Bethesda on the Nintendo Switch – A look at DOOM and Skyrim

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Nintendo is not known for allowing a lot of 3rd-party content on their consoles. These past few years mainly some indie games slipped into the Nintendo Store, such as The Binding of Isaac. All the more surprising it was for the world when Skyrim, originally released in 2011, was suddenly announced for the Nintendo Switch. Later on, also DOOM was announced, and during a hands-on session at Bethesda, we had the opportunity to check both of them out.

Nintendo Switch Bethesda

The immediate first feeling when picking up a Nintendo console with some none-Nintendo, none-Japanese titles filled with gore or other mature rated elements is.. interesting. Taking the first few steps the games seem smooth though maybe slightly crude in graphics. Especially in an older game like Skyrim, the graphics seem even a little bit outdated. Modders have been taking the game to graphically crazy high levels on PC, and seeing it on the Switch honestly feels like a tiny step back. Tiny, because it’s portable Skyrim. Let’s not forget something like this has not been achieved yet. Some games on i.e. the PS Vita might have come close but we are talking about fully accessible portable (PC) games that actually will give you more fun than the Angry Birds game you have been playing these last few months in the metro.


Let’s be honest, it was about time Nintendo would deliver some fan service and 3rd-party content on the Switch seems like an extremely good start. Why Bethesda though? When speculating, it seems like there was probably a meeting where a prolonged discussion about 3rd-party content finally lead to some (for Nintendo) tough decisions. A company like Bethesda seems a logical choice to start with since they have produced very popular titles with good replayability, adventure, and arcade possibilities. This means it’s a safe bet when using games that have proven popular in numbers and on paper. There is a large community to experiment and fall back on. If these older titles and sales seem successful, more options might open up. It’s already slightly surprising that in 2018, Wolfenstein 2: A New Colossus  is planned for release on the Switch. Even though the first part The New Order was quite the success, Nintendo shows a bit of trust in the future of 3rd-party content by planning such releases.


So yes, maybe Skyrim is a bit outdated but it can still be fun. The game essentially stays the same, and the Switch version does not really add anything new except for the Amiibo function. It’s fun, but for something that’s old and without hard new expansions or other content, it’s unclear if players would be willing to pay the full $60 for a game they might even already have played till the end. Granted, a grown-up serious version of Link looks cool like if some cosplayer went to the forest to make pictures, but the same question remains.


DOOM, on the other hand, is quite fresh and new. Probably fewer players have played it and compared to Skyrim it feels more smooth and with a lesser loss of graphical joy. As a shooter it’s a different type of gaming compared to the adventures you will have in Skyrim, but because of the high levels of arcade gameplay, it feels surprisingly more at home on the Switch. The action is faster, the controls are also smoother. It’s an excellent title when looking at possibilities for the Switch and on-the-move gaming.


The nice thing about the Switch is also that you can simply connect a wireless Nintendo controller to it if you want it to feel like a proper gaming console. It’s a nice solution when you want to hang back in a chair while going somewhere, but at the same time, the screen gets very small very fast when you’re not on top of it. It’s one of the ”bad” sides of 3rd-party content. Because ports such as these games are not tailored to be portable, a lot of details can fade into the background. By doing so it’s possible to confuse the player and even remove some of the gaming comforts. Obviously, once you connect the Switch to a television this is no problem, but while taking it with you, it’s definitely one of the more negative sides. Then again, you might as well just keep the Switch close to your face and use the Joy-Cons while they are attached.



3rd-party content seems like an ongoing experiment on the Nintendo Switch, but fans and owners have every right to already be happy about these winds of change. Even though right now it seems like some (slightly) older titles are a safe and cheaper way to bring what has been asked for, promises like Wolfenstein 2 and other future games and possible companies that might slip into a Nintendo meeting every now and then surely could bring a bright future for gamers all around the world. The hardware possibilities from the Switch makes it possible to adapt the system to your wishes. Want a classic controller? Done. Prefer to play on somebody’s external screen? Done. Obviously, you will have to trade in some graphics, but especially when playing on a small screen this is not such a bad thing. After all, they are complete, portable games. Portable!





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Bethesda on the Nintendo Switch - A look at DOOM and Skyrim, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

I'm a game designer, developer, and reviewer. I've been reviewing for since 2017.

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