Elder Scrolls: Blades Switch Level 50 Review

So I’ve been playing “The Elder Scrolls: Blades” on my Nintendo Switch for a while now (at the time of review I am at Level 49) and I think it’s time to write this little review to share what I think about this game.

Developed by Bethesda Game Studios, in Elder Scrolls Blade, the player is transported into the Elder Scrolls world in a combat-centric gameplay, fighting all manner of beasts and enemies from the Elder Scrolls Universe. This game is also Google Play Best of 2019, Apple Best of 2019 Game Trend of the Year after its 2019 North America release.

First Impressions

Fans of the franchise would be all too familiar with this title’s other more AAA famous siblings such as Oblivion & Skyrim. Fortunately (Or Unfortunately?) for me, I am not that deep into the Elder Scrolls Universe and have ever been exposed to “Skyrim Addiction” that fans call it, so it was sort of “first time playing in the Elder Scrolls World” gameplay moment for me.

It would also be my first view of the Elder Scrolls Universe after a very long time since Oblivion.

I remember once upon a time I did have the Elder Scrolls Oblivion game for the PS3 but never found the time to play it through properly after the first 5 seconds (you can add that to my personal record of shortest gameplay after starting it up that never got completed!)

Elder Scrolls Blades
Well hidden in my old PS3 game stash… Some say this is the best title among all existing Elder Scrolls but hey I wouldn’t know until I played it!

So I was looking for a free game to play on my Nintendo Switch, and I was actually quite surprised to see it in the downloadable list under “Free Games”. Elder Scroll Blades is a very nice addition to any gamer who would like to have a taste of handheld gaming on the Nintendo Switch, and boy was I not disappointed. It was only much later that I realized that this title has been around since 2019 and was released for Android, iOS, and now Nintendo Switch! How could I have missed this little gem? Go figure.

When the game first loaded on my Nintendo Switch, the splash screen is indeed so minimalistic that it creates the impression that “this is oddly too simple to carry the Elder Scrolls franchise title”, perhaps it was meant to create a sense of mystery instead, or a very arena specific kind of gameplay.

Elder Scrolls Blades
The Splash Screen For Elder Scrolls Blades

So you as the player would start off in a town ravaged by an incident that has something to do with green fire. One of your first quests is to rebuild the town and the story will branch out in many areas that also doubles up as a tutorial / introduction to the world of Elder Scrolls, with backstory and character types that ties in a little to the original lore created on Oblivion.

Elder Scrolls Blades
Race and Character Creation Screen with specific bonuses and advantages. They were featured in the franchise as NPCs and this is a chance for you to play them.
Elder Scrolls Blades
Environment Detail is exceptional quality for “a game made for the handhelds”

“Blades” is what they would call a dragon slayer in this game, and just as the name suggests, you can also expect to meet up with a few of these powerful creatures in the storyline. I am glad that this game does not expect you to be “already deep into the original lore” to be able to enjoy it as a regular player, and really appreciate it as I too get a chance to explore it in my own way.

I haven’t really completed the storyline yet (still collecting the right gear for it) but there lies the challenge in itself. The town should grow as your level grows to enable you to craft good gear and weapons for different kinds of challenges – being in the main / side quests, and also a quaint looking Arena that is more for players who love to play their characters against others in ye old traditional melee combat style.

Elder Scrolls Blades
Quest Map will take you through critical introductions to the game.
Elder Scrolls Blades
Various monsters to defeat and places to loot which makes it quite a fun game.

Gameplay & Controls

Controls on this game can take a while to get used to, being that if you play the handheld way like I did, you’d have to learn to work with the left and right controller’s ZR ZL buttons. Am pretty sure that Android / iOS players would see an onscreen input instead that makes it much simpler, but there is one unique feature on the Elder Scroll Blades that works with Nintendo Switch Joy-Con style of gameplay : Motion Combat Controls. Although usually I could get away with the standard left and right slash combat in game to this point, the idea of a more free form control over the angle of the slash is intriguing but still not necessary to win battles so far.

This is what makes the game easy to get in and get out of, for a quick run or just to satiate the need to find things to kill in a 3D fashion. Fans of the 3D exploration style games (Might and Magic, Hexen, WitchHaven) would love the simplicity of the game when it comes to hunting and seeking treasures or secrets in-game areas. I do have to say I truly enjoyed The Wizard’s Tower side quest and the puzzles in it were quite enjoyable.

Ease of Game Progression

Since I am stuck a little from the main quest in Elder Scrolls Blades, there are still plenty to do in the game that can give you varied gameplay such as Player vs Player (PvP) in the Arena, and also the Abyss mode which tests your mettle against increasingly difficult monsters as you go deeper into the dungeon. And not forgetting there are Jobs and Events to pick up in Elder Scrolls Blades to get previous loot (money, gear, or special currency called Sigils and Gems) that can help you purchase in-game items should you need it. Sigils are great (and only gained from Events) as it lets you access special weapons and armor that otherwise would not be found in the main game.

As you level up your character, you can also gain access to skill trees that give your character a nice buff in either spells, perks or abilities that can be triggered (or passive) during combat. Of course, at the beginning of the game you can easily switch to a base character that gives you some standard perks (there are a total of 10 to select from at the start).

Elder Scrolls Blades
Skill Tree that suits your style of play, whether as a magic-user or melee

The myriad of enemies in the game are quite a sight to behold as you play through the story mode. I initially had trouble fighting though the monsters in the early levels due to very basic weaponry at my disposal, but a quick trip to the Blade Master can give you some pretty useful tips and techniques to overcome in-game combat challenge just to carry you through to the first set of loot that would give you enchanted weapons and armor.

Every monster you see in Elder Scrolls Blades will have some sort of weakness, sometimes a blade or a hammer would not be enough to harm them. I still remember the first time I fought a dragon and it was totally awesome to have the feel of the majestic beast breathing fire / thunder / frost at your direction while you try not to get melted long enough to score some hits. Having those extra potions to beef up your defence and protection does come useful. My favorite starter weapon (if you can get your hands on one) was the Fire Axe with a good fire protection shield, and it came in really handy when you meet the annoying Liches a little further down the game.

Elder Scrolls Blades
The detailed rendering of armor is a definite plus point for me

In the town, you’ll need to spend your money on new equipment, but the good stuff / better gear would only be available when your town reaches a higher tier. So some of your gold budget goes into improving the town via houses, shops and decorations to to increase the Town Level. So far what I found was playing more Arena, going deeper into the Abyss does give you a much healthier gold yield compared to Jobs in game, and that could be a strategy you could use to get ahead. You can also have a Blacksmith & Enchanter’s Tower to craft the weapons you need in exchange for crafting materials (either obtained via loot, or salvage the extra items in your inventory). One thing to note though for new players, every shopkeeper has a limit of “money” to buy items from you if you intend to sell off your extra gear, so you may want to only sell off accessories and rings as these are usually unsalvageable.

You got a group of friends who want to play together? You can try setting up guilds and invite up to 20 players to trade crafting materials and visit each other’s towns. Your guild will also be featured in the global ranking in the Arena Leaderboards, so if you are keen to create an Arena active group or even a group just to help new players out there is still some social freedom in that. If you are new to the game and wanna join my guild, look for “MonkeeVille” in the game (invitation only).

The Elder Scrolls Blades developers do occasionally post updates for the game but according to other players who started earlier on the title, it doesn’t seem very positive that major additions would be added in game. Bethesda Game Studios(which is under ZeniMax Media) was acquired by Microsoft for US$7.5 billion in March 2021 and became part of Xbox Game Studios. And I guess it is still in the middle of sorting out their inventory and road map for this mobile based game title. A quick visit to reddit shows that many fans of the game are still hopeful since Skyrim is going to release an Anniversary Edition in November 2021 (which reminds me I should update My Wishlist For Playstation 5 Games List), and The Elder Scrolls VI is still currently in development, and perhaps it will get a little love as well “after the dust has settled”.

Elder Scrolls Blades
Plenty of dragons to meet up if you reach certain levels in the Abyss
Elder Scrolls Blades
The sprinkling of new monsters in the Daily Events, and a much more satisfying dungeon run once you play the game long enough.

My only gripe with the game is sometimes it tends to have little UI bugs but fortunately the game can be restarted and continued where I left off (if I was in the middle of a quest) and sometimes when the in-game store has an update you might experience a forced exit in the game. Note that this only happens 2% of the time so it’s not “game breaking”, no worries!

Is Elder Scrolls Blades Worth Playing

Although it is simple and not a full-fledged RPG, it’s a good option for those who are looking for a free game to play on their brand new Nintendo Switch Console. Elder Scrolls Blades has the much needed progression through gear upgrades and a little extra environmental and exploration bits in the game that is enough for quick runs and eye catching animations and character designs that can keep you hooked for hours if you choose to.

Download it from Google Play Store | Apple App Store | Nintendo Switch

Official Website: https://elderscrolls.bethesda.net/en/blades

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElderScrollsBlades/

More Information About Elder Scrolls Blades

(This section may contain spoilers, read it at your own risk)

Is The Elder Scrolls: Blades open world?

No. Main Story and Jobs takes place in an isolated level format that either takes you out in a forest or in a castle or underground in a dungeon. Players will complete quests within the level based on challenges or objectives by the quest giver.

Abyss mode is something like a never-ending dungeon mode that rotates between these environments with random monster encounters.

Is Elder Scrolls Blades a full game?

It depends on your definition of what is a “full game”, if in relative terms measured in hours:

  • Main Story Campaign of Skyrim takes most people around 33 hours to complete.
  • Main Story Campaign of Oblivion takes most people around 240.
  • Main Story Campaign of Elder Scrolls: Blades takes most people around 10 hours.

Elder Scrolls Blades is after all designed as an easy bite-sized game designed for mobile and handhelds. However graphically it is equivalently as impressive as its AAA siblings no doubt.

Elder Scrolls Blades
Halloween Mood in the Town in October 2021, proves that there is still updates albeilt a cosmetic ones apart from the current running events.

Run Elder Scrolls Blades on PC?

After a little experimenting with Ryujinx and the NSP version of the game found online, it seems that the base game itself won’t start up without an active Internet Connection. Nox Emulator won’t let you download the app from the Google Playstore directly, and even if you did manage to get an apk it would not install on the Nox Emulator as well.

Does Elder Scrolls Blades Work Offline

You will need an active internet connection to play Elder Scrolls Blades. Remember to turn off airplane mode before starting the game on your Nintendo Switch / Phone.

Table Of Weakness of Common Monsters

Just thought this would be useful if you needed a quick reference.

Elder Scrolls Blades Monster Weakness cheatsheet for your convenience, you don't want to run into them unprepared!
Monster Weakness cheatsheet for your convenience, you don’t want to run into them unprepared!

How To Get Elder Scrolls Blades Town Level 10

Work on more Jobs / Arena / Abyss to get much-needed upgrade materials and loot for the town, and do note that other than new buildings for your town (which adds a significant amount of points), you can also choose to upgrade your existing buildings (and town walls) for less points and money.

Elder Scrolls Blades Light vs Heavy Armor

If you need multiple boosts in your combat style and are not fond of packing too many potions or amulets in your inventory, you might want to invest in Light Armor instead. Just be aware that it may not be as strong as Heavy Armor against double wielding opponents, and you cannot mix armor pieces to qualify for the “Matching Set” perk for your character. Just take note that shields does not count as part of a “Matching Set” so you could invest in a light shield as a counter tactic.

Elder Scrolls Blades Jobs vs Abyss

In my personal opinion, Jobs is more fun to play than Abyss, simply because you can discover hidden secrets (if that job happens to indicate there is a secret location, which means you get extra loot), like a mini treasure hunting experience. Abyss on the other hand is all about “how long you can last” in which you will travel deeper and deeper into the levels without much of a chance of survival through food littered around the levels haha. But I have to admit when it comes to the amount of gold that you could accumulate, playing Abyss does pay off better and much more consistently as long as you have the right gear.

Elder Scrolls Blades One Handed vs Two Handed

You can play either “sword and shield” or “dual wield”, and I would suggest meeting up with Henrik Seven-Swords for some lessons for each fighting style. He is just by the castle gate towards the west side of town, and he will give you one of his prized swords as a starter weapon. I have been playing the “sword and shield” approach with some abilities for shield bashing and it worked quite well for me in most scenarios for Jobs and Quests. However, it is best to have 1 or 2 Two-handed weapons in your inventory in case you meet a few opponents in the Arena as I observed that it had the best winning chance in most cases in Elder Scrolls Blades.

Elder Scrolls Blades Magicka or Stamina

I was playing as the Breton race as they seem to be well suited to the combat style, and it seems that you can change your looks (and character) after unlocking Theodor Gorlash from the in-game quests. You would want to consider using Elven Armor as it has innate magical boosts as a spell caster, based on what I have seen so far. During combat, there is always a way to counter both types of combat styles, example lightning tends to lower your magicka points and would stop you from casting stronger spells in consecutive actions, and in my case a shield block is more than enough to stun me in my tracks and there are weapons that also reduces my stamina reserves. Pack an extra potion just in case!

Elder Scrolls Blades Sell or Salvage

I have used salvage for most of my early levels as I noticed that tempered weapons do give much better stats compared to “newly found better quality equipment” when I was in the in-game Quests. Of course, the higher level tempered equipment would need plenty of upgrade material (not to mention rare gemstones), which can be obtained by salvaging old unused weapons, or if you are part of a guild you can buy it off your guild members for a price. Also take note that all shops in-game have a limited amount of money and they may not be able to pay you even when you sell it to them. Decide to keep it with you? Remember to expand your inventory either by the “Load Bearer” perk or just pay for space with gems.

Elder Scrolls Blades Temper or Enchant first

I usually decide based on my current equipped gear. In the game you are allowed to preset up to 5 different loadouts so that you can switch during combat for different scenarios, and knowing what works for you and particular type of elements works best for me. Also, another thing that would change my mind is how long it would take to temper or enchant the equipment. If I am in the middle of binge playing some Quest or some time limited Event I’d take a look and see whether I could still make it in time.

Elder Scrolls Blades Spells or Abilities

Spells require Magicka, so it’s best to choose a race that has extra advantage for that. Elves (except Wood Elf) are particularly good at causing extra damage or extra magicka regeneration. You would also need to prepare yourself with the various different spell elements and decide the best approach upon going into battle. During the game, I usually would observe from far which monster am I fighting next to make sure I have the right gear and spells ready. Usually after a few round of the game you can make out some clues of the “upcoming” monster, but the toughest is the dragons as you don’t know until you start the fight most of the time!

Is Elder Scrolls Blades pay-to-win?

If you are playing the Arena against other players, you would find that some have invested in better gear via in-game purchases. There is a built in Sigil Shop in Elder Scrolls Blades that is designed to let you have access to special weapon and armor that definitely will give you an edge in battle, some of which are slim to obtain even if you have the highest level of tempering or enchantment in your town. However, some veteran players did say that it is quite possible to win in the Arena with normal gear, all it takes is good control over the combat flow : use the shield, cast protection spells or wards… the obvious stuff before you go mano to mano. My experience in the Arena was not too bad really, occasionally I do see “impossible to beat” opponents but I don’t let them spoil the other opportunities where I score some wins for myself.

Posted by Wycoconut

Join my Gaming Channels for more Awesome Games: Monster Hunter Rise / World, Gundam Games, Metal Slug / Super Mario Bros. 2, God Of War. Sometimes a bit of Vintage, Mobile Games, PS3 / PS4 / PC / Wii Titles stashed in deep in the bowels of my gaming chest... All For Good Fun!