Skyrim was released 6 years ago, and since then, it’s been THE open-world game to live up to. And at long last, it is arriving on a Nintendo platform. This seemed like a perfect opportunity for me to finally dive into this game’s world. Ever since I got my hands on the game, I’ve been spending most of my spare time with it. However, Skyrim is a massive game, and I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. So in lieu of a full review, here are my initial impressions on the game’s performance, as well as some of the Nintendo-exclusive features. Don’t worry, a full review is in the works. I just need to spend a lot more time in Tamriel before I can do this game justice.
First: as far as I can tell, there’s little need to worry about the game’s looks. Skyrim looks great. The game runs at an impressively solid 30fps, and in the 15 hours I’ve spent with the game so far, I can count the number of drops on one hand. This includes wide open areas, close-quarters dungeon exploration, and bustling towns with many inhabitants running to and fro. The Nintendo Switch version is not officially the “Special Edition,” but it seems to include some of the graphical improvements of that release. It might not be the newest game, but Skyrim on Switch is still graphically impressive. While other games like Rocket League and Doom sometimes struggle on the Switch, Skyrim feels right at home.
Speaking of which, the Switch release of Skyrim also has a few new Nintendo-exclusive features. The game’s amiibo functionality works almost exactly like Breath of the Wild’s amiibo Rune. It’s a Power that’s available from the start of the game, and upon activating it, you can scan an amiibo to make a treasure chest appear. The Bokoblin amiibo gave me lots of raw meat, and I got a bow and some flowers from scanning Zelda. Additionally, any chest from a Zelda series amiibo has a chance to contain the Champion’s Tunic, Master Sword, or Hylian Shield. Any non-Zelda figure gives a random assortment of gear, and each figure can be scanned once per day.
Skyrim on Switch also features motion controls. The options for these can be broken down into two categories: gyroscopic aiming, and “waggle.” Gyro aiming works for archery and spellcasting, and does a great job at helping you aim precisely. It also works whether you’re using the Pro Controller or split Joy-Cons. When using split Joy-Cons, the controller you use to aim is based on the hand your character is using to cast the spell, which is a very fun touch.
Waggle, on the other hand, is used for melee weapons. A simple shake of the joy-con swings your weapon, while a heavier swing makes your character perform a heavier blow. I had the most trouble trying motion controls with my shield. The gestures to raise and lower the shield were inconsistent and difficult to perform. I found that I could use the ZL button to raise/lower, and waggle only when I needed to perform a shield-bash. This worked a lot better. Ultimately though, I found I preferred button presses for my melee combat.
As for my thoughts on the rest of the game… you’ll have to wait for our full review. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some dragons to slay.
A code was provided by Bethesda for coverage purposes.