Skyforge has been around on the MMO scene for quite some time- 2015 to be exact, so I think everyone was a little surprised to learn that we would be getting a port of the sci-fi fantasy on the Nintendo Switch this year. There are already tons of reviews and videos out there on what the game’s mechanics are like, so with this review, I’d like to hone in on my experience and focus on what exactly is different about the Switch port thus far.
Don’t Fear the Reapers
If you’re not familiar with Skyforge, here’s a gentle introduction. You do not begin as an immortal, but as a protector of the world of Aelion, fighting on the frontlines to beat back an invasion. The attack succeeds, and you and your company are killed. Crawling through the mess of corpses, you breathe the stagnant air of life again, only to realize that you have been resurrected as an immortal. This results in your character fighting their way back to the surface and being brought to the capital of Aelion where you’ll meet Herida- a goddess and advisor to immortals. From here on out, you’ll grapple with your new responsibilities as an ascended and work on meeting the relentless attacks from the Reapers of Death head-on.
So there we have it. Immortal of Aelion, your role is to protect what is left of the world and its mortals that dwell there from potential invaders and rogue gods. This is a tale that PC, Xbox, and PlayStation immortals know all too well. But what of the Switch ascended?
As with previous console ports, there is no cross-platform, so Switch users will find themselves playing with other Switch players on their own server. There are pros and cons to this. First, it’s a completely fresh start for anyone new to the game. Skyforge is one of the first major MMO titles to hit the Nintendo Switch (aside from Dauntless), so it’s a nice, fresh start for those who may not have a powerful gaming PC. The downside to this, is that Skyforge wasn’t made initially with the Switch in mind, so it will naturally run into some graphics issues and bugs that other iterations haven’t had to deal with.
A Strange, but Familiar World
When you first open your eyes after crawling through that pile of corpses, you might notice something looks immediately…off. Or perhaps you noticed it a little sooner, when you were creating your character, like I did. Whether it’s due to the console’s limitations or poor optimization, Skyforge’s Switch graphics look considerably poorer than they did on previous iterations-especially PC. I didn’t expect a lot, but I did expect to be able to at least make out the features on my character. I wasn’t able to make the immortal I really wanted because I ended up throwing in the towel with character creation. And I’m that person that can spend upwards of an hour perfecting how my character looks. As a side note, this was for both docked and handheld gaming.
It makes for a startling contrast when the UI is crystal clear, but your body is jagged and pixelated. After some tweaking of what little graphics options we have, I was able to make it slightly clearer, but nothing so far as what I know the game should look like. I couldn’t spend long periods of time playing in Aelion because the graphics, unfortunately, ended up giving me mild headaches. I wear glasses with AR lenses, and it still was just exceedingly uncomfortable to push through. Even when I could push through it, my adventure was usually short-lived.
Where’s the OFF spray?
Now, I can sacrifice some graphics if the game was at least stable on my end. I wish I could count on one hand the number of times that I crashed while trying to customize my immortal or questing in an instance. I really, really wish I could just use one hand, because, when it works, Skyforge is an enjoyable game and it feels good on the Switch. However, it is absolutely suffering a plague of bugs of biblical proportions. I’m not sure if it has to do with the server struggling or just deep technical issues, but after a while, I had to put down the game and just walk away.
Thanks to your detailed reports and feedback, a new patch aimed at fixing certain crashing and audio issues on Switch has been submitted to Nintendo. We hope to release it as soon as possible.
Improving performance on Switch is our top priority. Thank you for your patience! pic.twitter.com/rxwCmkdXDy
— Skyforge (@GodsofSkyforge) February 24, 2021
If it wasn’t the game crashing completely, it was the audio blips and cutoffs that added to my frustration. During a PvE mission, combat audio would just randomly cut out altogether and eventually pop back in whenever it pleased, scaring the ever-living daylights out of me. Dialogue audio was spotty at times as well, with it cutting out during some lines, cutting off at random places, or managing to play as an unsynced mess with terrible voice acting. Really, I don’t remember the voice acting being this terrible back when I played in 2015, but maybe I just had lower standards and more patience then. The team of developers that work on the Switch port are definitely aware of the audio and crashing issues because they announced yesterday that they’ll be putting out a fix for some of the crashing and audio. However, I can’t really review or account for what will come in the future.
Combat & PvE
Aside from all of the bugs and graphical issues, how does it play? Skyforge’s combat system is based around an active style that allows its users to execute flashy combos with abilities and to dodge out of the way of powerful attacks. Combat was already tons of fun with a mouse and keyboard, but something about a controller and lock-on feature just feels right. I actually used the EasySMX ESM Switch controller while questing, and it made carving through packs of mobs like cutting through butter. I loved being able to recline back in my chair, prop my feet up, and rest my hands in a comfortable position after writing all day.
As you level up and complete quests, you’ll gain access to more abilities that you can spam in combat, but you’ll probably settle on a few choice combinations to use in dungeons. Skyforge has lots of PvE content with dungeons and fetch quests that you can undertake with friends or new immortals you find out in the world. While dungeons are pretty fun at first, however, it can get stale. There’s generally one big boss at the end that you’re working up towards, with small packs of mobs blocking your way there. Some dungeons are more interesting than others to look at, and some you’ll very quickly get sick of trudging through once you get to the point of grinding power and upgrading gear.
The Future of Aelion
If the team over at My.com stays vigilant, communicates with their player base, and makes a considerable effort to correct the myriad of technical issues Skyforge is currently facing, I think that the MMO has a ton of potential on the Switch platform. I’m unfortunately very disappointed with the game in its current state, having put many, many hours into the PC version when it first dropped. I was truly looking forward to starting a fresh journey on the Switch and making new friends through the game.
There are so many glaring issues that make me feel like no one, not a single person, looked at this game on the Switch to see if it might have any issues. Did anyone play past or even look at character creation? Or did they just do a copy/paste and had confidence that it would work fine? Sitting in the capital, staring sullenly at my beautiful promotional wings for completing the tutorial, I can’t help but feel like there are many others that felt the same way.
Already, players seem to be having some issues finding groups at the start because they have either moved on to higher content or stopped playing entirely. This is the main culprit that I think will hurt Skyforge the most. Due to lack of cross-platform, if they can’t fix a lot of the technical issues, the little bit of a Switch player base they have will dwindle away into nothing, and that really breaks my heart. Skyforge had a massive amount of potential on the Switch. It still does. What the team does within these next few weeks to address its community’s issues, however, will definitely determine the game’s longevity.
One plus side of this release is that Skyforge is free to play! If you own a Nintendo Switch, there is absolutely no risk at all involved for you to jump in the game and try it out for yourself. I always highly encourage anyone who has even the slightest bit of interest to try it out for themselves. I will definitely be keeping my eye on Skyforge for the next few weeks to see whether or not they pull through on their end with fixes. If that happens, I would be more than happy to update this review with a newer article, score, and impressions. For now, I’ll just have to say goodbye to my beautiful wings and halo, and hang them up for a day when they can be utilized to their fullest without the constant crashing.
A key was provided to the writer for the sake of this review.