There are now eight versions of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. There's the three original versions for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, the Legendary Edition on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, the virtual reality version for PSVR, and now, the Switch version. Bethesda has been able to capitalise on this fantastic RPG with great success, even if at times they've maybe pushed it a touch too far. Having a game of this calibre on the Nintendo Switch is for sure an attractive proposition,specially considering it's the first time it has appeared on a Nintendo console, but charging £49.99 /
€59.99 for a six-year-old game, one which comes with no new real content, seems excessive. Still, if you've never played The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim before, you're still in time to discover one of the greatest adventures in video games.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a genuine RPG in the sense that you build your own character and can express yourself as you level up and interact with NPCs. There's more to an RPG then skill trees, and Bethesda understands that better than most. You will create a character from scratch, with no past, and from there build the adventure you want. You can participate in the civil war between the Imperials and the Stormcloacks, take on the role of a murderer for the Dark Brotherhood, raid houses and tombs with the Thief's Guild, or try your luck in the Mage's guild. You can even be a werewolf or a vampire, if you want. The possibilities are tremendous, and few modern games offer such freedom of choice to the player in terms of what they can be and do. This creates moments of incoherence in the game, but it is a price worth paying for such freedom.
In terms of gameplay, you can take a stealthier approach with a bow, fight with a shield and a sword, equip a giant axe or two, or shoot fireballs from your hands. You can even summon the dead, or convince the living that you are a friend. You can do all that and a lot more. The choice, again, is yours.
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But if you knew The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, perhaps you're more interested in knowing how it handles on the Switch, and how it looks. As you might have guessed, it's not quite up to par with the latest versions on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. There's less detail on the screen, especially outdoors, as the number of flowers, textures in the soil, and other similar details are considerably diminished. The game is also less defined. We don't know exactly what the resolution of Skyrim is on the Switch, but when comparing the PS4 version and the Switch version on a big TV, the difference is clear. The Switch version is less defined, which creates a blurred image effect. This effect is not quite so strong while in handheld mode, probably due to the reduced size of the screen. In this mode, Skyrim on the Switch does not look as bad as in TV mode, in a similar fashion to Doom.
At least the game felt quite stable and fluid, within 30 frames-per-second. We didn't play the whole thing again, but during the hours we do spend in Skyrim, we didn't perceive any major slowdowns that would hinder gameplay. We also appreciated how fast the loading times were.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a tremendous game, able to easily pass the 100-hour mark, and this version includes the three official expansions: Hearthfire, Dawnguard, and Dragonborn. The first involves the construction of houses, where the player can live with their family if they wish to do so. Dawnguard is a story of vampires and supernatural magic, while Dragonborn takes place on a new map and involves the mystique behind dragons and their connection to the player. In other words, Skyrim is potentially the longest game of the Nintendo Switch, bigger even than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Unlike the Legendary Edition, however, this version has no access to mods.
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The Switch version also has some peculiarities, such as the motion controls with the Joy-Cons. Personally, we're not fans of this type of control, but if you appreciate them, you can point the bow, perform magic spells, and even attack and block using the controllers. Otherwise, the Pro Controller is recommended. Playing traditionally with the Joy-Con is possible too.
Another unique function for this version is Amiibo support. As you've probably seen in the trailer, The Legend of Zelda is represented with Link's sword, shield, and armour. You may discover these items in the game itself, even without Amiibos, but the Zelda figures will increase your chances of getting that gear via special chests.
The situation with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is very similar to what we saw with Doom. Technically it is far from matching the PC, PS4, and Xbox One versions in terms of graphical quality, but it has the appeal of being the only really handheld version of the game. Even if it feels dated in some areas, this is still a great RPG with many hours of gameplay. If you've never played it, but appreciate the genre, we highly recommended it, but if you have already spent hours playing in Skyrim, then you should consider if a portable version is worth the asking price.
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8 / 10
The premisse of a full Skyrim experience on a handheld is fulfilled. It's one of the best RPG of all time, even if it's getting old.
60 euros is expensive for a six year old game. Blurry graphics on TV mode. No mods support. It's dated in several areas.