After a very long wait, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the Nintendo Switch is finally here, and here is everything different about it.
For the first time in history, Skyrim is officially running on a handheld device. When Nintendo revealed the Nintendo Switch console 8 months ago, the biggest eyebrow-raising thing was the fact that it could run Skyrim. While more impressive titles have been announced or already ported to the system, it's still fascinating nonetheless.
The Nintendo Switch Edition of the game differs from the original Skyrim from 2011 and Skyrim Special Edition in a handful of ways.
Certainly, the biggest difference you'll find in the game while comparing it to other platforms is the unfortunate lack of mods. The PC version and even the Xbox and PlayStation versions of the game support mods out of the box while the Nintendo Switch edition is stuck with the vanilla experience. We've reached out to Bethesda for comment on the lack of mods on Nintendo's platform and we'll update the article once we get new information.
Skyrim for the Switch looks worse than on the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, but you shouldn't be surprised by that statement. The console is way weaker as it sacrifices power for portability. Still, the game looks fairly well. It's like a mix between the 2011 Skyrim and Skyrim Special Edition. There is advanced depth-of-field like in the Special Edition; however, lighting and shadowing compare more to high settings on the Original Skyrim.
While running the game undocked, on the console, the game runs at a resolution of 720p which is more than enough for the small screen of the Switch. When you dock the console, the game changes its output resolution to 1080p in order to look better on the big TV screen.
The game looks definitely better than the original game on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, however, while docked, the game suffers from some frame drops from time to time, which wasn't the case on the older generation consoles. While undocked, the game runs at an average of 30 frames per second (FPS), which feels reasonably smooth even if you're used to a smoother 60FPS experience.
Settings and options
Skyrim for the Switch features things like quicksave, which was introduced in the Special Edition of the game. The settings and features are on par with other consoles, however, if you're coming from PC you'll lose the graphics options which may not be a big deal, however, considering the poor contrast settings Skyrim comes with out of the box, not being able to change the in-game brightness is a big deal for big fans of the franchise.
The gameplay is identical to the gameplay on other platforms, with one exception: motion controls. Nintendo is (in)famous for its use of motion- and gesture-based controls in its consoles, with no exception on the Switch. If you played Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you should be familiar with the new ways to control Skyrim.
You can aim your bow and shoot with it by enabling the settings from the "Controls" section of the menu if you disabled it. All you have to do is make sure the options are on then aim your bow by pressing ZR and moving your Joy-Cons around. As opposed to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, motion controls are, thankfully, entirely optional and not forced upon you.
The second change in interacting with the game might be very annoying for some users like it was for myself. As this edition of Skyrim is running on a Nintendo console, the XYAB buttons are moved around compared to an Xbox or even PlayStation. The layout can be thankfully adjusted, however, that is not recommended as it would cause trouble getting used to other games running on the Switch, which do not support button remapping.
The gameplay in the game has been tweaked, although very slightly. The two differences are a new outfit and Amiibo support. If you're unfamiliar with Amiibo, check out our guide on the platform which should give you an idea of how it works.
The outfit is none other than Link's outfit, from The Legend of Zelda. It is a feature exclusive to the Nintendo Switch edition and cannot be officially found on any other platform. You can find the outfit both in-game and trough Amiibo, if that's your thing.
The game is very similar to its PC, Xbox and PlayStation counterparts, however, it's not identical. Some minor changes can be found, some good some bad, but in the end, it's the same game nonetheless. It's not a watered down version of the game, like some of us feared.