The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim released to critical acclaim in 2011, but since then, it continues to be one of the most popular games around.
Why? Because of PC mods like this one, from creator Galandil.
Called "Holds: The City Overhaul," the mod improves or drastically changes nearly every existing settlement and town in Bethesda's massive game world. The mod comes in at a gigantic 3 GB, and learning about everything included in the fan project makes it easy to see why.
Cities like Falkreath are almost unrecognizable. So many additional buildings and vendors have been added that it looks like an entirely new city. More popular cities like Whiterun have had smaller improvements, like watchtowers added to their walls. In Solitude alone, there is a new bank, tavern, sewer system and more for players to explore, though new quests have not yet been added to the mod. Even the dozens of smaller towns and villages throughout the open world have been touched on so that they each feel more unique.
Perhaps the best part about the mod is that if you happened to play Skyrim for the first time with this mod installed, it would be difficult to pick apart what had been added and what shipped in the original game. Each new building and city addition blend perfectly into place with the existing city architecture. That was all part of Galandil's plan, as the creator of the mod wanted to be as lore-accurate as possible.
It's safe to say Galandil succeeded, though it took three years for this project to see completion.
"I started working on this project late November 2012 and have devoted averagely two hours a day to the creation kit," Galandil writes on the mod's download page. "One of the reasons I felt this project was necessary was the announcement of various modding projects adding new content to the game. The problem, for me was how expansive their cities looked compared to the cities in Skyrim. Coming into Skyrim from Oblivion I was expecting there to be a 'Better Cities' mod available early on, but there wasn't and I missed the features the Oblivion City Overhaul brought to the game."
So far, the mod has been downloaded more than 57,000 times. You can check it out for yourself here.