November 17, 2017

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Switch - Review

From the day the Switch was announced, Skyrim was teased as for the platform, but it was not confirmed until the big reveal, but it was only recently that they started talking about it, so now that it is here, is it any good?

If you have not played Skyrim on another platform, you are the Dragonborn, someone born with the ability to absorb the soul of a dragon and just as you are set to be executed, a dragon attacks and you flee. How you approach the game from that point is up to you, though sticking to the main quest line for a few hours is ideal, the game still lets you decide in what direction you want to travel. If you pick a random direction on the map and head off, you will discover something interesting to see or do and changing course yet again, will continue to reward you with things to do. The main quest, which will only take a small portion of time to complete is fun, with a very cool final battle, but doing your own thing is what I suggest.

As for the game, if you have played it before, you will feel right at home here, the game plays the same as it has since its initial release back in 2011 and that is a good thing. Each of the triggers is linked to a hand, so you can duel wield any number of weapon and spell combinations, should you desire, or you can just equip the biggest weapon that you can find and go to town on whatever enemy you discover. When not in combat, you can explore the world, speak to anyone and everyone, pick up tasks for the Companions, learn how to be a thief with the Thieves Guild or attempt to quench your bloodlust with the Dark Brotherhood, each of the three groups has their own complete story to discover and people to meet and is worthy of your time.

What Skyrim on Switch does offer is the chance to take the game anywhere, something that you will want to do, as the world demands to be explored. The game supports all the three play styles, docked the game looks great, Tabletop works if you wanted to test out the motion controls and handheld for everywhere else. In the tv mode, or docked, the game ran quite well, there are times when you will notice objects popping in, sometimes it’s a tree or a rock nearby, but there were times when I noticed items would be there and rather than cross fading to their bettering looking self, they would pop out and the better one would pop in. Tabletop and Handheld modes have the same issues, but they also suffer from another one, the game world at night is too dark for the screen, at least in any sort of natural lit situation. I spent more time playing the game in handheld and would have to wait for daylight if I attempted to play the game in any sort of well-lit up space, it was just too dark other wise and of course, in some of the darker tombs, that mattered little as they were always dark.

The game offers up motion controls and while they work, I can’t imagine anyone playing with them for more than 10 minutes, just for the sake of testing the novelty of them. It also offers up full amiibo support, well at least the figures, I don’t own any of the cards, scanning any of the Zelda amiibo and by that I mean any amiibo that features a character from Zelda, will give you a chance to unlock the Master Sword, Hylian Shield or Champions’ Tunic from Breath of the Wild. Each of the items is basic, ie the Master Sword does not shoot out laser beam if your health is full, but it is fun to run around the world with that sword and shield combination. If you don’t own any amiibo or they are packed away, you can obtain the items in game as well, so not worries there, however any other amiibo you scan will reward you with a chest that is filled with some items, ranging from a few gold coins to items for potions, I never got anything special in the chests, which is a bummer. It is even more of a bummer when you consider that the game does not offer any mod support, something that the special editions were given last year on console.

Visual the game looks slightly under last year’s Special Editions, at least in terms of overall visual quality, the game still looks incredible, but if you compare them side by side you will see some pretty big differences. The games biggest change from there, is that the lighting is nowhere near as potent, while it still works, the lack of light rays and such is a bummer, but when you wander through the wood and a fog rolls in, the light still looks great. The buildings, trees, characters and everything else all look great, but there was a noticeable amount of clipping, objects through people and people through other people.

The game sounds great, while playing in tv mode is the way to go, when using the Switch’s inbuilt speakers, it sounds just fine. I did have to go in and lower the default music volume though, it would always overpower any other audio when it kicked in and seeing as it does that quite often, it did become annoying. The voice work holds up, though you can still hear people from quite a distance, if you happen to trigger their talkative nature.

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim for Nintendo Switch is a great port of a fantastic game, all of the DLC is included, so there is even more value in the game now than before. The lack of mods is a shame, but having a more vanilla experience is better overall, plus with amiibo support, you can get some items when you need them. Motion controls don’t add anything to the experience in any sort of meaningful way, nor do they detract from the game, if the pop in issues were corrected to be consistent, or eliminated altogether, that would be much appreciated.

Review copy provided by Bethesda

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