Doom on Nintendo Switch is a feat of development magic.
Not since 1997’s Doom 64 has a Doom title seen the light of day on a Nintendo console. Now, in an era where Nintendo has lost much of its hardcore appeal in favour of a family-friendly appearance, such a partnership seems a bit bizarre. Doom’s focus on blood, gore and a muted red and orange palette seems at odds with the primary colours that fill almost every one of Nintendo’s major franchises.
But Doom is back on Nintendo and after it’s stellar 2016 reboot was so well received, I couldn’t be more excited to see it arrive on my favourite console of this generation. With Doom (2016), id managed to build a truly excellent game that looked gorgeous and ran like a dream. Its mix of brilliant gunplay, intense pace and unrelenting combat worked so well because idTech 6 let it run at 60fps or more without breaking a sweat, regardless of the platform.
Now it's come to the Nintendo Switch, representing one of the first truly mature titles on Nintendo's console, things are a little different. First up, 60fps has been dropped in favor of 30fps. Doom's resolution is a native 720p in handheld and clearly isn't native 1080p in TV mode. Visually it's also been pared back with textures not being anywhere near as detailed as PS4, Xbox One or PC releases and depth of field lacks in comparison.
Despite all those technical negatives, Doom on Switch is exactly what you want it to be. Not only does it have the inherent bonus point of letting you play Doom on the bus or train, but it still feels unmistakably like Doom.
The ferocious gunplay still exists, the relentless pace, the pounding music and the gore all remain intact. Even running at half the refresh rate of its siblings, id has managed to perform some sort of voodoo to get it feeling almost as smooth to play despite the hardware limitations of the Switch.
Doom is also an incredibly meaty package, offering up the entire, unaltered, Doom campaign complete with Arcade mode and all difficulty unlocks. You'll also find all DLC is included out of the box and multiplayer has remained intact during the move to Nintendo's console. All this content comes at a cost though, Doom is mammoth. Clocking in at 22GB, you’ll need a microSD card in your Switch to make this a viable purchase.
Due to the inherent portability of Switch, Nintendo’s console has an allure that no other version of the game can match. Doom multiplayer no longer means just playing online against faceless opponents or a select group of friends. Now you can actually take your Switch unit somewhere and meet up with others, letting you play Doom multiplayer in a way that’s not really been possible since the days of lugging your PC to a friend’s place for some intense Doom deathmatch LAN action.
It's not all perfect though. The concessions id had to make to get Doom running on Switch won't be to everyone's flavour. If you're all about having the performance, and can't see why anyone would sacrifice that in the name of fun, don't even think about trying to pick up Doom. If, however, you're a fan of Doom or curious to see what all the fuss was about, and would like the flexibility of playing it on the go, Doom on Switch is everything you could ask for.
In fact, Doom is done so well I'm incredibly curious to see just how well Skyrim runs when it arrives on 17 November. If Bethesda can also pull Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus out of the bag too, Switch will have proved it’s more than a machine filled with Super Mario, Zelda and cartoony squid – a place where a very different type of game can also thrive, unshackled from the constraints of your TV.