When Nintendo announced that Bethesda’s DOOM — not the Doom of yesteryear, but the brazenly-named and critically-acclaimed DOOM reboot released last year — was coming to the Switch, it was like the gods had answered gamers’ prayers. It’s been no secret that the sentiment of “every game should be released on Switch” has been widespread among its ownership, and whether or not certain companies will release their AAA titles on the console has been a hot topic of interviews (looking at you, Final Fantasy XV). So DOOM on the prodigious handheld/living room console hybrid is a pleasant, and welcome, surprise.
After spending some hands-on time with DOOM at a recent Bethesda event, I realized that this was the thing that would make me play DOOM all over again. It’s the same game Bethesda released in 2016, just ported to the Switch with some controller tweaks. Since I don’t normally dock my Switch and play with it on the TV screen these days, I booted the game with the console in handheld mode.
I played two ways: first using the Pro Controller, with the Switch propped on its kickstand; then with the Switch in handheld mode with the Joy-Cons attached. There isn’t much text in the DOOM HUD to begin with, but during the tutorial level, as the game guided me through my first demonic encounters, it was difficult to read the on-screen text because it was so tiny. These moments were fleeting, however, as DOOM tells you what to do once and then promptly dumps you into the mayhem. In the long run, this didn’t bother me, and I went back to happily shooting screaming skeletons.
Playing in handheld mode wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it would be; it felt a lot like playing Splatoon without the motion controls, and with a lot more screaming bloody skeletons. This is my only issue with DOOM on Switch: it doesn’t make use of the Switch’s motion control capabilities. A Bethesda representative told me that they are still doing research into adding the motion control aspect — it seems like it’s a popular question for playtesters, so we’ll see if this changes before launch this holiday.
Using the Pro Controller still feels much better for this DOOM. In general, the game feels very at home on the Switch. This probably wouldn’t have been the case if Splatoon 2 had never existed, given the ink-splatting shooter-not-a-shooter paved the way for consumers and developers to think of the Switch as housing them. DOOM is one of those games that can suck you in for a quick round or for a dozen hours at a time, so the ability to pick it up and go wherever you want and still be playing is an appealing one.
This isn’t the only game Bethesda is bringing to Switch. The company has slated both The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and the upcoming Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus to launch for the console this November and next year, respectively. Hopefully, Bethesda’s commitment to Nintendo’s latest console paves the way for more third-party support and encourages more developers to consider a Switch release for their in-development games.