DOOM (2016) is one of the rare FPS games where I want to replay the single player campaign. Since DOOM came out last year, I’ve purchased it on PC, Xbox One S, and PS4 and I’ve yet to tire of the game. Now that the game is out on the Switch I had to try it out, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to $60 try it. Thankfully I have a local video rental store that has new release games for $3 a night to find out if DOOM still has it.
Playing DOOM on Switch feels like someone took a shakycam video of their tour of the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. Everything is there, but there’s a feeling of separation that you can’t help but feel. In handheld mode there is a lack of precision that just isn’t present on other platforms. Either due to the smaller screen or less accurate joy cons you’ll miss more shots that you feel like you should have had. This isn’t an issue on earlier levels, but once you get to the later fights it does become a barrier to getting past some areas.
Visually, I wasn’t bothered by the lower quality visuals. I can think of only a few places where the motion blur or lower draw distance bothered me and that was really only because I stopped ripping and tearing and wanted to get some screenshots.
The unforgivable sin of DOOM on switch is the under powered speakers built into the switch. Switching to headphones solves this problem, but you loose so much without that soundtrack just filling your ears.
Playing docked with the pro controller fixes a lot of my control and sound problems, but this version of the game was not intended to be upscaled to 4K on my main TV. I only used the dock for about an hour before I went back to handheld mode.
Regarding battery life, from 90% to 15% took about 2 hours. I had brightness up, volume up, and WiFi on.
Even with the cart there is a large download that took about an hour to get.
I also found that the Switch has a function to allow you to sync game patches across local devices. This seems like a really great feature.
All in all I had a lot of fun revisiting DOOM in a new portable setting, although at $60 it’s a really hard sell unless you’ve never had another way to rip and tear.
It does look less blurry when undocked. Mostly due to the smaller screen being used. For myself, the blur wasn’t a deal breaker in handheld mode. It’s not a version I would want to watch someone else play though.
If you’ve only played DOOM on PC, the Switch port will probably not win you over. The reduction in the graphics and the far less accurate joy con will probably frustrate you.
Everything I’ve read and seen about DOOM on the switch points to it being impressive for what it is, but disappointing compared to what DOOM should be.
If it drops in price considerably over the next couple of months, I definitely plan on picking it up just for the novelty of playing it on a handheld. For me, the lack of motion aiming is one of the bigger head scratchers with regards to the port.
I am all for the fun of pushing these engines into weird portable spaces and seeing what happens.
(Intel have since made official their Vulkan drivers so Doom runs a bit better on Intel mobile SoCs)
I do wonder how long until this stuff really goes stratospheric with Intel now running a SoC with AMD Vega, getting the former leader of the Radeon Tech Group to lead their GPU ventures going forward, and AMD pushing Zen cores into mobile APUs. Even without nVidia’s tablet stuff, we’re looking at some interesting years for portable form factor devices with way more 3D gaming focus around the silicon design than we’ve been used to.
You have been able to buy an expensive Windows tablet to play Steam games on the go for a while, up next we have to expect that Switch-priced Windows tablets start to offer something beyond the current 2D offerings and that’s really going to be exciting for this form factor (and working out,if Doom isn’t a good fit, what does work well).
Even with my issues I am holding off on playing Wolf 2 until the Switch port is out. The way I’m currently playing the 1st game (easy & using all the ammo all the time) feels like a good match to cover the aiming issues I had in DOOM.