There’s something very special about Doom’s kinetic run-and-gun style that works really well for quick pick-up-and-play gaming sessions. On Switch, it’s a technical achievement for portable console gaming and an outstanding game in its own right.
Doom’s concept may seem a little simple: you shoot, hack, and stomp interdimensional demons before they rip you apart. But it doesn’t take long to realize just how well thought-out the whole thing really is. With everything from its fast and intensely satisfying free-flowing combat, to its wide variety of interesting weapon loadouts, Doom understands how to make you feel powerful. I’m very pleased to say that same feeling translates very well over to Switch. It works great for quick pick-up-and-play gaming sessions, too. With brisk levels and a story you don’t need to pay attention to, but rewards you if you do, it’s the kind of game that allows you to just jump in and out whenever you’re in the mood for a demonic rampage.
“Doom appears to have a dynamic resolution that caps out at 720p.”
Whether I was playing docked or undocked, Doom appeared to run at a mostly consistent 30 frames per second, with only a few minor dips—specifically when the action got really heated—but never too badly. It’s no 60 frames per second, but it works. However, that steady frame rate does come at a price. In both handheld and docked mode, Doom appears to have a dynamic resolution that caps out at 720p, and its textures are squeezed into just 22 gigabytes. That means that when you get up close to take a good look at characters and objects it’s pretty clear that they have a fair amount less detail than on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Especially on a big-screen TV.
But considering standing still for even a few seconds will get you killed, many of Doom’s graphical imperfections aren’t obvious during gameplay. This is partly due to the high motion-blur settings which are enabled by default. I recommend leaving that on – it looks worse without.
At first, playing with Joy-Con controllers did take a little bit of getting used to. But, after a few tweaks in the sensitivity settings, slaying through hordes of demons quickly began feeling more intuitive and natural. Doom does take advantage of the Switch’s motion controls, but their only purpose is an alternate way to perform glory kills, which is a pretty cool and immersive way to dismember a demon. But if you’d rather not wave your controller around you can perform the exact same move with a simple click of the right analog stick. However, there’s no question about it: the best way to play Doom on Switch is with the Pro Controller.
Multiplayer has also made its way over to Switch, and it’s pretty much identical to how it is now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. I know, it has a bad reputation, but it got a whole lot more interesting with update 6.66 a few months ago. Doom’s multiplayer arena is packed with moments of superfast micro-strategy. Even if you don’t want to risk lag when playing on wifi, it’s fun to play against bots. It’s a little disappointing that id’s SnapMap editor was cut from the Switch version, though.
Beyond the campaign and multi8player modes, the endlessly entertaining Arcade mode adds a completely new score-based way to play the single-player campaign. With all weapons and rune abilities unlocked from the start, the only objective is to blast through each level as quickly, creatively, and brutally as possible for medals and a spot on the online leaderboards.
Doom for Nintendo Switch is a straightforward port that runs well and looks pretty good. Which ultimately, is everything it needed to be. Even though it’s a little fuzzy, smashing through a legion of demons with a fun set of weapons and upgrades feels great, and especially when you throw in arcade mode and the much-improved multiplayer arena battles, this is the best mature-themed shooter you can currently get on the Switch.