There are too many mini games to list here. Let us know what your favorites are in the comments and if you don’t agree with any of the games on this list, you can challenge me to lockpicking duel in Skyrim. First one to 100 wins.

3 Lists of 3 Video Game Enemies Made of Weak Sauce

Video game villains or enemies can’t all be made of the finer things like Final Fantasy VI’s Kefka, Shadow of the Colossus’ Dormin or even Bowser. This week your uncle Geekly’s three list of three will cover the video game enemies who bleed weak sauce.

These are the guys you can bludgeon with one strike of your foam hammer, and they’ll pass out. We’ll start with ones you can find in many different video game franchises.

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Pathetic Generic Enemies

Rats

Why does it always have to be rats? These little rodents don’t put up much of a fight unless they swarm the field. To be fair, that’s what a lot of games do with rats to make them more of a menace, but rats still don’t strike fear in the hearts of virtual heroes. My eyes get wide when I see them in an Elder Scrolls game. Heck, I picked the Fighter’s Guild quest line first in Morrowind, because of the rats.

A couple of well-placed swings will send the hoards to rat heaven where the streets are made of Cheez-Its, and it rains cheese fondue.

Skeletons

While you’ll see another undead come up next, skeletons are a classic video game enemy. I’m not exactly sure what holds them together, especially since they can’t take a licking. Super Mario Bros’ Dry Bones fall apart and somehow get back together after taking a couple of breaths(?).

Skeletons aren’t that sneaky either because you can hear their bones rattling across an empty tomb, and that’s where one would normally find one. At least the player has to look down at their feet—or non-existent feet if you’re playing Elder Scrolls—to see a rat after hearing it squeak.

There’s a reason why Undertale’s Sans came out of nowhere: skeletons aren’t supposed to be tough.

Zombies

Zombies are the undead version of rats. A single zombie doesn’t scare the typical gamer, one shot to the head usually does the trick, but that’s not what makes zombies formidable. It’s the throng of zombies—or is it the herd or hoard?—that makes people drop soft serve in their Underoos.

Still, zombies are overdone. They may be more overdone than rats and skeletons at this point, especially since many video games change what they call zombies. Draugr. Feral ghouls. Clickers. Infected. They’re still zombies.

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Pitiful Unique Enemies

Slimes (Dragon Quest)

Slimes are one of the first things fans of Dragon Quest think of. They’re iconic. They also consist of nothing but weak sauce in the shape of a poop emoji. There’s a reason slimes are often your first enemy when starting a Dragon Quest game. They’re easy.

Keep smiling though. You’re the poop.

Goombas (Super Mario Brothers)

Yep. The mushroom shaped goombas are another example of an iconic video game enemy that’s too easy to kill. All Mario has to do is jump on them, and that’s a good thing because that’s all Mario can do at the beginning of most Super Mario Brothers games. One word: squish.

Mudcrabs (Elder Scrolls)

If an Elder Scrolls entry doesn’t start a player with rats, it’ll start them with mudcrabs. Let’s mix it up and start the player character in a half-flooded dungeon and pit them against half rats and half mudcrabs.

Mudcrabs are just crabs who live in mud. Despite their shell, they’re easy to defeat. The only thing that would scare me is if my character somehow contracted mudcrabs. That would scare me a lot more than Ataxia.

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Ridiculously Easy Boss Enemies

Alduin (Elder Scrolls)

Man, I’m beating up on Elder Scrolls with these lists. I’m sorry, Bethesda. I promise that I like your games. I’m a huge Bethesda fanboy, but they’ve made some stinker enemies. The build-up to Alduin in Skyrim was fantastic, but Alduin himself must’ve read the word of weakness right before the main storyline’s final battle.

I’ve had tougher battles getting rid of mudcrabs.

Human Reaper Larva (Mass Effect 2)

Mass Effect is another series I love, but it’s another case of the final villain of the game (Mass Effect 2 to be specific) not living up to its billing. Cast as the most powerful and terrifying race, the vision gamers built of reapers in the minds was shattered when fighting this simplistic enemy. It wasn’t terrifying. It took no time at all to beat. I’m thinking human DNA wasn’t the best one to choose from. Countless hours of making reapers sound awesome wasted.

343 Guilty Spark (Halo 3)

He’s a tiny AI that’s cast as comic relief in the final installment of the Halo trilogy. This game is what the entire series built up toward, and guess who the ultimate boss turned out to be? The tiny AI that was supposed to be comic relief and takes three hits to take out. His name is even 343 Guilty Spark. Bungie is guilty of making a lame villain.

There’s plenty of weak sauce to go around. I spread a little on my hot dogs every game night. Which villains do you think are weak sauce? Let us know in comments, and if you like more daily, weak write-ups, subscribe for updates.