The Elder Scrolls: Blades
"Blades at its heart, is a pure Elder Scrolls game."— Todd Howard lying about The Elder Scrolls: Blades during E3 2019
The Elder Scrolls: Blades is an action role-playing game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks in 2019 as an early access title, with the full release being scheduled at a currently unknown time in 2020.
The Elder Scrolls: Blades takes place shortly after the Great War, where the Blades has been disbanded and outlawed, with most of the members having been killed by the Thalmor. The player character, known as "The Fugitive", was a former member of the Blades, so they are forced into hiding. The Fugitive returns to their hometown to hide, but they discover it has been mostly destroyed by mercenaries sent by the Bloodfall Queen to collect taxes. One of the mercenaries destroyed a statue that sealed away a crypt that contained the Sorcerer-King known as Celemaril Light-Bringer, who escapes the crypt as an undead and forms an army of undead and other creatures to take over the surrounding land. The Fugitive is tasked to help rebuild the town, find townsfolk who fled and went missing, and hunt down the Bloodfall Queen and Celemaril Light-Bringer.
Why it Sucks
- Players will constantly encounter timers where they will have to simply wait around for them to count down. There is no reason for this being in the game other than to tempt players into purchasing and using gems to shorten these timers.
- Even the loot chests the players can collect have a waiting time, some of which can take up to six hours.
- While gold isn't that difficult to earn, there's not much good things to spend it on, with gems being used instead for purchasing valuable items and upgrades. Gems themselves are difficult to get and the items and upgrades cost a ton of gems, which is just another way to tempt players into purchasing them.
- False advertising: Todd Howard claimed the the game is a "pure" Elder Scrolls game, but the looting and combat mechanics are completely different than that of other Elder Scrolls games (see points 4 and 6 for more info).
- Instead of locations having containers to loot scattered all over the place, there are very little containers to loot and players will earn chests at random or as a reward for completing a quest, which will take time to open as mentioned above. This as a result doesn't make players feel like an adventurer looking for valuable treasures, something that the Elder Scrolls franchise is known for.
- The loot chests that the players collect through casually playing through the game almost always have worthless loot within them, making them mostly pointless to waste time to open. The loot within them is randomized, making obtaining good loot entirely luck based.
- Even if they're pointless to open, players will still have to open the low-tier chests to make room for better chests, as they can only have up to ten chests at a time.
- The combat is not like the combat in other Elder Scrolls games. Instead, it is a clunky and unresponsive turn-based system similar to games such as Infinity Blade.
- Almost every enemy can be defeated with the exact same strategy in combat, which will make the combat quickly become repetitive.
- Sometimes the enemy AI will freeze for a little while. Players will have to wait until the enemy moves again as players can't do anything during these freezes.
- Health will deplete far too fast, forcing players to constantly use healing items.
- Player builds are very limited due to the lack of gameplay elements for mage and thief builds such as stealth mechanics.
- The story is fairly messy, with plot holes, characters that only appear to advance the story, and cliched villains.
- The Fugitive returning to their home town to hide is a bad choice as the Thalmor can easily find out what the Fugitive's home town is.
- An Elder Scroll appears, but it's only used for the cliched "find this powerful item before the villain does" plot device.
- Almost all of the skills are pointless to upgrade as they have little impact in combat. The only two that will prove useful to upgrade is the absorb spell and the dodging abilities.
- Some mainline story quests are locked until the player completes enough side quests. These side quests are repetitive at most of them simply require the player to go to a dungeon and either collect some items or rescue some citizens. The rewards for completing these quests are usually very underwhelming.
- Some of these side quests can be ridiculously difficult, and the player will constantly die during them. Reviving the player will cost either revive scrolls or gems, which is just another way to tempt players into purchasing and using gems.
- Upgrading buildings after the first upgrade costs a ridiculous amount of gold and materials. Since the best way to get building materials is via the loot chests, getting the materials to upgrade the buildings is hugely luck based.
- Similarly to Fallout 76, nearly all of the weapons and armor the player will obtain are locked behind a level cap, meaning that they will have to level up a bunch just to equip the gear.
- The game's world and locations aren't as open as in other Elder Scrolls games, and most of them have a very similar design.
- The frame-rate often drops down to about 10fps for no apparent reason.
The Only Redeeming Quality
- The graphics are pretty good for mobile standards.
The Elder Scrolls: Blades in its early access state was met with mostly negative reception. On Metacritic, the game has a user score of 1.9/10, while the only three critic reviews displayed mixed-to-negative feelings. On GameFAQs, the iOS version has an average rating of 1.5/5, while the Android version has an average rating of 1.56/5.