If you ask me, videogames peaked as a medium when Hideo Kojima let us arrive on the battlefield to the tune of the Spice Girls (opens in new tab). Ever since then, I’ve been on the hunt for the raw, animal high that occurs when a game lets me dispense swift justice and sick beats simultaneously. Bard Magic Overhaul for Skyrim Special Edition (opens in new tab) from Monitor144 might be exactly what I’m looking for.
It works like this: in place of Skyrim’s traditional spellcasting system, which saw you cast spells by waving your hands around like some kind of uncouth hedge witch, this mod makes it so that all your spells are cast by playing one of Skyrim’s many lutes. Chucking a fireball, summoning a daedra, it’s all accompanied by either a quick strum or a full song on the lute. The best part, though, is that you can upload your own custom music. Spice World, here I come.
All you need to start casting spells from the school of rock is a point in the Allure perk in the Speech tree and a folder full of .wav files. The mod will play different audio depending on the length of the spell: a quick fireball might announce itself with an Amen Break, but if you’re casting a long stream of lightning at someone, you could plausibly accompany it with the entirety of Total Eclipse of the Heart.
It’s even compatible with some of the meatier mods on our very own list of the best Skyrim mods (opens in new tab) around. Apocalypse—a mod from our list that adds 155 new spells to the game—is totally compatible with Bard Magic Overhaul’s melodic modifications, as are popular perk mods like Ordinator (opens in new tab) and Adamant (opens in new tab).
It’s a neat idea, and one I’m surprised we don’t see more of across all kinds of games. Adding your own music into a game world creates a rich vein of potential comedy, especially when it’s blaring from an attack helicopter or providing a soundtrack for an eldritch summoning ritual. Then again, I suppose modders are a bit busy doing the important work of turning all the dragons into Ohio (opens in new tab).