Skyrim (Nintendo Switch) Review – A Classic Reborn

Fives year after the initial release of Bethesda’s latest iteration in the Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim has been heralded as one of the great RPGs of our time, earning over 200 game of the year awards and gaining critical acclaim from critics and fans of the series alike. Now, that fantastical, gritty experience has come to a portable system, adding to the overall convenience and accessibility of this epic fantasy. While this version of the game lacks the ‘mod’ support and stays largely familiar to its original roots, this game provides more than enough depth and content for Switch owners looking for their next time-consuming adventure. 

Skyrim follows the life of a Dragonborn, whose destiny it is to slay an overworldly dragon known for being a signal of the end times. The story itself covers fairly simplistic territory at the surface level, but the additional side quests and hidden temples and dungeons really breathe life into the expansiveness of this world. Many games of this particular style and genre struggle to provide such rich lores and backstories, so exploring the world of Skyrim felt more like an enjoyable journey of exploration and understanding of the world and their cultures rather than a grind to get from one objective to the next. There were times where the story wouldn’t push boundaries, for instance with the concluding battle against the mighty dragon Alduin, but there were other times where this story was extraordinarily different for its context. Whether you’d be infiltrating a friendly party or searching for treasures in caverns, there was a plentitude of exciting moments to keep you immersed and absorbed. This leads onto the length of the main quest itself: an approximately 20 hour story, boasting intensity, expansiveness and general fun, slaying skeletons, trolls, bandits and many more. Although the main quest could have been a longer investment, it isn’t as necessary since the side quests will have you venture onward for a while. There’s tons of content here, and that’s not even mentioning the DLC content added. 

The combat, as you’d probably expect for a five year old game, is a little choppy and convoluted at times. They emphasise the basics right from the start, from unsheathing swords and slashing enemies to changing perspectives, but it still feels too messy and unnecessary. A simpler control scheme to change weapons almost instantaneously would have benefited the game, for example swapping out a two-handed weapon for a healing spell in a time of aid. You’ll become accustomed to switching out items quite regularly, but an improvement in this area would have made it even more accessible and convienient for handheld gamers. Obviously, at the time this was quite a revolutionary leap for such open-world experiences, but now it feels slightly sloppy and unresponsive in certain parts.

In terms of difficulty, Skyrim is particularly interesting, for its enemies are matched to the strength of the player. That meant you were equally fighting against characters of a similar skill level and made it so much more player friendly for those not wanting to have to load every few minutes because of dying time and time again. It warranted replay value, to correct the errors you made originally and try to progress. That’s not to say that Skyrim doesn’t hand you some difficult challenges, though. The battle against Tsun is familiar, as are many of the Dwemer ruins, but that only added to the complexity and overall unpredictability. Sometimes you’d get annoyed, but after a few more attempts you’d get the eureka moment and move on. Skyrim provides enough difficulty to provide a challenge, but not too much to make it inaccessible.

On the Nintendo Switch, Skyrim performs exceedingly well. It might not have the silky smooth 60 frames per second, and there a few noticeable differences to the other versions of the game in terms of aliasing and textures, but it is essentially the special edition, enhanced specifically for the system. In handheld mode, Skyrim runs at a solid 720p resolution with a locked 30 frames per second. The overall look of the game was slightly washed out, with some rock and grass textures appearing somewhat rough around the edges, but it was perfectly playable and enjoyable nonetheless. Also, the Switch version wasn’t without its glitches and occasonal bugs – similarly to the other versions – that made for some humorous encounters. The added amiibo support, HD rumble and motion controls utilise the functons of the joycon relatively well and once again prove that this has been enhanced to perform to the Switch’s capabilities. Considering the fact that you can now play a game as large, expansive and rich as Skyrim on what is essentially a tablet is truly astonishing and shows just how far mobile chips have come recently. 

In conclusion, Skyrim is another fantastic addition to the Switch’s ever expanding library of games and caters to those looking for a meatier, more Western RPG experience. It’s a good time for newcomers to engage in Tamriel, now with the ability to play it at home or portably. While it rarely changes the ground it once laid, and the framerate and textures aren’t as finetuned as other versions, this is a must-buy for those in need of a time-consuming game. It’s absolutely filled to the brim with content and offers everything from the base game plus the DLC content, which makes this so appealing for a first time explorer. This is a timeless classic, once again celebrated and heralded for its achievement in open-world game development. 

REVIEW SCORE – Excellent

Skyrim for Nintendo Switch : 9 out of 10

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Nintendo Switch Sales Explode in Japan 

It was an inevitable turn of events. Nintendo was gearing up for a moment like this, and the launch of Splatoon 2 and their boost of stock allocation within Japan for the week proved a particularly effective strategy in gaining a large amount of players in a very short amount of time. This week was always going to be a huge selling point for the Switch in Japan; the idea of the inky shooter really has everyone eager to get their hands on the system. So, let’s get down to the figures.

The Nintendo Switch sold approximately 98,000 in this week alone – a significantly large improvement over the previous figures of around 30,000. It is a clear indicator that Nintendo had been attempting to provide a much more substantial allocation of stock for this particular week in preparation for the release of such a strong system seller like Splatoon 2 has proven to be. The question of whether this is a sign of Nintendo’s improving stock situation or an anomaly that only happened this week really remains a mystery, although it definitely gives fans a little bit of hope to latch onto that maybe – just maybe – there are more systems ready and waiting to go. If Nintendo have the stock ready, they could quite easily sell 70,000 each week in Japan alone. Either way, it’s going to be an incredibly interesting topic of discussion next week when the figures are released for the following week’s sales, where the question will finally be resolved.

On top of all this, there’s even more positive news. Splatoon 2 sold approximately 640,000 physical copies in Japan on the first weekend of sales, a significant increase from the original’s approximate 150,000 on launch weekend. Don’t be surprised if this game reaches six to eight million units sold in the Switch’s life cycle, as these figures truly show just how much demand there is for it. Hopefully these statistics will give Nintendo a further incentive to renew their confidence in the series and make a third entry a few years later. 

Nintendo have another heavily influential franchise in their arsenal now and the sales numbers for this week show that the Japanese market truly adores it. Now the only concern remaining is the allocation of stock on the market and whether Nintendo can deliver the systems to meet the extremely high demand. With these sales, absolutely anything is possible.

Crash Bandicoot Beats Splatoon 2 in UK Charts – with a Catch


With the launch of the splatastic, inky shooter Splatoon 2, many thought that it would almost most defintely be at the top of the charts without a second thought. This, however, was not the case – at least for the UK charts. It appears that Crash Bandicoot, on the Playstation 4 family of systems, has denied the shooter a swim to the top spot. It comes as a slight shock, despite the difference in sales only equating to approximately 680 in terms of physical purchases. You must look at the reason why this may be the case, though, and why it was beaten to the top spot because it appears that there may be a slight catch.
Firstly, this is only the judgement based on physical sales, not digital. Considering the fact that the Switch E-shop crashed due to the overflowing activity on the night of release and the download size was only a minimally impacting three gigabytes suggests that digital sales may have been a huge contributor the overall sales. While we all know and love Crash and his fantastic games, it’s unlikely that digital sales would be quite as high as Splatoon 2 since it has been on the market for several weeks – therefore most people who wanted to purchase the game digitally have already done so. This would be a very interesting aspect of the sales to look at and compare to the UK charts, especially with the sales having quite the influence this time.

At the release of Splatoon 2, it appeared as though Sony predicted the large intake of inkling fans within the UK and tried to diffuse the situation through the injection of more physical stock. Those waiting for a physical copy could now get their hands on one, which would heavily impact upon the shooter’s overall sales. Not to mention just how large an iron fist Sony dominates the European market, so these sales were near inevitable. It was the perfect opportunity to release more stock, taking Nintendo’s biggest seller for the summer and repressing it in the charts.

Now, just take another look at the list. Yes, Grand Theft Auto 5 is in the top three spot. Have you noticed anything strange about the positions of the Nintendo Switch games? Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has sold approximately 60% more this week than in the previous week, and Breath of the Wild has moved back into the top ten at sixth place. This gives a strong indication that there have been more shipments of systems sold and most potential buyers have also attached an existing game to their order, rather than buying the sequel to a fresh IP. Don’t be surprised if Splatoon 2 tops the charts next week, as more players finally get the opportunity to purchase it.

All in all, it has been a great week for gaming. Crash Bandicoot has done remarkably well and shown that older, more nostalgic games really have a place in our hearts. If this isn’t a solid enough reason to reinnovate and make another installment in the Crash Bandicoot franchise, then there is little hope of finding one. This truly is a great achievement, although it neglects the brilliance and potential of the colourful shooter. Either way, both games are incredible and both deserve to be at the top spot.

Dr Doom Movie in the Works – Legion Producer at the Helm

It was a bittersweet moment when the Legion producer and screenwriter, Noah Hawley (also known for his spectacular work on the critically acclaimed drama Fargo and his recent novel Before the Fall), announced that his next project would be a Doctor Doom individual film. A sweet and inticing sensation came at the thought, as a writer as talented as Hawley even thinking of constructing such a character of mystery and depth really tickles any tastebud for it to happen. Though, there seems to be very little significance here when the Fantastic Four still feel as though they are heavily lacking in terms of depth or identity within the cinematic universe. This film added to the work of Legion suggests, however, that Fox are seeking the opportunity to have the very talented Hawley work very closely within their superhero ecosystem. Now that’s a thought worth thinking.

For those of you who have experienced any of his recent work – whether that be Fargo, Legion, Before the Fall, The Good Father or anything else – you’ll know why the prospect of him being an influential figure in this field is very exciting for comic fans and movie-goers alike. He has a very clear understanding of what he wants to say and where he wants to say it, but with a cinematic finesse that touches upon directional beauty and astonishment. His characters have usually always provided a large amount of depth and individuality that differentiates them from the norm. In short, he’s one of the writers of the decade that should be cherished for both his innovation and creative expression within many forms of art mediums.

That’s not to say that he doesn’t make mistakes or that his judgements are completely infallible, but it does give some hope that the future may be bright for both the X Men and Fantastic Four franchises and this film may provide the stepping stone needed to (finally) make it a reality. 

The biggest question currently has to be surrounding his choice of character. Doctor Doom has featured in all the Fantastic Four films – a highly used, somewhat misunderstood character – and hasn’t really shown any interest to the general viewer. It was an unexpected reveal, something most people never thought of predicting. Hawley may be able to reinnovate the character and give the viewers an actual reason to sympathise with him, not just dislike him because the narrative has a clearly transparent bias against him. This could set the stage for Hawley’s masterplan, but it’s too early to say for certain just what he is planning.

Here’s hoping that it doesn’t disappoint.

Daredevil Season 1 Review 

This review contains mild spoilers.
Twelve years since the original adaptation of Daredevil, this Netflix original season provides a gritty, violent and realistic aesthetic to the character. Telling the story of Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer with superhuman senses, this television drama focus heavily on his life both professionally as a lawyer and personally as the vigilante ‘Daredevil’, also known as the ‘Devil of Hell’s Kitchen’. If you’re looking for an action-packed, character driven, thrilling ten episode series, this season is definitely for you. Whether it be the sheer depth of the primary antagonist Wilson Fisk or the excellent direction and cinematography of the hallway tracking shot, this show is pure quality in nearly every aspect and is a true love letter to all those who enjoy the source material. This is one of the most refreshing, unique, original and incredible pieces of television in the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever to have been created. 

Set in New York’s ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, Daredevil has all the great conventions of a crime drama: a dark, gritty tone, adult themes, an anti-heroic and insightful protagonist and a thrilling antagonist with a strong motivation for what they are doing. This drama brilliantly executes the balance between action and character development, showing Matt Murdock as a man of intelligence, wit and a slight thirst for violence and releasing his inner demons. It’s a compelling narrative – despite its tendancy to sometimes have a ‘crime of the episode’ style – and really goes deeper and deeper into the enigma that both Matt Murdock and the villain, Wilson Fisk, provide. Fisk is a troubled man, who believes in trying to make the city ‘a better place’. As a viewer, it is difficult not to sympathise with his dark past and relationship with Vanessa. Even despite all the horrific things he does, his character is one that provides a great deal of balance and intrigue, unlike the typical Marvel villain archetype of being solely evil. Where this show blossoms is in its brilliant characters, that make this drama feel as alive as any other show with quality material.

Not only thus, but the cinematography and overall choreography for the fight scenes are pure genius. Take, for example, the excellently thrilling and gut wrenching tracking shot, that mesmerised viewers with over three minutes of beautifully shot hallway action. It felt realistic, like we were feeling every blow dealt to Matt and feeling his sympathy towards the kidnapped young child. First starting with silence and the gradual anticipation and build up through Matt’s senses soon lead to punches, manoeuvres and bodies sprawled across the floor. Every hit felt natural, and every enemy appeared to act and behave in a manner that most cinematic archetypes would not: they actually fought back. While tracking shots have been done many times before – from No Country for Old Men to True Detective – but something about this particular scene is so appealing and attractive aesthetically to the eye. It’s safe to say that this really set the precedence for the season and for the Netflix Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. 

The biggest issue with this season was the thirteen episode format, which created a vacuum for small crime, somewhat filler episodes. While it was refreshing to see a variety of different, compelling antagonists, sometimes this detracted from the overall focus of the plot with Wilson Fisk and made it feel ever so slightly repetitive in parts. It severely hindered the progress of the plot and sacrificed what could have been a very coherent and well structured story. Not that it’s a terrible thing to boast the excellent direction and action, but sometimes it would have been appreciated if more focus on the highlight of the show would have been acknowledged and considered. 

Another detracting feature was the somewhat anti-climatic conclusion to such a dramatic, highly anticipated series. Fisk had been a dominant hand in the city, both through influential and physical power. He had shown signs of weakness – which ultimately made him all the more likeable – with his relationship and light-hearted nature alongside Vanessa, but for the majority of the season he had developed a broad group of associates and had repressed those seeking to fight against him. He even went as far as murdering a particular character in order to keep the news outlets completely oblivious to his crimes, not to mention him paying off many forms of law enforcement to keep his secrets safe. Yet, despite all this power and influence, his closure is found in a futile battle against Daredevil – who had taken severe injuries after their last confrontation. This ending felt too scripted, too coincidental and just too simple. While Fisk’s story was one of the most compelling and intriguing throughout the season, his ending made him appear as a criminal out of his depth. 

This, however, is almost a side thought that sweeps alongside the positives because this show does so many things right that these criticisms are very difficult to remember when watching. With characters as compelling and thoroughly fleshed as these and choreographical sequences that baffle both the eye and the mind, this show is definitely onto a winner. It’s a very positive, confident approach that changes the perceptions of Marvel and the genre. Essentially, it’s a superhero show that is inhabited and absorbed by a particularly rich mystery and crime. While it may lack a strong conclusion, it still warrants a second season – which is also available to watch – and more than justifies a binging session. 

Daredevil Season 1 scores:


Levels (Nintendo Switch Review) – Addictive, Fast Paced Puzzler

With the Nintendo Switch being one of the consoles heavily promoting independent ‘indie’ titles, Levels is a recent addition to the Switch E-shop. This game is a puzzler that is both addictive and fast paced in nature, meant typically for quick sessions and attempts. While it may not be the most content heavy game available, it is still one that is great for any mode of play – home console, handheld or tabletop play. At a reasonably priced £4.99, this game is great fun for all members of the family and provides a simplistic experience that is quite difficult to put down. It’s easy to learn, but very difficult to master. 
The aim of the game is simple: collect as many coins as possible to achieve a high score. If nearby coins are of similar values – for example two yellow ‘1’ squares can form to make one yellow ‘2’ square – they can be joined together to increase the value earned. You want to defeat the enemies in red by blending your blue units together and then collecting the coins you have been working to increase. When there are no more coins available to collect, it is game over. It’s very simple to play and the basics are rather quick to pick up and play, making it a great addition to the Switch library for a family friendly environment. However, as the enemy units begin to increase in strength, you will notice that the difficulty ramps up ever so slightly to a point that is addictive challenging. 

As of right now, the biggest issue is the repetitive and somewhat tedious music that can really bother you when thinking about your next move. It’s only a minor thing and it can be turned off if necessary, but sometimes a bit of music in the background is a warm welcome when playing – just not a repetitive, beating noise that gradually takes its toll of your patience. If there was an option to change the music to a more peaceful, harmonic track, it would make listening to the soundtrack so much more appealing when thinking. 

As for the price tag, it’s it’s very reasonable. At £4.99, this game provides a simplistic experience with a level of depth later on in the game. It may not be the most intricate and content heavy puzzler available, but it does what it says and more than justifies the price. Although you may see a similar game on a smart device – such as 2048 – this is an experience that can be utilised both in handheld mode and on the home console so it once again justifies the purchase.

In conclusion, this is a basic, simplistic game with a strong learning curve that keeps you wanting to come back for more. It may lack material and content, but it still proves that even the simplest of puzzle games can be particularly addictive and entertaining. The soundtrack could do with some work and the addition of HD rumble features would definitely be appreciated, but the reasonable price tag and accessibility justifies this game very well. So far, it’s one of the better puzzlers on the Switch.

Levels scores:


Spiderman: Homecoming Review – A Fun, Light-hearted, Web-Slinging Film

This review contains mild plot spoilers.

Ever since the initial appearance of Tom Holland’s humorous and refreshing Spiderman in Captain America: Civil War, the prospect of a solitary film was always an appealing and attractive one. Despite the many depictions of Peter Parker over the years cinematically, from Tobey Maguire’s original Spiderman to Andrew Garfield’s Amazing Spiderman, the web-slinging hero in this film felt particularly different and original from the predecessors. Homecoming blossomed in the aspect of Peter Parker’s school life and his growing relationship with school friend, Ned, not to mention the aspirational aspect of him idoling Tony Stark. While this movie sometimes relied heavily on Downey Jr’s Stark and his influence towards igniting the fuel in the main villain’s motivational fire, it did add a nice connection to the Marvel Universe. As a debut for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this was a particularly strong and enjoyable contender that warrants a second viewing. 

A particular speciality and brilliance with this film was how it managed to balance the humour, both for younger and older audiences, the action sequences and character development elements. It truly felt like the Spiderman from the comics! They were able to execute the perspective of Peter Parker to a great standard, showing his life at school and his longing for identity as Spiderman. His growing friendship with Ned and his interest in Liz Allen made this film a really different and unique take on what we have come to know of the cinematic web-slinger. It emphasises the perspective of youth and how, at this current time, Peter is in a state of inexperience and blindness towards the wider world and society. He wants to be the hero and wants to prove himself, but this is in the face of youth and premature decisions. This was a particularly refreshing perspective and gave Spiderman a great connection to the cinematic universe. 

Michael Keaton’s depiction of Vulture was very compelling and respectable. Not only did he depict a family man with a daughter and wife – once again making for a sympathetic narrative – that he had to support, but also a lower to middle class citizen that had worked in labour and industry for a large part of his life. His motivation of the movie, that being to seek revenge on those of higher affluence and influence within New York (most notably Tony Stark), once again reinforced the connection to the Marvel Universe. However, the biggest issue with this was that it felt as though Stark was taking a little too much limelight away from the focus of the movie that it detracted from the experience ever so slightly. We’ve seen more than enough of Stark in various other films, so this felt like a cameo appearance that went a little too far. That being said, the Vulture did have a few surprises that won’t be mentioned here for the sake of spoilers. If you’re expecting a very climatic concluding battle, don’t get overly excited because it wasn’t all that present but there were still times where he proved to be a tough for to defeat.

This leads onto my next point: the sense of danger and threat. It appeared to be limited in this movie, to say the least. Only until you get to the finale do you actually believe something may actually happen to Peter, but none of his friends are put in drastic danger to a point where you think they’re going to lose their lives. It all felt rather inconsequential, mainly because this film was trying so hard to nail the character development and relationships early. Whilst I thought the general message of Peter having to find who he truly is in order to become the Spiderman, it would have been quite a nice addition if he was actually having to save someone he cared for (similarly to how all the previous films have). This once again reinforces just how different a film it is from its counter parts, both for better and for worse. 

Something very unestimated and almost unanticipated was the humour in this film. Not only did it broaden the audience and make it a very enjoyable watch for adults and children alike, but it also gave the film a sense that it wasn’t taking itself too seriously. It knew exactly what it wanted to be and executed it almost perfectly. For example, the moment Spiderman tries to sling a web and can’t because of a building not being in sight. It was simple, comedic humour that servd the purpose well of trying to lighten the mood a light and not get weighed down in self-seriousness, especially when mixed with the dramatic and action sequences towards the second act. 

In conclusion, this films a very unique and creative perspective while keeping refreshing and humorous. It’s a great relief to finally have a Spiderman that feels, behaves and looks like he should. If you’re looking for a fun, exciting, character driven, family friendly film, this one is most certainly for you. Whilst it could have had some more consequential sequences and some greater significance with its reveals, this film really does blossom with individuality and character. The action sequences were entertaining, although could have been improved upon, and the overall plot of the film was solid. It’s going to be interesting to see how significant a role Spiderman plays in Infinity War and what will come in the near future.

Spiderman: Homecoming scores: