I’d originally planned to discuss The Elder Scrolls Blades a few weeks ago, back when I’d downloaded it during its early access period. But other more interesting discussions prompted me to temporarily postpone my perfunctory analysis, which should give you some indication into how apathetic I was about this diluted, shill of an Elder Scrolls game. The Elder Scrolls Blades is as much an Elder Scrolls game as it is a Lord Of The Rings story. There are particular correlating themes, some overlapping Tolkien principles that make comparisons rather easy. But really Blade’s shares only cursory affiliation with it’s more comprehensive sibling. The most notable deviation is the limitation imposed on player control.
Because of mobiles congenital simplicity, movement of your character reflects that ease of use with control condensed into a tap and move adaptation. Guided by an ethereal blue mist through a series of barely distinguishable dungeons that trails off ahead, explicitly indicating your next objective, navigation is somewhat negligible. Combat, which has hardly been the series most revered attribute functions about as well as it can considering the limitations of touch screen devices. Holding down your finger will activate a kind of pulsating circular prompt that when timed precisely will unleash the full potential of your swing. It’s hardly immersive, but its effective enough to elicit some semblance of engagement. You level up much the same way as you do in any Elder Scrolls game, gaining experience through combat, unlocking passive and more direct abilities as you go. There’s no question however that Blades, at least for a mobile game is aesthetically captivating. It’s downright gorgeous at times, with visuals that I really didn’t believe a handheld device could achieve! It’s largely bug free too, with perhaps a couple of loading issues impeding my progress. But most of us don’t really care about this. It’s sadly irrelevant when weighed against the acrimonious notoriety of loot boxes. Or in this instance, loot chests.
Most “Free to play” business models rely on premium services. Passively encouraged as a way to expedite time sensitive logistics, removing those pesky game-play intrusions. Mobiles overtly promoted monitisation that typically saturates your experience is no different here. Usually I’m one of those self righteous, morally superior twerps, perceptive of the immutable exploitation of greedy developers, that chooses to go on campaigns to spite such practices by not spending a penny. Now I don’t believe that Blades exploits player participation as virulently as other established mobile titles, but its difficult to see how you can progress without buying any premium currency, in this case gems. As you explore and complete dungeons you’ll be rewarded with chests of differing rarity. Gold, silver and
bronze wooden, each with an equivalent time restriction. Wooden chests open in seconds. Silver, a much rarer derivation takes 1 hour, though during early access was an excruciating 3 hour wait! And Gold and agonising 6 hours! They each contain materials, weapons or other miscellaneous items. Play enough and you’ll soon accumulate enough chests that you can’t store anymore, unless you spend gems to increase your capacity. Now you can earn gems through natural play, though this is exceedingly rare. They can also be used to speed up chest opening times, which the game makes very easy for you to do, to the point that on several occasions I did by accident.
Blades is very punctual, even beholden in its propensity to entice you to spend money when you shouldn’t need to, that it may as well notify you with prompts that say “click here to gives us your money”. What concerns me is that a big AAA company like Bethesda might consider such mictrotransanctions as a viable commodity in their console games. That Blades may very well be an experiment to see if obvious fan vitriol has any adverse effect on a clearly dubious business model. With Bethesda’s credibility subsequently tarnished by Fallout 76, its hard to imagine how the “Elder Scrolls 6” can be released without incident. Or a slew of fettered mictrotransanctions to moderate content. I hope I’m wrong, I truly do.
But what did you think of “Blades?”. Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.