The Elder Scrolls’ most memorable spin-off, Blade, could – and should – be a lot better than it turned out to be

It turns out that what felt new and fun at the time was actually one of the most forgettable gaming experiences of my life.That is The Elder Scrolls: Blades In short, for you, really. It’s a mobile game that’ll impress in your first dungeon or even your second, but its novelty wears off faster than you might think. Especially if you’re already familiar with games like Annihilation and Skyrim.

During my first year of college, my HP laptop could only handle The Sims or Amnesia. I didn’t have an Xbox or a PC at the time because I was firmly committed to enjoying the stereotypical college lifestyle. Back then, when I wasn’t pushing my dear laptop to its absolute limits, we were mostly just playing Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. over and over again on the Nintendo Wii.

So when summer comes and all my roommates go home and I stay and work, I have to find something to fill my time without annoying everyone around me. My old friend happened to live downstairs and he stayed too. We often hang out after get off work, have dinner together, and take the time to see what Steam or the App Store has to offer to make for a fun evening.

Over a long weekend we found The Elder Scrolls: Blades.

As two former Skyrim fans, we’re delighted to have stumbled upon this recently released game that we can play from the comfort of our home anywhere, anytime. In the days that followed, little was said. We spent the evening watching crappy TV and just playing Blade. It was a very quiet time, but one thing was for sure, once that long weekend was over, so was our time with the Blades.

Towns in The Elder Scrolls: Blades

Image Source: Bethesda

Blades is definitely fun to start with, and considering it’s a free-to-play game that runs smoothly on mobile, I didn’t have too many complaints at first. Even as the options to purchase treasure chests and new gear were constantly dangled before me, I still enjoyed running through the first dungeon, venturing into the abyss, and more. But once you do these things a few times, you realize that – in reality – this is what the game is really made of, and there’s nothing to really keep you, the player, going.

Blade has a story, but it’s an almost impossible story to follow, fed to you by a handful of obtuse and disinterested NPCs who seem to rather be anywhere than talk to you. There’s no epic adventure here, there’s nothing really to work towards other than improving your gear, increasing your town’s reputation, and taking on more difficult quests (which mostly consist of defeating mobs and retrieving loot).

The concept wasn’t a bad one, and the execution wasn’t entirely terrible, but Blade – even five years later – remains underdeveloped, unappealing, and boring. It’s a far cry from the adventures we’ve had before in the Elder Scrolls series, and it’s not something I necessarily expect from a mobile game, but Bethesda is clearly capable of doing better. but it is not the truth. Missions are still repetitive, and after a while, your progress roadblocks will appear periodically – and yes, if you want to keep playing at some point, you’ll need to wait or pay. The town-building that could have been fleshed out remains mediocre at best, and the combat – which is arguably one of Blade’s better elements – is tedious. You’re completely locked into your gear, with little autonomy in combat, and there’s definitely no wonderful OP stealth archer build in Blade. In fact, there was no archery at all.

Inventory shown in The Elder Scrolls: Blades

Image Source: Bethesda

I had completely forgotten about Blades until recently, when I was scrolling through my notes app and found some words I’d put on there years ago. I thought I’d revisit it to see how the game has changed over time, but that’s not the case. It’s still what you’d expect from an FTP mobile game: a real slog, the aggressive in-game monetization left a sour taste in my mouth, and there’s nothing special about the experience enough to make it remotely redeemable place. It’s also worth noting that Blade launched on Nintendo Switch in 2020, just over a year after its mobile release, and it’s safe to say that if I encountered the game on Switch instead of mobile, I’d be The impression is even worse. It makes players endure the waiting game.

Still, if you’re hoping for a mobile dungeon crawler with an Elder Scrolls aesthetic – where you only have enough time to complete a few quests each day while commuting or waiting for dinner – you’ll probably pick this up. Have some fun watching your character level up and your town slowly develop. But if you’re like me and entered The Elder Scrolls: Blades hoping to enjoy an adventure that would last you at least a long weekend, you’d be better off repurchasing Skyrim for the umpteenth time. You know, while you were waiting for The Elder Scrolls 6 to come out around 2094, we might have all forgotten what it was like to play a non-ancient TES game.

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