Published on April 11th, 2021 | by Bennie Fulks
Doom Eternal Review #NintendoSwitch
Summary: Insane and re-hell bent on being “that Guy” of Doom
If hell had ice water
It has been a while since Doom 2016 was released on the Xbox One, PS4 and Windows. A little more than a year later, Switch got its own version brought over by the developers Panic Button. 3 years later (and only 6 months after the Xbox One, PS4 and Windows versions were released) Nintendo received Doom Eternal brought over once again by the developers Panic Button. Better but somehow worse.
The story for Doom Eternal is: Hell has finally moved into Earth and set up shop after 2 years. A diabolical corporation name Union Aerospace Corporation intervenes only to make things worse and wipes away 60% of earth’s population. Everyone who survived either left earth or joined the Armored Response Coalition, the rebels that were forced into hiding after losing the battle for earth. Doom Slayer returns after being betrayed and teleported away in Doom 2016 by Dr. Samuel Hayden, with a satellite fortress controlled by AI Vega. Doom is here to blast blow up rip apart and chainsaw to pieces anyone against earth starting with the Hell Priest.
The plot is OK, it keeps the game moving. Giving a good amount of back story in the form of documents and codex that you come across during your journey through hell and beyond. It is up to you how much time you invest in the story. The pickups are optional and even if you do collect them all its up to you to read them.
The graphics take a big hit on the Nintendo Switch. When docked the resolution is 1280 x 720 with dynamic scaling down to 896 x 504. When saving earth on the go the resolution takes an even bigger hit with a max 1088 x 612 with dynamic scaling down to 640 x 360. The game reaches for a 30 frames per second cap that it usually hits and the same goes for the cutscenes even though gaming on the go gets hit with another downgrade where the cutscenes run at 20 frames per second. So, what does that mean in real world use? It means the game looks decent in dock mode. The fps cap is usually hit and when it is not it does not usually dip below the mid-20s and it does not affect the gameplay too much but its not a smooth experience. The graphics are not crisp, and you can see details load in as you get closer to objects. The monsters are easy to see, and the particle effects are nice, and the weapons look rather good. Just do not expect 4K graphics and 60 fps.
The audio is surprisingly good. You can hear the grunts, groans and moans of Doom Guy. As he jumps, dashes, punches, rips and shreds demon and demon like enemies. The guns sound great, the audio gives weapons a nice kick when firing. The enemies sound terrifyingly creepy. The roars of Zombies, Imps and Gargoyles keep you spinning around knowing if you can hear them then they are close. The screech of lost souls is as unnerving as ever. The stomping and battle cries of Marauders, Doom Hunters and the classic but deadly Tyrant/Cyber Demon still put you into retreat then attack mode. Music is subtle at first (as subtle as Doom games gets) before kicking into Heavy Metal and riffs that keep the blood pumping and adrenaline powering your mad dash for ammo and health while killing everything on the screen. Audio fares better than graphics.
The gameplay is the same fast pace arena shooter with even more emphasis on fast pace and arena. The game adds quite a bit of platforming into the game. I was not a fan and it slowed down the game play. The platforming seemed like it was added just to extend levels. Often you were not sure where to go next. Having to die first just to see the bar you needed to jump to at the last second seems cheap. The running and gunning gameplay is faster than ever I must say. But it seemed more like Quake than Doom the small square rooms you get trapped in until you kill everyone in the room before moving on. Not the corridor shooter I associate with Doom. The gun play is different too, ammo is rare, and you are forced to look for imps to chainsaw them for ammo its annoying and slows the pace down. The bosses and new enemies add to the roster. Meaning once you see a new enemy usually introduced as a mini boss you will see them again and again none stop usually doubled or tripled up. So, then you have more bullet sponges chasing you all over the arena/ring. All that adds to the anxiety driven game that keeps you looking at your ammo and the pistol has been removed so if you run out of ammo you have to chainsaw an enemy. This twist makes the game fun as well… hell if you can keep your ammo topped off but a living hell if you cannot. You are still tasked with finding keys to gain access to other areas of the stage. Plenty of hidden items make checking all over rewarding and the new Fortress of Doom hub make it easier to bounce around stages once completed. The fortress acts as sort of a market you can use coins found in game to unlock buffs and power ups costumes and cheat disks. You can also play Doom 1 & 2 once unlocked. Also listening to classic Doom tracks after finding records scattered around each stage.
Doom Eternal is decent on the Switch and is a great game overall even with its issues. If you must play this game on the Switch, then be aware of what you are getting. If you can get it on another platform, I suggest you do that.