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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

It takes an effort to find someone who hasn't played Bethesda's RPG epic "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" to this day. “Skyrim” has been ubiquitous for a long time and Bethesda has never missed a chance to make the game accessible to everyone. I don't know how, but “Skyrim” has passed me by to this day.

Warning: newcomer to Skyrim

What I know about "Skyrim" is therefore limited. For a long time it was the benchmark for many when it came to open game worlds, is still popular in the modding community and pushed PCs to their limits when it was released. The idea that “Skyrim” can now be played on the go feels a little unreal to many.

It is therefore interesting that “Skyrim” on the Switch feels very natural to me as a newcomer from the first minute of the game. Apart from the fact that you can't deny the years that “Skyrim” has under your belt, the game runs smoothly from the start and is displayed razor-sharp on the switch's screen. However, you can tell their age, especially in the faces and movements of the character models. Since the Switch version is based on the "Special Edition", you still have to grapple with technical problems and bizarre gameplay errors. In addition, you can't deny some muddy textures. The nature of the matter is much more important on the TV than on the smaller Switch screen. You can tell that “Skyrim” has been optimized for this style of play and that this is what makes the Switch version so appealing.

A forgotten threat returns

As a prisoner on the way to his own execution, one witnesses how a dragon appears out of nowhere and causes devastating destruction. The residents are taken completely off guard while the dragon burns the entire village to rubble and ashes. The hero senses the chance of the chaotic situation, frees himself and can survive the attack of the monster. The question now arises where the dragon comes from and you quickly find yourself in a classic hero story including the hero's prophecy and everything that goes with it.

Slaying information and opportunities

After the attack and an accompanying introduction to the game, you are released into the huge game world of Himmelsrand, in which every door and option is open from the start. If you are not careful, you can get lost in the first few hours of "Skyrim". The inhabitants of the town of Whiterun all of them have something to tell and I would love to listen to all their stories directly so as not to miss something important. Within a short time you can pick up something like that about the Empire, a war and the so-called Dragon's Blood. It is difficult to filter and sort all information without knowing the background. However, it motivates to take a closer look at the mythology and events of "Skyrim". In addition to the information about the political situation in Skyrim, you are also assigned numerous tasks that accumulate in the quest list.

Have the courage to experiment

In order to start structure in the beginning of the game, it is therefore advisable to first follow the main missions, which take the player by the hand and introduce various game mechanics such as magic. In addition to classic weapons such as swords, axes, hammers or bows, you can also equip magic spells with which you can fight enemies or trigger effects. With the right objects, however, you can magically enhance weapons or armor. In addition, you will find materials and food that can be combined or cooked with each other. Here it is not important to be afraid of trying things out and learning new things. This is how you understand which items are important and which are not needed. Otherwise the backpack is filled to the brim faster than you might think and the items have to be sorted out.

Powerful opponents and bulky fights

Also because, as is typical for role-playing games, you are relatively weak at the beginning, it makes sense to follow the common thread first. Otherwise it can quickly happen that you end up in a robber camp or an angry giant to whom you are defeated. Unfortunately, from today's perspective, the combat system feels a bit bulky. Sword or ax blows are carried out sluggishly. In addition, you don't have a precise sense of hit and it often seems as if the enemy and hero are waving their weapons in the air. Especially when you play from the first person perspective, you can quickly lose track of things when you get caught up in a fight with several opponents. In the third person perspective, on the other hand, it is more difficult to target and parry attacks. Ultimately, however, the choice of style of play is a personal decision.

Warrior, thief or magician?

With defeated opponents you get experience points and rise in stages. With each new level you can unlock different skills of different types. So you improve your elementary magic attacks, strengthen incantations or improve healing spells, depending on what you attach more importance to. Instead, attributes such as combat strength or defense are set via the equipment. In addition to various pieces of armor, you have the option of equipping two weapons at the same time, holding a shield in your second hand or using slower, more powerful two-handed swords. Alternatively, you can defend yourself using magic only, but then not only have to keep an eye on your life meter, but also on magicka supply. Every style of play is served by "Skyrim", be it the powerful warrior, the windy thief or the powerful magician. Some quests even require certain play styles. At the same time, the many possibilities ensure a high replay value, as you want to try out all variants.

The little things

Precisely because you have to experiment a lot and gain experience yourself, and Skyrim does not take the smallest detail by the hand, it is exciting to explore the game world yourself. As soon as you start to detach yourself from the common thread, you only understand how comprehensive and well thought-out the game world of “Skyrim” actually is. You can experience exciting individual stories, get to know a wide variety of personalities and are rewarded with other discoveries behind every hill or junction. Even if the fantasy epic is always accompanied by a big, significant story, these relatively small experiences do not need to hide in the shadows, but rather characterize “Skyrim” for the most part.

Who is it for?

Finally, the question arises for whom the Switch version of “Skyrim” is suitable. For those who have already spent several hundred hours in the world of Himmelsrand, the switch implementation is primarily a technically exciting experiment. Of course, it can also be interesting to be able to carry and play your favorite game on the go. Much more incentive is not offered. You won't find any new content except for the Nintendo-specific Link costume. The optional motion control is only to be understood as a nice gimmick and does not provide a fundamentally new feel to the game. The small part that has still not played “Skyrim” after six years, however, gets a technically clean and convenient way to catch up on the huge fantasy epic on the Switch - be it in short bites in handheld mode or in long sessions in front of the TV screen. Because all published expansions are included directly, you can easily get the complete “Skyrim” package here.

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Conclusion & rating

One cannot deny “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” its relevance for today's role-playing games, nor its age. With its open game world and opportunities to explore and experiment with, “Skyrim” has definitely been groundbreaking. At the same time, there are now numerous games that do this better and contain less rigid or confusing game mechanics. And yet “Skyrim” on Switch is not only technically impressive, but a welcome opportunity to catch up on a piece of video game history.

Alexander S.

Alexander has been with Nintendo-Online since 2009 and occasionally lends a hand at PS-NOW. He grew up with the Game Boy and keeps catching himself whistling along to the theme song from Super Mario Land.