It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: DOOM has finally arrived on Switch, and fans are excited to play this first-person shooter in handheld mode and on the go. But can DOOM’s world brimming with hellfire and demons run just as well on Switch as it does on PC, Xbox One, and PS4? Keep reading to find out! However, we need you to know that this game contains extreme violence, graphic gore, demonic imagery, and mature themes—and this this reason, we advise that only mature players read any further.
Originally released in 2016 for PC, Xbox One, and PS4, this long-awaited Switch port—developed by id Software with help from PanicButton and published by Bethesda—is a reworking of the original 1993 DOOM, which brought FPS gaming to the mainstream with its fresh, unique approach. This original DOOM stood out because its graphics and technical specs far surpassed those of its peers, and it even offered an online multiplayer mode decades before such play would become the norm. DOOM was a major innovator in the 90s and continues this trend today, and we can guarantee that DOOM is unlike the other major FPS titles out there. This latest inception of DOOM aims to please its hard-core fans, but it’s also targeted towards newbies who may have heard of the game’s demon-slaying action but haven’t experienced it for themselves.
Those familiar with the DOOM franchise already know what to expect: thrilling exploration jam-packed with thousands of demons to destroy, all set to a backdrop of intense (and fitting) music and sound effects. The story, too, will be familiar to fans of DOOM: a group of Mars-based united aerospace corporation installation employees thought it might be a good idea to turn to the supernatural for an answer to their energy crisis, and it was a good idea—until those employees accidentally opened a gate to hell, unleashing an endless stream of deadly demonic forces. This leads us to your character, who you’ll find chained to a laboratory table surrounded by pentagrams. Soon, you’ll break free, grab some dead guy’s gun, and start killing demons—and that’s DOOM’s story in a nutshell!
DOOM moves fast—really fast—and you might feel a bit rushed as you explore each corner of the DOOM universe. But we like this fast pace; it intensifies the game’s high-octane feel, which is further bolstered by your impressive arsenal. Your weapons will range from a rapid-fire machine gun to a gritty chainsaw, and you can even upgrade your weapons and their unique features as you progress in the game.
DOOM features a number of unique areas, which each operate like an open maze. In each area, you’ll explore your environment, interact with it, and battle the enemies you encounter. Enemies can be killed in a variety of ways, and each killing method leads to different enemy drops. For instance, a gunned-down foe may drop ammo and health-restoring items, but an enemy destroyed with a glory kill—a gruesome melee finisher used after making an enemy stagger—guarantees a health drop, which is handy in a pinch. We think this system works well, especially since it encourages players to try different weapons and gives players a chance to collect the resources they need to survive.
Since you spend so much time killing enemies in DOOM, we think it’s important to describe how those enemies behave, and their AI is surprisingly smart. Enemies can (and will) do whatever it takes to come at you: they may burrow, sprint, teleport, crawl, and rush their way into your personal space, and you need to be on the defensive at all times. Also, these enemies grow more bulky and become harder to defeat as you progress through the game, which presents quite the challenge—but we think you’ll find that the available weapon upgrades make this challenge manageable and enjoyable.
Even so, DOOM is a challenging game if you want it to be; we’ve been playing on the easy setting (“I’M TOO YOUNG TO DIE”), and we like being able to explore freely without worrying too much about dying. (We fall into the “newbie” category of players.) But there are more difficult modes available, including “HURT ME PLENTY,” “ULTRAVIOLENCE,” and “NIGHTMARE”—and for whatever reason, there’s also the unlockable “ULTRA-NIGHTMARE.” In any case, it’s clear that there’s a challenge for everyone in DOOM, and this is something we really love about this title.
These five difficulty modes boost DOOM’s replayability factor exponentially, and ramping up this factor even more is the game’s multiplayer mode, which lets you play deathmatches, freeze tag, and other challenges with friends—and if you keep playing in this mode, you’ll unlock even more online features and capabilities.
All in all, we’re floored by every aspect of DOOM’s gameplay—that is, every aspect aside from platforming. As is the case in many FPS games, we feel that platforming awkwardly slows down this game’s otherwise rapid pace, and we wish that this feature had been more limited throughout the campaign. However, this is really the only con we could find in this game, and it’s honestly not a big deal.
And now, the question you really want an answer to: does this Switch port look as good as it does on PC, Xbox One, and PS4? Well…we’re sorry to say that it doesn’t, and the dip in quality is even more evident while playing in handheld mode. However, we want to emphasize that this dip is truly negligible, and we really don’t notice it. While it’s true that players who value a pristine visual experience might consider this a deal-breaker, we think most players will side with us instead. And even with the slight blip in visual quality, this port’s graphics are really top-notch: they perfectly capture the nightmarish terror of DOOM with detailed hellscapes that range from dark, gritty corridors to vibrant, bright spacecraft interiors, and they offer impressively detailed enemies with smooth, gory death sequences. In short, we’re impressed that this port looks as good as it does, even in the slightly-lower-quality handheld mode.
SOUND AND MUSIC
DOOM’s soundscape pays homage to the 1993 DOOM and includes remixes of classic doom tracks, some of them re-done in different musical keys. The two main tracks in this game include DOOM’s trademark angsty guitars, but this DOOM incarnation adds a dark orchestral score to the mix. The music you’ll hear is always perfectly fitting for your environment, and the game even offers echo and reverb sound effects that make everything more real. While it’s true that DOOM’s gun sound effects are often a bit lacking, we’re overall quite satisfied with the game’s sound design, and we think you will be, too.
We’re thrilled to see that Nintendo has broadened its support for more mature titles, and we think this move will help Nintendo reach a wider audience than ever before. We’re so impressed to see DOOM run so well in every mode of play; it’s remarkably smooth and a marvelous visual experience. If you’re a fan of first-person shooters and are intrigued with DOOM’s unique offering of demons paired with literal hell, we think you’ll love playing this Switch port on your TV or on the go, and you can pick up a physical copy or download one today!
Nick and Sarah are the ultimate gaming couple. Nick is a Super Mario Maker 2 enthusiast, but working with Nintendeal has fostered a love for tough-as-nails indies such as Enter the Gungeon, Celeste, and Cuphead. Sarah prefers sim games like Animal Crossing, Don’t Starve, and Stardew Valley, but she challenges herself by grinding Slay the Spire from time to time.