Not much can be said (or even needs to be said) about Doom. It has all the demons, giant guns, frags, and heavy metal that players expect from the series, all of which has landed on the Nintendo Switch. While it’s mind-boggling that Id Software was able to get 2016’s Doom running so well on the Switch, it makes sense that they wouldn’t want to be shown up by those who can get it running on a calculator. The trimming that needed to be done to make this happen, however, is a constant reminder that the game is a port that could be enjoyed elsewhere.
Doom starts with our friend Doomguy waking up chained to a sarcophagus that appears to have been running experiments on him, when demons start walking toward him. This won’t stand, of course, and he rips off his shackles while killing the demons with his bare hands, escaping to pick up weapons and a marine suit. From there, you begin to travel your way through Mars while slaughtering hordes of demons on your way to close the portals to hell, learning bit by bit why the portals were opened in the first place. None of the story is very deep, and serves more as a vehicle to give a reason to continue moving forward and killing demons, as if that isn’t a reward in and of itself.
Doom’s gameplay is the quick, brutal fragfest that it was in the PC version. Though there may be a bit of a learning curve for those who are used to a keyboard and mouse for FPS games, especially one as twitchy as Doom, the game feels natural to play with a pro controller. Joy-cons, on the other hand, feel a bit small and not as well designed for a fps. This is not to say that using them is impossible, as the game allows adjustment of horizontal and vertical sensitivity, acceleration control (which gradually increases your movement speed depending on setting) and even the ability to turn off aim assist.
The Nintendo Switch port of Doom took a massive game that was around 80GB in size, required a fairly powerful processor and video card and stuffed it into a 22GB package that runs on the Switch’s Tegra processor. Gameplay is still intact, with all the twitchy movement and frags that you’d expect. Slowdowns were almost non-existent, allowing you to mow down hordes of zombies and not be detracted by a crawling framerate. The downside, however, is the game’s default settings feel like they are even lower than the “low” setting on the PC version. Framerate is locked at 30fps, with resolution locked at 720p in both handheld and docked mode. Textures are also a lower resolution, and text can be hard to read. However, when playing the game with the usual run-and-gun gameplay with constant strafing and firing at enemies, none of these restrictions are noticeable and take away nothing from the game.
While there were only bots to play with during review time, basic multiplayer is completely intact. Level ups and unlocks, character customization, and multiple playlists all are in place, with all the levels from other versions present. The most important part, however, is that Id Software included a party system to make sure you can play with your friends. Since the Switch itself does not have a way to do this, it is required for the developer to implement a system themselves and Id has delivered. SnapMap, however, was one of the features to be cut from the Switch port. This means that custom games will not be playable nor creatable in this version, as SnapMap took up a large amount of storage space and was cut to fit the game on the Switch.
If you are looking for a game to blow up demons and add a solid FPS to your Nintendo library, look no further than Doom. It packs the entire campaign and much of the multiplayer onto a portable console, meaning that you don’t need to stop fragging just because you need to leave the house. The game’s eye candy has been reduced to match the console’s processing power, as well as feels a bit awkward using the console’s portable joy-cons rather than the pro controller. Even so, the game is worth a playthrough and hopefully a good sign of what is to come.
Note: Our Nintendo Switch copy of Doom was provided by PR