Bethesda's Doom and Skyrim one-two Switch punch promises portable delight.
Playing brief snippets of Skyrim and Doom on Switch at a recent press event was a little jarring. It’s been a good five years since I’ve touched a Bethesda RPG and my first-person shooter prowess (if it was ever there to begin with) has atrophied after years of primarily playing Nintendo platforms, where the last major first-person shooter came out around the same time the PS4 and Xbox One launched. What both ports highlighted was something I hoped for but didn’t quite expect: a feeling of immersion that made me lose sight of the fact I was playing them on a less than optimal screen at lower resolution.
My time with Skyrim was mostly spent just messing around with the Zelda gear, running around the overworld with the Master Sword, Hylian Shield, and Champion’s Tunic. It rekindled my fond memories of past Elder Scrolls adventures (even if I wish I could just climb everywhere like in Breath of the Wild) and amped up my excitement for Skyrim’s November launch. I, for some reason or another, never got super deep into Skyrim when it first came out, so being able to play it on the go is very appealing.
The one element that I saw that didn’t do much for me was the motion controls. This might speak to my larger Switch preference of portability, but the motion controls for sword and shield are reminiscent of Wii 1.0 controls replacing button presses. Of course that makes sense since the entire game wasn’t going to be redesigned around an optional control scheme, but I don’t think I’ll have much urge to break them out when I get my hands on the final version. I didn’t get to try either, but apparently the bow motion controls are a little more developed and lockpicking makes great use of HD Rumble.
Contrary to Skyrim, I went 100% cold into my demo for Doom. All I knew going in was it was metal as all hell and critically acclaimed. While my first moments were rough thanks to the aforementioned withered FPS skills, by the end of my short time with the game, I was sold on the earnest but borderline ridiculous plot setup (Doom guy’s demeanor in contrast with the world is great) and the basic combat. I’m very into playing Doom, especially on the go.
Now with both Skyrim and Doom, I wasn’t able to play them on the TV, just on the Switch itself. That’s clearly a deliberate choice by Nintendo and Bethesda to highlight the strengths of both: that you can take these fancy-pants big adventures with you anywhere. You can play these games on a TV already; you can’t just bring your system with you and shoot demons while you’re sitting in a park. Skyrim and Doom in their Switch forms fit my more predominantly portable play style, and my time with them on the Switch has more or less made me go from mildly interested to likely getting both at launch.