The simplest, and yet most fundamental question one can ask about Doom on the Nintendo Switch is this: is it a complete version of the 2016 title running on a portable console? So here you go: yes, principally, it is.
Doom On Switch – Hey Good Looking
While Doom on the Switch doesn’t look as good or indeed run as well as its console brothers – as would be expected looking at the size of the thing – there’s no doubt that seeing it run at all on the Switch’s screen is a bit of a technical marvel. This is a 30fps affair, down from the original 60fps, and with less visual flair and a missing SnapMap editor. But at the same time, it still happens to be a visual showpiece.
Through the very nature of being on a portable, Doom’s visual sacrifices aren’t as noticeable as you would first think. In fact, I found the extent of these compromises only truly apparent when docking the Switch. Admittedly, even then, it still looks good. Considering that many Switch users spend a lot of their time in handheld mode (myself included), it appears that the primary focus of Doom was making it run in portable mode to a respectable level – something the developers Panic Button achieved. Doom reaffirms what we’re all quickly learning then: the Switch may not be that powerful as a home console, but as a portable, it’s a beast.
What you get in the overall package is the full, completely awesome Doom campaign with its memorable, and haunting, heavy metal soundtrack, the Arcade Mode that has you competing for top scores on these levels and the multiplayer experience. That’s quite a bit of content right there. I even found myself getting into the often overlooked and sometimes derided multiplayer. It’s an odd hybrid itself, yes, mixing custom loadouts with an old school arena shooter, but its satisfying one-more-go style progression system, along with its relative scarcity, works beautifully in short bursts on the portable.
With all that being said, Doom on Switch can occasionally come across as a bit rough around the edges. I’ve encountered a loud and intrusive audio bug across the main campaign a few times that doesn’t sound all that healthy – even startling me at one point with headphones in. This audio bug can then lower the overall sound levels requiring you to turn up the volume. The loading, at times, could be faster in certain segments of the game and I’ve experienced some minor slow down during particularly heated fights too. Hopefully the developer Panic Button can patch these issues up shortly.
That leaves the high price tag as the last barrier along with how important portability is for you. Although we know, (cough), the South African Nintendo eShop can help you out a little here. You didn’t hear it from us.
Technical issues aside, if you’ve yet to play Doom, this is a surprisingly solid and unique way to try the gory, adrenaline-fuelled shooter. The portability factor of the Switch is clearly the USP here, and while compromises have been made, none of them are severe enough for us to not recommend the game, certainly for first-timers.