BETHESDASkyrim Nintendo Switch REVIEW: Is Elder Scrolls game any good when its not on PS4 or Xbox?
When launching the Nintendo Switch, the company wanted to make sure it didn’t repeat the sins of the past by getting great third-party games on its latest handheld console.
One of those games highly promoted in the lead up to the device’s launch was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
A six-year-old title from the Xbox 360 and PS3 days that is still widely regarded as one of the best games ever.
And so here it is in all its ageing glory.
A first-person dragons, monsters, ghouls and heroes open-world fantasy game packed full of content that’ll last you hundreds of hours.
My problem with Skyrim on Switch is that, although it is as great as it ever was, it’s quite an old game now, repackaged with token DLC add-ons and sold again at top price.
And while there will be a smallish group of gamers keen on delving back into this mammoth hit and taking it on-the-move, the rest of the gaming world has long moved on.
So I’m concerned for Nintendo and makers Bethesda that this won’t sell massively despite being a great little role-player for the Switch. And worse still, that if it doesn't sell Bethesda pull back support for the Switch in future.
If you don’t know the story of Skyrim let me fill you in.
The game takes place in Skyrim, a province of a medieval-style fantasy Empire on the continent of Tamriel.
And it’s being torn apart by a civil war between two factions: the Stormcloaks and the Imperial Legion.
Your self-designed character is a Dragonborn, a mortal born with the soul and power of a dragon.
And you slowly transform from common thief to fearless dragon-fighting hero through the game’s many missions as you try to take down Alduin, a terrifying dragon prophesied to destroy man and consume the world.
It’s all very Game of Thrones and a bit baffling to me to be honest as a layman.
However, the gameplay is top notch and you’ll soon find yourself in classic role-play territory here, battling all kinds of monsters and villains, Norse warriors and ghostly baddies.
The world is massive and remains extremely impressive despite its 2011 design. You can walk seemingly forever exploring the numerous areas of Skyrim, packed full of dungeons, wintry hilltops, downtrodden villages and dangerous wilderness lands.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Nintendo Switch)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Nintendo Switch)
Each venture into the unknown inevitably brings fights and you’ll find yourself dual-wielding both swords and shields and magic powers as you progress through the game’s deep fantasy story.
That combination of mix-and-match gameplay allows you to take on marauding creatures with different tactics to ensure you win the battle with the right amount of fight.
It’s all very addictive and, while nowhere near PS4 and XB1 quality graphics, the Switch does a good job particularly on small screen in depicting and envisaging the world and its terrors.
For the price there’s the addition of all the game’s past downloadable content to enjoy on top of the base game. So there’s plenty of longevity in this for those willing to plunge the depths of the game.
And Nintendo has added Legend of Zelda based outfits and weapons to give the title a little of their own sheen.
There are a few motion controls too, which can be used to fire arrows, block, swing your sword and all sorts. But it seems to really be there just to say they did it.
In addition, there's some minor Amiibo support for Zelda toys that come from the 30th-anniversary series and give you gear inspired by the series, such as the Master Sword, a Hylian shield, and Link's Champion's Tunic.
So it’s all good, but we do keep coming back to that ‘six-year-old game’ issue.
And quite frankly this title, while amazing at the time and still great now, has been eclipsed as the style of modern gaming evolves.
If you’ve only got cash for one buy, I’d always pick Zelda: Breath of the Wild first because it’s new out this year, is a cast-iron 5/5 in today’s market and feels fresh in the world of fantasy open-world RPGs.
But for those small but dedicated few who are willing to splash out a full £50 to either delve back in or try Skyrim out for the first time ever then you will be rewarded for your efforts with a cracking game.
One that’s still up there with the best of them despite its age.
A game that is now for the first time portable for, say, the daily work commute. Which is exactly what the Switch is all about.
That alone will be enough for those waiting for this game with baited breath.
THE VERDICT - 4/5
• A full handheld version of one of the best games ever
• Offers pretty much everything its predecessors should without compromise
• Still a really strong game
• Costs too much money for an older title
• Doesn’t really add anything to the six-year-old original other than DLC and a few Zelda themed outfits if you’ve played it before