The Elder Scrolls: Blades
My Game Time: Approx 18 Hours
Released: March 2019
Game Description: From Bethesda Game Studios, the award-winning creators of Skyrim, comes The Elder Scrolls: Blades – a classic dungeon crawler reimagined. The Blades, the Empire’s top agents, are forced into exile. On the run, you return to your hometown to find it destroyed.
New to 1.4 - A new spooky update is now available for The Elder Scrolls: Blades featuring several new additions to enhance your gameplay experience, including celebrating the Witches Festival with new quests, a complete spell overhaul, decorations, and more.
My Summary: A mobile graphical marvel that has great combat and some truly intuitive controls. The visuals have to be the best ever seen on a mobile device. The relentless grind of the monetised system drags the game down slightly, as the game gets harder the temptation to spend more money comes into play. The performance drops also hold the game back from truly achieving a high standard on mobile. This game has an incredible amount of promise and is presented to the best standard seen on a mobile device.
The first thing that will strike you about his game is simply amazing graphics that match and if not even surpass a lot of modern PC titles. The occasional slowdown in performance (discussed in detail later) was noted on my Samsung A70 (A relatively powerful gaming phone), however the 6.7 inch AMOLED screen really allows this game to be appreciated. The main town in the game is very impressive and full of NPC characters that you can interact and attain quests from. The rebuilding of the town is a cool feature allowing you to add houses and develop the infrastructure as you progress and gather resources. This in turn then allows you to buy, sell and craft items from the various industries that you construct. The town feels alive and this really has to be praised as innovative and just downright cool to experience on mobile! The main thing I have to stress with this game is the huge potential that it has to conquer the mobile market, currently it is dragged down by two main issues; performance and the monetised business model. The music in the game is epic in scope and fits the world of the Elder Scrolls perfectly, this is coupled with excellent sound effects in combat and from NPC characters. Everything about the game has a AAA feel that keeps you coming back to explore more and it stands out from a lot of other mobile content.
The controls I found simple and very easy to use, occasionally the game might miss the odd finger strike but in general they are responsive and suitable for long periods of play. And play I certainly did! When I first got this title I could not put it down, playing at every opportunity. This really was the first time that I was focusing on a mobile game over my other PC titles. I found the questing to be fun, dynamic and enjoyed the combat immensely. Fighting humans, spiders, undead and various rats was extremely entertaining and I enjoyed playing sat on the comfort of my sofa. I slowly developed my town into a busy metropolis and was pulled in by the opening of treasure chests and the quest for more loot. The load out of your character makes a massive difference to how you play. The character development is relatively deep for a mobile title and I feel I really needed to focus on my build and what skills and spells I wanted to develop going forward.
The game makes you wait to open chests, you can bypass this by spending a limited amount of gems in game or purchasing more in the shop. This can be a little frustrating and makes the game fall down to the standard monetised practices of mobile games. This didn't ruin my time with the game but I often had to wait for chests to open or buildings to finish before I could progress with my free to play style (The game is totally free and monetised with an in game shop). Sometimes this break was a welcome one and allowed me to come back at a later date to check out my new gear and materials in town. I understand fully that this monetised system keeps you coming back to play but overall id really like to see a mobile game take a different path and release as a full title with an upfront cost. As almost all mobile games follow this format it is unlikely that business practices are going to change anytime soon (they must be a success!).
The combat is fun and fast, but occasionally frustrating if combined with a sudden performance drop. I have noticed since the new patch that the performance has been very poor during quests with my phone also heating up considerably. This can lead to some frustrating moments as the game slows and becomes rather laggy. Mainly this seems to occur in the new quests that have been added recently. I stopped the application and cleared my phones memory but this did not help the situation. Until performance is optimised this remains a frustrating experience. The normal dungeon quests do not suffer from this lag and I can only conclude that the new quests have quite considerable demands on the mobile phone! I would expect decent performance from my Samsung A70 or at least have the option to turn some of the graphics down. Currently this is not available and seems an oversight from the development team. Pushing through the performance drops and the game still shines as an excellent portrayal of Elder Scrolls delivered in a mobile format.
Review Score: 79/100
Overall this game shows an incredible amount of promise, but its not quite delivering as it should just yet. Performance improvements coupled with a fairer way of monetising the game would be most welcome and I look forward to seeing if Bethesda are capable of turning this around. The game has the best graphics I have seen on a mobile game and the gameplay is dynamic and fun and also importantly; extremely addictive! I am going to keep pace with this game and see how it develops for the future. If they fix some of the issues then I am happy to provide a mini update to the review as the game is still in the early access phase of its development.
I have decided to switch to scoring games out of 100 as it allows me some more flexibility in my approach. If you enjoyed this review please get behind it with your up votes which will enable me to produce more content. Please comment with any games you would like to see reviewed next!