Despite being just over six years old it is still an impressive feat for The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim to make its way to the Nintendo Switch. Even the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of Skyrim suffered graphical glitches (beyond those already in the game), and the Switch isn’t nearly as powerful as either of those systems. On top of that it has to run Skyrim in both docked and undocked mode, and yet it somehow pulls it off. The framerate stays locked at a steady 30 FPS in all but the most intense fights regardless of how you are playing, and the game manages to look decent while doing it. There are definite graphical downgrades to the game compared to the other consoles, mostly in the textures which can be downright ugly at times, but not so much as you would expect. This is a game that does look its age, but for all that, it can still surprise you at times.
Skyrim has managed to age better than it really has any right to have. It is true that the combat system is still a major weak point to the game, and character animation would best be described as “janky”, but the sheer depth and openness of the game still shines through. You can do whatever you want in Skyrim, and there is almost nothing to stop you. Skyrim is open-world gameplay at its best, and even six years later there are only a few games that even come close to rivaling it in this regard. It is also worth keeping in mind that a game of this size will inevitably have a large number of bugs, although I haven’t encountered any that are game-breaking. Most are cosmetic, and so now would be a good time to make sure your Switch has the latest firmware so you can take advantage of its new video recording features. There will be plenty of craziness to showcase.
The Switch version of Skyrim offers little that is new, but what it does offer is still impressive. There are three main features added to the game: amiibos, motion controls, and portability. The first two of these are marginal, and you’ll probably forget about them after the first time you use them. The third, though, is the key feature here, and really what makes the Switch version the console version to get. You lose nothing by playing the game in portable mode, and I got about three and a half hours of gameplay time in before the battery warning kicked in. That may not make it all the way through a long car ride this Christmas, but with a portable battery, it certainly could. The only complaint I have about the handheld mode is that the dungeons are even darker than usual, and I had trouble navigating them even when using night vision or torches to guide me. I hope that a patch comes which allows us to modify the gamma or contrast settings.
The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Nintendo Switch Review Final Thoughts:
In terms of story, there is nothing new to this release, but there is so much here (including all the DLC packs) that chances are you will still find something new even if you’ve already put in a few hundred hours. The lack of mod support is a mark against it, but the vanilla version still has more than enough to offer. The entire package will easily offer more than a hundred hours of gameplay, and so it is an easy recommendation. If you’ve never jumped into Skyrim before, but always wanted to give it a try then I’d say this is the way to go. However, if you’re already a veteran of the game you may want to wait for a price drop. I personally feel that a $49.99 price tag for a six-year-old game is on the steep side, although there is no question you will get plenty of play time. It is also worth keeping in mind that on Switch this is going head-to-head with Breath of the Wild, and you will absolutely feel the difference that six years makes going between the two titles. That said, in my opinion, this is the definitive console version of Skyrim, and it’s worth checking out.
The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim on Nintendo Switch
- The full Skyrim experience, including DLC.
- Rock solid FPS in both handheld and docked mode.
- Still as engaging as ever.
- Inclusion of Zelda cosmetic gear is a nice touch.
- Price is a little high for a game this old.
- Textures are rough - even ugly in places.
- All the same Skyrim bugs are here.
- Lack of mod support.