Elder Scrolls: Blades


I put a little time into this as it was released on iOS last week (though they didn’t open it up to play the game until around Friday). My quick thoughts to maybe save the rest of you some time.

The good: This looks and sounds like Elder Scrolls game. The production values are high for a phone game. The touch controls for moving and looking around work well. It’s a bit less “on rails” than what I was expecting from the trailers.

The moderate: The combat controls are simple and rely more on timing than strategy. You have strikes, blocks, spells and skills. You tap and hold to strike, and if you alternate sides you can “combo” for extra damage. The touch targets for blocking, spells, and skills are a bit small, so using these effectively against higher-level adversaries could be challenging. There’s a guide to keep you from getting lost in the level, but it’s aggressive and annoying if you are trying to explore for resources or find a story level “secret area.”

The bad: All the F2P shenanigans we come to expect are present. Premium currencies, loot crates, timers, limited inventory (purchase more with emeralds!), limited-time legendary loot for purchase, and exponential growth of timers and costs, etc.

The ugly: The PVP arena isn’t working yet, but given the F2P and unreliable combat controls, it will devolve into pay-to-win.

The F2P aspects really drive the game. Your core gameplay loop is to go on quests and pick up chests. Those loot-crate chests? They have cool down timers to actually open them. To start, you can only hold 10 chests. Did you earn gear from chest? Great! Except you can only hold 20 pieces of gear, including what you have equipped. You want to sell that gear for coins to free up space? Sure thing. Except the vendors in town have limited amounts of coins per day. You could just salvage it for resources though, but probably not the resource type you want.

If you don’t want to pay out the nose for premium currency to resolve some of these (designed in) issues, it seems like this will turn into a grindy slog. I will give the game a firm “Meh.”


This should be a part of every ratings scale.