The Doom Slayer blasts his way onto the Nintendo Switch with Doom Eternal in a port that is genuinely fun despite lesser visuals.
When Doom Eternal arrived earlier this year it did so as one of the most polished experiences of the year. Doom Eternal was a must-play for first-person shooter fans in 2020 on the PC, PS4, and Xbox One, but as the game is ported over to the Nintendo Switch, the question is whether or not the adventure still holds up in handheld form.
Doom Eternal is an excellent first-person shooter. From the very first fast-paced mission, it never lets up. Developer id Software manages to create a game that feels like a blast from the past while also bringing the genre forward.
One of the things that makes Doom Eternal special is how the progression stacks on itself with new weapons, upgrades, and gear. Whether it is the Super Shotgun blasting away enemies, the Heavy Cannon sniping with precision, or the Ice Bomb freezing a pack of demons, Doom Eternal has some of the best video game weapons of 2020. Along with new weapons, Mods can be unlocked and selected. Each weapon feels so unique because they play different, and because each Mod gives the gun a genuine twist. Meanwhile, Runes are effective in allowing players to play exactly how they want. Choices like Air Control give increased movement in the air and Savagery allows for faster glory kills. All of this equates to so much freedom in play style. The 15-hour campaign continually feels fresh and at no point does it feel repetitive or dull because continually experimenting is genuinely fun.
With all of the different gunplay in mind, the monsters of Doom Eternal can be very challenging, but that is by design. Enemies have weak points and can be taken down more easily with different weapons. The codex even describes different types of monsters, from "fodder" that can get wiped away with a few bullets to the "heavy" creature like the Cacodemon that is most effectively taken down by tossing a Frag Grenade directly into its mouth. Entering a giant room with countless demons can be a massive challenge, but rotating through different gun types, using each weapon to take them all down, and coming out victorious is extremely satisfying. There are moments where Doom Eternal seems to put Slayer in a small corridor against an onslaught of enemies without a chance, and this is where it feels almost unfair. When the game is indoors and there is a lack of freedom in movement, Doom Eternal is not at its best. But outdoors in an open plain, where the movement and weapon array can be rotated to its full extent, Slayer feels like a god, and Doom Eternal feels like an incredible experience.
The platforming elements of Doom Eternal are the last aspect that helps set it apart. The verticality of the level design unique to the firs-person-shooter genre. Using well-timed double jumps and wall climbs, along with air dashes, to climb to great heights in quiet moments outside of the chaotic and gory fighting works as an excellent pallet cleanser. The exploratory nature of the platforming is also where the majority of the secrets lie as well.
Another excellent game design decision is the Fortress of Doom, which is Slayer's space ship. His massive ship allows players to select missions, upgrade gear, and even practice fighting against demons in space without repercussions of losing lives or ammo. The story of the game also pushes along the experience well. For those who do not know a lot about the games, it isn't needed, but for fans of Doom, there is a lot of very interesting backstory in place.