People give Skyrim a lot of grief for a lot of different reasons, many of them valid, but you can’t deny that many people continue to pour their lives into it to this day. Why? For fun, I guess, but also for the rich lore, the secrets, the mods, the various character builds you can make. Hell, I’ve played a lot of Skyrim in my time, and I thought I knew a lot about it – but a simple trip to YouTube and a few top 10 secrets videos enlightened me to just how many hidden depths the game has. I’m talking about things like certain magic spells, dragon shouts, and standing stones powers that feed into each other in ways I would have never thought to try; secret ways of finishing some quests I would never have occurred to me; and even some hidden, super-tough, raid-style bosses you can only find by doing very specific things – which I have no idea how anyone figured out.
These videos, and some fascinating lore ones, began to slowly whet my appetite for the game again, and the perfect opportunity to give it another go has just arrived. Obviously I’m talking about Skyrim on the Nintendo Switch, which I downloaded last Friday and played the entire weekend. If you want to install it, you’ll need to free up 15GB of space on your Switch – that’s half the internal storage of the machine. But I bought a 128GB microSD card specifically for Skyrim and Doom, so it should last me a few more games.
So how is it? Well, unlike Doom, which obviously had to be scaled back a bit to run on the Switch’s hardware (although the devs did a damn good job with it), Skyrim is much less graphically intensive, being what? Six… seven years old? As such, the Switch has no problem handling it graphically. It’s looks great and runs smoothly, even in those rare instances when you’ve got upward of a dozen characters on screen at once. There doesn’t appear to be any difference in performance when the Switch is docked or undocked, although my eyes are starting to feel their age reading the tiny text on the small screen. An option to make the text bigger would have been nice, but then this would probably screw with Skyrim’s UI design.
Apart from that, it’s the same old Skyrim we remember, with all the quests, factions, add-ons and of course, bugs that we all remember. You know, it would be nice if Bethesda fixed these bugs, especially for a console release where we can’t hit the tilde key to fix the developer’s muck-ups like you can on the PC version. You’ll almost certainly end up with a quest you can’t finish or an item you can’t get rid of – you know, OCD-aggravating things. For instance, I did the entire Companions quest – you know, the one where you become a werewolf and that guy named Skjor dies. Anyway, I had Aela as my companion and I had a sidequest which bugged out – but checking online told me I could at least fail the quest and get it out of my log by killing the quest giver, which I did. Unfortunately Aela saw this and ran off and I was arrested and fined. After that I went back to the Companions’ home, Jorrvaskr, to get Aela back. But upon walking in, all the Companions attacked me, even though I paid the fine, and Skjor was apparently so affronted by my act of murder he came back from the frickin’ dead to punish me.
Oh, Skyrim, I wish I knew how to quit you. Unlike Doom, however, there are some Nintendo extras added in. For starters, you can use Amiibos to get items once per day. I don’t own any bloody Amiibos, and I don’t ever intend to. Luckily, the only items I would care to acquire, the Zelda-themed Master Sword, Shield and Champion’s Armour, can be acquired without the use of an Amiibo – you just have to reach Paarthurnax first and they’re in a chest nearby.
And once again, just like Doom, Skyrim on the Switch is missing the Bethesda Creation Club option, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s such an abomination anyway, and every new decision Bethesda makes about paid/unpaid mods just seems to piss everyone off. I wouldn’t mind having it just for the script fixing mods which fix a lot of things – like the bugged quests you can’t complete – and some of the more interesting mods are nice, such as the survival one that adds a cold mechanic to the game, but I’m happy enough with Skyrim in its out-of-the-box form, especially with all the add-ons.
So is it good? Well, that depends. Did you like Skyrim? Would you like to play it again in a portable form? If you’re like me, then the answer is yes and it might be worth buying the game just one more time.