Bethesda have released an uncompromising, portable Nintendo Switch version of their 2011 hit RPG, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Possibly one of the greatest RPGs ever made.
Skyrim is the fifth game in a fantasy series that is heavy on lore and epic in scope. The first game The Elder Scrolls: Arena was released in 1994 and introduced players to the vast continent of Tamriel, the land that is the setting for all the Elder Scrolls games. 1996’s The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall retained the same, rudimentary by today’s standard, but cutting-edge at the time, 3D visuals.
My introduction to The Elder Scrolls was the ground-breaking The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Set in the domain of the dark-elves the player starts as a prisoner, a familiar entry into the world of The Elder Scrolls. My most enduring memory of the game was the beautiful water.
The game’s art design gave players the opportunity to explore cities and towns, each with their own unique look and feel. The player really got a sense of existing in a world with a history, one that seemingly existed before they arrived and will continue to exist after they have gone.
The follow-up, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, pushed boundaries, once again, with adventures in the Imperial homeland of Cyrodiil. For the first time, players could ride horses across the land and dress them in horuse armour- the controversial very first premium console DLC, ever.
With The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bethesda took what they’d learnt from the amazing Oblivion and managed to top it. The narrative adventure, literally from the chopping block to a becoming a legendary Dragonborn, is superb. The world is full of ruins, towers, cavern, towns and cities to explore. Giants tend to their mammoths and dragons fill the skies.
The enduring legacy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a testament to the game’s appeal. First released six years ago on the PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 3, the dragon-infested tale in the Norse-inspired wintery land of Skyrim has since been ported over to a number of other platforms.
The Xbox One, PS4 and even the PC (which has been heavily enhanced via fan-made mods for years), have all received their own remastered version of Skyrim with updated visuals.
Skyrim is a game that epitomises emergent gameplay. Yes, there is a main mission path that leads to the conclusion of the game, but the land is so vast and the side quests so plentiful, it is easy to find yourself just wandering the world, exploring, taking up opportunities as they come. And they will. Hour upon hour can be spend just helping quest-givers that approach you for help as you walk the streets of cities and trek across the wilderness.
The medieval fantasy game world is so vast, it’s only really recently been topped by The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt released some four years later. Skyrim allows you to live another life using your sword, cunning and perhaps a little magic to save the land from the recently reawakened dragons. You can join factions and guilds and play the game as you like. The included DLC expansions allow players to become a vampire or werewolf, build houses and ride on the backs of dragons.
To have all this gameplay in a portable game console is incredible. The visuals look absolutely amazing on the Switch’s built-in screen. The controls have barely needed any changes to be adapted to the switch, and they were so intuitive, anyway, the game remains very easy to play, even on the go.
Playing on the TV, you do notice the comparatively lower quality visuals, compared to the remastered version, but they are still much better than the original release. If you’ve not got access to one of the other versions, with the immersive gameplay and epic nature of Skyrim you are not going to care about the visual fidelity. Plus, you can pick the Switch up and take the game with you!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on Switch is the opportunity for a whole new generation of players to enjoy what is, in my opinion, one of the greatest games ever made. Also, the Switch version, with it’s portability, gives player the opportunity to take a vast and magical world where ever they go.