Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Rating: T for Teen
The Elder Scrolls franchise added a new family member in 2019, Blades, which is currently in “early access” developmental stage. The Elder Scrolls Blades is a phone RPG action adventure game available for both IOS and Android systems. While you are waiting for the big hit of the Elder Scrolls VI, Blades will be your convenient portable choice for daily Elder Scrolls adventures.
In Elder Scrolls universe, fictional gods and cults exist among all races in the game. However, you don’t feel the same spiritual atmosphere in this phone version.
You will fight against different opponents, including goblins, bears, rats, mages, guards, and many more. With fighting with sword, shield, and spells, Blades is a very straightforward fantasy adventure without blood and gore presentation.
Like previous Elder Scrolls games, you have freedom of choices on various things, including accepting or denying mission quests, and showing kindness.
As an Elder Scrolls fangirl and veteran, I have been very excited for Blades, and I am grateful to be able to play it in early access. First of all, before we even talk about the game, we shall adjust our expectations to the appropriate level in order to make sure we don’t misjudge Blades due to misconceptions or misperceptions. It is a phone game, not on PC or console. It is a dungeon crawler and casual town restoration game, not a full-blown open world RPG. With that understanding, now let’s dive into The Elder Scrolls Blades.
When you launch the game, it will direct you to create a character, with all the freedom of choosing genders, races, and general appearances. After picking your character’s name, you will enter the storytelling, and your adventure will officially start at this point. A basic tutorial will teach you how to defend and how to fight. Paying attention to your surroundings, looking for items to loot, and thinking where the secrets may be are always helpful during your journey through the dungeon. Dialogue conversations have choice options, but usually do not impact on how the story turns out at the end. However, some of the conversation options are nicer or meaner than the other. Therefore, no matter how good or evil you want your character to be, this mobile game still tries to give you some freedom to role play it out.
There is a variety of enemies that you will encounter, including goblins, bears, rats, guards, mages, skeletons, etc. Some are resistant to certain elements, like fire, ice, shock, or melee attack, so you have to think about what is the best strategy to gain victory instead of hash and slash blindly. The higher level you go, the more you need to pause and think. Each enemy will drop loots after being defeated, so don’t forget to pick up your items.
When you look around, you will notice a lot of glowing objects, jars, mushrooms, containers, plants, and chests scattering everywhere. Make sure you explore the area well, so that you won’t miss loots, secrets, or items that can heal you when you are hurt. Loots are random except the rewards for quests. You can pick up food, potions, ingredients, golds, amors, and weapons from enemies, containers, chests, and plants everywhere you go. They are essential to make your character stronger and healthier in all time.
Each level, you will choose either to upgrade your magika or stigma, based on your play style and character design. It is up to you on how to play the game. There are 3 different aspects to upgrade using your point after leveling up: skills, perks, and abilities. Skills are more magika-based; if you want to play with fire or lighting bolts, then this is your tree to go.
Perks are more passive or supportive, like upgrading your bag slot, or increasing your fire damage. Abilities focus on melee fighting and shield defense. You can equip 3 of skills, perks, and abilities at a time, so choose wisely.
Your town begins as a ruin, but it can be restored by saving citizens and rebuilding structures. You will do quests to save the blacksmith and potion brewer, and you will need to get building materials in order to rebuild the buildings you desire. It costs in-game gold and various waiting time. Of course, if you don’t want to wait, you can always buy these digital items with real-world money.
You will be able to find the store in-game, as we all expect free-to-play game mechanics. You will get one item for free as a gift every day to incentivize you to spend real-life money. If you don’t have time or patience to play through a mission, you can even use real-world money to buy it off so that you will get its rewards immediately. If you want to level up your character and play through the quests only by paying real-world money, it is totally possible, but I don’t recommend it, for you will miss all the fun this game has to offer.
Maps are unfortunately repetitive from time to time. You will encounter various environments throughout the game, but sometimes you just get tired of running the same dungeon over and over again after completing many different quests. To a point, you will naturally remember the layout of the dungeon because you have been forced to play it too many times. Also, the repetitiveness has kept me from coming back sometimes, and I just lose interest in exploration while I have searched identical areas countelss times.
You can only open 1 chest at a time, and different levels of chests require various waiting times to open. Yes, you can shorten the waiting time with real-world money, but for someone like me who does not want to spend a cent, I have to be very strategic with opening chests. I usually unlock the bronze first, for they only take 5 seconds to open. Sliver used to take 3 hours, but now it takes 1 hour after the compromise made after complaints from players. Gold chests takes about 6 hours to open, so it is better to unlock them before bed time and you will have your gold chest ready when you wake up in the morning.
Combat is very straightforward. With spellcasting, shield, and a weapon, your character is pretty much well-rounded and prepared for anything. You have to be smart about enemy types, weakness, strengths, attack directions, and timing of blocks, which will make your victory smooth and easy along the road. Enter Abyss for challenges. It is a good change of pace for you to fight off the max waves of enemies from various dungeons with one life. Of course, prepare some health potions before you enter, and loot as many health restorations as you could, for they will greatly extend your life length in Abyss if you want to go further. You will receive rewards after finishing the waves of enemies. Stay alive and you will get great gears and materials in the end.
My recommendation for playing the Blades: log in daily to receive free gifts, finish daily challenges to earn gold, use time wisely to unlock chests, upgrade inventory slots, and make good use of the blacksmith. It is a lot of fun when you consider it as a casual TES dungeon crawler. If you are hoping this as epic as Skyrim or Elder Scrolls Online, and then you may suffer from your disappointment, for this is not as rich or intense as what you desire. Adjust your expectations, and you will find joy in the Blades.
The Bottom Line
Though merely a mobile game, if you are a fan of The Elder Scrolls series, you may want to pick up playing it before the Elder Scrolls VI comes out,