Cast your mind back to E3 2018 and you may remember a little game called The Elder Scrolls: Blades being revealed by Bethesda. This mobile-only take on the Elder Scrolls dungeon-romping experience is now available for select players. It’s labeled a “free-to-play” game, although as expected that’s actually a load of old bollocks.

No, The Elder Scrolls Blades is a long, long way away from free-to-play, packing microtransactions ranging from $3 all the way up to an eye-watering $160. That’s an arrow to the knee alright.

The systems at play here really are quite staggering. Players can earn chests when they go dungeon-crawling in Elder Scrolls Blades, earned as end-of-level rewards. Only, you can’t open these chests straight away. You need to wait for a timer to tick down before you can unlock them, or you can use the premium ‘Gems’ currency to unlock chests instantly.

A pouch of 160 Gems costs $2.99, while an ‘Imperial Coffer’ of 14,000 Gems will set you back $159.99 in a ‘First Time Bonus’ offer.

If you want to skip the fuss of finding the treasure chests in the first place, chests can be bought outright. It’s 250 Gems for a Golden Chest, 750 Gems for an Elder Chest, and 2500 Gems for a Legendary Chest. It costs $30.99 to buy a single Legendary Chest.

Inside the chests, you’ll find gear, as well as upgrades for the buildings in town. You can wait hour upon hour for time to tick down, or you can stop wasting your precious life and pay up for the good stuff straight away. It’s not quite that simple as unlocking the upgrades either, with building materials also required to upgrade buildings. You can head out into dungeons to find this, at the expense of energy, or you can use gems to also buy the building materials.

I got told off earlier for not being excited about Borderlands 3, but I don’t think many people will be offended if I say The Elder Scrolls Blades looks like a sack of predatory poop that most Elder Scrolls fans should stay well away from. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to gain access for myself yet, but rest assured I want to get in there and see what it's all about. It's going to need to be one heck of a game to justify this sort of pricing.

The Elder Scrolls Blades Early Access is available on iOS and Android. You can register your interest here.

Has anyone had more luck getting in, if you could call it luck? Should Bethesda be taking a little more care of its beloved franchise? Let us know!