A year and a half after its initial release, Doom – the critically-acclaimed reboot of the beloved 90s title – has been ported over to the Nintendo Switch, replete with nearly everything: the single-player campaign, arcade mode, and the improved multiplayer are all here, with the exception of level editor SnapMap. To get a sense of everything you need to know about Doom, you can read our original review. But how does the game measure up on the Switch?
It’s a technical marvel that this thing exists, given that the Switch has the same processor as an Nvidia Shield TV and the Pixel C, both of which are two-year-old at this point. Of course, that does mean Doom on Switch is technically inferior to current-gen consoles and PC in terms of both graphics and performance. There’s a clear lack of detail when you’re playing Doom on the Switch’s 6.2-inch screen, which only becomes more obvious on the TV, since the game doesn’t scale beyond 720p.
Particularly on the big screen, Doom doesn’t look great at all. If the Switch is your second console, you’re better off sticking to other platforms – PC, PS4, or Xbox One – for the ideal Doom TV experience. Even in handheld mode, textures are a bit smoothed out, and the game tends to suffer from drawing distance and issues, with some objects visibly popping-in.
If you can look past that, you’ll find Doom on Switch to be the same freewheeling demon-skull-opening crusade we’ve seen before. The game retains its speed and arcade-y nature, though not everyone will be pleased with its lowered frame-rate: 30fps or lower during times of heavy action, compared to 60fps elsewhere. We didn’t have much problem with that, but it’ll definitely vary as per your playstyle.
The bigger worry for us, something that became obvious from the get-go, was that the Joy-Cons hamper your ability to execute the moves you want at the speed you require. The Switch’s default controllers just aren’t suited for fine-tuned control (as we’ve noted before, again and again), which means it can be tough to quickly navigate or manoeuvre with them. We feel the Switch Pro Controller would be much better suited for the task, though we didn’t have one to test with.
But that throws up its own conundrum – using the Pro controller means you’ll need to put the Switch in table-top or docked mode; the former isn’t as enjoyable, and the latter brings up the graphics problem from earlier. Doom is more than a year old at this point, which means you could get your hands on a much better experience at a far lower price on PS4 and Xbox One.
On the other hand, Doom is full-price on Switch at $60 (about Rs. 3,900), which has to be a big factor as well. For those who already own the game elsewhere, paying as much again for a less-capable version might be too much of an ask. But then again, if you’re one of those who’ve put in close to three-digit hours with the game, you might not think twice given what you get: the same core Doom experience, one of the best first-person shooters in recent memory, available on the go.
And that brings us back to its existence in the first place. Doom’s arrival on Switch isn’t just good news for Doom fans, but important for all owners of the console, and Nintendo. It expands the notion of what’s possible on the little system, even if it’s at some performance cost, and will hopefully give other developers the impetus to consider getting their game on the Switch.
Bethesda – which publishes Doom – is already at the front of that line, with ports for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (out November 17) and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (releasing in 2018) on their way. The latter is especially notable, given that it just released at the end of last month. Hopefully, one or more of them will prove to be a hit, and help broaden the console’s third-party portfolio.
Either way, we’ve got Doom on the Switch. It’s not in all its glory, but it’s still many steps ahead of other console ports, and a great addition to the Nintendo line-up ahead of the crucial holiday period.
- Same fast, impressive gameplay
- Impressive port
- 30fps or lower frame-rate
- Lack of detail even at 720p
- Joy-Cons not ideally suited
- SnapMap missing
Rating (out of 10): 7
Gadgets 360 played a retail copy of Doom on the Nintendo Switch. The game is available via the Nintendo eShop and physical retailers at $60 (about Rs. 3,900). If you get it on cartridge, you’ll need to download the multiplayer component separately, which takes up 7.7GB on system memory. Those who go with digital download will need 32GB on microSD card and 5GB on system memory.