As luck would have it, Isabelle’s friend, the Slayer from the DOOM franchise, has come to the Nintendo Switch.
Earth has been overrun by demons who have wiped out more than half the planet’s population, and it’s your job to take them out. And the best way to do so is fighting through armies of enemies and taking out their Hell Priests. Intense right?
DOOM Eternal is one of the latest Bethesda ports to come to the console, and the game is locked to 30 FPS and 720p resolution. This might sound like a disappointing use of the Nintendo Switch’s capabilities, but the game still feels like a smooth first-person shooter even at those settings and with a 4K-capable TV. Undocked, the gaming experience is much of the same, and on the smaller screen the resolution works well.
Honestly, I’m not great at first-person shooters, but DOOM reminds me of franchises I do like, such as Gears of War—ultraviolent, full of otherworldly enemies, an array of armor and weaponry, and a chainsaw. I haven’t seen another title like the two mentioned franchises release for Nintendo, or port to a Nintendo console, but anyone interested in this genre isn’t unfamiliar with these series.
The music in DOOM Eternal is full of metal guitar riffs that keep your energy high each round. And energy is necessary when hordes of aliens come after you.
DOOM Eternal has two main modes—multiplayer and the campaign. Playing as Slayer in the campaign is a great first step for anyone not accustomed to DOOM’s playstyle. (Though, if you have played other titles like it, the pivot to DOOM Eternal is an easy one.) The game does a great job of giving you the time and space to explore each tutorial and interact with new objects and abilities. Because of this time devoted to teaching the player, I never felt stuck.
Each demon has its own quirks that make them easier or harder to take down in a fight, and when 20 of them charge at you, having the tutorials beforehand is a godsend. I used the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, as I’m not a big fan of using the Joy-Cons, and I thought the Pro Controller experience was smooth and familiar. You can adjust the difficulty and the mechanics to suit your needs. Adjusting the thumbstick sensitivity and reticle lock made it much easier to play with just enough of an advantage where the game was still difficult when it was designed to be.
The high-speed energy of DOOM Eternal reminded me of a run-and-gun game, but with the right maneuvering, I managed to isolate a few demons and chainsaw straight through them. (Such a satisfying moment!) There is a bit of lore you pick up along the way that gets added to your codex, but I only found myself looking through it occasionally. DOOM Eternal isn’t the first of the series, and the lore is interesting for scene setting, but it isn’t necessary for gameplay.
The multiplayer experience is a limited one with a 2v1 battle mode, but the setup can be really fun with the right trio! One player is the Slayer, two are the demons. While it is fun, it’s not the team-based aggression I’m used to seeing in games from competing franchises. But that might actually be a good thing as a standout feature, and for its port to Nintendo.
While DOOM Eternal is rated M for its gore and violence, a limited multiplayer experience has some benefits. For a company and console focused on family-first experiences, games with this type of intensity can bring questionable multiplayer chat and competition with it. Sure, aggression and in-fighting can be part of the experience for some players, but any way that Nintendo can curb those types of issues in their multiplayer lobbies is a win for them. While this multiplayer experience isn’t specific to Nintendo, it’s a win here. This type of battle mode reminded me of the games I grew up with before multiplayer lobbies were as prevalent with couch co-op mini games and PVP arenas.
I can’t say if DOOM Eternal will have replay value on the Nintendo Switch to fans of DOOM who have played the series on other devices. However, if there’s ever a day I need to just chainsaw through some demons, I know where I can turn.
Review: DOOM Eternal (Nintendo Switch)
While DOOM Eternal is rated M for its gore and violence, there’s a lot about the gaming experience that makes it safer to play for teen and young adult audiences than the average, multiplayer competitors of its genre. And if there’s ever a day I need to just chainsaw through some demons, I know where I can turn.