At a recent Bethesda event, I went hands-on with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Switch Edition, among other games you’ll hear about in the coming weeks. I sat down on a (comfy) couch, was handed a Switch in handheld mode (docked mode wasn’t there), and given about 30 minutes to just do whatever I wanted.
I was put at just past Skyrim Switch’s tutorial, with my female Nord right at level six. With my mace in one hand and lightning magic in the other, I was set on my way. I could’ve followed the main quest, done some side quests, or simple chatted with random NPC’s. I, of course, opted out of all of those in hopes of wrecking as much as Nordly possible. It wasn’t my save file, anyways.
Perhaps a symptom of what I was doing just before playing Skyrim Switch (again, more on that in the near future) or simply because I haven’t entered the massive open world world since 2012, but I was shocked right off the bat at how the game has not aged well at all in the years since. That’s ironic, because I remember my surprise at how good it actually looked back in 2011.
The texture on the flora looked the worst graphically, as well as the lighting caused characters to look exceptionally bright. The draw distance was also noticeably limited. But by far the biggest concern, though, was how small the font was in handheld mode.
Considering the main draw of Skyrim Switch – other than the novelty of finally seeing a Bethesda title on a Nintendo system – is taking it on-the-go, this is rather unfortunate. I quickly got back into my muscle memory of navigating the menus, but it was still a strain to read. Hopefully, the fonts are made larger between now and its release.
Past all of those issues, there is no doubt that Skyrim Switch is a marvel to play. I had the joy of running from Riverwood to Whiterun to halfway to Markarth, causing absolute mayhem along the way. I broke into a poor family’s farm, stealing their weapons probably meant for self-defense, unsuccessfully attacked Whiterun guards, ran away from said guards, was sent to prison after being caught by those same guards, and ended my playtime purposefully dying to a mammoth.
The controls for Skyrim Switch haven’t changed at all since its release, so for players that have gotten used to recent modern games – like even its sister title Elder Scrolls Online – will have to readjust to its rather archaic scheme, as that was another hump I had to get over.
Though my Skyrim Switch preview had its share of issues, I am still just as hopeful for its release. Even disregarding the small font, I felt emotionally torn as I was pulled away from the game right when I was just getting back into what made me love that game the first time.
The core game that does seem to be a modified version of Special Edition (but no confirmation yet) is all there exactly how you remember or know it to be. That alone has me anticipating the chance to play it again anywhere with a brand new character with weapons I didn’t have the first go-around. I absolutely can’t wait to fall in love with Skyrim again on Switch when it releases on November 17th.