Nintendo Switch Skyrim Impressions: An Ideal Example of What a Switch Port Should be

Game: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Developer: BethesStudios Studios

Reviewed: Nintendo Switch

At E3 2016, Bethesda revealed that the beloved role-playing title, Skyrim will be heading to the PS4 and Xbox One consoles with enhanced visuals, console mods, and all the game’s prior DLC. This version of the game was a huge leap for the franchise as it hooked gamers right back into the lucrative world of Tamriel. This remastered version of the game generally performed well and lived up to all its promises it conveyed. A year later, at E3 2017, Bethesda revealed that Skyrim will indeed be releasing again this time on the hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch.

At a technical point of view, many at first will wonder if the power of the Nintendo Switch will be able to maintain and run the massive open world that we all know and love. After putting countless hours into this version of the game running on the Nintendo Switch, I can say that I’m very impressed with what I played.

When it comes to Skyrim on the Nintendo Switch, you’re pretty much getting the full package plus a handful of new features. The game comes packed with all previous DLC, amiibo functionality, and full motion control support. Motion controls support for Skyrim is definitely a fun new way to experience the game over a traditional controller. This feature works accurately most of the time and was easy to learn for the most part.

Another new feature added to the game is the ability to receive exclusive content with the newly added amiibo functionality support. If you own any Legend of Zelda amiibos, you will be able to scan it and receive an exclusive armor set which includes the Master Sword, Hylian Shield, and the Champion’s Tunic. This feature proved its worth for the sheer fact of seeing the iconic Legend of Zelda gear make a crossover to an Elder Scrolls game.

During my playthrough of Skyrim on the Nintendo Switch, I found myself favoring the handheld mode over docked mode for numerous reasons. First and most obvious is the portability of the handheld mode proved to play a huge factor for me. As many know by now, Skyrim is a very large game filled with countless quests, areas to explore, and dungeons to clear. I found it very convenient popping the handheld mode out and completing small portions of the game in intervals.

Another reason I liked the handheld mode better was the resolution. Due to the fact the screen on the console is quite small, everything looked more clear and a bit sharper despite only hitting 720p. Textures and draw distances also weren’t hindered in this mode which was honestly surprising. This isn’t to say docked mode doesn’t perform well because it most certainly does, but it definitely comes with its compromises. The overall resolution is manageable, but the game’s  draw distance in docked definitely proves to be dulled down.

Like I mentioned before, Skyrim for the Switch is ideal playing in the handheld mode. The docked mode is good for when you want to take on a big enemy, let’s say a dragon. It’s nice to have the option to be able to switch between the two so quickly, but in reality, Skyrim is an old game and the the Switch isn’t the most powerful console out there; therefore you get this combination of dated graphics that are scaled down and it starts to look pretty bad.

It is also worth mentioning that while playing on handheld, the battery didn’t completely die like I was expecting it to. It actually stayed active for quite awhile, considering that this is first a third party title and second a huge open world title filled with many moving components.

The developers did an amazing job bringing over the vastly known title to the Switch. It’s super impressive to actually have Skyrim on the go, but unless you’re the biggest Skyrim fan, like myself, I can’t fully get behind the $60 dollar price tag. I think both of Bethesda Switch titles, Skyrim and Doom, would have been more appealable if it was priced at $40 dollars instead. I understand it must have been really difficult to bring both these titles over, but since they are sort of old, Skyrim originally released back in 20111, it’s hard to advocate for a $60 dollar price tag.

So who is this game for? Well, newcomers who never played this game before should definitely keep this game on their radar. The overall port of this game is ideal and it comes packed with tons of additional content and some neat exclusives for the Nintendo Switch. However, if played and complete this game before, I still think there are incentives to picking this game up for the Nintendo Switch for the sheer fact of having Skyrim on the go.

Will you be picking up Skyrim for the Switch? If you did, are you enjoying it? Let us know in the comments below!

Full Disclosure: A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for purposes of this review.