The Nintendo Switch has had a strong first year with incredible new releases like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, but November is all about older ports for Nintendo’s hybrid home/handheld console. We’ve already seen Psyonix bring Rocket League and id Software cram Doom on the device, and now Bethesda Game Studios is unleashing 2011’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on Switch.
Out of Doom, Rocket League, and Skyrim, Switch has the easiest time running Bethesda’s fantasy RPG. That makes sense, of course, because Doom and Rocket League are both PlayStation 4/Xbox One games first where Skyrim started on the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360. So while a Switch is underpowered compared to a PS4 — especially in handheld mode where the system underclocks its CPU to save battery — it can handle an Xbox 360 port without a lot of problems.
The Switch version ends up feeling like a portable version of the Xbox 360 release. It runs at 30 frames per second, and its resolution is sharp. Where Doom and Rocket League have to dip below 720p frequently to maintain their frame rates, Skyrim doesn’t have the same problem.
Beyond the technical side of things, Skyrim is a really smart fit for the Switch. We are six years removed from the release of this game, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish I could go back and replay it. But a half-decade removed from the hype of the release, it’s hard to justify taking up TV or PC time playing it. And when I do play it, I jack it up with 50 mods that make it very different from the game director Todd Howard intended.
But now that I have it on Switch, I found that I couldn’t put it down. It was really nice to get back into vanilla Skyrim and experience the story for the first time in years. Even with amazing new games launching all of the time, I still found myself putting hours into Skyrim. I think that’s the magic of the Switch, and I’m happy the Skyrim port enables that.