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

Advertisements

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.

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: