Bethesda has finally released The Elder Scrolls: Blades game of early access. Now players can immerse themselves in their own story about the former agent of Blades, forced to hide from the Aldmeri Dominion. The game is still far from the release and, apparently, was released only to formally show the players at least something. Since Blades is in early access, we will not be fooled by obvious technical flaws.
GUI and music
Any game review should, in theory, begin with a description of the gameplay, but in this case, it is necessary to recognize – the design of The Elder Scrolls: Blades is amazing. Juicy, detailed picture, beautifully executed locations are captivating. Sometimes you stop at a regular Ayd gazebo and basking in the sun just admiring the location with calm and pleasant music. From such a familiar and dear Nirn, the heart will nostalgically beat some.
The price of such beauty is high – even top devices often overheat and plaintively swallowing friezes, they pray for optimization, and the system requirements are full of only the most productive devices. In the settings now there is not even a hint of graphical settings so that work with optimization most likely has not even begun yet. Let’s wait – a similar picture is worth it.
Gameplay: Action or City Manager?
What The Elder Scrolls: Blades would prove to be – the debut mobile project of the Fallout Shelters studio turned out to be extremely successful so that Bethesda could go the beaten track and create an excellent city manager by following the trodden path. Did not happen. As a result, a very peculiar mix arises between the story missions, grind dungeons and pumping the city. We analyze each separately.
Dungeons and plot
Story missions in most cases take place on beautifully traced locations with unique views and chains of tasks, where there can be allies, interlocutors, special execution conditions, secret rooms and special opponents. These missions are often difficult, but always more interesting than any other fights. Oddly enough, the local undead, beasts and overt enemies do not interact with the player’s allies. This slightly breaks the atmosphere, but in general, there is nothing better than the plot in the Blades.
The storyline mission is a continuation of the spirit of TES, where we need to communicate with the residents, find out details about some events or search for the guilty.
Dialogues are often quite naive and of the same type, which is disappointing, but as is the case with the Fallout Shelters, such things are likely to expand greatly in updates. Actually, it is the passage of the storyline that is the main motivation for the passing of the game, moreover, the feeling of a quick ending encourages players not to complete the process, but to carry on beyond their Blade.
Dungeons for resource extraction are divided into side tasks, assignments and the passage of an endless abyss. All these elements are mediocre and lazy: there are no secret rooms, there is no interaction with the location, repetitions are found at every step:
- Side quests are analogous to side quests, which, in fact, are additional storylines. It quickly turns out that the developers were too lazy to come up with pretexts for stripping the dungeon, so often the player will kill the goblins in the dungeon 4 times in a row, and then throw up something to the gang of bandits several times in a row and so on. With this approach to work, I want to send the game writers on vacation.
- Orders have a small pool of similar locations, which the player will learn by heart quite soon. They will slowly be diluted with parts of the dungeons from the plots, but in general, the player will rather quickly become sick. There is no place for the atmosphere or the world of TES – the only one-type killing of monsters for the sake of resources in the manner of Korean MMOs.
- The Abyss is the local entertainment for the Daedra and the pinnacle of the genius of Blades game designers. No kidding. The Abyss is an endless dungeon where players will meet random opponents and will receive random rewards for descending into its depths.
As can be seen, the three activities listed above simply duplicate each other under various pretexts, so that the player formally remains a sense of diversity without one.
Combat system and equipment
In the passage of numerous tasks, players can appreciate the combat system of the game. In the game, there is a simplified system of characteristics, which depends exclusively on equipped items and pumping. Naturally, the Blade race also has a slight effect. But the main feature, of course not just in the characteristics. The fact is that in Blades, besides pumping and characteristics, there is a division into:
- 3 types of physical damage: cutting, chopping, crushing;
- 2 types of armour: light and heavy;
- 3 types of guns: light, versatile, heavy;
- 4 magic elements: fire, cold, electricity, poison;
- Magic tricks and physical abilities, each with its own scale of energy;
- Single strikes, combos and 2 block states;
Each of these elements has some peculiarity that affects the character of the fight and the likely tactics of the opponent and the player. That is, the player can understand the strengths and weaknesses in the equipment of the enemy and adjust their actions on the battlefield. In addition, many of these elements have features that can be turned into a deadly weapon with the help of skill: cold slows down the strikes of the enemy, light weapons allow you to shoot down enemy castes, a fast unit stuns the target or even causes damage to it.
As a result, the player must not only be properly equipped but also skillfully realize his equipment and skills learned. And for this, you need not only a quick reaction but also a sharp mind. It is a pity that all these features mostly pass by the players, as the Arena is currently missing.
In addition, the Blades managed to forget ranged combat, thieves, kite and jumping. And this is another blow to the atmosphere, although, frankly, not the most critical.
As mentioned above, the Fallout Shelters reincarnation in the TES world did not happen, so players are offered a pitiful and joyless stump. A player can build in the city 3 types of residential buildings, but he does not have complete freedom in the design of the area: only pre-prepared places are distributed strictly. There are few options for building: 4 artisan buildings and 3 housing options.
All this in 3 design options: wooden, stone, castle. Despite the word style, there is no architectural diversity, only the material is different. Functional buildings leave much to be desired: forge, alchemical laboratory, workshop, enchanter tower – during the passage of the plot, all these buildings are constantly late and cannot meet the player’s real demand.
The development of the city requires resources: limestone, wood and copper. Limestone and wood are fairly easy to obtain when passing the “Orders”, but copper is a rather scarce resource. Copper can be obtained in the abyss, to receive occasionally for the passage of important quests or knock out from the chest.
As a result, many players are forced to wait for the discovery of an infinite number of silver chests in order to get the right amount of copper, and in fact, each one has to spend 3 hours of waiting. In fact, having shown ingenuity, you can constantly open only wooden chests during the day, right during the assignments, but this still requires high online and constant hours-long pharma of monotonous missions, which of course will please few people.
Actually, in the workshop, the player can create visual improvements for the city. Jewellery can be installed in special slots that are scattered around the city and are divided into small, medium and large. The downside is that the player first receives unique improvements from the missions, after installing which, you don’t want to take something from the workshop: “You never know, something very beautiful and free will come up soon.” Moreover, the variety at the initial levels of the workshop does not shine.
In addition, it is impossible to remove the installed decoration to the warehouse even for money, which means the player will not change something valuable temporarily, for a change.
If we talk about the entourage of existing functional buildings, they can not be rotated, which makes some models frankly awkward.
For example, a wooden house and dwelling have a veranda on the back side, which always … rests against a wall. After all, all the points where they can be built have a stone fence in the back.
Atmosphere of the Ancient Scrolls
The TES universe was largely based on research and involvement in the game world, in conversations with NPCs, reading local literature, studying folklore and investigating local legends, and performing a lot of assignments from various factions and simple characters. The games of the series allowed to dive into the world completely and sail through its numerous currents.
When in 2006 Vir2L Studios released Oblivion Mobile for Java phones, the platform limitations and 200 KB weight allowed the developers to forgive the lack of an open world and other simplifications. Now, 13 years later, we see: the main character, pursued by the enemies of the Blades, returned to his native city during his looting. For the murder of several robbers, the elder and the inhabitants begin to call the protagonist, the lord, and wait for him to build housing and artisan shops for everyone.
At the same time, the city itself doesn’t do anything at all, and the residents don’t even try to pretend to produce something.
The only meaningful and interesting activity is that the plot tasks do not have a flowery storyline, and side tasks repeat the descriptions and motivations of each other 4-5 times without any embarrassment and even teasing themselves on this topic with the mouth of the main character. Instead of exploring the world, they gave out absolutely linear pumping with a clear need to constantly and consistently improve the armor, and also rebuild the city.
There is no real research, although the developers already have a ready-made ton of text blanks from the main games, a huge amount of descriptions and stories that could be tritely copied to delight the eyes of fans. Moreover, the construction of the city has nothing to do with the residents and the management as such.
With the same success, we could be set to unlock chests with keys to the story missions and nothing would have changed. Well, actually the residents themselves are absolutely dead – they don’t go anywhere, they don’t need anything, they don’t even want to pretend to interact. But here, to tell the truth, a reservation must be made: in some storyline missions, there are already arranged arches to create further conflicts between different residents, so it is quite possible that we will someday see something good in the development of NPC. But so far, alas: only the appearance and the main stories can please us at least with some kind of heredity.
Despite the long preparation, postponement of the release and release of early access, the game is still too raw for The Elder Scrolls product series. The Blades have a nice plot, an interesting combat system and a rather promising system of dialogues. But alas, city management, obsession with the same type of dungeons and the lack of diversity greatly hurt the reputation of the game.
Let’s hope that by the release of the developers will cope with technical problems and launch the full functionality. Then it is possible that updates that will develop the ideas laid will make a full-fledged mobile gaming legend out of this stump. However, objectively speaking, at the moment Blades, in any case, even with all its minuses, raises the bar for quality a step up and will force market players to change something in their strategy. For example, give more plots.
The graphics component of the Blades is also at the height and at the moment out of the competition. So the game will receive its awards, recognition and loyal fans, and so on and so forth.