+Handles extremely well on the Nintendo Switch, allowing for intuitive control schemes to work
+Frame rate and resolutions are quite impressive feats on the Nintendo Switch
+Multiplayer works quite well, connection stability is comparable to both PC and console versions
-Being able to enlarge the UI while playing would be quite the welcome sight while in handheld mode
It’s hard to imagine that after 20 years, id’s magnum opus would finally make way to a Nintendo device. The company, Nintendo that is, has been stiff about the type of games they want on their devices, opting for more family-friendly games versus adult-focused titles that bask in the glory of ultra-violence and blood-filled delight as enemies are splattered across a room after being hit with a BFG 9000.
After having spent more-than-enough time with id Software’s latest endeavor into the demon-filled world of DOOM and its various hellscapes and UAC-focused maps, I’ve already come accustomed to what I would once more be facing down. Afterall, id Software’s DOOM was previously released in May of 2016 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and only since November for the Nintendo Switch.
Since then, id Software has been spending a lot of time refining their game, ensuring the Nintendo Switch would offer a similar experience to that of what console players have previously had. This includes three of the game’s modes including Campaign, Multiplayer, and Arcade. Unfortunately, those hoping for a SnapMap Editor are out of luck, even though it’d been a marvelous feat to see it appear on the Nintendo Switch, but considering hardware limitations, it’s understandable why they hadn’t.
But that’s not to say that DOOM on the Nintendo Switch isn’t a delightful experience. While it may not look near as good, sharp, or clear as its sisters and brothers of on other devices, it still plays solid, it still offers the same experience, but without the graphical clarity of its higher-tier hardware siblings. For what it’s worth, DOOM is a graphical marvel and it certainly stands out against many other of the Nintendo Switch’s triple-A titles.
With gameplay being one of the most important things, it’s important to discuss this and the overall games performance compared to other platforms. As someone who is accustomed to playing DOOM on PC with mouse and keyboard or a DualShock 4 when seated at my PlayStation 4. Transitioning from both control types, however, did come with their own drawbacks. I’m not quite used to how Nintendo’s JoyCon’s handle as they are more sensitive, they control tighter and require a bit more attention to players playing on the games higher difficulties.
There is one tiny problem with this game. That small problem is the game’s user interface while in handheld mode. It’s a problem that isn’t just a DOOM problem. It’s a problem that’s appeared in other games ranging across various titles such as Hollow, Shu, and even The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Luckily, with DOOM it’s not a major problem, but to those who are running through the game on higher difficulties, it can come off as one for those needing slightly bigger bars, numbers, and indicators as to what they are using while in high-paced combat.
Whether online or in a solo mode, the UI could use some minor tweaking in the long run for when players are enjoying the game in handheld mode. While in docked mode, the UI isn’t as problematic. It’s clear and easy to see, making it easy for those playing the game to keep track of their health, armor, ammo, and what weapons they are selecting from the game’s weapons wheel.
Thanks to id Software’s id Tech Engine 6, DOOM is still visually stunning, but it does come at the cast of the battery life decaying rather quickly, allowing players six-to-seven hours of gameplay at most while on the go. Just like the other console versions, DOOM does use dynamic resolution, allowing the engine to decrease the number of pixels that are on screen in order to decrease the strain on the console’s hardware. Unfortunately, to some, this does mean that the Switch version of the game does dip below its targeted 720p from time-to-time, causing things to get slightly blurry.
But this doesn’t mean that gameplay or performance isn’t fluid, unresponsive, or unplayable. DOOM on the Nintendo Switch is actually fluid, responsive, and a fantastic experience. Frame rates remain stable, but so does the limit of effects such as motion blur, which actually makes it easier to enjoy this game. It’s quite impressive that DOOM even runs on the switch at all, which does bring in the question as to why we haven’t seen more handheld first-person shooters for the Switch.
Even the games sound effects are spot on, not feeling as if id Software held back any of their punches at any given second. Rather, the game proves a point: DOOM is an important release for the Switch, it’s one that comes off as an important release in every technical aspect. It gives us a generalized perception of what is and isn’t possible on Nintendo’s latest handheld system. This very release serves as an important example as to how high-end triple-A games such as Call of Duty and Overwatch could work on this lower-end console and still succeed at what they do without having high-end graphics being put out on display.
Even outside of its technical aspects, DOOM is also rather important at the commercial level as well. It’s a game that should be looked at as a door opener for other potential third-party titles that could find life on the Nintendo Switch. Titles such as The Evil Within 2, Prey, and Blizzard Entertainments esports-focused title Overwatch could find mindboggling success on Nintendo’s latest piece of hardware. Even with titles such as Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus coming to the Switch in just a few short months, we shouldn’t expect many other games to follow this path, and we don’t even know if this upcoming Switch release will continue to help Nintendo establish stronger third-party bonds with other prospective publishers.
But for the time being, DOOM is an unexpected and pleasant gift for fans to enjoy and it’s a game that diehard fans of the game will undoubtedly found enjoyment with. Whether or not fans of the game openly accept it and let it succeed, that’s the biggest hurdle the game has to cross. But for me, it’s a version of the game I approve of and truly enjoy.
Our review is based on a retail version that the writer published for the review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 9 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPGs, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.