SwitchArcade: ‘Doom’ First Impressions – Bethesda Hits the eShop With a Bang (and Hordes of Demons)

Originally launched back in May of 2016 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, and had a really strange development cycle before then where it didn’t really seem like Bethesda could decide if the 2016 Doom release was going to be a sequel titled Doom 4 or a reboot. In the end, it turned out to be neither, but rather a reimagining of what Doom games should be- A welcome change from previous installments in the series where they played more like survival horror games than the Doom we knew from our childhood. Gameplay is fast, and there’s endless hordes of demons to shoot through as you make your way through a Mars research facility, then, of course, descend into Hell where things really start to get crazy.

Doom was received quite well, and currently is sitting at 85 on Metacritic, with some minor variance between platforms. (Oddly enough, for whatever reason, the Xbox One version scored the highest overall.) I really liked how quickly the game played, as it seems like so many modern FPS games have you moving slowly, being strategic, and conserving both health and ammunition. In Doom, you just go wild, pushing through waves of enemies, executing them to regain health, and blasting your way through an experience that feels how Doom should.

We got an early code for the Nintendo Switch version, and, well, it’s no surprise that it’s the same game. What is surprising is to be playing a gritty and bloody game on a Nintendo platform, particularly with every other game I own for the Switch being totally kid friendly on every level. Hopping between Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 to Doom feels odd, but mostly because these types of games have largely just been absent from modern Nintendo platforms. They’ve doubled down on being a family friendly platform, leaving games like Doom to thrive on the PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

While the Doom multiplayer modes were kind of a dud on the PC and other consoles, playing a fast-paced online FPS multiplayer game on the Switch feels like you’re doing something the console wasn’t made to do. (As, again, my online interactions with the Switch had been limited to things like throwing banana peels, not bloody head shots.) Getting matches together on the pre-release version involved a lot of waiting and scheming with other people who have early copies, but I’m super stoked for the potential this game has once it’s available for everyone.

Really, the only knock against Doom I can come up with is that it seems like the visuals really got turned down to get it running on the Switch. The frame rate of the game is rock solid, but if you played Doom on the PC (like I did), “downgrading" to the graphics the Switch is capable of pumping out takes a bit of an adjustment. It’s not super surprising, and a totally unfair comparison to make between the Switch and my PC, but it’s just something to be aware of. The above comparison video is great at showing where the Switch version lands between the available platforms.

Doom for the Nintendo Switch launches tomorrow for $59.99. If you’ve never played it, I highly recommend considering picking it up, particularly if you’re into first person shooters. More than anything else, how good Doom runs (even with the graphics turned down) has me ultra excited for the Switch port of Skyrim coming later this month.