The Elder Scrolls: Blades is an upcoming mobile game set in The Elder Scrolls universe and will help to expand the franchise in entirely new directions for fans both new and old. Here’s what we thought of the games current build using a supplied iPhone device.
The lobby is full, the air is ringing out, but there is one thing for certain. I’ve been eagerly awaiting to get my hands on The Elder Scrolls: Blades since the announcement Todd Howard made during his E3 appearance on the behalf of Bethesda Game Studios and Bethesda as a whole.
I was iffy at first hearing that one of my most beloved franchises would be heading to mobile devices in the very near future. After all, I was hesitant about The Elder Scrolls: Legends becoming a mobile game as I was already reeling from my return to Hearthstone just months prior to the deployment of TES: Legends.
Now that I’m sold on one and uninstalled the other, I’ve already begun to become curious about Bethesda’s next endeavor – a mobile RPG. After all, I’ve seen this done before and to be honest – I didn’t have a great experience. Granted, it wasn’t a Bethesda title that was tested, tested, and tested quite a bit more.
So now, here I am, holding an iPhone device with some wireless headphones over my ears and the subtle music of an all-too-familiar place once more plays. I was given the choice to choose from one of two dungeons – a forest or a castle – and knowing me, I played them both. I played them both a total of 14 times each over the course of my three days on the showroom floor.
First and foremost, The Elder Scrolls: Blades appears just as what it is – a mobile experience made with mobile gamers in mind. Just as one would expect, the level designs were extremely linear, leading me to walk down narrow corridors and pathways, breaking glowing objects in order to retrieve treasures worth their weight in value, and fighting creatures ranging from goblins to skeletons while I explored about. It’s pretty simple really, but it’s effective, and it managed to keep me glued to its entertaining loop.
The movement systems put into play themselves were quite simple to learn. If you don’t want to use the onscreen joystick system, you could simply tap on the screen where you wanted to go. When engaged in combat, the camera would reposition itself to track my foe, putting them instantly right before me so that I could tap and hold the screen, smacking them with my sword when the circle completely filled with a smaller circle than itself.
Once that circle filled, let go, but not without proper timing. Holding the attack for too long would make my weapons damage have a reduced effect and it wouldn’t be near as impactful as it could have been had I released it at the proper time. Past that you have things such as your shield, which you can put up to deflect an enemy attack before returning their own assault with a counterattack of your own.
You even have abilities that you can use, but each of these abilities used magicka or your stamina on its own. These abilities ranged from a shield bash and a lightning bolt. Each ability does feature its own “cooldown” meter that you will have to manage, which puts you in a spot where you may or may not want to blow your abilities all at once on a single target.
Combat itself was smooth, enjoyable, and felt as if it was meant to be. It didn’t even lose that traditional The Elder Scrolls pacing as fighting can be a fast and furious affair depending on the foes you fight. Outside of combat, dungeon diving is a delightful endeavor. Hitting a gold container such as a vase, a barrel, or even a box was rewarding in its very own right.
The camera pans to what you’ve targeted just as it would in combat and before long, your hero swings at the object only to crack it open and plunder the loot it contains. But what really stood out the most wasn’t how the game actually played, but rather, its audio and visual designs.
Graphically speaking, the game is amazing looking. It actually does what it intends to do and offers a console-quality experience while on the go. It isn’t muddied, it isn’t hideous, but it isn’t the greatest either. It’s on par with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for Nintendo Switch, which to say the least, is astonishing for a mobile title. Whether you play it vertically or horizontally, the game is visually appealing, and it doesn’t draw itself back in anyway in order to play in one medium or the other.
Audio wise, the game is spot on and doesn’t skip a beat whether it’s the hitting a skeleton with your sword and hearing it reel back from the blow or a goblin when you bop it upside the head with your shield. Heck, even the breaking of a barrel sounds spot on and was a joyful experience. What really brought it home though? The fact this mobile game isn’t looking to be that single-time game where it’s a one and done affair.
I continually came back for more, exploring each of the available dungeons a few times over, looking for something I may have missed the first time around. The overall experience was well polished and looked as if it was already prepping for an early access launch, which players can dive into later this year by heading to the official Early Access sign-up page for The Elder Scrolls: Blades in order for you to get your chance to play it early on Androids and iOS when it becomes available.
Since the games current build was made specifically for QuakeCon 2018 and other showcase events, we can’t speak fully on how well the game will function when PvP launches, more dungeons are made available, and other features make their way into the wild. But what we can say? We’re excited to see what the game has to offer when it makes its way to the public later this year.
Keep tuned to us here at Blast Away the Game Review as we’ll keep you updated once more information is released about the upcoming game.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.