Bethesda has been doing an admirable job squeezing some of their marquee AAA titles onto the Nintendo Switch. Despite a delayed and digital-only release, DOOM Eternal has finally made its way to the portable console. The end result is a very solid migration of DOOM Eternal’s fast-paced arena FPS gameplay to the Nintendo Switch, with some noticeable but ultimately minor concessions.
Right from the start, the visual downgrade is pretty apparent. All of the pre-rendered cutscenes are letterboxed and run at a poor frame-rate, which didn’t exactly set my expectations very high. Once the Doom Slayer actually picks up his Combat Shotgun and becomes playable, however, things improve immensely. Despite the lower resolution, DOOM Eternal runs at a consistent 30FPS during gameplay in even the most chaotic of firefights on the Switch. The fast pace of the game meant that I rarely focused too much on the visuals or environments when there were demons to shoot.
Admittedly, the muddy visuals make the excellent demon and weapon designs less impressive. However, each enemy is recognisable by their silhouette the moment they show up onscreen. In an instant, it is clear which demon is which and what its weak point is. Before long, I got into a nice rhythm of slaying demons and exploring each level looking for secrets. The fairly quick load times also helped keep the pace up during some of the more challenging sections.
I originally played DOOM Eternal on the PS4, so gunning down the demon hordes with the Switch’s joy-cons did not feel too unfamiliar. In terms of Switch-exclusive features, you can now aim with motion controls instead of the analogue stick. I gave it a try for a few rounds, but found it overall inefficient and unhelpful. Particularly with DOOM Eternal’s focus on attacking enemy weak points to take down tough foes, the lack of precise aiming with the gyro controls drove me away.
Ultimately, DOOM Eternal is an excellent game, and the Nintendo Switch port has not dulled any of its edges. The massive arsenal of weapons, varied array of demons and slightly annoying first-person platforming are all maintained. Panic Button (who also did a good job porting DOOM (2016) to the Switch) should be commended for getting such an intense game to run so well on underpowered hardware.
The main question is more regarding who exactly DOOM Eternal on the Switch is for? Copies on the PS4, Xbox One and PC are going quite cheap nowadays, with DOOM Eternal showing up on Xbox Game Pass recently. As such, it isn’t clear who would be into this sort of game, and also be comfortable paying a premium price when cheaper copies are available. Switch players will also have to wait until sometime next year for The Ancient Gods DLC, which is already available on other platforms. DOOM Eternal is a great game on the Switch, but unless it’s your only console or you travel a lot, the other ports will give you more value right now.