The Elder Scrolls: Blades is Bethesda’s introduction of their famed franchise into the mobile market. It’s now available on Nintendo Switch. While I never had a chance to try it out for mobile, I took it for a spin on Switch.
Graphically, Blades looks good. Even the setting of the town itself wouldn’t be out of place in some of Skyrim’s areas. In typical Elder Scrolls fashion, you start off as an outlaw, this time as a former member of the Blades, where the game gets its name.
You are given the complete set of races to choose from, with a decent amount of options to customize your character. Movement and camera controls are familiar to anyone who has ever played a first-person game on a console, with the left analog stick for movement and the right for camera control.
The combat is tied to the triggers and right action buttons and feels surprisingly responsive. Enemies have their major weaknesses shown immediately so you know what weapons or elements work best on them. While this gives you a small advantage, I didn’t find it to be a necessity.
Accessing quests is done by selecting the quest you wish to embark on. You’re taken to an area where you move through a linear path towards your objective. You are also given a variety of spells and abilities at hand to build your arsenal as you increase in level. Combat feels just shy of fluid, and loot is clearly displayed by glowing items in the world to help you find them for material and resources.
The other major feature is a base-building aspect. Your character’s hometown has been destroyed by a mysterious force. You’re tasked with helping to rebuild and grow the town at the get-go. This requires a steadily increasing amount of resources that you find in the world and on quests, but you can always pay for premium currency if you ever lack resources.
The premium currency options are what you’d expect, and the price points and options are as well if you’re familiar with any other freemium service. You use the crystals for cosmetics for the town, cover the cost of materials you lack, or open chests you find in quests more quickly. So this option lets you bypass the timer that accompanies finishing things like buildings and upgrades.
While the game offers a visually impressive experience that fits right at home with others in the series, the sad fact is that it’s also in competition with another in the series available on the Switch, Skyrim. That game offers better graphics and a vast open-world, something Blades notably lacks. Blades is free-to-play, but I found myself looking to reload Skyrim the more I played.