Six years later and Skyrim is still a fascinating game that everyone talks about. Last year we got the Special Edition of Skyrim for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. This week we see the release of both the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation VR edition of Skyrim.
Bethesda has been kind to the Nintendo Switch, with a port of Doom arriving last week for the new console from Nintendo. To me, seeing Nintendo reveal Skyrim was coming to their system was a shocker to everyone, especially after the Wii U’s dismal support from other publishers.
Playing Skyrim on the go is more than I could hope for, bringing that create your own adventure to a portable console is exactly what Nintendo advertised the Switch to do. There are some issues with this, however, and what this comes down is porting an aged game to a new console. A lot of the bumps and spots transfer over, which shows Skyrim’s age.
I spent over 200 hours in Skyrim, the first playthrough of Skyrim is one of my fondest memories – I can tell you all about my time here if you want, and it’s because Bethesda built a world full of lifelike characters, places, and kingdoms worth exploring and lore that kept you invested because of how expansive it was.
Everything you remember is here, the land hasn’t changed and the music sweeps across you. This release on Switch also includes all the downloadable content that was released including Dawnguard, Hearthstone, and Dragonborn. There are even motion controls customized for the new port, adding a new and engaging way to play that is not only intuitive but fun. I spent more time using this new scheme than my Pro controller, never once feeling overwhelmed or bothered. Picking locks and shooting your bow and arrow are the best implementations I came across.
The downside of playing Skyrim on any system are the glitches that are still persistent to this day. This is a known thing with Bethesda, as no release has even been without at least a dozen bugs or glitches that prevent and pause progress in some way. Some textures noticeably flicker and regardless whether I was docked or undocked, these nuisances persisted. Walking around open fields, trees would pop in, grass and trees often appear out of nowhere and riding a horse is when I had the worst pop in. The AI is still finicky as your companions often get stuck on things and the environment, it’s at this point a funny quirk that seems to happen sporadically across the land, but when it happens you’ll notice it right away.
Ideally playing undocked is the way to go, the experience is smooth (or as smooth as a six-year-old port can be) but docking and playing on a TV leaves much to be desired, especially with the Special Edition available. The game runs at 720p in both modes and it looks good for the most part, but as the tradeoff of being available on my daily commute, the sacrifice is worth the downgrade.
The exclusive Nintendo gear including Link’s Tunic, Hyrule Shield, and The Master Sword is available through Amiibos or by trekking to the highest point in all of Tamriel, The Throat of the World. Getting there will take time, but you’ll eventually get here and unlock some of the coolest items in the game to use. Seeing Link’s gear and being able to use it is one of those special Nintendo-only moments that are hard to come by.
For what is being offered, this version of Skyrim is worth checking out. Six years later, and Bethesda’s open world RPG lives on in the lives on many, there’s a lot of good here, and a lot of nostalgia for those who experienced Skyrim on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The new additions are neat add-ons, bringing a touch of Nintendo’s flare to the world of Tamriel, and including all three downloadable pieces of content brings the complete experience to the Switch. Good luck being glued to your Switch for the next 200 hours.
[A copy of the game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]