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Review

Doom Being On Nintendo Switch Is Impressive, But You Probably Shouldn’t Play It

PFG 9000

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.

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6 Comments
  1. Eldave0
    andUandU
    Since: Aug 2008

    Hardly a surprise. I love my Switch but you would be naïve to expect it to deliver PS4/X1/PC-levels of performance.
    Still, fair play to Bethesda for porting the game over. I just hope this version sells enough copies to make the whole thing worthwhile.

    Comment posted on 09/11/2017 at 15:23.
  2. Pitcher-T
    Member
    Since: Jan 2009

    Same feeling here. I won’t get this as I bought it already for Ps4 however I would be interested in Wolfenstein next year on the Switch.
    Hopefully it sells enough to entice other developers to do ports.

    Comment posted on 09/11/2017 at 15:33.
  3. Byacca
    Member
    Since: Oct 2016

    The review is disgusting.
    “However, the downgrade in visuals and particularly the frame rate make Doom for those who have access to the other versions an unappetising proposition.” – really? Do you even know that Switch is first of all portable system?
    Seriously, this is the first review, that adresses Doom’s downgrade in such amateurishly way. Shame on you

    Comment posted on 10/11/2017 at 07:38.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      Dave discusses both the docked and handheld experience in this article, and Nintendo have not positioned the Switch as being portable, they’ve marketed it as being able to do docked, handheld and tabletop play in equal measure as a hybrid console.

      As always, reviews come from a position of personal opinion.

      Comment posted on 10/11/2017 at 14:24.
      • Toothsaw
        Member
        Since: Nov 2017

        I get your point, but still it seems out of place.
        You talk like a refrigerator would be useless because it doesn’t do dishes while it being a kitchen appliance like a dishwasher.
        I understand that Nintendo sells the Switch as a hybrid console that can do both docked and portable gaming, but you should also review games keeping in mind the hardware specs.
        Yes, Doom in the Switch looks inferior to its counterpart on PS4, PC and Xbox One, but sincerely who was expecting the exact same graphical fidelity? Only fools.
        Yes, the game is way blurrier, runs at half the framerate, has low res textures and misses the map editing feature.
        Does this completely ruin the experience so that the game feels totally different than its major counterparts? Not. By. A. Single. Bit.
        You can still experience the full campaign, the multiplayer and all the DLCs content; you have a lower resolution, but the frantic action is still there, the feeling of the game is still intact.
        You played the game last year on a “major” console? Fine. You don’t need to buy this again.
        You missed it, own a Switch and think that being able to play it on the go or off TV would be great? Then go grab the Switch version and you’ll be amazed.

        Still, reviews come from personal opinion and I respect the reviewer’s point of view. But since it’s based off wrong premises (this version not being at the same technical level as that on PC/PS4/XBO, which is a ridiculous expectation), I deem it unreliable and in the end useless, because it’s stating the obvious without highlighting the merits of this port.

        Comment posted on 12/11/2017 at 00:46.
      • Dave Irwin
        Member
        Since: Jun 2015

        @Toothsaw
        I understood that the game was never going to perform as well on the Switch as the other consoles, but there are several things to consider.

        Firstly, while the more savvy among us know that the game wasn’t going to perform as well, there may be readers out there who don’t know specifically what the specs are for the device. Given how gorgeous the likes of Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey look on the system, they may have that expectation that something like Doom would look equally as good or in the case of Mario – run as well, so I’m merely pointing out that this is not the case. The question then becomes “How much of a compromise are we willing to give to a version of the game?” This is where subjectivity comes into play and for me, the compromises were too much.

        Second, and crucially for me, having such a fast paced game run at half the framerate made the experience inferior. There are some people who just don’t enjoy playing at 30FPS when it comes to high-paced shooters. I am one of them. It’s not an elitism thing that some people in the wider community give the air of, but more an accessibility issue. Yes, the frantic action was still intact and that is commended on when I say “It’s still a blast”, but it came at a cost. I must also stress that I somehow found the game more tolerable in handheld mode because the visual clarity was better than in docked mode.

        Lastly, I didn’t assign a score to this review. This was because of the fact that this is a port of a game I already reviewed and had high praise for. This tends to be the case whenever there is a port for an older game. There is always worth in a written piece and while that is sadly not the case for yourself, there will be others who will find the information of more worth.

        Comment posted on 12/11/2017 at 02:16.