The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was the hot topic of the discussion, the scene being a high school English class, November 11, 2011, the titular game’s original release date. As the day came to a close, seemingly everyone in the classroom was excited to immediately get home to play SkyrimPlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC gamers alike. Everyone except for me: a Nintendo Wii owner who, at the time, argued with blind ignorance that the upcoming Skyward Sword would be better. Of course, having never played Skyrim since, I had no idea what to expect upon my first playthrough, aside from my preconceived notions of what it would be like, formed from my experiences playing through other similarly-veined Bethesda titles: Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4. Now, after having played the game on the Nintendo Switch (exactly six years after its original release), I can say with 100% confidence that 16-year-old me was wrong.

Be Who You Want to Be

As any Dungeons & Dragons fanatic is perfectly aware, the main appeal of the game is how its limitations lie only within the mind of the player, and Skyrim certainly does capitalize on that appeal, no doubt drawing inspiration from the former’s aspect of endless fantasy and “be-who-you-want-to-be” game-affecting play style. It’s a fantasy-role-playing game, through and through.

From its opening scene, the player is immediately immersed as they are presented with 10 different races to choose from; ranging from humans, to different types of elves, to orcs, to even anthropomorphic cat and lizard people; all with face and body customization. Which race you choose will inevitably affect not only your in-game abilities/strengths/weaknesses/magic powers/weapon usage, but it will also change how the inhabitants of Skyrim will interact with your character.  For example, during my initial playthrough I chose to be an Argonian, the race of anthropomorphic lizard people known for their special abilities of breathing underwater and having the ability to resist disease.  However, with these extra perks of being a lizard person, there also came some minor drawbacks; those being that some residents of Skyrim tended to be a bit more snarky or hostile toward my chosen character. Some would simply make passing quips by calling me a “lizard-man,” while others would outright attack if they didn’t like the cut of my jib.

That is all not to say that a player has to adhere to the set skills to that of the race they choose to be apart of. Although Argonians are described as being more adept through their usage of unarmed combat and magic, I found myself using more two-handed weapons throughout the game.  One could think that this would serve as a hindrance or immersion-breaker to the overall experience, but it only adds to the overall feeling of individuality that the player is presented with: You play the game your way.

A Limitless Story

The story/main quest of Skyrim is simply epic in every sense of the word. Despite being a six-year-old game, I’d rather not say much to describe the story as it should undoubtedly be experienced both as blind and first-hand as possible. However, the game does ultimately feel as if you’re playing through an endless marathon of Game of Thrones. That’s not to say that it is endless nor limitless, unlike in the way that an above-mentioned game of D&D can be, but it can certainly be played in a limitless fashion.

Between all of the races to choose from at the start of the game, the sprawling open world to explore, the hundreds upon hundreds of items/weapons to discover, all the crafts and magic spells to be practiced, and the seemingly innumerable amount of sidequests throughout, there are also 15 different factions that you can join during your stay in Skyrim; and though some are joined rather temporarily or may not have as much of an impact on the overall quest(s) as other factions would, each group inevitably lends to the ultimate affection of one’s playthrough, as different sidequests either open or close depending on which one you choose to join. So just because the game isn’t necessarily limitless, its replay value definitely is.

On the Go While You’re on the Go

Now here is probably the most important part of this particular version of the game: does Skyrim on the Nintendo Switch work? Is it worth it? The short answer is an astounding yes. Good god, yes. Skyrim is a fantastic home-console game and now, with finding a new home on the Switch, it is a fantastic portable game. I can’t tell you how many times my jaw dropped during my playthrough simply because of the fact that I could just get up, take my switch with me, and continue to play as I walked around my house, went to sit at a cafe, or even play while I was at work. And that’s not to say that I haven’t been impressed when it came to playing other Switch titles on the go; it’s the fact that I was playing a full-on third-party game on the in portable mode with no major graphical loss.

Save for one minor frame dip due to there being too much in-game wildlife all running around at once and some “miss-if-you-blink” texture pop-ins, I never experienced any bugs nor problems that compromised my standing on the game; both docked and undocked. Sure the graphics aren’t going to be as top-notch as they are on PS4 or PC, and some in-game fog textures prove this to be just so, but I was always amazed by how beautiful the game could be despite being a six-year-old title (which I hate to keep harping on). The minor graphical downgrades are a light and fair trade-off for the added portability of Skyrim.

Little Details

There was a moment while I was playing Skyrim in bed and I had my headphones in that I noticed an incredibly subtle detail in the game. If I was listening to an NPC speak while turning my head to the left or right, I would hear their voice in the respective ear of which my head was turned. Whether this be a left-over remnant of Bethesda making Skyrim for VR; who knows? But it was with that moment that I finally started to see all of the little details come together. The hauntingly beautiful score. The supreme voice-acting. The leveling up system. The satisfaction of landing a critical hit on an enemy. It just all fashioned together wonderfully.

However, noticing the little details also means to notice the more slightly-negative intricacies of the game as well. Sometimes NPCs would unintentionally talk over each other or some textures would look rather muddy or unpolished either the closer or further away from them that you are. These slight discrepancies, however noticeable, did not ruin my enjoyment for the game as I contextually understood that Skyrim is still running on an older engine, though some players may find this to be irksome.

Make the Switch

Thanks to the added amiibo support to Skyrim (if not being a little confusing to figure out at first), there are some fun Zelda goodies to be had. All Zelda amiibo are compatible and you have a 20% chance of getting some Zelda gear each time. They can be used once a day. Though not necessities, the lifelong fanboy in me giddily smiled as I opened an amiibo-summoned chest to discover the Master Sword, a Hylian Shield, and the Champion’s Tunic. Cool to have for being decent-in-game items, but nothing too major. The same “cool-to-have-but-nothing-major” aspect could also be said of the Switch’s added motion controls as they work just fine and are adeptly responsive, allowing anyone looking for a different style of gameplay to relish at the opportunity.

But, as mentioned, the real clincher here is obviously the added portability and the overall quality to be found on the Switch version of the game. It is friendly to both newcomers to the series and gamers looking to revisit a generational classic. Bugs are few and far between and the graphics are incredible; it doesn’t look like it’s a Switch game, and there isn’t much of a step down when playing it in portable mode, if there is one at all.

This ultimately makes The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for Nintendo Switch the definitive version of the title. Period.

Thank you to Bethesda for providing VGCultureHQ with a copy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim for the Nintendo Switch for review purposes.

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Review (Nintendo Switch)
Skyrim for the Nintendo Switch takes one of the best games of a generation and re-invents it for both new and old audiences alike. On top of the amazing graphics, audio, music, and gameplay, the game isn't much much of a step down in portable mode, if at all. It's the definitive version of The Elder Scrolls V.
Overall Score9.5
  • Graphics and lack of bugs for such a massive title
  • Game immersion; the main quest and sidequests are fantastic
  • The game's portable mode
  • Rare technical Hiccups
  • amiibo use isn't properly explained
9.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

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