Doom was one of my favourite games from last year. Hands down it had the best shooting, the best feeling guns, AI that would definitely prove more than a handful, and then there were those glory kills! No matter what platform you played it on last year, it was a blast. However, those hoping for the same on the Nintendo Switch should probably avoid purchasing Doom for Nintendo’s platform as it’s easily the worst place to play it on.
Feature-wise, it’s the same Doom campaign from last year. All of the single player offerings are here, including an arcade mode which was patched in after release, and if you missed out and absolutely have nowhere else to play it on, then Doom is still a viable game to play. However, the downgrade in visuals and particularly the frame rate make Doom for those who have access to the other versions an unappetising proposition.
Visually, it looks as if someone has smeared vaseline all over the screen when docked. This would not necessarily be a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that there are games for the Nintendo Switch that are significantly busier and manage to look much better. Slowdown is also a frequent occurrence when things get very busy, and when I say that, what I mean is more than a couple of demons on screen at the same time. Coupled with the 30FPS cap that makes an otherwise solid shooter more difficult to aim quickly, it’s just an inferior experience when docked.
When taken out of the Switch’s dock and played in handheld mode, Doom is a slightly more palatable experience thanks to a smaller screen and 720p target disguising some of the blurriness. It’s a more natural fit for this version of the game and actually feels better in hand than when docked. For those who just want to play a portable version of Doom, it’s definitely checks that box.
Aside from the technicalities of the game’s port, this shooter is still a blast to play and having the option to play it on the go should not be understated. For some, the idea of venturing to hell and back while on the train or a long flight is an ever enticing way to spend that free time. No compromises have been made on the single player content, and that’s no mean feat given how much less power the Switch has compared to other platforms.
While Multiplayer is all accounted for, including all the DLC that was made free earlier this year, it should be noted that it has struggled to maintain a decent player base even on better established platforms. It’s not that Doom’s multiplayer has no worth at all, just that you may struggle to find many player to shoot at online given the potential player base for Switch, and that’s only going to get worse a few months down the line. I would have liked some kind of split screen play – though an unrealistic wish given the Switch’s power – or a local system link option for Doom’s multiplayer, and sadly these aren’t here.
Also sorely missing is the entirety of Snapmap mode, which is nowhere to be found. Those wishing to take advantage of the Switch’s touch controls for map design are simply out of luck and it screams of a missed opportunity to inject some life into the Snapmap community as the Switch is probably better suited to the mode.
Hopefully Bethesda can get some more oomph out of the Nintendo Switch in the coming months, particularly in docked mode, and show that the Switch can be a home for major third parties. However, I know that I’d personally have held off given the daunting compromise in visuals and performance, even if it is a really good shooter on the go.