Doom for Nintendo Switch review: Hell on the go

Bethesda /

Doom on Nintendo Switch is no doubt the weakest version, but you might find some value in it yet.

Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: November 10, 2017

Doom pretty much blew everyone’s minds when it came out last year, as no one was expecting much from this seemingly desperate attempt to reinvigorate one of the oldest FPS franchises. Granted, the multi-player at launch was underwhelming, but single-player Doom provided easily the best campaign of the year, with fantastic action, weapons, and a very sly sense of self-awareness.

A year later, Nintendo Switch owners get to experience Doom; possibly some of them for the first time. But Doom on Nintendo Switch is an odd beast for a wide number of reasons. The most obvious being that while not devoid of mature titles, Nintendo consoles rarely have something as gloriously gory as this, and as it was originally a game designed for current consoles, no matter how you slice it, some noticeable sacrifices have been made to get this game onto Nintendo’s hot new console.

This will not be a full-fledged in-depth review of Doom itself as a game; we’ve been there, done that. You can find dozens of reviews telling you that Doom is a fantastic game. I pretty much agree on that. The question is: how does it run on Switch?

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You are fooling yourself if you expect it to look anywhere near the level of detail and fidelity you saw on other current platforms. I’m not someone who will normally notice minor graphical differences or even framerate, but the dropoff in Doom is no doubt noticeable. It just looks demonstrably worse. It’s not as clean or detailed, textures look rough up close and even the satisfying executions lose a little bit because the sound just isn’t quite there. There is no question that if you want the optimal Doom experience, you are better off getting it on any other platform.

Yet, that doesn’t affect the experience that negatively. Doom is a game where you are moving so fast the tiny details don’t really matter much, and in that aspect, it succeeds on the Nintendo Switch admirably well. Playing docked or in handheld mode, the game ran at a smooth frame rate with barely any hiccups, and it never interfered with gameplay. While you may not get the exact replication of the Doom experience on the Nintendo Switch, the impressive feat is that it most definitely captures the essence of the experience, which counts for a lot.

Bethesda /

Being on Nintendo Switch also gives Doom a unique space for its multiplayer. Granted, there are a ton of multiplayer games on the Nintendo Switch, but none really offer your classic suite of modes you would get in your average shooter, of which there are legions of players on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. It’s hard for even Doom, which had mediocre multiplayer at launch, to stand out on that end. But this mode was massively improved with the “6.66” update, which unlocked everything, drastically revamped progression and other fixes big and small for a much better experience.

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Still, this is a port of a year-old game you can easily pick up for half the price or less on any other console or a PC right now. All you get with the Nintendo Switch is the ability to take it on the go with you, and that’s one heck of a premium to pay for that feature. Like, it’s hard to imagine someone that has a Nintendo Switch as their only gaming platform and they would be that excited about Doom and it’s even harder to imagine someone who owns the game on another console and likes it so much they’d pay full price just to take it on the go with them. So it just puts Doom in this weird place.

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Ultimately, even getting Doom to run on the Nintendo Switch and minus a few sacrifices, more or less be the game we played last year is a truly impressive feat. Is that enough to warrant a double dip? I really don’t think so. But if you are of that subset that has never played the new Doom, owns a Nintendo Switch and wants a fantastic FPS on the go with some solid multiplayer to boot? This is probably worth picking up.

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8. Though not the optimal way to play the game, Doom comes to the Nintendo Switch more or less intact and it does nicely fill the void for anyone looking for solid single and multiplayer FPS experience on the go.. id Software. . Doom

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.