After months spent languishing in the dark realm of early access (on mobile, no less), The Elder Scrolls: Blades finally came out in full on Switch yesterday. Bethesda’s free-to-play action role-playing game plays on Switch much like how it plays on iPhone or Android. You take on goblins and bandits in first-person sword-swinging combat. You earn gold and gems for completing quests, and use that currency to build up a shattered town in the badlands of Tamriel. But the big difference is an obvious one: It’s way prettier. Need proof? Just watch the video above.
Of course, Blades is stunning as a mobile game. But the Switch’s hardware naturally elevates the visuals to a near-Skyrim level. Sunlight peeks through trees, the bad guys look like real Elder Scrolls bad guys, and the ramshackle town you’re working to restore bears a strong resemblance to the stone streets of Whiterun (at least compared to the Xbox 360 version). Not too shabby for a mobile-to-semi-mobile port.
The Switch controls, too, are superior to what you get with a phone. As you can imagine, using joysticks and triggers feels better than tapping a touchscreen. But you can use the d-pad to fire off spells and powerful abilities, which makes the combat feel—at least to this Blades newcomer—like it was designed from the ground up for console.
Really, there’s only one drawback: Blades subtly ushers you into its shop, where you can spend real-world money on fake-world unlocks. But this is a free-to-play game. What else did you expect?