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?