Bringing Doom Eternal to the Nintendo Switch was a herculean feat and another feather in the cap of Panic Button Games. After the amazing job they did bringing Doom on Switch a few years ago, I had little to no doubt that they could pull off the same magic with Bethesda’s latest entry in the series.
It’s true, sacrifices had to be made, for better or worse. However, about 8 months after initial release on other platforms, the complete Doom Eternal experience has been brought to the Nintendo Switch in digital only format.
Doom Eternal Details
Platform: Nintendo Switch (digital download only)
Developer: id Software, Panic Button Games
Publisher(s): Bethesda Softworks
Genre: First-person shooter
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
Stop the final destruction of humanity
Doom Eternal takes place some time after Doom 2016 and vast amounts of the Earth’s population have been wiped out by demonic forces. A select group of the remaining human population have banded together to form a resistance and fight the evil forces. However, after suffering massive losses, they have gone into hiding.
The Doom Slayer returns inside a Sentinel ship known as the Fortress of Doom to put an end to the invasion once and for all. An angelic being known as the Khan Maykr is using the souls from billions of people as a power source. However, people are not dying fast enough and the Khan Maykr sends 3 Hell Priests to Earth to open a gigantic portal between Earth and Hell to speed up the process.
As the Doom Slayer, you are Earth’s last hope and set out to destroy the Hell Priests and put an end to the Khan Maykr. Doom Eternal‘s focus on storytelling is immediate from the start. Compared to previous games there are many more cutscenes and a greater focus on telling the story of Earth’s struggle. As a result, it gave more meaning to my actions as the Doom Slayer and not just killing random enemies.
Raze Hell with non-stop, fast-paced action
Doom Eternal’s gameplay is non-stop fast-paced action. There are rare moments where you are given a moment to breathe. Other than that, you’ll need to be on your toes at all times. Your ship acts as a hub where you teleport from and return to after each mission. You can also upgrade your abilities, unlock new skins and get new weapons.
As expected, Doom Eternal doesn’t waste any time trying to hold your hand. You begin with a shotgun that can also be used as a grenade launcher and bigger and better weapons keep coming. The same goes with enemies, the first minute or so you’ll encounter Zombies that are easy pickings. Next thing you know, you’re up against Arachnotrons—spider-like robotic demons.
The Switch gives you the option to play with gyro controls if you choose so. While twisting your wrist to turn is a bit much, flicking the Joy-Cons up and down felt natural. Overall, the motion controls felt more responsive than they were in Doom and a worthy addition to Doom Eternal.
New and satisfying additions to combat
Combat in Doom Eternal is as satisfying as ever. The biggest, and in my opinion the best, new gameplay mechanic added to Doom Eternal is the wall climb. Additionally, you can double jump and dash in mid-air in combination with climbing walls. However, on occasion, I found that sometimes latching onto walls was a bit tricky. As a result, there were more than a few times that I fell and plummeted to my death.
Doom has always been about kicking butt and taking names, and Doom Eternal is no different. The game doesn’t have an automatic cover or reload button, it’s full throttle or die. You refill ammo by chainsawing your enemies but there is one caveat, you need gas in it. Gas cans are scattered throughout levels, so it is important to make good use of them. Glory Kills return and allow you to refill your health while taking the enemies out in gratuitous ways.
Another new addition to Doom Eternal, is a shoulder mounted flamethrower. It sets your enemies on fire and also makes them drop some of their armour, which you can pickup. In order to be successful in Doom Eternal, upgrading/modding your weapons and abilities are essential. And, just sticking to one weapon throughout the entire game isn’t going to cut it.
Graphically pushing the Switch to its limits
It’s true, Doom Eternal on the Switch can’t compare with the likes of Xbox, PlayStation, PC and Stadia. However, given the technology, Doom Eternal looks pretty darn good on Switch in docked mode. The game runs at a dynamic 720p resolution, which at times looks great and other times muddy. Playing in handheld mode, I noticed that the graphics looked blurrier and muddier more often. And, at times, it made my eyes hurt.
Overall, the game runs at a fairly consistent 30 frames-per-second. On the other hand, cut-scenes have a noticeably lower framerate, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20 frames-per-second. Additionally, I was surprised at how quickly Doom Eternal‘s large and intricate maps loaded on the Switch.
And, yes, the heavy metal infused soundtrack is here in all its glory. The music still gets your blood and heart pumping. Without a doubt, it makes ripping and tearing the enemies that much more satisfying.
Disappointing, nontraditional multiplayer mode
Doom Eternal‘s take on multiplayer is a bit controversial amongst fans, myself included. Forget the traditional capture the flag, team deathmatch or domination modes. Instead, Doom Eternal features a 2v1 multiplayer mode called Battlemode. This is where 1 player assumes the role of the Doom Slayer. And, the other 2 players play as 1 of the 5 playable demons.
In theory it looks good on paper but to be honest, it’s a bit of a let down. And, to make matters worse, there aren’t a whole lot of people playing this online.
Doom Eternal is an impressive feat on the Switch and even better than Doom 2016
Ok, so lets be honest here. Doom Eternal on Switch was never going to look or run as good as consoles, and I never expected that. However, given the hardware and constraints that Panic Button Games had to work with, they did a great job.
Sure, Doom Eternal on Switch doesn’t look as pretty nor run as smooth as the other versions. However, given the fact that Panic Button Games has brought the entire experience to a portable system, it is a tremendous accomplishment. The game is bigger, badder and better than any in the franchise. If you are a Switch only owner that enjoy’s first-person games, I think you’ll be pretty impressed and enjoy Doom Eternal.
+ Complete Doom Eternal experience brought to portable
+ Heavy metal soundtrack
+ Improved gyro controls over Doom 2016
+ Near constant 30 frames-per-second
– Nontraditional multiplayer mode that is disappointing
– Cutscene frame rate is very choppy
– Graphics can get blurry and muddy looking at times
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF DOOM ETERNAL
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5