Elder Scrolls: Blades surpasses 1 million downloads, but is it good?

Elder Scrolls Blades

I used to be a gamer like you, but then I took a microtransaction to the knee.

Bethesda’s director and executive producer Todd Howard said, “Blades, at its heart, is a true Elder Scrolls game.” Immediately after he said this, we were all still skeptical.  Watch the full reveal for Elder Scrolls: Blades and Howard’s pitch to gamers below:

There aren’t many success stories about a popular PC or console game getting a counterpart for mobile devices. When Blizzard announced a new Diablo game exclusively for mobile, they were nearly booed off the stage.

In its first week of early access, Elder Scrolls: Blades reached more than 1 million downloads. The number is impressive, but there are still outlying problems with the game.

Does it feel like an Elder Scrolls game?

Let’s travel back to when another game series made its journey to our smartphones: Pokémon. In its first week, Pokémon Go reached an astronomical 10 million downloads. It was the first mobile game to reach that milestone that quickly.

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There was one thing clear about Pokémon Go that fans realized immediately; it wasn’t a traditional Pokémon game. There were no random encounters, traditional gym battles, trades (at the time it was released), or a storyline. However, Nintendo never said it was going to be a traditional Pokémon experience. As the game edges closer and closer to 1 billion downloads, Nintendo proved that the jump to mobile can work.

Howard said that Blades feels like an Elder Scrolls game, and it does… sometimes. When you’re fighting off baddies, and looking for the best weapons for your inventory, the game has the same feel as if you were doing the same on a console.

As the evidence shows, Blades doesn’t have to be a traditional Elder Scrolls experience in order to be fun. The game can be fun at times, but it loses its luster when the developer takes our phone out of our hands and replaces it with our credit cards.

Lootboxes put fun on hold

Blades wait boxesThroughout the game, you are going to come across chests containing items to help you on your journey. In a previous Elder Scrolls game like Skyrim, all you need to do is break our your lock pick. A little turn here, a slow turn of the joystick there. Bing, bang, boom. Done.

In this game, you have to wait until a timer runs out on a chest before you open it. However, if you spend real-world money on in-game currency, you can pay to open the chest sooner. As the chests can take hours to open, players with nothing else to do in the game don’t have another option.

Microtransactions are common in free mobile games. The developers need to make their money somehow. A strategy many games take is to only have items such as new skins available for purchase. 

Pay to win

Blades lootboxesElder Scrolls: Blades has an unfortunate truth: you either buy the good weapons, or you die over and over again with the free weapons. Blades has currently made more than $500,000 from microtransactions, proving that players are slowly catching on.

Players have even taken the discussion to Reddit to ask what weapons work best. There are cases of players finding rare legendary weapons dropped from a fallen enemy only to find out that it pales in comparison to something you can just buy for $10. 

Should you play it?

The game does have an intriguing, flowing story. It features the Blades from previous Elder Scrolls titles on a new adventure.

The game also has many RPG qualities such as customizing your character and upgrading them via EXP.

The story and combat are both enticing, but players need to realize prior to downloading that the game is not “free.” You don’t need to spend $60 like a normal new release for PC or console, but you will have to spend around $10 for decent weapons. You might also few bucks here and there if you want to skip waiting for chests to open.

If you’re looking for the next Skyrim, you can give this game a hard pass. However, if you want something small to hold you over until Elder Scrolls 6 drops, this might be your answer.

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