Doom for Nintendo Switch works better in handheld than docked mode

Nintendo Switch is getting Doom this week, and that has a lot of people curious about how the technical wonder runs on the hybrid home/handheld console. The answer to that has two sides. In docked mode on a TV, Doom is rough. But if you take the same shooter and play it in handheld mode, it crosses over into acceptable and sometimes even magical.

I played Doom last year in 4K at 60 frames per second on PC. Coming from that, Doom on the Switch is a complete mess. Whether you’re in handheld or docked, it runs at 30 frames per second. The resolution also looks way lower than 1080p — sometimes I think it’s running below 720p. Developer id Software also turned the texture quality way down. All of this combines for a muddy image on a TV.

But on the handheld, a lot of those problems fade away. The textures and lower resolution don’t matter as much on the Switch’s smaller portable screen. The 6.2-inch display is 720p, but you would see a huge reduction in detail if you dropped that to something closer to 540p. The framerate is still a problem, but it doesn’t ruin anything. Doom is totally playable at 30 fps.

But the real reason that Doom works as a handheld game is because it is astonishing that this shooter can work on the Switch at all. This isn’t some weird smartphone port with most of the game replaced with some free-to-play mechanics. This is the full Doom experience, and you can take it with you wherever you go.

That’s amazing.

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