Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Review

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Switch Review

  • First Released Nov 11, 2011
    released
  • Reviewed Nov 16, 2017
  • NS

Dragon(re)born.

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

Six years after its release, Skyrim still manages to be relevant. Between the 2016 remaster, the upcoming VR version, and now a Switch port, it's hard to forget about The Elder Scrolls V, and that's a testament to how absorbing an RPG it is. With the addition of instant portability on Switch, it's even harder to put this high quality port down.

Skyrim is one of the best Switch ports currently available, though it's not too surprising considering the game's age. It runs smoothly with a rock-solid frame rate both in smaller spaces and in the overworld. Text can be a little small when playing in handheld mode, though it still performs and plays as well as it does docked and with a Pro Controller. The newly introduced motion controls are all optional as well; wagging a Joy-Con will swing melee weapons, and you can use motion to fine-tune your aim with your bow. Skyrim does retain the glitches it has always been known (and loved) for, though, including bizarre NPC pathing problems. In our 10 hours testing the game, we didn't find any new bugs, so it's just the silly weirdness you might remember.

Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9

The main addition on Switch is Amiibo compatibility, which nets you extra treasure and works well within the existing game. Amiibo use is nested in the magic menu under powers, and you have to cast it the way you would any other power before tapping the Amiibo to the NFC reader. Like in Breath of the Wild, using an Amiibo isn't a guarantee of good loot--in this case, Zelda Amiibo give you a chance to get Link's Breath of the Wild tunic, the Master Sword, and the Hylian Shield, though you might get a chest filled with arrows, random weapons and armor, or an assortment of meats instead. You can use each Amiibo once per day, but we were able to get all the cool gear in one day using a few Zelda Amiibo around the office. As a bonus, the gear is better than any of the early-game weapons and armor you can get, and you can easily sell off the other loot you don't want.

The quality of the port aside, Skyrim has certainly aged since it first released in 2011. On top of the jankiness of movement and NPC interaction, there are a few outdated things that might be hard to contend with. Most glaringly, the oft-maligned sword-and-shield combat is still underwhelming, since it never felt great to clumsily swing a sword around to begin with. Certain recurring dialogue that has ascended to meme status can be grating, too, provided you've heard it enough. There's also no mod support currently, so if you're used to the user-created quality-of-life mods available on PC and other console versions, it can be weird to go back to regular old Skyrim, even if you still find its quirks and more old-fashioned aspects charming.

Skyrim is one of the best Switch ports currently available.

But everything great about Skyrim is preserved here as well. Pursue whatever it is you want to--whether it's just completing the main story or stealing as much cheese as you can carry--and you're all but guaranteed to find interesting stories along the way. Progressing through its still very deep skill tree is a huge but satisfying endeavor in figuring out exactly how you want to play (though magic- and archery-based combat specializations are preferable). There’s so much to do in Skyrim that it’s likely you haven’t done it all yet, and because it's now portable, you can pick it up and play for shorter bursts that can easily turn into hours.

The original version of Skyrim is still an immense, engrossing RPG, and the quality, number, and variety of its quests makes it as easy to become lost in its world as ever. With the addition of Zelda-themed gear that's actually useful--and the fact that you can play anywhere--the Switch version of Skyrim is a great excuse to revisit a much-loved RPG.

Back To Top
The Good
Skyrim is still as interesting and rewarding to explore as ever
Solid port with seemingly no bugs (besides the ones that were there to begin with)
Amiibo functionality is optional and integrated naturally
The Bad
No mods to iron out any quirks, should you want them
Some things, like NPC dialogue and sword combat, feel dated
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

About the Author

Kallie played ten hours of Skyrim on Switch, playing a sneaky archer (of course). She finally tried magic for the first time in six years and loved it. A complimentary code was provided for the purposes of this review.
275 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for dkidfrmdbx
dkidfrmdbx

408

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 16

User Lists: 0

I was upset that this game retailed for 60 considering how old it is. Nonetheless, you will get way more bang for your buck from this game than with any other on the Switch. I've put in over 25 hours so far and its still an extremely enjoyable game. I was salty about the 60 at first, but there are literally 1000's of hours worth of fun packed into this game. My only criticism is the game can look very dark in handheld mode and Bethesda should include an update to increase the brightness further. Otherwise, its still a very solid and fun game to play.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Ezioprez9709
Ezioprez9709

742

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 65

User Lists: 1

Have you ever been to the comment district?

2 • 
Avatar image for Subaru1980
Subaru1980

144

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 14

User Lists: 0

Am I the only one who likes Bethesda as publisher (DOOM, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, Prey, RAGE, The Evil Within) more than their two in-house hits (Fallout and Elder Scrolls)?

2 • 
Avatar image for jules__badguy
Jules__Badguy

118

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By Jules__Badguy

@Subaru1980: I'm an Elder Scrolls junkie so no. But they are rolling right now.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for greaseman1985
greaseman1985

1498

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 5

@Subaru1980: Yes, yes you are.

2 • 
Avatar image for robbiejones
robbiejones

236

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Subaru1980: i want Rage 2. loved the first. one of my fav fps games

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Prats1993
Prats1993

1098

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

By far the best way to play the game.

2 • 
Avatar image for dino7c
dino7c

533

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Prats1993: if best means worst

2 • 
Avatar image for deactivated-5a26032528a9b
deactivated-5a26032528a9b

315

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 19

User Lists: 0

I wonder if Skyrim's infamous giant golf bug was left intact.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Bread_or_Decide
Bread_or_Decide

29468

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Got my copy today. Great job Bethesda. The switch is king.

6 • 
Avatar image for nishanth12
nishanth12

644

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Where is the Skyrim VR review? You guys are terrible at covering VR games!!!!

2 • 
Avatar image for SythisTaru
SythisTaru

881

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

@nishanth12: VR flopped. We have moved on.

3 • 
Avatar image for nishanth12
nishanth12

644

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

@SythisTaru: Thanks for moving on.. not like you'd change anything in the medium anyways.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for yourgasm
yourgasm

17

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By yourgasm

@nishanth12: VR doesn't drive anywhere near as much traffic as flat-screen games and CNET are all about traffic. That's all it is. Doesn't mean VR is dead or dying. I've had the Vive for a year and it really is the best thing ever and has an excellent future ahead of itself.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for zmanbarzel
ZmanBarzel

2022

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Edited By ZmanBarzel

@nishanth12: Gamespot doesn't have infinite time or staffing. VR stuff apparently hasn't proven worth eating into resources they could devote to things that will get more traffic.

Hell, look at Giant Bomb: once so excited, or at least optimistic, about VR, they stopped doing VR coverage in July. The viewer data has apparently shown Jeff that it's just not worth it.

4 • 
Avatar image for nishanth12
nishanth12

644

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

@zmanbarzel: Ah makes a lot of sense. They have enough time to cover movies, celebrities, etc. It's not like there's no demand.. I mean, looks at all the PSVR sales. Look at RE7 success alone and sales for Skyrim VR. You guys must be living under a rock.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for zmanbarzel
ZmanBarzel

2022

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

@nishanth12: Don't feel bad. I've wasted a lot of money on tech that proved to be a dead end, too.

2 • 
Avatar image for vgdork
VGDork

94

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@zmanbarzel: So true. I think VR is going to be a standard someday, but it's gonna take some lumps before it gets there.

3 • 
Avatar image for zmanbarzel
ZmanBarzel

2022

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

@vgdork: Agreed.

2 • 
Avatar image for veldi
Veldi

206

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

It's cool that it's on the Switch. A portable version of Skyrim can be enjoyable I guess. However, the full price seems ridiculous considering everything about the game is 6 (I think) years old and it gets repetitive pretty quickly if you start doing stuff outside of the main quest.

4 • 
Avatar image for timthegem
timthegem

638

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

The entire ground in Windhelm disappeared when I was playing and a bunch of NPC's fell to their deaths. Somehow my character was able to defy gravity. Is that one of the glitches that Skyrim is known and loved for? Or maybe it's the fact that you have to save your game every three minutes "just in case".

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Tangsta03
Tangsta03

360

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Edited By Tangsta03

Skyrim has got to be the most overrated game among Bethesda's library. For me even Oblivion was showing signs this company was going downhill, but it took Fallout 4 for more to wake up to their mainstreamed nonsense.

Elder Scrolls VI need to perform multiple miracles for Bethesda to get back into my good books again.

2 • 
Avatar image for SythisTaru
SythisTaru

881

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

@Tangsta03: Lol, Hipster detected.

2 • 
Avatar image for robbiejones
robbiejones

236

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Tangsta03: i loved skyrim. my problem with the remaster on ps4 is that textures are still huge lol. if they fixed the rock textures the game would look wayyy better. graphics aside the cave dungeons got repetitive so hopefully in elder scrolls 6 there's more variety in that department.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

7312

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 44

User Lists: 0

Edited By Pyrosa

@Tangsta03: The masses would likely never accept a game like Morrowind, where you could easily get yourself into an un-finishable state, and have to use the console to re-spawn critical NPCs or make doors/walls passable due to getting stuck.

And don't even bang the FO:NV drum, with its back-to-back-to-back map doors causing 3x-4x loading screens due to bad map designs...

I loved all those games, but nostalgia for their improved complexity and depth can't negate remembering their broken parts.

2 • 
Avatar image for vgdork
VGDork

94

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By VGDork

@Pyrosa: @timthegem: long posts never get read all the way through.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Tangsta03
Tangsta03

360

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Edited By Tangsta03

@Pyrosa: I'm pretty sure it's possible to find a balance between fun and depth. JRPGs are excellent with this balance. The Witcher 3 proves you can be compelling with just story and characters alone.

Morrowind was more than just it's complexity, which was not what I was asking for. I was asking for Bethesda to give a flying f*ck about lore, story and characters again, and not use some RNG algorithm to generate random characters and a generic story, whilst they build their game engine and let the modders fix everything else. Actually, nowadays, not even modders can fix everything, because Bethesda are trying to commercialize and monopolize Mods.

Bethesda have done so many things wrong in these past few years, they are so not worth defending anymore.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Sindred
Sindred

102

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Thanks for covering the Switch version and not the PSVR version.

And please don’t use the “not enough people own PSVR” excuse because you are professionals and should be covering gaming in general. It’s not like the WiiU was a huge selling system either and you reviewed games for that console.

And I know they sent out copies because some early reviews from more well-versed sites are posting footage of it.

2 • 
Avatar image for doctor_mg
Doctor_MG

2366

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Sindred: Lol you copied and pasted this same post on IGN.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for xshinobi
Xshinobi

2932

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

You can now experience the game that is as big as an ocean but as deep as a puddle but now on the go....oh boy. Elder Scrolls and all of Bethesda games are so overrated. The combat feels like playing a game of digital whack a mole and nothing you do outside of the main quest has any real impact on the work around you.

You can slay a million dragons, murder entire villages and drive wildlife into extinction and still be treated the same exact way by the npcs and the environment around you.. None of actions outside of what is predetermined by Bethesda’s quest makers have any impact and even that is just an illusion and in the end it just comes off as a shallow theme park. All of Bethesda’s games love to give you the illusion of choice but in the end it has no real meaning or impact.

3 • 
Avatar image for silv3rst0rm
silv3rst0rm

1101

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 5

@xshinobi: Just go and program a game where everything matters, everything has an impact on the whole world around which everything evolves.

You make it sound so obvious and easy to do...

Actually I'm GLAD that the Ai in skyrim isn't PERFECT...

Any game that would actually involve consequences to EVERY action you make would be near impossible and would piss most people off!

Go figure what would happen if you'd actually kill a very important NPC that would screw up half of the game developpement.

If every action could mean a total havoc, I'd be "Quicksaving" every 3 seconds!! xD

The size of the world that Skyrim is in makes it overwhelming to keep everything linked like a web relying on every single action of your part...
It could be achieved at a smaller level but in such a huge open world it would mean too much collateral damages, you'd have waaaaay too many chances to screw your game experience up!

3 • 
Avatar image for veldi
Veldi

206

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By Veldi

@silv3rst0rm: The problem, and I think the point he's trying to make, is that Bethesda implements a bunch of systems that are painfully shallow in their games. Becoming a Jarl was pointless and felt empty. The Dragon gimmick got old quick as there was never anything unexpected about it (unlike what the devs tried to tell us). They didn't bother to flesh out NPC interactions with companions (look at any other RPG that allows companions). They added in a marriage thing that didn't even compare to Fable (which says something about how bad it was). I guess being a Werewolf was neat, but again didn't deliver a lot of interesting stuff after the couple of quests related to that.

The conflict between the Stormcloaks and the Empire was irrelevant, it brought nothing to the game even if they introduce it as this big important conflict in which you can choose a side. You never felt any sense of urgency or importance to the quest, mostly because the few characters you interacted with were bland and uninteresting and you had no options to delve deeper into their backstory.

The crafting system had no sense of progression, but it did offer some cool gear at the end. Games like Skyrim have a big wow factor because they present you all of these flashy new things and supposedly amazing, complex systems that make the world alive... but they stop being exciting after a few hours because you realize you've been doing the same thing over and over throughout the game.

TL;DR: Bethesda have no focus in their games and oversaturate them with systems that lose their novelty after the 10th repetition.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Tangsta03
Tangsta03

360

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Edited By Tangsta03

@silv3rst0rm: Or we can just play masterpieces like Baldur's Gate 2 and Original Sin 2 and realize that carefully crafted RPG games are far superior to anything produced by Bethesda. There are plenty of "sandbox" elements in Origin Sin 2, but it doesn't neglect characters and story.

Bethesda games are nothing more than glorified game engines that are playable. 99% of what made Skyrim fun were the mods, none of which were created by Bethesda themselves.

2 • 
Avatar image for PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

2363

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 15

User Lists: 0

@Tangsta03: I was interested in this discussion but BG2 and OS2 fall in entirely different genre than TES.

TES breaks down if you try to replay them 10 times with wildly different approaches. But if you play the game once the way it was intended, it's an amazing 300 hour first person adventure experience.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for deactivated-5d10628188787
deactivated-5d10628188787

171

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

@Tangsta03: They are not "far superior", just cater to a different crowd. I can't get myself to play more than a few minutes of top down RPGs without getting bored, but don't feel the urge to constantly let others know that my games are better than theirs, and just let others enjoy stuff. Try it, it's refreshingly mature.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Itzsfo0
Itzsfo0

802

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

@Tangsta03: you consider baldurs gate 2 a masterpiece, others dont - this thing called opinion

hate skyrim mods, base game is only thing worth playing, Original Sin 2 is overrated. Many are already saying that...no big deal, move on.

3 • 
Avatar image for Mkeegs79
Mkeegs79

838

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

@Tangsta03: You are laughable. Enjoying your trolling?

3 • 
Avatar image for rodoxthedark
rodoxthedark

755

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

Edited By rodoxthedark

Tempting but I can’t buy this again. I got the special edition and didn’t play solidly, the vr version is very very tempting though...

2 • 
Avatar image for robbiejones
robbiejones

236

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@rodoxthedark: looks tempting but the lower draw distance, and low res is making me wait for a pc VR skyrim. yes ill be wasting more money, but methinks itll be worth it

Upvote • 
Avatar image for silv3rst0rm
silv3rst0rm

1101

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 5

@rodoxthedark: VR seems under-achieving if you ask me...

The swinging of the weapons look weak!

I think having a 2011 game handheld actually makes more sense than trying to make it step up to VR expectations...

Upvote • 
Avatar image for trugs26
trugs26

7535

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Edited By trugs26

Tempted to get it, but I'll wait for it to go on sale first. I don't like paying full price for old games.

2 • 
Avatar image for silv3rst0rm
silv3rst0rm

1101

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 5

@trugs26: I keep repeating the same thing to myself but I don't know if this Wisdom will really stick or if I might break and get it still!

There's a lot of games where I've been telling myself I could wait... only to get it a couple of days down the line...

I felt like the anxiety of waiting and the will to play it NOW wasn't worth the ±20$ saving!
Hahaha! I'm such an easy catch when it comes to games... =/

Upvote • 
Avatar image for xgalacticax
xgalacticax

2037

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

I got bored of this game on PC back then. I wonder if playing it on the go makes it any more interesting. It is good that it's a good port nonetheless, for those who want it.

Upvote • 

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim More Info

Follow
  • First Released Nov 11, 2011
    released
    • Nintendo Switch
    • PC
    • + 4 more
    • PlayStation 3
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an open-world action role-playing game developed by Bethesda Game Studios.
    9
    Average Rating18779 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
    Developed by:
    Iron Galaxy Studios, Bethesda Game Studios, Bethesda Softworks
    Published by:
    Bethesda Softworks, Square Enix, Bethesda Game Studios
    Genre(s):
    VR, Role-Playing
    Theme(s):
    VR
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol