Developer: id Software & Panic Button Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Category: First Person, Action & Multiplayer
Release Date: 10th of November, 2017 (EU & NA)
*This Review Contains Images Of A Violent And Graphic Nature. Reader Discretion Is Advised*
The game that defined the FPS genre has returned. In the 90’s there were three go-to games for gory, violent first-person shooters. Quake, Duke Nukem & DOOM. Duke Nukem came first and brought us adult humour mixed with aliens and graphic scenes of nudity. Quake brought the first person shooter into the third dimension and then there was DOOM.
DOOM was the action-packed cult classic that nobody could get enough of. It was too violent for young children but that didn’t stop them from sneaking a turn off of their older brother’s PC. Created by id Software and published by Bethesda, DOOM was given an overhaul in 2016 and brought back into the modern world and was very popular on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows and has sold 2.16 million copies. Since then, Bethesda has seen the opportunity to bring the game to the Nintendo Switch and I am sure it will be a roaring success as I am sure that reviewers such as myself will see to it to give an honest opinion on what looks and feels to be a stellar title.
Recapturing the essence of the original DOOM games (Doom 1 & Doom 2). This iteration puts you in the shoes of the Doomguy aka “Doomslayer” A space marine that awakens to find himself chained to an operating table. As the Doomguy tries to break free, he sees a disfigured monstrosity coming towards him. Doomguy breaks his restraints just in time to bludgeon the Demonic being’s head on the side of the operating table. He then finds a sidearm on the floor and his iconic armour just waiting for him to put it on once more.
After donning the armour, Doomguy receives an incoming communication from a Samuel Hayden who is the director of the facility you are currently trapped in. The facility is based on Mars and has been used to research a new form of energy that will help benefit the Earth as it suffers from a severe energy crisis (Fossil Fuels won’t last forever). The drawback to this is that this energy is being extracted from Hell itself and at some point, the monstrous creatures and demons that inhabited Hell have been transported to Mars and have ravaged the facility. It is now up to Doomguy to put foot to arse and send these horrific abominations back to where they came from in any way he sees fit.
The graphics really do look good for this game and it is always a welcoming sight to have more ‘Adult’ games on the Switch. It shows that third-party developers have a serious interest in the console and that Nintendo is more than happy to prove that the Switch is much more capable of being a must-have gaming console for all types of gamers, including those that prefer more mature titles. Though DOOM only runs at 30 FPS, it allows the game to run a lot smoother especially when enemies begin filling up the screen which could hinder CPU speed. However, this is not the case and does seem to provide a smooth experience. Though it must be said that some people have experienced frame rate drops while the game is in handheld mode but I have yet to notice it personally. The Glory Kill animations on the other hand look really good and can change depending on who and how weak the enemy is, your position in relation to them and if there are any objects and obstacles around that can be used to your advantage.
The sounds of the game really add to the game’s atmosphere like the breathing of the Doomguy, the groans and screeches from the demons, the hissing of fast flowing air when doors open and the rocking music tracks when the action kicks in. What better way to lay waste to hordes of demonic beings than having a kickarse rock metal music track to listen to while you’re doing it. Demons need to be taught a lesson and you are going to teach them not to mess with a piss-off Space Marine with a serious axe to grind but until you find said axe, better use a chainsaw instead. Oh yeah, the chainsaw is back and has be included as a side weapon that requires fuel to keep it running. You can use it to saw through your enemies close up and watch as they get ripped apart in front of you. There are plenty of other weapons including the infamous BFG which I am sure you can always look on Google if you don’t already know what it means, I could tell you, but I have yet to use the ‘F’ Word here at Miketendo64 and I am not about to start now.
Except for the pistol, the other weapons require ammunition in order to use them. they have limited capacity but it can be enhanced with the upgrade system found on the sub-menu screen. Performing certain missions and challenges will allow you to earn upgrade points that you can use to improve your weapons and armour. You can also get mods for your weapons that give you a more powerful charged shot to do even more damage on your enemies. Depending on which difficulty mode you choose, item picks ups can be pretty abundant or utterly scarce with enemies that can take a beating and pack a punch. For the sake of this interview, I myself have chosen the easiest of settings as I am not a seasoned DOOM player and would like the experience to the game without it owning me the second I start playing it. The good part about the difficulty setting is that it can be changed in-game at any time which so if you are looking to up the ante because you think your skills have improved or if the pressure is getting too much for you and want an easier pace, it can easily be changed in the game settings menu.
There are item pick-ups that you can find scattered around the levels that can grant you health, ammo and also collectibles that will unlock classic levels from the original DOOM game. Health and ammo can also be recovered by glory killing enemies or hacking them to pieces with the chainsaw. This game doesn’t reward those that run from battle to recover health but those that are willing to get up close and finish the job. You will also find items on dead marines that you can use to upgrade your own armour which will allow you to take less damage or expand your radar amongst other things.
The gameplay controls are relatively straightforward with the left joystick to move, the ZR button to fire, ZL to aim down sights and right joystick to move the crosshair and change direction. If you were hoping that this version of Doom would use gyroscopic controls like that for The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild or Splatoon, you are out of like and only have the right joystick to depend on when it comes to mowing down enemies with whatever arsenal you are using at the time. You can of course, adjust the sensitivity settings if you want quicker and more receptive controls.
For those that finish the main campaign, or prefer to take on other players online, there is an Online Multiplayer mode, which includes several ways to play including team deathmatch, King of the hill, Warpath, Freeze tag and Soul harvest. There is a slight problem in that the Multiplayer mode has opted for weapon load-outs like all the other modern games in the genre (Call of Duty) as opposed to finding weapons scattered around the level. This is a shame as it then doesn’t really offer anything different to what other games are currently offering. Though I never played the original DOOM, I did play a LOT of Goldeneye 64 and running around to find better weapons gives all players a level playing field regardless of how skilled they are. This would of course, be counter productive against the reward system that awards players newer and better weapons as they level up. This does give longevity to the multiplayer mode but at the cost of those being of higher ranks than you owning on you with their better class of weapons whilst you stumble through with your weak ass arsenal hoping to get a lucky shot.
DOOM on Nintendo Switch will no doubt be a hit. It stays true to the original campaign mode and is really engaging and thrilling to play. The Multiplayer mode just feels like a Call of Duty multiplayer clone with a DOOM skin on it and lacks its own real identity. Though there is a power up to change you temporarily into various types of demons to really unleash hell on your enemies. Worth noting is the in-game encyclopedia that holds all the information on weapons, items, and monsters after you encounter them. This helps build on the game’s lore and provides useful information that could help players find weaknesses in potentially troubling enemies.
If you have been looking for a game that you can really indulge in and let all hell loose, then this is most definitely the game for you. DOOM is like Metroid on PCP but instead of fighting space pirates or hunting down Metroids. You are slaughtering hordes of demons from Hell itself. An all action, no nonsense game that will have engaged from the moment you turn it on to the moment you turn it off, (if you have the willpower to do that). I will also state that I have mostly played the game in handheld mode and it has performed perfectly for me with very little issue. The switch does seem to be pretty much capable of running almost any game that comes to it. The best thing of all though, is that while you may not get the option to rip off a demon’s head and go number 2 down its neck, you do get the BFG and to be honest, isn’t that what it’s all about?
The Verdict: 9/10
*Review Key Provided By Bethesda