I love Skyrim. I love the Elder Scrolls series. I think they're absolute gems of RPGs and have absorbed many thousands of hours from my life. Starting my journey with Daggerfell, if you'd have asked me back then if I thought I'd see a fully 3D interpretation of Skyrim released on consoles and a handheld Nintendo machine, I'd probably spit out my coffee and laugh in your face. But this is now a reality.
The dead horse
Skyrim is one of few games that refuse to die. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim originally released on November 11, 2011 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. It was met by positive reviews and critical acclaim. The game has since been remastered for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC with the Special Edition, which introduced some new graphical effects and texture improvements. Even with the Special Edition running at full settings, the game hasn't aged well in terms of looks or gameplay, notably the combat.
Interestingly, while I see this as an odd release for Bethesda, it also makes perfect sense. Bethesda has yet to find a platform onto which it didn't want to port it. Skyrim on a mobile platform that isn't a smartphone is something that feels natural. Being able to take the world with you wherever you go is something that will take many hundreds of hours to get old.
Skyrim has always attracted gamers with a mix of RPG elements done right, including a vast open world that's full of content, some interesting quests, as well as choices that allow you to do what you want and develop a character. And after six years, we're really yet to get such a game that takes on Skyrim toe to toe. It's a game that cannot be explained to someone who hasn't played it, all you can say is "Go and play it, now."
For the Switch release, as a PC gamer, I'm torn. One half of me enjoys the portability of Skyrim and bringing aboard some handheld console fans who may yet to play an Elder Scrolls game, while the other half of me wants Bethesda to crack on with releasing the next installment.
New coat of paint, same ol' bugs
I didn't pay the full price for Skyrim on Switch. In fact, I picked up a physical copy just so I wouldn't. There's no way I'm paying $60 for a six-year-old game I already own three copies of — and yes I know it has portability. While I'm enjoying Skyrim on the go, my PC will remain the platform for all my adventures simply because of mods. I'm talking visual improvements, new characters, lands to explore, and unofficial bug fixing.
There are still some notable bugs, and that makes the price and even harder ask. Bethesda still relies on third-party mod authors to fix parts of the game, even the Special Edition. Even after all these years, there are still issues with the game that have yet to be fixed. But hey, at least we have the Creation Club, right? Jokes aside, the release on Switch is pretty good.
Performance is fine at a stable 30 frames-per-second and you could say it's between the original Skyrim and Special Edition. But we're talking about an aging game engine and needs some serious work for keeping up with competitors. CD Projekt's Redengine is vastly superior if we're to compare Fallout 4 (runs on the same engine as Skyrim) to The Witcher 3.
We need a new game and a new engine now. No more releases of Skyrim, regardless of how much we enjoy it.
It's time for change
Millions of people have already completed Skyrim's main quest, as well as the hundreds of side missions available. Some have played it twice, thrice, or even more. It's a huge game that commands upwards of 100 hours if you're not walking slowly across the land and as such I find it difficult to see new releases of this game and feel excited. I enjoy the portability that the Switch offers to the game, but that's the console and not Bethesda.
I think it's time for the studio to call it a day with Skyrim. We've got the VR and portable releases, can we please just leave it to rest and move on to a new project?
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.