Skyrim for Switch Review: Adventure Anywhere!

In today’s post, I will be going over my Skyrim for Switch Review, how it is different from past versions of Bethesda’s epic RPG, and whether or not it is worth getting.

Skyrim is one of those epic RPGs that I hold very dear to my heart, along with every other Elder Scrolls game ever. When it first came out in 2011, it was one of those games that I ended up playing for hours on end. Despite the dozens of hours that were sunk into that game, I still continued to find new things over the years.

It’s hard to believe that Skyrim is now six years old, and is still very much relevant. You know that Bethesda did a good job on a game when people continue to enjoy it over the years.

Sure there might be some people who will complain about Bethesda’s “milking” of the series, but the truth is Bethesda is doing what they can to help make their customers happy. They also have a new studio in Montreal, so they’ve been working on spending their manpower to work on other projects.

However, this is not a rant about a company’s tactics or business practices. This is a little discussion about their newest iteration, just released for the Nintendo Switch.

For myself, the very big selling point is the portable gaming aspect that the Switch itself provides. Forbes described it best: “You can take it with you.”

As I once mentioned in a previous post, I never truly understood the joys of portable console gaming until I had started playing the Switch. The ability to take a console game anywhere with you is among the best things I’ve ever come to experience. Taking Skyrim with you on an IRL adventure is impressive in itself. You can play games on the toilet 😛

Graphics and Performance

The Nintendo Switch is not as powerful as the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4, so one would expect the graphical capabilities of Skyrim to be a bit of a downgrade. Truth is the difference isn’t as great as one would think.

When the Nintendo switch is docked, it plays at 900p, or a 1600 x 900 screen resolution. When it is in portable mode, the screen resolution is 720p, or 1280×720. It’s not an overly big difference, as it is a smaller screen anyways. 

There are a few noticeable visual differences between the Switch version and the more powerful consoles. The draw distance for shadows, foliage, and other objects is a little bit shorter on the Switch.

In the end, the Switch version of Skyrim still plays well regardless of whether you are playing it in portable mode or in docked mode.

One thing I have noticed is that the loading times are a little bit long. I’ve seen them average around 20 seconds, which is more or less the same wait time I’ve come to expect on my modded version of Skyrim, which was chock full of graphical mods and texture packs.

A less powerful console usually means less performance, right? It’s the opposite in fact. Between the PlayStation 4 and the Switch, both versions of the game are capped at a solid frame rate of 30 FPS. I could not confirm if this is the same on the Xbox One, so I may need to test that out later. Having a capped frame rate ensures that both versions of the game will run at more or less the same level of performance. Keep in mind that the Nintendo Switch has more RAM than the PlayStation 3, which was able to run Skyrim, so it should be assumed that the Switch should be more than capable of handling the game even during parts where there have been reported issues with performance on the older consoles.

Despite a few graphical differences, they will not get in the way of gameplay, so you will still have lots of fun playing Skyrim on the Switch.

For a company known for releasing some buggy games at launch, Bethesda has done well, for I have yet to encounter any bugs or glitches. 

Gameplay is as smooth as you would expect. The Switch version makes good use of the Joy-Con controllers to play the game. You can swing the Joy-Cons just as you would a sword, and your character will do the same on screen. You can even use the Joy-Cons to pick locks and aim a bow, also very handy features. 

Personally, I prefer the old-fashioned controller over the Joy-Cons, but maybe that’s just because I’ve been used to a controller for so long. The motion controls feel more like a gimmick than anything else, but you can disable them if you like.

Exclusive to Nintendo: Legend of Zelda gear!

One feature that is exclusive to the Nintendo switch is an assortment of items that let you look like Link from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The items available are the Master Sword, Hylian Shield, and the Champion’s Tunic. These are the only ones I know of so far, and are probably the only ones anyways.

You can find these items in chests around Skyrim, or if you have amiibos, you can scan them for a chance to obtain these items. It’s really cool to see a realistic version of gear from a not so realistic world, but they are for the most part a novelty item. Most Skyrim gamers tend to wear the best armor, so depending on the stats of these items, you’ll either use them for looks or place them on display racks in a house. Still, you get to look like Link!

The game also comes pre-loaded with all of the DLC packs that Bethesda has released which is a nice addition, and considering the age of Skyrim, it may as well be expected.

Cons

As much as I like to praise this game for all of the great things that it has, it isn’t without its setbacks. No game is ever truly perfect in my opinion.

For starters, this version of Skyrim has no mod support, which is understandable. The Switch version is not marketed as the Special Edition of Skyrim, so it does not come with Bethesda.net mod support or the Creation Club.

The retail price of Skyrim is pretty high, on par with that of other AAA Nintendo Switch titles at launch. Most games release at $60 for most platforms, but it seems that most of the games released on the Switch are being marketed at slightly higher prices. And for a game that has been around for over 5 years, that’s a little unfortunate.

Still, don’t let the price tag detract you from enjoying the game, for Skyrim offers a ton of content. This game has a lot to offer, and you will no doubt get your money’s worth.


So to wrap all this up, the question of whether or not you should buy it is pretty obvious. I would recommend this game to anybody who has never played the Elder Scrolls before. Or anybody who has never owned a PlayStation or an Xbox. It seems like an obvious suggestion, and it pretty much is. Nintendo fans are among the most loyal fans that I’ve come to know. As far as I’m aware, there may not be very many of them that have yet to play an Elder Scrolls game.

On the other hand, if you already own Skyrim on the other consoles, you may want to take a pass. The Switch version of Skyrim gives you nearly everything that the other consoles provided alongside the portable aspect. The major selling point for the Switch in my honest opinion is its portability, so you should base your decision on that alone.

If you really feel compelled to play it on the Switch, I would recommend waiting for at least a sale or a drop in price. This is an old game on a new console, which doesn’t quite justify the high price in my opinion.

In the end, if this is a game that you have yet to play, I would highly recommend playing this regardless of the console you have. This is a drop dead amazing game with loads of content, and you will not be bored for quite some time.


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