One of the most anticipated games of the year is The Elder Scrolls: Blades. Revealed during Bethesda's showcase at last year's E3 conference, Blades promises to deliver console-quality graphics on your smartphone with a brand new first-person role-playing adventure set in the mystical world of Tamriel.

Pre-register on Google Play

The Elder Scrolls: Blades follows in the huge success of Skyrim, which honestly could just as well have been ported to mobile to keep with the ongoing joke of how ubiquitous that game has become. Instead, mobile gamers will be getting a new game designed with controls optimized for landscape and portrait mode which means you'll be able to plunder dungeons with one hand while holding your morning coffee in the other. Not too shabby!

In the game, you'll be exploring a combination of hand-crafted interiors and procedurally generated dungeons, along with outdoor environments. Movement can be controlled with taps or using on-screen dual stick controls, and you'll be able to hack n' slash or use magic to vanquish your enemies.

What's new with The Elder Scrolls: Blades?

April 12, 2019 — Bethesda adds more supported devices while getting roasted for the game's reliance on micro-transactions

It has been about two weeks since Bethesda has started rolling out early access Elder Scrolls: Blades, and the development team has been busy behind the scenes optimizing the game for more devices and receiving player feedback on how to improve the game.

The good news is that the game looks great and is now available on an additional 36 Android phones including the OG Pixel and OnePlus 3/3T. The bad news is that Bethesda has implemented a timed chest system that has rendered the game almost unplayable without shelling out for in-app purchases.

As explained by Paul Tassi of Forbes, the main problem lies with the silver chests, which are the most common chest players receive for completing tasks in the game. Originally, it took three hours to unlock a silver chest, compared to six hours for a gold chest, meaning that you could complete a dungeon mission in two minutes, but then be forced to wait three whole hours just to collect your loot.

Bethesda has lowered the time lock for silver chests to just one hour, but it's still a scummy system that follows a troubling trend in gaming of developers almost holding players ransom, as it's really hard to progress quickly through the game without spending money on gems to unlock those chests faster. Then again, this is what early access and beta testing is for, but it seems like a stretch to imagine Bethesda scrapping the timed chest system altogether even though it's single-handedly ruining the experience for players.

March 27, 2019 — Early access is starting to roll out for those who pre-registered online

Bethesda is celebrating 25 years of The Elders Scrolls this month, and as part of that celebration they're starting to roll out early access to Blades.

Access to this highly anticipated mobile game has been kept sealed tight up to this point, so it will be really great when we first get access to see what the game has to offer. For now, those of us who pre-registered for early access will have to just wait for Bethesda add them to the early access list.

What we know about the game

Blades is a pretty clear reference to the Imperial empire's secret service, and the game has you play a Blade agent who returns to their hometown only to find it burnt to rubble. A large part of the game is dedicated to rebuilding your town by spending the loot you collect from chests to unlock new buildings, decorations, and more. Chests are earned by completing missions, but they're timed so that you have to wait an hour to unlock silver chests and six hours to unlock gold chest — unless you want to speed up the process by spending some gems, which are available via in-app purchases.

There's some real potential here to be sure — and Bethesda should know what it's doing in terms of mobile gaming having found wild success with Fallout Shelter. The concept of procedurally generated dungeons is intriguing if it means you get to explore a unique maze-like dungeon filled with deadly skeletons and spiders every time you load up the game. However, I could also imagine it going in the other direction where the dungeons are different each time, sure, but the design is simplified to the point where it's mindless and repetitive — with less time for adventuring and more time spend waiting to unlock chests.

Those who pre-registered with Bethesda for a chance at getting early access to the game at playblades.com might soon receive an email with download instructions for getting into the game. Early access has already started rolling out in places like New Zealand and Bethesda has stated that new players will be added in waves. If you pre-registered in the Google Play Store you should check in because you should be able t to download the app and play through a quick tutorial... before being told to wait for a notification saying you're granted early access to the game.

As of April 12, Bethesda has confirmed the game is compatible with over 60 phones including many older devices released in 2016 up to now. Here's the full list of compatible devices:

  • iPhone 6s and newer
  • iPhone SE
  • iPad Pro
  • iPad Mini 4 and 5
  • iPad Air 2 and 3
  • Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+
  • Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+
  • Samsung Galaxy S10/S10+
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9
  • Google Pixel 2/2XL
  • Google Pixel 3/3XL
  • OnePlus 5
  • OnePlus 5T
  • OnePlus 6
  • OnePlus 6T
  • Moto Z2 and newer
  • Essential Phone
  • HTC U11/U11+
  • HTC U12+
  • LG V30
  • LG G7 One
  • Xiaomi Mi 6
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
  • Xperia XZ Premium
  • Xperia XZ1
  • Razer Phone
  • ZTE Nubia Z17
  • Nokia 8
  • Sharp Aquos R
  • Asus ZenFone 4 Pro
  • Huawei P20/P20 Pro
  • Huawei Mate 20 Pro
  • Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe (ZS570KL)
  • Asus ZenFone AR
  • Asus ZenFone AR (ZS571KL)
  • Asus ZenFone Ares (ZS572KL)
  • Asus ZenFone V
  • BlackBerry DTEK60
  • Google Pixel
  • Google Pixel XL
  • HTC U Ultra
  • Leeco Le Max2
  • Leeco LePro3
  • LGE LG G5
  • LGE LG G6
  • LGE LG Q9
  • LGE V20
  • LGE V20 PRO
  • Motorola Moto Z
  • OnePlus OnePlus3
  • OnePlus OnePlus3T
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Active
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
  • Sony Xperia XZs
  • Tonino Lamborghini TL99G
  • Vertex BLK3D
  • Vertu Constellation X
  • Vivo Xplay6
  • Xiaomi MI 5s Plus
  • Xiaomi Mi Note2
  • Xiaomi MIX
  • ZTE NX531J
  • ZTE Z999
  • ZTE A2017G
  • ZTE A2018
  • Zuk Lenovo Z2 Plus
  • Zuk Z2
  • Zuk Z2 Pro

After its initial launch on mobile, Bethesda plans to release The Elder Scrolls: Blades on all current-gen consoles and PC (including VR) with cross-platform play. The game will be free to play across all your devices.

Download: The Elder Scrolls: Blades (Unreleased) on Google Play

Get the most out of your Android gaming experience

SteelSeries Stratus Duo ($60 at Amazon)

A great Bluetooth controller for use with Android games that offer gamepad support that also includes a wireless USB dongle for gaming on PCs. Highly recommended!

Ventev Powercell 6010+ Portable USB-C Charger ($37 at Amazon)

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Spigen Style Ring ($13 at Amazon)

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