Bethesda has a number of big titles releasing this holiday season -- from Fallout 4 in VR to DOOM on the Nintendo Switch. Fans of the company's RPG and shooter games have a lot to look forward to as the end of the year draws closer.
This week, I was lucky enough to get my hands on some of these upcoming games to try them out before they hit store shelves. After spending time with DOOM and Skyrim on the Switch, and the VR ports for DOOM, Skyrim, and Fallout 4, here are my thoughts about what's on offer from Bethesda this year.
If you want to skip to a specific demo, you can use the links below:
Doom (Nintendo Switch)
When this title was announced at the most recent Nintendo Direct, I was shocked that it was being ported -- and nervous about how this game would play on the portable console.
But after getting to see it for myself, I can assure you: DOOM plays really well on the Nintendo Switch.
The graphics are comparable to the console version, but might look a little fuzzy to those who have played the game already. I played my demo using the Pro Controller, and it felt really nice. If you played the game on console or on PC using a controller, the controls are exactly the same -- so you won't feel lost when you play it on the go.
I made several attempts to get the release date out of the Bethesda representative, but she did not budge. I did, however, get confirmation that the game will include DOOM's full campaign and arcade mode. The multiplayer modes and every map released so far will be available as a download, and not on the Switch cartridge.
DOOM will release for the Switch around the 2017 holiday season.
Skyrim (Nintendo Switch)
When the Switch was first revealed to us last year, there was footage of Skyrim running on the console. But a port of Skyrim was never confirmed until E3 this year, when its November 17 release date was revealed.
One of the questions that's come up frequently is: What version of Skyrim is it? The vanilla game, or the special edition that came out for Xbox One and PlayStation 4?
After speaking to the Bethesda representative, I learned that this version of Skyrim is more like the Game of the Year edition. It does include all DLC that has been released in the past but does not have the remastering that made the game look incredible for current generation consoles.
Although I imagine this choice was based on the graphical capabilities of the Switch, the fact that this isn't the remastered version of Skyrim does show when you're playing on the portable console and hurts the experience a little bit. The graphics aren't all that great -- probably comparable to the Xbox 360 graphics moreso than those on current-gen consoles.
But despite the graphics not being up to par, the game does run really well. It's smooth and has all the quests, exploration, and looting that you'd find in every other version of the game.
If you enjoyed Skyrim on the other consoles and want to be able to play it everywhere you go, you'll probably enjoy the Switch version. But if you've never played the game before and want to try it out, I'd recommend picking it up for PC or a current-gen, since the Switch just doesn't do this game's beautiful graphics enough justice.
Fallout 4 (HTC Vive)
This was one of the better VR experiences I was able to try out. The graphics for the Fallout VR port aren't on par with the graphics you'll find on console or PC, but they aren't as bad as the graphics in Skyrim VR.
Much like its fantasy counterpart, Fallout 4 VR has you teleport to move around. Using weapons in the game feels smooth and natural, making for an overall satisfying combat experience. I would definitely recommend picking this on up if you have been wanting to get into Fallout 4 or love it enough to play it again on your VR rig.
All DLC will be included when Fallout 4 for the HTC Vive is released on December 12 of this year.
Skyrim VR (PlayStation VR & HTC Vive)
Entering the world of Skyrim on the PSVR was insane. Being able to take down enemies with a sword in one hand and burning enemies with fire in the other was incredibly cool while totally immersed in the world.
The controls are simple once you get the hang of them. The VR version of Skyrim isn't as fluid as its non-VR counterparts, since the game's VR movement is based on teleports rather than walking. That said, swinging a sword and extending your hand to burn things was a lot of fun. And although using the bow and arrow did take some getting used to, I was able to get a few good shots in before my demo was finished.
The graphics aren't the greatest, though. Skyrim VR looked very blocky -- not at all what you'd expect from one of the gorgeous games released in the last decade. Of course it's understandable that graphics will take a hit in a VR port, this was more like a few uppercuts and a solid punch to the jaw.
Is Skyrim VR worth picking up? If you like Skyrim and have PlayStation VR, sure. If you just want a new game to play on PSVR and don't feel that strongly about Skyrim, wait for it to go on sale or use the Amazon Prime discount to get it for a little less. I really wanted to be blown away by this game, but the graphics really impacted the experience.
Skyrim for PlayStation VR will be released on November 17.
Doom VFR (PlayStation VR & HTC Vive)
This demo was a ton of fun -- and easily the best VR game that was available to test. DOOM's graphics are really good for a VR game. And although the controls take a little bit to get used to, the game plays just like the console version that was released last year.
When Doom comes to PSVR and HTC Vive, it will be about a 5-hour experience. The Bethesda representative I chatted with didn't mention any DLC, but this demon-addled shooter is definitely worth checking out if you own either one of the VR headsets it's been optimized for.
Doom VFR releases for both PSVR and HTC Vive on December 1.
If you are an owner of a Nintendo Switch, HTC Vive, or PlayStation VR, then Bethesda will be your home this holiday season with its surplus of games coming out.
While some of the games they showcased for demos aren't as polished as you'd want them to be, they all had their own element of fun that really makes it all worth it. Check out all of the games featured here when they come out before the end of the year.
Which of these games are you most looking forward to? Let me know down in the comments!