The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is out now on Nintendo Switch and there are now about 16 different versions of the game available. I played it for about 90 hours on the PS3 and didn’t even complete it. You can also get this title for Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, PC and even a new VR version for the PS4. There have been endless mods, to the point where I could no longer count that high and people have spent scores of hours on this beast of a game.
For those who don’t know, Skyrim is a action RPG where you find yourselves in the land that bears its name. You were captured by soldiers and taken to be executed. However, just before your head rolls, a dragon (unseen for years) attacks your intended burial ground, causing uproar and giving you a prime chance to escape. And escape you do, with help from a kind friend who takes you back to his parents… nothing weird there. From then on, your journey begins with your hunt for dragons, your pursue to do right and your choices throughout. Most of you would have probably played this game, but if you haven’t, be aware – choices you make will impact your gameplay… yes, I ended up a werewolf on my 90-hour save.
This version is different, though: here, we have a game which has been written for the Switch: a console you can pull out of the dock and into the TV. It is a known fact that this console isn’t as powerful as the PS4 and the Xbox, so parts of this review will explain how the version fares in comparison to other versions. The only version where you can be at your TV playing, then five minutes later, order your wife to drive, so you can keep on playing on the handheld.
When it comes to the graphics, I was quite impressed. Admittedly, they aren’t quite up to the standard of the PS4 version, but they are probably better than the PS3 version. Like every Elder Scrolls title, there is an immaculate attention to detail and during the loading screens, you can inspect artefacts and enemies at closer details. The backgrounds are vast and beautiful and hold up well at a distance (in my eyes, better than Zelda). Even the faces of the characters look smooth and clear and their homes show the finish that you would expect. Clearly, the Switch version isn’t going to be the best looking one you can get, but I couldn’t really fault it. There was no real difference if I was playing on the TV or on the handheld, but I did notice that it seemed to go a little darker at times. This could have been because I was always playing it in bed with the lights off, but is something that is worth mentioning.
Good sound, music and voice acting can really make a difference with a game. Skyrim epitomises how you can use all of those aspects well in a game. Everything makes you feel like you are deep within a mythical game from the moans and groans of wielding your sword, or getting struck by an arrow. The main song which runs through the game will instantly become a favourite and something you meet with excitement every time you play. You will also meet a number musicians throughout the game, and get them to play a range of different songs. I was so impressed with some of the songs I heard that I spent ages trying to work out how to get to the college, where I work, to learn playing the lute and even looked at buying one to learn! The voice acting isn’t the best I’ve ever seen in a game, and it annoyed me how its people would be shown in good detail whilst speaking, whereas others would wander around. The voices are varied and consistent with the areas that your characters are from, or where they live.
Skyrim is one of the most varied games you could play. There are a host of different characters which you can use and an extensive style of play. I’m a hack-and-slash type, so I always use choose the character which sounds the most wild. You can enchant, improve, create and buy weapons. Personally, I spent most of my time going off to fight and clear an area and go through a smany as possible. Buying a house was always the first thing that I would do. Then, I would invite a few orphans to live in my house get a few companions and run about completely aimlessly, whilst sometimes deciding to actually partake in the missions. There are so many areas to explore, so many villages and so many stories within this game that one of its biggest problems is that there is TOO MUCH to do. Personally, I reckon you could spend a good 300 hours on this game and still have plenty left to have a stab at.
Of course, I haven’t even mentioned about he magic you can carry out, and the shouts you learn from the dragons. I never got involved with magic, as I would spend all my upgrade points on areas which I would use. Saying that, I always used healing and fire. I found the former to be a lot better than using a shield and a lot less fidgety. When it came to the controls, I can’t find much fault. Even playing it on the handheld, I found it more than easy enough and playing it with the pro controller felt exactly how it did playing it on any other console. The only weapon I found tricky to use was the bow, but I find those tricky to use on every game of similar sorts.
Overall, I was massively impressed with Skyrim. I will be running round the map for years from now and I know that this will be the version on which I spend the most time. The frame rate does drop, especially during large battles, but not to the point of unplayable. I find myself preferring this to Zelda, which is going to cause a storm with some!
The scores on the doors are as follows:
- Graphics: 9 – the best I’ve seen on the Switch
Sound: 8 – shows signs of being a little dated but still does the job
Gameplay: 9 – varied and enjoyable for most players
Enjoyment: 9 – the most fun I’ve had on the Switch
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
- Players: single-player
- HD options: up to 1080p
I have been a video game player since 1993 and a music fan since I can remember. I studied Film and Journalism at university and ended up becoming a Primary School teacher. Video games changed my life and sent me on the right track and have stayed with me ever since.