To mod or not to mod, that is the question.

Skyrim was first released in 2011 on the previous console generation and PC, and to say it was a great game would be an understatement. It won countless awards and is almost always high ranking in Top 100 Best Games Lists. Spawning countless memes, and the various strange glitches we could manipulate, Skyrim is great and fun. Fans of the game helped push Skyrim to new heights, with a strong modding community on PC.

Due to the game's on-going popularity, we were blessed with a gorgeously overhauled newer, shinier Skyrim, bringing mod support to consoles for the first time. Here are our favorites.

We have compiled some of the coolest mods available right now for Skyrim: Special Edition. Since the game also includes all of the DLC, there is no need to worry about incompatibility. And we've only selected free mods, nothing from the Creators Club.

Note: Achievements are disabled while mods are active. It sucks but you really cannot beat a modded Skyrim playthrough.

See on the Xbox Store

An Alternate Start - Live Another Life

Alternate Start

This mod gives you an alternate opening, where you're left to fester in a jail, forgotten, instead of the Helgen opening we know so well by now. You still get to pick your race, and your choices here still have as much of an impact on the rest of the game. This mod expands character creation so that you'll find yourself faced with a choice of 13 new beginnings.

Download An Alternate Start

Campfire - Complete Camping System

Campfire

In addition to the new attributes you get in Frostfall, Campfire also grants you Resourcefulness and Instinct. Instinct allows you to stalk your prey and has its own skill system which can be accessed from any lit campfire.

Download Campfire

Cheat Room

Less than 1MB in size, this cheat room has it all. It adds a spell to your roster and teleports you to a room where you can do anything. Resurrect NPCs (because seriously, eff those vampire attacks), spawn any item, make anyone a follower, as well as all the skills leveling up, and changing the weather. It's THE cheat mod to get.

Download Cheat Room

Classic Oblivion Jail System

Oblivion Jail

The jail system in Skyrim is pretty tame compared to Oblivion's. When you're locked up in jail in Skyrim, depending on the length of your sentence, you may lose progress towards your next level in a few skills. It's not really a hardship. This mod implements Oblivion's system, whereby the longer your sentence, the more levels you lose. Not just the progress towards them, actual levels. If you want being imprisoned to be any kind of threat, you should get this mod.

Download Classic Oblivion Jail System

The Forgotten City

This award winning, critically acclaimed mod is, basically, a fan made expansion bordering on official DLC quality realms of brilliance. With this installed, from level 5 your character will be approached by a courier who directs you to the Forgotten City. What follows is a six-to-eight-hour original and non-linear experience, in an incredibly intricate and beautiful new city. Even boasting complex moral decisions with consequences, and several different endings, it would be a shame to miss out on such beautifully crafted modding!

Download The Forgotten City

Frostfall - Hypothermia Camping Survival

If you wanted to turn Skyrim into a potentially fatal survival game, Frostfall would be the mod to do it. The three main components of this mod are hypothermia, cold water survival, and camping. This mod tracks everything from time of day, and weather to what you are wearing to create an immediately immersive experience. Your character can visibly become wet and snowy. It is also deeply customizable, making the experience as pleasant or unpleasant as you feel comfortable with. It adds new attributes to your character, Wetness and Exposure, and defenses for Warmth and Coverage. As you get colder, it raises your Exposure, and your skills suffer as a result; and when you are Wet, it increases your Exposure quicker. Warmth will always reduce Exposure, and Coverage decreases Wetness. You'll need the following mod to implement the effects of this fully.

Download Frostfall

Hardcore Difficulty - No Milkdrinkers!

Hardcore Difficulty

Ouch. If you thought the Legendary difficulty was hard, go cry off into your sweet roll, dumpling. This mod isn't for you. It scales the leveling of enemies, making higher level enemies tougher, and keeping weaker ones weak. It also tweaks the block rate and damage output, and forces enemy AI to close in proximity during combat. Install this mod while you have Legendary difficulty active to switch it on.

Download Hardcore Difficulty

iNeed - Food, Water, Sleep

iNeed

Couple this with Frostfall, and you've pretty much got yourself a Skyrim/The Sims cross-over. If keeping your Dragonborn alive wasn't hard enough, you'll now also have to make sure they're well rested, and well fed and watered. Messages appear to keep you informed of your status, as well as sound effects so you hear your stomach rumbling. The heavier the food, the more filling it is, and you'll begin the game with a waterskin but they can be crafted and purchased if you need more.

Download iNeed - Food, Water, Sleep

Just Walk - No Fast Travel

This mod disables fast travel options from the map screen. If you want to get somewhere, you'd better be prepared to use your legs. And why not, the overhauled graphics and lighting systems are wonderful to behold, it'd be a shame to waste so much exploring to fast traveling! Fast traveling by coach, boat or being arrested is unaffected.

Download Just Walk

Natural Eyes

Natural Eyes

If there's one thing I largely dislike about Skyrim, it's the default textures for eyes. Simply put, they're awful, with little to no detail, and why does there always have to be a "blind in one eye" option? This mod replaces all of the eyes with newer high resolution versions. It beats staring at elves who look like they've had their eyes pulled out with corkscrews.

Download Natural Eyes

Ordinator - Perks of Skyrim

This is a great mod for those who want to level up but are tired of selecting the same old perk. Want to create an entirely new character from scratch with upgraded perk trees? Ordinator is the one for you! It has completely overhauled the perks system, adding new ones, so you have more fun building a character exactly how you want them.

Download Ordinator

People are Strangers XB1

Child

If you ever thought it was a bit weird that for some reason you automatically knew every character's name without ever speaking to them before, install this mod. Now, instead of showing the NPC's name, it'll show a ? until you speak to them. Jarls will just be called The Jarl until you are introduced.

Download People Are Strangers

Rich Skyrim Merchants

Rich Merchants

You've just looted everything out of a dungeon, and you have so much expensive stuff to sell - but you have to offload it to multiple merchants to actually make any money. Vanilla Skyrim merchants don't often carry an excess of a thousand gold, making hoarding money a slow process, especially if you want to get on with homesteading. This Rich Skyrim Merchants mod gives every merchant five times more gold.

Download Rich Skyrim Merchants

Sheogorath's Cheat Menu

There are other cheat mods available, and this certainly isn't the tidiest but I selected this one in particular due to one of the additional things it does. This mod spawns a book on a stool that you can find at the Standing Stones just after you escape from Helgen on your way to Riverwood. Selecting the book adds a spell to the Restoration section of your magic, which is the cheat menu. You can fast level, or add items and money, etc... but you can also turn off collision detection, enabling you to bypass entire sections of the map just by aiming into the sky while you walk! See my personal screenshot above of this in action! The good thing about this cheat mod is that it only requires a free spell to launch.

Download Sheogorath's Cheat Menu

Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch

The most comprehensive mod for straightening out all the bugs, kinks and glitches left in the game post-release. Made to be compatible with as many mods as possible, you'll want to install this for a cleaner and less messy game. The fact we still need an unofficial patch is rather laughable, though.

Download Unofficial Skyrim Patch

Over to you!

The list of mods available on Xbox One is still growing, and there are more being added daily. Have we missed any already that you think should be on this list? Sound off in the comments and let us know!

See on the Xbox Store

Updated on November 15, 2017: We refreshed the list, fixing any redirect issues with Bethesda moving pages and removing/adding mods.