When Bethesda released its fifth entry in The Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim, way back 2011, it took the world by storm. Quickly becoming a staple of the gaming landscape at the time, Skyrim has somehow managed to live on all these years late and has been remade for pretty much every system that’s come out. Now, the folks at Bethesda have partnered with Nintendo to allow Switch users to jump into the world of Skyrim and take the fight to the dragons on the go.
Due to the fact that not a whole lot has changed in how the game plays and operates, this review won’t be going too in-depth on the mechanics of it. Instead, we’ll be focusing on how the game looks and plays on a system like the Nintendo Switch, and if it’s something that players should invest in with the game being available on so many other platforms.
First off, as far as looks go, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim actually doesn’t look too terrible on the Nintendo Switch. While the game seems to render in just 720p, it’s an impressive 720p, especially when playing the game in handheld mode. So far in my time with the game, I’ve experienced no frame rate issues and no stuttering or glitching of any kind, which is pretty impressive considering the type of game I was playing. The world looked alive, the weather and lightning effects looked pretty good, and while this version can never stack up to the likes of the PC or modern-era consoles, it’s still ridiculously impressive to see a game like Skyrim running on the Switch.
The only downside I had with my playtime was when I docked the system, unfortunately. There, things like trees or grass looked a bit jagged, and stairs and other sharp edges often had a rough look to them too. Despite the slight graphical hiccups, the most impressive thing when playing the game was the lack of frame rate issues I experienced in either playstyle. Whether it be fighting dragons or a horde of angry spiders, the game never seemed to lag or slow down, and maneuvering through the menus while fighting was just as easy as it’s been on any other platform. All in all, the game seems to perform really well on the Nintendo Switch, and for anyone who hasn’t picked up Skyrim before, or for someone who wants to play it again, the Switch isn’t as bad as some might have you think.
When it comes to controls, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim feels perfectly fine when playing in all of its forms. Using the Joy-Cons separately are a perfectly valid option, and swiping through the air to attack isn’t always the most enjoyable method, but picking locks or aiming a bow does genuinely feel fun at times, if not a bit gimmicky. Thankfully, the Switch version of the game allows for fully default controls and Pro Controller support, so you’re not forced to use motion controls throughout the game.
Of course, what would a Nintendo game be without its special, Nintendo-themed features, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the Switch comes with plenty. In collaboration with the Legend of Zelda, players in Skyrim can find and dress up like Link, complete with Master Sword, Hylian Shield, and the Champion’s Tunic from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Of course, amiibo functionality is also available in the game, allowing players to scan an amiibo in order to obtain treasure chests peppered around the map. The game also comes packed with the three DLC add-ons for Skyrim: Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn, making sure to give players the full Skyrim experience.
All in all, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the Nintendo Switch is a legitimately good version of the game that falls just short of being great due to some issues regarding the way the game plays in its docked mode. Regardless, this version of the game has all the makings to be one of the definitive ways to play for fans who are looking for a more carefree and mobile experience. You won’t find truly stunning graphics of mod capabilities here, but this version of the game is much more than a simple port, and if you’ve never played Skyrim and own a Switch this is absolutely a must-have title.
This review of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Nintendo Switch Edition is based on a digital copy for the Nintendo Switch which was provided by Bethesda.