Doom’s Port Was The Impossible Made Possible

Doom’s Port Was The Impossible Made Possible

Doom, which was just ported to the Nintendo Switch, is not a game you see every day on Nintendo consoles. It was not really because Nintendo did not welcome such explicit genre of games on their family consoles, but more of the fact that their consoles, in the recent times, lack the power to run such a graphically intensive game.

Yet Doom made it, with very little compromise. As Eurogamer analysed, Doom for the Nintendo Switch is exactly the same, content-wise, as its brothers on the other consoles. Everything played out the same from the start to finish.

Let’s start with the good news. This port is content complete, and every level from the original release is present and correct. There was concern that stages would need to be divided up to fit into memory but that’s not the case at all. Encounters play out just as they did on the more powerful console platforms, and every stage is presented as a complete experience. Every enemy, weapon and feature is present and accounted for and that’s an important thing to consider. After all, Doom 3 for the original Xbox, a comparable port in terms of accomplishment, featured levels which were reduced in size and complexity to work within the constraints of the system. That’s not the case here.

Yet the game did not make it to the Nintendo Switch without compromise. The game took a huge cut in the graphics area with the game’s dynamic resolution peaking at only 720p. This was not a problem when the game was played in handheld mode due to the small screen size, but on a TV, the game looked blur.

It’s difficult to get an exact figure due to the super-aggressive temporal anti-aliasing but we’ve commonly observed results in the 1088×612 range while connected to an HDTV. In select scenes, the resolution does jump up, but typically only when nothing is happening. Beyond that, the depth of field buffer and alpha effects all appear to be rendered at quarter resolution, which can give a 360p-like presentation in some respects. This is topped off with Doom’s excellent temporal aliasing, only in this case, the resolution is so low that the TAA ultimately results in a very blurry-looking game. The presentation holds up on the Switch’s six-inch tablet-style screen – though resolution drops to around 576p here – but blow it up on your HDTV and it starts to break down into a soupy mess.

Even the frame-rate took a cut when compared to other consoles. The 60FPS found on the Xbox One and PS4 was cut to 30fps tops, with fluctuations below the 30fps at times.

And if Doom delivered a rock solid 30 frames per second on Switch, it would be difficult to complain – but unfortunately this is not the case. There are basically two issues to address and the first one could potentially be corrected with a patch. Bad frame-pacing essentially makes the game look jerkier than it should, delivering new frames at 16ms, 33ms and 50ms intervals when running at 30fps. Correctly implemented frame-pacing would lock this to a locked 33ms per-frame persistence, giving a more solid, consistent experience.

Still, it was a monumental achievement for Panic Button, which has outdone itself by bringing such an intensive game to a portable-capable Nintendo Switch. A full console game on the go, that was not only playable but also enjoyable, had finally been achieved. Great work Panic Button. You can read more on Eurogamer’s Doom analysis here. Also, you can take a look at our review for Doom too.