November 13, 2017

DOOM Switch - Review

With Switch coming up on 9 months old, it is the time in a consoles life where ports start to make an appearance and with Nintendo’s history, 3rd parties have usually ported across incomplete versions to Nintendo hardware, but now we get DOOM.

DOOM was released onto other platforms back in 2016, for the review I did of that game, check here and it was fantastic then, the games fast paced combat, decent multiplayer and a slew of extras. The game was incredible then, not only was the single player campaign lengthy, it was also fun to play, it kept building to greater heights with each stage. What is most impressive is that the entire experience translates across to Switch; something that was concerning a lot of people prior to its release. You are the Doom Guy, a nameless and faceless marine, who was extracted from Hell, by members of a cult, that have made the UAC facility their home, when you come too, everything has already gone to, well Hell and you set out to do, what you do best, wipe out everything. The story is simple, but it is fun and as I stated before, it gets better the more you play.

DOOM also supports all the playstyles offered by the Switch, though handheld and docked are my preferred. Playing in tabletop, whilst doable, does not afford a comfortable way to play, the motion controls there are interesting, but you can do that while in docked mode as well, so it is not something exclusive to that mode. Handheld mode was a challenge, in that the action is so fast paced on the screen, I had to tone down the sensitivity on the movement, because it was just too quick on the defaults. This was an issue when I docked the machine and then had to increase the values again, not a big one, but if you swap between the modes a lot, it could be a pain doing that all the time.

The games multiplayer is here in full, each mode plays well on Switch, of course, given the bizarre nature of voice chat on the system, you would need to use that Nintendo Online App, if it were supported, which it is not. If you want to play with a friend in one of the games modes, like Domination or Team Deathmatch, you will need to use a 3rd party app to do so, which is annoying. However, once you are in any of the modes, with a friend or solo, the experience is incredible, the entire multiplayer suite feels just like it does on PC, which is where I played it last year, the controls are responsive, the maps nice and chaotic, it just works. If you are unable to find some online matches, you can always test your skills against the bots, something that old school shooter players will remember fondly, which in turn will help you refine your skills.

Of course, DOOM on Switch has had a lot of attention paid to its visuals, from the games first reveal back in the Nintendo Direct, people have wanted to know just how the game will look on the little machine and it turns out, very, very well. The game is now running at 30fps, rather than the other versions 60fps and while I can’t actually see a difference myself, there are times when the game will slow down a little bit, some of the later sections will cause the game to stutter a bit. Outside of that though, the game runs very well, something you will notice when playing online, with 11 other players, the games I was able to play never suffered from it. One part where the game has an issue though, is the long load times, at least getting into the game, parts of the main menu would load up, but then I would be stuck waiting for another minute or longer, for the rest to appear, it is quite strange.

The visuals that are being displayed though are stunning and also stunted, thanks in part to the limited power of the Switch, thankfully though, it’s more stunning than anything else. As the game is designed to be played by always moving and slowing down usually results in you dying, running around the place and seeing things at speed, they look fine. Slow down though and you will notice some blurry and muddy textures, with some objects displaying almost no detail up close. The creatures and weapons all look great though, with the weapons having their moment to shine, once you collect one for the first time. Sound design carries across with no issues at all, the music is still as pulse building as it was in the original release, with the sounds of the facility as it falls apart around you just as creepy as the spawn of hell.

DOOM for Switch is not only a technical masterpiece, it serves as a showcase that the little system can do some impressive games and not watered-down ports. It also helps that the game itself is still a blast to play, with tight controls, fun weapons and a great campaign, the multiplayer is simply the cherry on top.

Review copy supplied by Bethesda

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