DOOM Eternal (Switch) Review
Reviewed on Nintendo SwitchAlso available on Google Stadia, Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One and PC
Welcome to Hell on Earth... literally. The long-awaited sequel to the reboot of the DOOM franchise, DOOM Eternal is finally here on the Nintendo Switch. This entry holds even more fast-paced action and gory demon destruction. Developed by id Software, published by Bethesda Softworks, and the Switch port by Panic Button, who is best known for their Switch ports of action games. DOOM Eternal arrived on PC, PS4, Stadia, and Xbox One in March 2020 and on Switch nine months later on Dec 8th, 2020. It is quite amazing to have a game like DOOM Eternal to be ported to Switch because Nintendo isn't synonymous with first-person shooters. Also, for buying your digital copy of DOOM Eternal early you'll get some added perks, which I'll breakdown below.
DOOM (2016) took place entirely on Mars and sections of the Hellscape playing as the Doom Slayer. After the events of the previous game, DOOM Eternal starts with the Slayer orbiting Earth that has been taken over by Hell’s demon hordes. Most of the Earth’s population has been wiped out and the Slayer is on a mission to destroy Hell’s elite, stop the invasion and save the humans that remain. I won’t go too much into the story of DOOM Eternal because it has been out for most of the year already. The main point I want to discuss is how this Switch port compares to other platforms.
The port to Switch is impressive work by Panic Button, they also did the Switch port for DOOM (2016). Obviously, DOOM Eternal is downgraded on the Switch to make it run smoothly. While the Switch is connected to your TV, you'll notice softened textures as the rendering has been lowered. It feels even more apparent when playing handheld, but this might only be because you're holding the screen so near your face. This is one of the best Switch ports that I've seen especially because of the type of game DOOM Eternal is. I lowered my expectations a lot and they were blown out of the water. Yes, the fine details are lacklustre compared to other platforms but in my experience, the game ran smoothly on the Switch. For me personally, stable frame rates are way more important than highly detailed visuals. If ultra-high definition is the icing then stable frame rates are the cake, so if the cake is frozen how are you going to enjoy it?
Let's talk about the controls. Playing on the Switch can get quite clunky at times and for DOOM Eternal, this can be a problem. The entire gameplay loop is getting into increasingly more difficult enemy encounters that require quick timing. Management of your skills to keep your health, armour, and ammo topped up whilst shooting weak points. Switching weapons, weapon mods, performing takedowns, enabling traps. Constantly moving, jumping, dashing and so on.
Being successful is a nuanced dance, especially at higher difficulty levels, so clunky controls become glaringly obvious. If you have a pro controller then go for it, but if you only use your Switch in handheld you might want to think twice before buying this. There is the option to use the gyro controls, but I find this is only kitsch rather than actually useful. I tried the gyro controls and had to immediately turn them off, but this may simply be my personal preference. Sorry, I had to rant to get that out as I don't want to sound harsh towards this otherwise wonderfully done port.
Playing DOOM Eternal on the Switch is a viable option, though if you own any other platforms you could likely find it discounted as it's already been out for nine months. As a disclaimer, there won't be a physical version for DOOM Eternal for the Switch. The file size is around 18GB, so keep that in mind when purchasing. Also, the DLC isn't slated to come out until sometime in 2021. With the Switch version, you get everything the base game has to offer including the online multiplayer BATTLEMODE that you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online account to access.
If you buy the game before 22nd December 2020 it comes with a copy of DOOM 64 and the "Rip And Tear" pack. DOOM 64 was the first DOOM game that I properly played through so I was very surprised and excited to have this included. The "Rip And Tear" pack includes:
- DOOT Revenant Skin: a premium player demon skin for use in BATTLEMODE
- Cultist Base Master Level: a remixed version of the campaign level with new challenges, combat encounters, and surprises
- Throwback Shotgun Weapon Skin: bring DOOM's classic shotgun to bear on DOOM Eternal's demon hordes
It's impressive to have DOOM Eternal look as good as it does on the Switch, so Nintendo fans have lucked out with this high-quality port. The downgrades may be noticeable at first but after some time you'll hardly realize. DOOM Eternal is a wildly fun and gruesome FPS that does a great job of keeping you on your toes while making you still feel extremely powerful. If you had to miss out on this title because you only own a Switch I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised by the quality and stability of this game that should almost be impossible to run on the Switch. Happy hunting, Doom Slayers.