DOOM Eternal (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Neil Flynn 03.01.2021 1

Review for DOOM Eternal on Nintendo Switch

Lying dormant for over a decade, the DOOM series looked to be stuck in state of purgatory, that is until 2016's DOOM was heralded as one hell of a come-back to an iconic series. In 2017 this incredible masterpiece of a game was ported to the Nintendo Switch, and even though the Switch was the new-tech-in-town there were a number of concessions to be made after scaling it back from the largely powerful PS4, Xbox One and PC versions. Fast forward a few years and both Bethesda and id Software said that DOOM Eternal for Nintendo Switch would be launching day and date with its Xbox, PC and PlayStation counterpart, unfortunately unforeseen delays and then a real-world global pandemic got in the way of these plans. DOOM Eternal for Nintendo Switch released 9 months after the other versions, but has the extra time in the oven done it any justice?

The fact that Bethesda remained committed to the Nintendo Switch version of DOOM Eternal, after the impending purchase of their parent company, ZeniMax Media, by Microsoft, is probably of much relief for Nintendo Switch owners as much as it is to porting studio, Panic Button. That is right, the same magicians who managed to shrink down DOOM (2016) from its big brother console versions to the Switch are also responsible for this port of DOOM Eternal. A wise decision to keep Panic Button on the project given the similarities between the two games and their familiarity for developing for the Switch. Similar to the DOOM port, DOOM Eternal for Nintendo Switch is as it expected, a game that tries its best, but chugs on underpowered hardware, it is a huge feat to get it running on the hybrid console, but it definitely leaves a lot of room for desire. Anyone who has played the alternative versions would notice immediately a slower frame rate and its scaled down resolution, which looks to be 720p 30fps at best, and even if there wasn't a familiarity with the other versions it would still look a little blurry and muddy to newcomers. The lower resolution removes a lot of the high-res textures and lighting effects seen on the PC, Xbox One and PS4 versions, and while the frame rate is at 30fps it is fairly consistent, which is a better compromise, as a stable frame rate is a better trade off than having high-res textures for a choppy frame rate.

Screenshot for DOOM Eternal on Nintendo Switch

The same vigorous tenacity is still present with this port, with tonnes of enemies on screen and in the surrounding areas, and despite this the frame rate still roughly remains steady. For those who have not played a DOOM game before, this is a series full of gore, demons and hell-slaying carnage, all to an upbeat rock soundtrack, packed full of fast paced shooting, melee attacks and swinging a menacing chainsaw. The story follows a plot of the takeover of Earth and the fact the Khan Maykr is trying to end humanity, therefore it is down to the Doom Slayer to take up arms to fix matters. The DOOM Slayer can perform a number of moves, with new manoeuvres being added to his arsenal throughout the campaign, such as various weapon upgrades and mid-air dashing. Between each huge combat session there are general platforming sections, something not too dissimilar from the action seen in Metroid Prime with double jumps and lore items to discover, there are definitely parts that could easily make people think that this could fit into the First-person Adventure game that the Metroid Prime games categorise themselves as. At its heart though DOOM Eternal is one hell of a combat game, and utilises a number of mechanics to ensure that the player varies their attacks, as just shooting hordes of demons is not good enough, no, instead it is encouraged to keep a high press on enemies by stunning them and going for glory kills. Glory kills are done by shooting an enemy and then finishing them via a melee attack, doing so fills the Blood punch gauge and also drops health pickups, alternatively whipping out the chainsaw and dicing enemies will see a tonne of ammo drops. Rotating between these core mechanics as well as mixing between various platforming capabilities makes for a very robust first-person shooter that differentiates itself from any of the competition while also encouraging brave marauding runs.

Screenshot for DOOM Eternal on Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch may not have raw processing power on its side, but it does have portability, and interestingly enough it actually looks better on the Switch's smaller screen, as low-res textures often do on a handheld. This is where the proposition has always been with Switch, the portability of such a large scale, AAA modern game on the go, and it doesn't disappoint in this regard. The action is just as fluid in handheld mode and it a brilliant showcase of engineering from Panic Button to get this working on Switch at all. Furthermore, the other added advantage of the Nintendo Switch is the ability of gyro aiming, which isn't completely flawless in its execution, but at the same time probably the best at doing this, even above what was seen in the Resident Evil games or Splatoon 2. There is a plethora of customisable options, that are tucked away in the settings menu, so if turning up the sensitivity is needed then there are a huge range of options to do so, including turning off the Aim Assist which can slightly get in the way of trying to make precision shots as the AI will incorrectly focus elsewhere.

Screenshot for DOOM Eternal on Nintendo Switch

The elephant in the room is the value of DOOM Eternal, as Bethesda have pulled the physical version, at least for the time being, and have still released this as a full priced Switch game, at a time when the alternative versions are almost a third of that price, or included as part of Game Pass (where it probably will remain pending Microsoft's acquisition). Whether or not the Switch port is seen as the inferior version is dependent on who is asked, if handheld gaming and gyro controls are specifically desirable then the Switch wins this category hands down, but given that there is no physical release and that there are a number of graphical and performance concessions made it is hard to recommend DOOM Eternal on Nintendo Switch if the player has access to a PC, PlayStation or Xbox console. However, if the Switch is the only console available then do not pass this experience up, as it still plays well, the combat is solid and there is a whole lot of demon slaying to be had.

Screenshot for DOOM Eternal on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Tight frantic gameplay, accompanied by a thrilling score and an awesome campaign with a tonne of upgrades and collectibles. There is plenty to be positive about with this port, as having DOOM Eternal portable and with gyro controls will please many. It is hard to not notice the downgraded textures and lower performance which set it aside from the sublime PC, Xbox and PlayStation versions, but Panic Button must be commended for putting together such an ambitious project for the Switch, one that runs incredibly competently for downgraded hardware. The price is somewhat of a sticking point given that a superior version can be purchased for much less and is also available physically, whereas the Switch is digital only. These minor issues aside DOOM Eternal is well worth the investment of both time and money and should be a welcome addition to any Nintendo Switch library.

Developer

Panic Button

Publisher

Bethesda

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Marauder.

First thought that comes to mind? Smilie

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