Review – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Switch)

Skyrim has been all the rage once again given the release of the Oculus Rift version of the game last week and my good friend Steve just did a review of the PSVR version of the game in case you’re curious about it. I was one of the few people who hadn’t played Skyrim back in the day, as I was too deep into music-based games to even remotely care about anything else going on in the industry at that point. The Switch version of game, released at the end of 2017, is the first version of Skyrim I’ve ever played, and to be honest, the first Elders Scrolls game I’ve ever played. Better late than never, I guess. I get the hype now. I understand why everybody and their mother likes that game. Skyrim is great, and having it in a portable version is even better.


It’s getting hot in here…

Do I really need to explain Skyrim in details at this point? The vast majority of you out there know about the game, most probably even better than me. The immense world, full of varied landscapes, interesting NPCs, side stories, dungeons and random things to do, is the same in this version. All with the added bonus of being the first portable, and currently only portable version of Skyrim out there, until Bethesda eventually manages to re-re-re-release the game for smartphones or something like that. The question is, how does it fare on the Switch’s hardware, given how that thing isn’t exactly a powerhouse?

Well, for starters, despite the fact the game comes with all the DLC from the PS4 and Xbox One re-releases of the game, it doesn’t feature the same visual level from those versions, for obvious reasons. The game looks like an improved version of the original Skyrim released way back in the day. That means that we have a game that features gorgeous landscapes, improved lighting effects over the original version, a much more stable frame rate (both portable and docked) and, well, character models that look like they were ripped straight from a generic PS2-era game.


I literally have no idea of what you’re talking about

The controls were something I was slightly skeptical about, given how most of the game is set in a first-person perspective, as well as the inclusion of (optional, thank goodness) motion controls. You know what? They’re not bad at all. Granted, the combat is a bit wonky, especially when you’re using a sword, but both the joycon controls and the motion-based actions (like swinging a sword or shooting an arrow) are very responsive. Just like Arms before it, Skyrim for Switch is yet another great example of motion controls done right.

Being a game developed by Bethesda (and not just a Bethesda-published title like Doom), Skyrim is a bit glitchy. To be fair, I was expecting a lot worse. I was expecting a completely broken mess of a game with hilarious glitches, but that wasn’t the case. I’m glad to see that some polishing has been done over the past years. There’s not a lot else to say about it. The game runs pretty well on the Switch, with a stable frame rate, decent battery consumption, as well as not turning the handheld into a portable oven like the aforementioned Doom, for instance. It’s the same Skyrim as always, but you can play it on the toilet, on the park bench, in an airplane, wherever you choose.


A shocking discovery

I finally understand the hype behind Skyrim. This is a great game. An amazing game. A huge RPG full of content, full of possibilities on what to do and where to do it, with rich lore, amazing soundtrack and surprisingly passable motion controls. I appreciate the love Bethesda is showing towards the Switch, and I can’t wait to see what else they’re planning for the system in the near future!

Graphics: 8.0

The game features amazing backgrounds and landscapes, as well as great lighting effects and a rock solid framerate. The characters don’t look anywhere near as good as the rest of the game though.

Gameplay: 8.0

Very responsive, intuitive placement, and somewhat decent motion-based capabilities. Close-quarters combat, as already known, is a bit confusing, especially in first person.

Sound: 10

Impeccable voice acting and that already classic soundtrack. The main theme is iconic, even to those who aren’t Elder Scrolls fans.

Fun Factor: 9.5

Glitches aside (you already expect those on a Bethesda game), you have the possibility of playing a vast RPG with an insane amount of content anywhere and whenever you want.

Final Verdict: 9.0

Also available on: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC