In this series of features Nintendo Life contributors will share thoughts on their most memorable games of 2017. This entry by upcoming site editor Dom Roseigh-Lincoln focuses on the high profile port of DOOM to Nintendo Switch.
If you’d have sidled up to me six months ago and whispered in my ear that one of my favourite games of 2017 would be a port of a 2016 shooter I’d have recoiled at that blatant invasion of my personal space, then cracked a wry smile at your fictitious hot take. DOOM? On Switch? In a port that isn’t just good, but great? You’re having a laugh, mate.
Well, let’s just say I’ve put on about a stone of weight with the amount of humble pie I’ve eaten in the last month because Bethesda and Panic Button did something seemingly impossible with that id Software reboot. Not only did they get the entirety of DOOM’s gloriously violent single-player campaign on Switch, they made it look disturbingly good, too. Sure, it’s not going to give PS4 or Xbox One any sleepless nights in the visuals department, but bar a few simplified textures and less dynamic lighting its an impressive feat of developmental alchemy.
It’s hardly been gutted either. Every level, in its full glory, can be enjoyed on Switch, so you snap demon necks and stomp on their heads as Doomguy just as it was originally intended. Sure, not having the map editor does take some of the sheen off an otherwise impressive package, but retaining its two cores modes - including the latter’s full online functionality - cements Switch as a fine place for any shooter to call home.
Then there’s the multiplayer. Oh, the multiplayer! It’s this mode that takes the biggest hit when it comes to graphics, but we knew this would be the case so it’s hardly a killing blow. Much like the classic, sprint-fast days of Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena, DOOM’s online deathmatches move at such breakneck speeds that there’s no way Switch’s hardware is going to be able to load textures as fast as you’re running and blowing other players into gore with a Super Shotgun.
But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter. With only the occasional amount of slowdown, that sacrifice is ultimately worth it. Being able to leap into TDM, Warpath or any of its other familiar yet addictive modes from the comfort of your sofa, bed or toilet is a unit-shifting selling point in itself. It’s proof positive that twitch-style shooters can work on Switch without relying on bucket loads of paint and skater boi fashion choices.
Add in a new challenge system for unlocking new armour for your death-dealing avatar - a setup far superior to the one in place on other platforms - and you’ve got one of the best ways to mooch about online in Switch’s current lineup of games. Even if you’re terrible at shooters, you’re still not going to struggle for long. This isn’t about precision - part of DOOM’s grisly charm is its run, gun and run again formula that turns every firefight into a bullet-trading joust.
So yeah, I love this damnable thing a lot, that much is obvious, but I guarantee you’ll only need to spend a few minutes in its mad-eyed company to realise you love it too. As a vanguard for the future of FPS on Switch, DOOM is the perfect candidate for the job. Bold, brutal and baptised in buckets of blood. And on a Nintendo console, no less.