It’s been a while since I tried out mods on Skyrim, but one I already had, but hadn’t tried, was The Great Immersion Overhaul (TGIO). In common with many other PS4 mods, it’s probably lacking things available on Xbox and PC due to the platform’s restrictions. But is it worth having? What’s it like?
TGIO alters a lot of things substantially. Almost all skills are 1 to start with (I think my Khajiit had two or three that were marginally higher). Races have their own particular pros and cons (Khajiit can use Silent Paws to be extra sneaky). The skill trees for the warrior and rogue sections have been completely rejigged. Combat is radically different, more damage is both received and given, and you can’t alter direction when you’re attacking, making it easier to dodge. The weight of items has been changed and carrying capacity nerfed so unless you fluke a lot of hauling-enchanted gear (I did) it’s really difficult deciding what to take. Similarly, the economy has been drastically altered, with higher prices for most goods and the limiting factor instead being the weight. Last but not least, fast travel is disabled.
It’s worth noting that the mod does not affect DLC. The only time this appeared to be a problem for me is when I had to steal X amount of stuff from Solstheim, but even though I was sure I achieved it (I nicked an emerald, amongst other things) it didn’t register as completed.
That’s a lot of stuff to consider. I should stress I’ve played for probably a few dozen hours at this point, with a thieving, bloodthirsty, stealthy chap called Murdercat. At the time of writing I’ve completed the first quest or two in the Dark Brotherhood and Thieves Guild lines, and just received the final part of the Fus Ro Dah shout. The weapons I’m using are the bow and the dagger.
Often with stealth builds I don’t have a companion. In TGIO, I do. Not only does this slightly ease the carry weight situation, companions are super valuable in combat, taking the pressure off when facing multiple opponents and pinning enemies down when you’re just facing one (especially handy for an archer/stealthy stabber build). On the downside, combat now rewards skill (I have the combat prowess of a drunk trapped in a cat flap). Because you can’t shift direction when attacking, side-stepping is eminently possible. The swifter dagger attack means you can get in, attack, and get out whilst Brainless McMuscleboy is still swinging his Compensatingforsomething Megahammer. I had a great run for about eight stabs against one guy then buggered it up at the end and had my head smashed in. It’s a good system, provided you have more martial instinct than a baked potato.
I didn’t play much with magic, but a few scrolls proved how useful conjuration in particular could be. A storm atronach’s ranged damage was very handy when I was in a tight spot.
Crime and Stealth
Murdercat, as you might guess, is not a law-abiding citizen. Indeed, his happiest moment was randomly stealing from a house in Whiterun and discovering Nazeem. Murdercat: “Nazeem was asleep when I arrived. When I left, he was dead.” Bounties are rejigged, with murder now carrying a fine of 10,000 gold. That’s a lot. But it does fit the crime.
Stealth has been reworked to operate more along line of sight. Also, if you alert someone a little so they start searching, they won’t just stop six seconds later. This adds to realism, especially when you’ve just shot them in the chest with an arrow (ahem). It’s very easy, and satisfying, to sneak up behind someone and slit their throat, although I had a little Twitter chat with the mod creator and he mentioned he was going to make that a bit more difficult (it probably is overpowered, but I like it).
Backstabbing bonuses come from the weapons trees, not from sneak, I believe. It’ll take a while to earn them (I have one for daggers and none for bows, after 20-30 hours, probably, of playing). However, because damage is generally increased, backstabbing is powerful. With Mehrunes’ Razor and Dark Brotherhood gauntlets, I’m able to one-shot a snow bear by backstabbing.
Crafting in the vanilla game is easy. And overpowered. It’s much trickier with TGIO (tip: get yourself a blacksmith’s hammer. You should be able to buy one from Lucius in Riverwood). Weight of materials is one thing (ingots weigh about 5 each and leather 4), and you won’t be able to smith most things off the bat. If you want to power level, the easiest way is probably to make arrows. As I’m playing an archer (mostly) that dovetailed nicely.
Side note: the armour/weapons stats have been rejigged to make more sense (Orcish gear is pretty good now).
Alchemy ingredients weigh more. Some, like antlers, weigh a lot more. Potions are also worth less money so you can’t just spam potions and get your skill up superfast. One thing that’s a clear improvement on the vanilla version is that rarer ingredients give better results. When I was making poisons a couple of slightly rarer ingredients gave me a boost to either damage per second or longevity. Like smithing, alchemy takes a while to level.
I haven’t done much enchanting, excepting dismantling magical goods to learn the effects.
Crafting also includes cooking bonuses (the original set of recipes has been changed), though I haven’t experimented with this. Also for instruments and tailoring (although tailoring hasn’t been implemented at the time of writing).
Money, Economy, Travel, and Weight
I’ve bracketed these together because they’re all related to one another. The absence of fast travel and altered weight of goods (they make more sense, so antlers might weigh 6) are obviously connected, and the altered weight affects what you can sell. However, prices for most things are higher, and this enables and encourages more trading. For example, you might not have enough for some swanky armour, but if you’ve got some gemstones or old armour, you can likely flog that to make up the difference. Although I think the starting carry capacity is a bit rough (it’s perhaps 100), the system is well-balance and really does make trading more dynamic. Travel is aided by the cart system and by the ferries that link Windhelm, Solitude, and Dawnstar (especially good for the latter as it doesn’t have a cart). Another change which helps travel is the improvement in sprinting from stamina, which now lasts much longer than in the vanilla game (perhaps about five times as long). An important note, given all that, is that money remains weightless.
Bugs and Other Problems
I have had a couple of crashes whilst playing, but I also have crashes whilst playing the base game, so I don’t think that can be chalked up to the mod. The stealing problem in DLC-land outlined at the start is the only real problem I’ve encountered, and I just cancelled the quest (which can be done simply by telling Delvin). Not ideal but certainly not a game-breaker.
On compatibility, the mod’s description has links indicating load order (essentially, have the mod and four sub-mods, with the main mod itself at the bottom) and what kind of other mods work or clash with TGIO. Stuff that alter combat and economics are likely to clash. Weather and lighting mods are likely to be fine. The mod doesn’t work with survival mode, but another modder made one that apparently fixes that (I haven’t checked as I think having survival mode as well, with all the other restrictions, might be overdoing things).
All in all, I’ve had fun with this mod.