- A little Tamriel in the pocket
- Balanced combat / management gameplay
- Free to play, but not to win
- Charts with small onions
- Gameplay designed for mobile
We do not like
- Some slowness
- No voice
- Redundant assignments
- Fight a little too much
After the first "Wow" print, The Elder Scrolls Blades finally reveals its flaws. Redundant missions, little varied environments and somewhat fixed struggles, these are the main complaints that have with this access anticipated. The lack of voice and some slowness also stains the landscape. But once we evacuated those points, it would be a lie to say we have no pleasure in finding The Elder Scrolls license in our pocket. Combining dungeon management and exploration in a game is a great idea, just like for Fallout Shelter, but even more balanced here. For free, Blades should be tested as long as you have a smartphone or tablet fast enough.
N.B: The test was performed on an unfinished version of the game, so no punctuation is awarded.
Presented at E3 2018, The Elder Scrolls Blades is now available for early access on Android and iOS. As predicted we are, we subscribe to this beta phase to get us there as soon as possible. We explained everything about this new Bethesda mobile game.
With the success of Fallout Shelter, Bethesda Softworks wanted to customize another of its major licenses, namely, The Elder Scrolls (TES). Far from them the idea of offering a stupid and perverse port of Morrowind or Oblivion, they preferred to understand the codes of the mobile genre and adapt their license. Blades are born here. A game in the world of TES and its world, Tamriel, but he thought of a nomadic gameplay, with short phases of game, without losing intensity.
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What's the point?
Blades plunges the player into the skin of a hero who returns to his hometown after a long personal journey. Destroyed by the queen's armies because of an obscure fiscal history, she is still smoking. For our hero to put back on his feet to make him regain his splendor of the past. For this, we will have to complete missions, a missions package to collect the money and the material resources needed to rebuild the city.
With full pockets, you can set up a house, a forge, a lab or the city hall. Buildings with which we can interact or not, but that will contribute to the increase of the reputation of the city, making him gain prestigious points. These allow you to gain levels in your city. A crucial step to continue its development with new buildings or more solid finishes (wood, stone and castle). By improving the amenities of the city, obviously, access to better equipment.
A character to shape in your image
Like any self-respecting Elder Scrolls, the game quickly leads to the creation of your character. We have here the choice between the classic races of the license, namely Redgarde, Imperial, Nordic, Forest Elf, Upper Elf, Black Elf or Khajiit. Each race has its bonuses and must be chosen accordingly. Appearance can then be set to create your own character. As in all Elder Scrolls, the class is not determined at the beginning of the adventure, but is shaped by the player according to the distribution of their talent points.
FedEx missions, hello
In addition to better stands, gaining levels in your city allows access to new sets of missions. Also, it is important not to focus on dungeon exploration, but risk being much stronger than any mission that is available. We need to manage both the management and the fight in the Blades.
Put your feet on the plate immediately, the missions are quite uninteresting. Often we have to deal with FedEx (bring back six units of that ingredient, for example), drop prisoners or dungeons to thoroughly clean. And since the game is designed for mobile, it does not give as much freedom as a Skyrim.
Mobile, but rigid gameplay
Only one approach is possible for the fights: frontal. The enemy positioned in front of us, we must then leave the finger pressed to grow a circle in another and release at the right time to validate the blow by combining them.
Magic side, spells are accessible faster by simply pressing their icon. A shield completes the combat interface and makes it possible to counterattack the opposing shots. No tactical approach, but the fight, on the other hand, may ask to know your weapons and powers to overcome it. Each race, with its specificities and enemies, does not react in the same way to a poisoned blade or fire damage. For the player to find fault.
A gameplay that is easy to understand and can be played with one hand, blades working in portrait and landscape mode. But we are a long way from the classic Bethesda license titles and this gameplay reminds us, instead, of Infinity Blade, strong franchise three opus which then made many followers. The blades could be one of them at the end, but only in the aspect of the fights.
Offsets respond to two command modes. You can go with two virtual analog sticks as in a classic Elder Scrolls, but also pointing one way. The finger is a place to go and our character moves automatically. Very useful for one-handed play, but we still prefer the two batons that allow for a finer displacement, which allows you to not lose any trunks or secrets in the dungeons.
Stack cash drawer
We come to the economic model of TES Blades. Free, it is fed by the service box. These are materialized by chests of wood, silver or gold found in the depths of the dungeons we explore. They contain useful objects to create new weapons or armor, but also equipment for your hero and building the city.
The Bethesda technique is to impose a wait time before opening a chest. From 5 seconds to a wooden chest, we go to 6 hours for a gold chest. It is then possible to remove this expectation by paying for gems, a game currency that we can collect during their pilgrimages, or simply buying them at the game store. After about 10 hours spent on Blades we still do not use it and our progress has never been blocked. Note that the editor is not stingy and offers daily objects or accessories, something that encourages the game to revive to see your new gift.
The technical point
We tested Blades on a Pixel 3. The latest Google phone is powered by a Snapdragon 845, a high-end processor from 2018. It's still a beta, but we've seen some slowdowns in the dungeons, nothing disabling so far.
And to render to Caesar what Caesar is, the simulated Bethesda graphics are absolutely superb and fine. Only the characters would have deserved a little more attention. The lights are well rendered and the aliasing is absent from the environments. However, if the visual quality is at the meeting point, we would have appreciated a greater diversity in the proposed decorations. As for missions, we quickly changed the same scenes.
The soundtrack, in turn, is well the subject, a pity that does not resume the original themes of the saga, although there are some series of notes here and there. However, if the game has many dialogues with the inhabitants of our city, none of them is spoken. Text only appears. The dubbing would have favored immersion.