My first review of an Elder Scrolls game….and it’s THIS. Find out why you SHOULD’NT play it!
Played on: Switch
Also on: iOS, Android (if your phone can even run it!)
Developer: Bethesda Game Studio
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
I’ve taken an arrow to the knee, and I can’t get up.
Date posted: December 8, 2020
Hey, another review! Now you can’t say I don’t post anything! Ha ha…..heh…..
Anyway, I’m sure if you know about the Elder Scroll series of games, or for those who are not in the know, the Skyrim series (you’d be surprised how many people think the whole series is called Skyrim. SAD!). Any hoo, the series started back on the PC with Arena, which was supposed to be a first person fighting game (crazy, right?) but was slowly transformed to a CRPG as development went along. After that, they released the massive and crazy Daggerfall, which is the best Elder Scrolls game. No, I did not stutter. I mean it.
What we know as Elder Scrolls truly took form with it’s third entry Morrowind, which had a large open almost alien-like fantasy world full of quests, loot, and characters that was pretty ground breaking for it’s time, and helped transform the entire genre of open world rpgs as we know them today. Indeed, you can pretty much go anywhere and do anything in Morrowind- hell, you can even kill most npcs (if your powerful enough) which could doom your character to a world where you couldn’t progress the story or questline- which the game always telling you this every time an important character dies- again, a neat feature that was ahead of it’s time!
The series would improve further with Oblivion, which introduced much better combat and lots of quality of life changes, but also had a somewhat downgraded setting (we go from a unique almost alien like world to generic Tolkien fantasy) but was still very much developed and fun to mess around in. Then there’s Skyrim, which helped the series pretty much gain immortality, which it’s somewhat streamlined gameplay and mechanics helped expand the game to a wider audience. This was both a good and bad thing, which is a review for another day….
So what am I getting at? Well, I wanted you to be up to speed before talking about today’s subject. You see, the ES series was all about certain things- making your own character, your own build, you own story, as you explore massive worlds filled with dungeons and lands at your own leisure (for the most part). They are unique experiences that are almost infinity replayable for the sheer amount of content and scope. So you know what a series like this needs? A dumbed down, simple dungeon crawler with a shit load of timers, loot boxes, and a repetitive nature that will make you say “I’m so glad I didn’t pay money for this garbage!” I welcome you to The Elder Scrolls: Blades- the worst Elder Scrolls game thus far!
I guess I should go over the game right here, since most of it is, *SPOILERS* going straight into the CONS sections of the review. You pick your race, like in other ES games…..and that’s about it. All your class stuff is done on the skill tree, and there’s not a lot of room for builds. For example, getting a bow for a rogue character is lacking- the game has most of it’s emphasis on sword play, which is done by swiping you screen or your joycons (thankfully, you can usually normal controls if you want). So let’s get right into it!
It looks alright, for the most part. Not as good as Skyrim, but even I know that this game was made for phones, so seeing the game blown up on the big screen using my Nintendo Switch, I knew it wasn’t going to be the bees knees, but it at least looks like an Elder Scroll game! The sound design is there too, as again, it sounds like an Elder Scrolls game should.
The combat…isn’t terrible, but I need more freedom. Every time you face an enemy, your forced to fight it one on one like it was a weird turned based RPG, with you pretty much taking turns to hack at each other. Magic works pretty good as well (though some spells just feel useless). There’s even a rock paper scissors system you always seen in RPGS that isn’t usually present in the main games (other then Dark Elves taking less fire damage and what not) where certain enemies take damage from certain elements. For example, humanoid characters are susceptible to poison, while lighting and shock do a lot of damage to skeletons. It works alright!
One of the main highlights of the game, at least for me, is the little town you get to not only rebuild, but customize as well! You can place shops and houses where ever you like, almost like as if it’s a first person version of Simcity or something. Not only that, but you can customize the look (well, if you have enough resources, that is) and even place statues and do-dads in certain spots to give your town it’s own look. If not mistaken, you can even visit other players towns… but I haven’t really tried it.
Dungeons are lackluster (Just see CONS. You know that’s why you clicked on this review!) but have some neat features like secret rooms with loot and what not. There’s also a cool feature that let’s you fight though a never-ending dungeon called the Abyss, where you earn better loot the deeper and deeper you go. Nice!
But that’s all the good things I could say……
Where do I even begin with this?
Let’s start with the absolutely abhorrent dungeon design. In a typical Elder Scrolls game, you come across dungeons of different shapes and sizes. You got caves, castles, actual dungeons, forts, ruins, and hell, even sometimes different dimensions like Oblivion and what not! In Blades you got a cave, fort, forest, ruins from Oblivion….. and that’s about it. Yep…. there is NOT a lot of variety here. Worst still is that this dungeons look all the same- by the time I came across a fort for the third or forth time, it was already clear that this was going to be the entire game- the same handful of dungeons over and over again. The game is supposed to be procedurally generated, but you could have fooled me, seeing how each dungeon has EXACTLY THE SAME LAYOUT! Sure, there are some unique dungeons here and there….. but those are usually one off dungeons for the games main quest. This is some of the worst, most boring dungeon crawling I have ever seen in a Elder Scrolls game!
Everything has a timer attached to it, in typical mobile game fashion. Want to upgrade a shop or house? Timer. How about a weapon? Timer. Brew potions? Timer. Yes, some of the timers make some since, like those attached to daily quests, but events are timed poorly as well. I swear to god, some of these special timed events go on a the wee hours of the early morning. Oh, and you can bet your ass they make them hard as hell so you don’t get the best loot out of them. Aren’t mobile games just FUN!? But hey, if you have gems, you can speed up all the processes, which can go up to 24 hours or more…. which require a lot of gems. Better pull your wallet if you want that cobblestone townhouse, bucko! How else are you going to level up your town… just playing the game normally? PFFFFFFFF! AS IF! Wait or pay- make your choice.
PvP is broken. Why? You can use whatever armor and weapons you want, even if they’re not balanced. Get ready to get one shot’d by someone wearing daedric armor in the arena, as there is no attempt at matching players to your level. This makes PvP practically unplayable at low levels. Why even bother implementing something that only late game players can even attempt. This is something A LOT of games do now in days- especially racing games. For example, PvP in the Crew 2 (review forthcoming someday) and Need For Speed: Heat (whole EVENT coming someday. That’s right…. I’m reviewing ALL OF THEM!) is practically unplayable without having the most expensive car in their respective game with max stats. Same principle here, but now, you have to GRIND for it!
Of course there’s a grind- it is, after all, a mobile game at the end of the day! Not only do you have to grind up your level in order to forge new armor and weapons, but you have to level up your entire town by adding buildings and upgrading your shops. These upgrades require a lot of resources and gold the further you go into the game, to the point where you’re doing dungeons over and over again to get the gold and hopefully the resources needed to level up everything. However, you’ll eventual run out of daily dungeons on the job board and hit a wall when you finally get to a dungeon you can’t progress though because your gear sucks… so now, you have to wait a day, do the daily dungeons, maybe upgrade something, then do it all again until finally your loot is good enough. Then you start the whole process again, doing the same dungeons and everything….until you just do what I did, and uninstall the game and go back to Skyrim or ESO, or even Fallout 76. Just anything to escape from this tripe!
It runs okay on the Nintendo Switch…. but good luck having a good enough phone to run it! You might have to shell out a billion jillion dollars on the newest iphone or Samsung Galaxy Whatever just to play the damn thing, as less powerful phones aren’t up to snuff! I don’t have to say it, but I am- it’s not worth the upgrade!
Oh, and you can bet your ass there are microtransactions! Want a legendary chest, which has a guaranteed legendary weapon or armor? 2500 gems. Sure, you can get gems from playing the game….but that’s going to take a while… a LONG while. Your lucky if you get one or two gems a dungeon. Oh, and your not guaranteed anything good- yeah, it’s quality may be Legendary, but the loot itself may NOT be! Maybe your swordsmen will get a gauntlet that increases his magicka, or your mage will get a shoe that increases his strength. That’s $20 down the drain- said $20 could be used to buy both Skyrim: Legendary Edition AND Oblivion: GOTY Edition on Steam during a sale. So which is the better deal- infinitely replay able games, or a useless piece of armor or weapon that you might use for a few dungeons before scrapping completely? Just… don’t buy ANYTHING if you play this game, which should be for the morbidly curious, and no one else!
Did you know you can play Morrowind on your phone? You need the files from the original game, which goes on sale all the time on places like GOG and Steam. Do that instead of wasting bandwidth and precious phone space on this lazy, boring grindfast. Sure, it may have a cool town building mechanic, but it’s not worth the awful copy and pasted dungeons, the insipid grind, the unfair PvP (which is pretty much pay-to-win) and all the timers that pretty much tell you to go play a much better game, like Skyrim. Hell, Daggerfall is free. Just go play that instead!
And no- the excuse “it’s a free phone game!” isn’t an excuse. There are plenty of games that are better then this tripe that are free! This brings me to my sponsor, Raid: Shadow Legends, a- just kidding. You couldn’t pay me to shill for that trash! Probably still a better game then this, though!
I’m going to use this space form now on to tell you what I’m working on. I got my Retroid Pocket 2 and plan to do a very in-depth dive into it, with a lot of analysis on what it runs well and what it doesn’t do. Also still working on that shovelware GBA ranking list, among other things. PEACE!
Agree? Disagree? Good! Leave a comment about how terrible my taste is in the comments below!