Skyrim Title Screen

Skyrim in 2020: Still Good, Was It Always This Buggy?

Skyrim is an iconic game played by thousands, but man, it has a lot of bugs until today. It's been a while since its launch, how does it hold up today?
Skyrim is an iconic game played by thousands, but man, it has a lot of bugs until today. It's been a while since its launch, how does it hold up today?
Skyrim Title Screen
Ohh yes. When you see that Skyrim logo, you’re in for an adventure.

Skyrim in 2020: How has it aged?

Old games can either age like milk, or age like fine wine. And in my opinion, I say that Skyrim in 2020 is aging like wine. It’s aging at a good rate even nine years since its launch. But it’s not the finest tasting wine in the cellar.

For a game that was released in 2011, almost a decade from now, Skyrim is still one of the most recognizable games in this era. It’s a game that still delivers a great adventure to take you out of the issues of the real world today. But now that we had our fair share of time with it, we could now taste the bitter bugs and glitches that has been left in the game for almost a decade.

The Hype of 11/11/11

“Hey, you. You’re finally awake.”

Ralof of Riverwood

On November 11, 2011, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim was released for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. It was praised by plenty of critics, getting high scores all around and a ton of love from fans. It set a really high bar for games and Skyrim quickly became an iconic title in video game history.

In my opinion, the hype Cyberpunk 2077 got is comparable to the hype that Skyrim got when it launched back in 2011. Bethesda put out previews, gameplay demos, and cinematic trailers just to tease us and our wallets. Admittedly, I was also one of those fans that was aboard the hype train.

I was lucky enough to grab a copy of the game for the PS3 when it came out. Going to Bleak Falls Barrow in 2011 was absolutely jaw-dropping, and dual-wielding weapons while fighting dragons was an experience that games back then couldn’t match.

Although, just like a raging fire, Skyrim has had its brightest days, and now it’s at that time where we see it burn out through a couple of problems that’s never been patched in nine years.

“Exploits, bugs and glitches, that sort of thing.”

Probably was just my imagination too.

Even with good reviews, the game had a wobbly launch. Objects would clip outside of the world, sometimes music would overlap each other, you can even fly around Skyrim and go through walls using a bucket. I could go on and on about what I’ve seen and probably never reach the end of this article.

The NPC’s in Skyrim were also something else. Your follower would sometimes block you at a doorway, pretty much trapping you inside if you didn’t have the full Unrelenting Force shout yet. They would get lost if you started jumping off cliffs and you wouldn’t see them until the next loading screen.

Store merchants don’t mind you stealing goods if you place a basket on their heads first, and all the guards took arrows to their knees. The A.I. always felt like they made the most hilarious decisions.

Onto some exploits, there was even a way to duplicate your items by giving them to your follower, and players learned how to get out of bounds to reach a shopkeeper’s chest so you can take their stuff and money for free.

They also found exploitable ways to max out skills by spamming different actions for a few minutes. And surprisingly, these exploits were pretty easy to do after a quick search on the internet.

You’d think that even after all that I just mentioned, Bethesda would try to fix them as quickly as possible, right?

Well it’s been NINE years and I can still do most, if not all, of these exploits and still see the same bugs and glitches on the Nintendo Switch port.

Overpowered Unarmed Ring
Yeah, you can make this ring on the Switch port.

Skyrim? On the Toilet?

Skyrim came out for the Nintendo Switch back in November 2017, which was just a few months after the Switch was released. At that point, Skyrim releases already became a running joke with the fans; Even Bethesda themselves embraced the joke about them porting the game to a refrigerator.

Even so, Skyrim on the Switch sounded like a perfect addition to the Switch library. I never thought I would see the day you can play Skyrim on the toilet or on a train, we’ve really come far.

But the lingering thought when I saw that Skyrim Switch trailer was:

This is just another port with the same bugs ain’t it?

And not surprisingly, it is still the same game ported on another console. The only things noteworthy in the Switch port is Joy-Con controls, gyro support, and Amiibo support so you can get Link’s gear.

Whatever I’ve seen and done in 2011 is the same thing I got in 2020. Same bugs and glitches, same exploits, same feeling.

But honestly, I still enjoy playing Skyrim on the Switch even if there are a ton of bugs.

I mean, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right?

But in Skyrim’s case: If it’s broke, just call it a feature.

Tis’ but a scratch.

Bugs and Glitches Make Skyrim… Skyrim.

“I used to be an adventurer like you, then…”

Probably the national slogan of Skyrim’s city guards.

Some of the crazy and funny moments that we love and remember from playing Skyrim partly come from the bugs and glitches themselves. Arrow to the knee? The guards still repeat the same dialogue. What about that time you fought a giant and he flung you to space in one hit? That glitch still in the Switch.

Paralysis is one of the best spells you can get. No backstabs this time, Khajiit.

What I’m trying to say is, we’ve accepted Skyrim despite its flaws. I’m not defending the bugs and glitches at all; they really shouldn’t be there in the first place. It’s just that if they were to patch Skyrim in 2020, I would honestly miss some of the exploits and glitches I’ve been used to since 2011. As odd as it sounds, Skyrim being a huge buggy mess is a part of what it is today.

The times have changed a lot since 2011; If there were huge glitches on a game released today, they’d be getting a lot of flack from everyone. But I like to think that Skyrim has gone through that phase already, and we have accepted that it’s a buggy mess forever.

At this point, it’s pointless to argue to Bethesda to fix an old game even if they keep porting it. The game has been cemented in video game history and Skyrim’s name alone will make a profit anyways. Don’t be surprised when a mobile port comes out (that’d be cool though).

I’d like to believe Bethesda stopped patching the game because they were aware of how many things they have to fix so they just let the community do it for them. And the community did a really well job fixing the game and adding even more content that the base game had.

Skyrim with Guns?

Hands down, the best way to play Skyrim is on the PC with a ton of mods. I was playing on the Switch because my PC couldn’t handle all the mods I placed, and the game kept crashing so I just gave up and played the game vanilla (no mods).

Playing Skyrim vanilla is already great, but adding mods makes the experience a hundred times better. There are patches that fix plenty of issues, graphical improvements, smarter A.I. mods, weapons and armor, Thomas The Tank Engine. With the right mods, you can make the adventure you never thought you wanted to have.

The future of Skyrim is in the good hands of its community. It’s still alive and well in 2020 because of the passionate modding scene and active player base.

Conclusion: Should you play Skyrim in 2020?

We know… Well I know I’m still playing Skyrim.

If you haven’t played Skyrim yet, or if you want to start a new game, you definitely should when you can. Yeah, the game is still hella buggy, but that’s what adds to your adventure at this point, and there are mods on PC if you want to fix them.

2020 was a really odd year, a good adventure is probably what we need to end the year with.

TL;DR: Yups, Skyrim in 2020 is still good even with age-old bugs. The Switch port is cool too.