Bethesda's hugely successful open-world RPG franchise, The Elder Scrolls, is pretty always current in some fashion, even if we've yet to hear anything about a sixth main entry in the series. The now six-year-old classic, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, is getting released once again (complete with the expansions Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn), this time for Nintendo's relatively new and compact but powerful hybrid console, Nintendo Switch. Now, those of you who have previously bested dragons, adopted clingy children off the streets and engaged in political intrigue as the mighty Dragonborn may be wondering why you should care about this? Well, we'd say there's every reason as it turns out Skyrim on the go is the way to go. If the exclusive The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild armor set and the legendary Master Sword and Hylian Shield that go with it doesn't interest you, the fluid gameplay, stunning visuals, and stable frame-rate should do the trick.
When we got to the massive, bright red Nintendo booth at Gamescom we were greeted by the soft, inviting light from a bunch of mounted TV monitors as people played the hottest upcoming titles for the Nintendo Switch and its little brother, the New Nintendo 3DS XL. Most of these games were demos we had already seen or played at E3 earlier this year, but one of the units in the back corner laid undocked in portable mode and that, of course, caught our interest. Once at the console we laid our eyes and hands upon Bethesda's massive RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, watching the action play out on the Nintendo Switch's less-than-massive 720p screen. It not only looked great, it played fantastically.
We got to start our handheld Skyrim experience just after the action packed introduction starring Alduin himself. We hung out in a dark dungeon for a while and got to slice and scorch some spiders while we looked for a way out of the dark tunnels so we could get over to Riverwood with our new found best friend, Ralof. Once out we got to explore the world and try out the fast travel (which had significantly shorter loading times). Important to note is that the combat, traversal, and overall gameplay felt smooth with a steady framerate. Not once did it dip or freeze, the video quality was great, textures were crisp and the small, compact screen really made the visuals stand out.
Nintendo being Nintendo, we will, of course, be getting a version of Skyrim that has amiibo functionality. The collectible figures containing (sometimes exclusive) downloadable content have all been huge hits since they hit the market and it does feel satisfying to register different ones into your console to see what you'll get in game. Of course, it makes sense to put amiibo support in Skyrim as it'll be a selling point for some. We know that multiple amiibo series will be compatible with the game, among these the The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild series, the 30th Anniversary - The Legend of Zelda series, the Super Smash Bros. series, and The Legend of Zelda original series. When registering an amiibo in Skyrim you'll spawn chests containing randomly generated loot much like in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild while specific amiibos will have a chance to spawn special cosmetic items. Apart from the possibility of dressing your Dragonborn up in Link cosplay, the Switch version also lets you play the game using motion controls when in combat, aiming with your bow, wielding your Master Sword, and when picking tricky locks.
Now, the fact that we're getting Skyrim for a Nintendo console is, in itself, absolutely fantastic. The fact that we will have Skyrim at our disposal on the go is even better. The vastness of the game world, the beauty in it, the many characters and otherworldly beings; there are endless possibilities that combine to make up an amazing, huge game and it's now crammed onto a tiny cartridge, running on portable hardware. That's probably the main thing to get excited about here. We're getting a massive open-world RPG (and a great one at that) for a handheld console and we're guessing many fans, both of Bethesda and its Elder Scrolls series and of Nintendo, will be ready and willing to pay to experience this fantastic game in portable mode.