The Elder Scrolls: Blades loading screen on Nintendo Switch

If you haven’t read my intro post to this series, I have decided to play Metacritic’s worst-rated video games of 2020. I find bad movies and games pretty funny, so I was excited to dive in. The first game I started with was The Elder Scrolls: Blades on Nintendo Switch. It was initially developed for mobile phones and then ported to the Switch. It achieved a whopping 42 by reviewers. Let’s try it!

I wound up playing the game for a couple of hours, and my impression is that it didn’t get a fair shake. The game isn’t really that bad. The graphics are decent, and the environments look nice, though I’m sure they can get repetitive. If it wasn’t titled “The Elder Scrolls,” I think it would have gotten a slightly more favorable review. Sure, if you compare it to Skyrim or other mainline games in the series, it’s worse. You need to remember that this game was developed first for mobile and a much more casual audience. It was meant for you to play on your commute. So instead of a massive open-world and sprawling quests, they’re short little dungeon runs. 

The Elder Scrolls: Blades – Launch Trailer – Nintendo Switch

Most quests start at Rivercrest, a destroyed town. You leave town to gather materials, kill enemies, rescue townsfolk, etc. Then you can use those materials to rebuild the broken-down town. Understandable that this can feel monotonous over time, but that is the game’s mobile roots showing. Another place they show through is in the controls. They’re a little weird, but not all that bad. If it was developed for Switch first, the quests might be a little more engaging, and controls might be a little more standard.

There’s a pay-to-play and loot box system, also pretty common in mobile and free-to-play games. There are even occasional pop-ups prompting you to buy some “limited time” items from the shop. I’ve grown accustomed to ignoring this, so it didn’t bother me too much.

With all that said, will I continue to play it? Maybe if I get bored. Would I suggest that you play it? Probably not unless you’re a huge Elder Scrolls fan or looking for a free, casual dungeon crawler. Do I think it’s one of the worst games of 2020? No, I don’t entirely agree here. It really isn’t so bad. There are much worse games out there, and at least nine more on this list. It’s free, so you can try it yourself and let me know what you think.

Check back soon for a write-up of Gleamlight on Nintendo Switch, the next game on the list.