DOOM (Switch) Review
So if you know me at all, you’ll know I loved Doom to pieces. I’ve played it on both PS4 and PC, finishing it at least 3 times, so Doom on Switch was not something I could pass up. It doesn’t even make sense! It’s a miracle it runs at all — or more fitting to the theme, someone must have sold their soul to the devil to get this working. And while the game itself is awesome fundamentally, the cost of playing Doom portable brings some issues and sacrifices that not everybody will be willing to put up with.
Doom is a truly unique experience. You’re actually playing as the bad guy, in a way. Demons are afraid of you, as you sprint like a toddler on Red Bull, ripping apart skulls as if they were a bag of chips. The shooting is less run and cover, and more run and… well, just run. You’re dodging, strafing, jumping, and doling out damage like a corrupt government. It’s just so damn fun.
The levels are semi-linear, with clear goals being mixed with arenas full of combat and carnage. There’s pickups littered through the levels, but there’s just as much stuff to collect by using demons as fleshy piñatas. In a way, Doom is a resource management game, with your main currency being violence, exchanging it for health and ammo in the heat of battle. You can also deviate from the path to find collectable Doom marine toys, upgrade points, and weapon mods.
All of this is exemplified by the main philosophy of ‘push forward combat’. There’s no reloading, you’re encouraged to fight to gain rewards and power-ups, and glory kills are both awesome to be a part of, as well as giving you health or ammo. The chainsaw is used to stock up on ammo when you’re running low, as well. The main theme of the game, as stated in the opening cut-scene, is to rip and tear. Doom guy enjoys it as much as the player does.
And overall, Doom is just a modern interpretation of the original Doom, in the same way Breath of the Wild and Odyssey are to the original Zelda and Mario. This is the most Nintendo thinking non-Nintendo game there is. Breaking down the original concept, and rebuilding it with more modern ideas.
Multiplayer is sorta fun, but I wouldn’t recommend buying Doom for it. Right now, it feels like it’s peer to peer, so it’s incredibly laggy, and the fast paced nature of the game seems to make the Switch struggle with frames. Other than that, it’s a full featured version of multiplayer from other platforms, including private lobbies, and playing with friends. You can even see online friends within the game, which is pretty cool!
There’s also no SnapMap here, which let you create and share custom made levels and game modes on other platforms. For some people that might be a disappointment, but the campaign alone is enough for most people, including myself.
If you like shooters, you’ll love Doom. If you don’t like shooters, but still like platformers, you’ll probably still enjoy this. This is just a game that wants to be played, and you definitely, definitely should.
But that’s just the core game, which has been around for over a year now. How does Doom on Switch work as a port? Well, there’s the obvious downgrade of graphics, both resolution and textures, but there were a handful of technical issues that did interfere with gameplay at times.
The frame rate does dip during more frenetic battles, and at one point it felt like I was playing on a version of Mars covered in molasses. It was particularly frustrating, because the game slowed down, but the timer for my quad damage was still going full speed, so I had less time to dish out damage. This frame rate drop is even less forgivable during multiplayer, where reaction times are even more important.
Another weird issue is with the sound. As certain points, I’d get a loud and shrill tone, not pleasant at all with headphones. Sometimes this would lead to all sound effects afterwards to be mute, until I reverted back to the last checkpoint. I’d also get random dips in volume at times, but I did get this on my PC version of Doom, so it’s hard to say if that’s a fault of the port or the core game.
90% of the game is still fun and playable, however. These issues aren’t great, but they’re not all that rare. There were so many moments, including larger areas and volumetric lighting, where I was amazed they got it working with no issues. It really sets a new precedent for bigger third party titles on the Switch, technical faults or not.
If you haven’t played Doom before, you should definitely play it. It’s a culmination of ideas and passion since the 90s, leading to a thoroughly enjoyable experience. If you’ve played it before on another platform, this is a downgrade in graphics and some features, but the idea of playing Doom wherever you go, TV or not, is going to be huge deal for most players.
Core gameplay is still fantastic
The first step for more intensive games on Switch
Framerate drops can interfere with playing
Audio issues at times