The Elder Scrolls Gameplay

The Elder Scrolls: Blades Review – A Disappointing RPG Experience


Announced by Todd Howard during Bethesda’s E3 2018 showcase, The Elder Scrolls: Blades is another example of a toned-down spinoff from an iconic franchise. Although the reveal did not suffer the same fate as the BlizzCon announcement of Diablo Immortal, Blades walked a different path that eventually led to a disappointing conclusion.

Before we jump into our overview of The Elder Scrolls: Blades gameplay, there is one thing that we should keep in mind. The culprit for all the exploitation that eventually ruins some of the franchises we love is not the developers’ fault. All of these spin-offs are only a product of monetization through in-game microtransactions that most money-hungry video game executives are so fond of.

Without further ado, let’s take a quick look at what makes The Elder Scrolls: Blades part of Metacritic’s 10 worst aggregate score list of all games launched in 2020.


The Elder Scrolls Goblins
Image from The Elder Scrolls



As with all free-to-play games, The Elder Scrolls: Blades is heavily monetized. Nothing’s bad with this scheme, though, if it’s optional and does not affect the player’s progression. However, one of the faults of this RPG is that it feels like it’s begging for money on every chance that it can get. From treasure boxes to upgrades, expect to experience a couple of hours of wait time before you can proceed. Nevertheless, if you are used to playing free-to-play RPGs, then this feature is not going to be an issue.


One of the most disappointing aspects of Blades is that it lacks most of the Elder Scrolls’ elements. For one, the game does not feature an open-world experience, which is pretty much linear, to say the least. Another is the lack of character development. With that said, it is only fair to say that the game just does not make you feel like you are playing an Elder Scrolls game at all.

On the bright side, Blades provides solid gameplay mechanics that are both innovative and unique. The combat elements are solid and encounters are very much engaging. Apart from that, the characters are interesting enough to engage despite the lack of a decent backstory. Altogether, The Elder Scrolls: Blades is a great game if it was not connected to the Elder Scrolls franchise.


The Elder Scrolls Character
Image from The Elder Scrolls


A Literal Spin-off

The Elder Scrolls: Blades is just another casualty of the current microtransaction revolution sweeping the entire video game industry. To be honest, the game is quite good, especially with the unique battle system. The main issue of the game is that it lacks the necessary elements of an Elder Scrolls game. Even worse is that the game’s narrative is not even that interesting, including the repetitive quests. As disappointing as the game may be, The Elder Scrolls: Blades is still fun to play, especially if you don’t care about the series’ story arc.

Ultimately, The Elder Scrolls: Blades is a literal spin-off that feels more like a disconnected entry to the iconic franchise. If you are a hardcore Elder Scrolls fan, you will be disappointed with this game. However, if you are a casual gamer who is used to microtransactions and grinding for several hours, Blades is a decent game that provides a unique gameplay experience.