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DOOM’s Nintendo Switch Port Will Have You Believing In The Dark Arts

Posted on November 16, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards

Over the past week I’ve been playing 2016’s DOOM on the Nintendo Switch and this game… just wow, what black magic did Bethesda use to make a game as visually striking and visceral work on Nintendo’s hybrid tablet? 

Players new to this iteration of the classic FPS franchise will find themselves in the boots of the Doom Slayer, an unnamed marine who loves nothing more than ripping the limbs off of demons and splattering their guts across the floor. DOOM exists for two reasons: 1) to allow players to graphically murder countless demons in as comically over the top fashion as possible and 2) to provide the player with an assortment of deadly futuristic weapons that are each more devastating and implausible as the last. These two core tenants are true whether you’re playing the game’s introductory level or on the final boss. 

Overall I’ve played about five hours of DOOM on Switch and I’ve just returned from my first trip to Hell. As a repeat visitor to the lands of fire and brimstone, I have to say being able to be transported to DOOM’s hellscapes where ever I please – whether that’s on the bus or on the couch – proves just how viable the Switch is for First Person Shooters, a genre that up until now has gone unrepresented on Nintendo’s hot new platform. 

Yes, graphically DOOM’s portable iteration is a visual downgrade from its PC based sibling (which I adored and reviewed last year) but when seeing it in motion none of that really matters. Halving of the frame rate from 60 fps to a mostly locked 30 and lowering the resolution of some environment textures to accommodate the Nintendo Switch’s 4GB of RAM does little to hamper the visual quality of this port of DOOM. For the most part, the framerate remains rock solid during heavy action scenes, effects like water running down windows and depth of field are faithfully recreated. Somehow, Panic Button got the full 12+ hour campaign on to Nintendo’s handheld and I’m glad for it. If you haven’t played through DOOM yet and own a Switch I’d highly recommend picking it up – it plays great either docked or in handheld mode.


DOOM Rips & Tears Its Way On To Nintendo Switch Today

Posted on November 10, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards

Have you wanted to take id Software’s 2016 FPS masterpiece DOOM on the road with you? Now you can, complete with the game’s competitive multiplayer mode intact. Today’s release is part of Bethesda’s support of Nintendo’s unique hybrid console. Which includes not only today’s release of DOOM but also the upcoming release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on November 17th and Wolfenstien II sometime in early 2018.

DOOM was one of last year’s most noticeable releases for several reasons. First and foremost it helped revive the troubled DOOM franchise, which had languished in development hell over the past decade and a half. It was also filled to the brim with all of the violence, classic weaponry, and science fiction trappings players have come to expect from the series with the added addition of modern FPS mechanics, rich lore and a campaign that didn’t shy away from being over 12 hours in length.

Here is part of what I had to say about the PC version when I reviewed it back in July 2016:

“[The weaponry] in this game satisfies like no other shooter this year. A lot of the DOOM classics return – the pistol, the shotgun, the super shotgun, the pulse rifle and the BFG 9000 to just name a few but ID Software has once again outdone themselves by adding a bevy of secondary modes and modifications for each weapon. While playing challenges will passively be completed throughout the campaign awarding “weapon upgrade” points that can be spent on your arsenal. “

One of the marquee features from the console & PC additions did not make the transition to Nintendo Switch, however. The innovative SnapMap mode, which allows players to create their own custom Multiplayer arenas & single player missions is absent from the Switch port. However, Bethesda did include all of the previously released DLC multiplayer maps and the Arcade Mode which allows the DoomSlayer to return to the scenes of his previous rampages and earn new high scores.

Executive Producer at id Software Marty Stratton had this to say about today’s release of DOOM:

“We’re excited to welcome Nintendo fans back to the world of DOOM … This game is all about powerful guns, crazy demons, and fast, relentless gameplay, which we think Switch players will really enjoy.”

Rip, tear, rend and repeat anywhere with the only portable rendition of DOOM!


An Extended Look At The Cancelled Doom 4

Posted on August 2, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards

Last year’s Doom reboot was both a critical and commercial success that build upon the gruesome nature of the franchise’s past while introducing new mechanics like weapons with secondary modes and dismemberment. Before the “back to basics” reboot of “Doom” there was a numbered sequel in development at id that would see multiple iterations and reboots in the midst of a buyout by Zenimax (owners of Bethesda).

Detailed in an excellent piece by Kotaku’s Jason Schreir in 2013: The project then known as “Doom 4” entered development sometime in 2007 and continued until ZeniMax acquired id Software in 2011. At one point in development, Doom 4 was internally jokingly referred to as “Call of Doom” – featuring more realistic weapons and scripted hallway sections akin to Activision’s Call of Duty titles.

Quoting a source in Jason’s article:

“There were jokes like, ‘Oh, it’s Call of Doom.’ They referenced it because of the amount it was scripted—there were a lot of scripted set pieces. There was kind of the recognition that in order to be a big shooter these days, you have to have some amount of the big, bombastic movie experience that people get pulled through.”

We haven’t seen much of the 2007 – 2011 “Hell on Earth” version of Doom 4, showing what would happen around the world if the Demonic forces made it through the dimensional vortex onto the soil of a futuristic earth, rather than the red sands of the Moon Base.  A new video posted by YouTuber Alternative Gaming Channel shows us a blurry demo reel of weapon animations, finishing moves and crowds of (presumably) rebellion NPCS taken from this cancelled version of the storied shooter.

What do you think? Despite the five years of development hell and the clashing tones of a set piece driven gameplay style and shotgun fueled mayhem – would you have played this version of Doom? It didn’t make it past various prototype builds from the sounds of things but I’m hopeful that if Doom (2016) gets a sequel we at least revisit the idea of humanity’s response to the demonic horde. Following the older 90s Doom cannon that is where things should go, and being on Mars for the second time wouldn’t be all that different from the first game.


After publishing this article I was reminded of the NoClip documentary that was released just after Doom (2016)’s release last year. In the documentary, the team speaks with developers who have been with id since the Quake III and Doom III days.  They go through what the 2007 Doom 4 project was – confirming it made its way development to the point of being one of three fully formed teams at id. Eventually, the ax came down when management and Zenimax were dissatisfied with the direction of Doom 4. This decision wouldn’t just cost them Doom 4 but also an in-production sequel to 2011’s RAGE as the three teams were merged together into a single whole in order to complete the DOOM that we eventually got.


Zenimax Buys Doom Co-Developer Escalation Studios

Posted on February 2, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards

Zenimax, the parent company of publisher Bethesda Softworks, announced recently that they have acquired Dallas-based developers Escalation Studios. If you haven’t heard of the folks at Escalation Studios before I wouldn’t blame you but they have worked on a number of smaller titles as well as collaborated with other studios on AAA titles. Most recently they worked alongside id software on the 2016 DOOM Reboot and prior to that their website states that they’ve collaborated on the Call of Duty franchise as well as past entries in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series.

In the press release announcing the acquisition, it was noted that Escalation Studios is working on a number of projects for Bethesda including console titles, VR titles and other games. According to their website Escalation is currently hiring Software Engineers, UI Designers, 2D artists and web engineers possibly for these unannounced games.

In a statement Co-Director of Escalation Studios, Marc Tardif said:

“Becoming a part of this amazing family of developers is an honor for everyone at our studio.” 

Last year’s DOOM reboot shipped in May and was met with rave reviews – including our own – for its robust single-player and lore offerings.


Hiring A Monetization Expert Won’t Save DOOM But It Could Improve Quake Champions

Posted on December 17, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Id Software, developers of this year’s breakout shooter DOOM and the upcoming Quake Champions, are looking to bring aboard an expert on in-game monetization according to a recent job posting found online. While it is highly improbable that this will have any impact on DOOM’s existing player base it could have ramifications for the mostly still under wraps Quake project that is supposed to have a larger presence / possible release next year.

The responsibilities of the “Monetization Designer” according to the job posting include “develop[ing] and manag[ing] the economy/monetization components for competitive multiplayer” as well as “balancing free vs. paid currency in the game economy” and that the successful candidate will “collaborate with the design team, analytics group, marketing and tech department”. It looks like whoever lands this position will have a lot of influence regarding a number of different facets of whatever project their involved with.

So, let’s talk about Quake Championship for a moment. While the game may have been in development for sometime it wasn’t unveiled until this past E3 and even then our in-game look was only through the lens of a highly edited cinematic trailer. QuakeCon 2016 brought some more news, screenshots and Twitch streams from pro gamers. The fact that Bethesda has not committed to disclosing a monetization method for the game and that as of that event developers stated that they hadn’t ruled out free to play means that there is still a possibility that this position is related to Quake Champions. How exactly a team based, role dependent FPS title would work is a bit of a mystery. Would they go the Paragon route and make all of the characters free but lock away skins and other items? Perhaps a lower priced “buy to play” model with additional maps and characters as in-game purchases? Maybe id will follow in Valve’s footsteps and give everyone hats!

DOOM Intro

This brings me to DOOM, Bethesda’s critical darling was lauded for its strong single-player campaign and excellent world building but the multiplayer left something to be desired. In the months after release Bethesda released 3 DLC packs that come packed with new weapons, mods and maps as well as releasing several free updates to the game that have expanded upon the Snap Map technology, allowing creators to produce small campaign like experiences. It is highly unlikely that DOOM will see further post-release support as Bethesda already positioned “Bloodfall” as the game’s last premium DLC. To make the multiplayer free-to-play is like reanimating the dead, even if it moves around the heart that beats underneath is still cold and lifeless. With DOOM Multiplayer only averaging 2000 – 2,500 average concurrent players on PC there doesn’t seem to be much hope of reviving this multiplayer blood bath.
Quake Champions is expected to have an open beta sometime next year.


DOOM Single Player Review: (Chain)Saw Me Up Inside

Posted on August 9, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

After following id Software’s DOOM revival for more than two years I finally got the chance to chew through the lengthy campaign for this reimagining of the 1990s FPS classic. While the reception of the game’s multiplayer component have been met mostly with jeers the single player surprised critics and fans alike. Now that the game is available at hefty discounts should you reenlist with the United Aerospace Corporation or sit this one out?

Unlike the over decade’s old Doom III this new DOOM is well aware of why fans are going to be playing this game’s single player: to brutally murder hordes of demons in several different spectacular splat fests, collect an ever expanding array of over the top weapons, sprawling levels and at the end of the adventure do battle with a larger than life CyberDemon that commands the forces of Hell. The developers didn’t try to fit the existing DOOM franchise into a new mold – in contrast to Doom III’s survival horror inspired design decisions, this new DOOM embraces its gory roots and plays it up with an almost comedic effect.


One again dawning the iconic green armor of one of the FPS mainstays..no not Master Chief… but the grandfather of all other Space Marines DoomGuy. Throughout the 9 – 12 hour campaign (it took me about 10 hours to beat single-player on the medium difficulty) DoomGuy will explore several different compartments of the UAC facility on Mars where a portal to hell has caused hundreds of the damned to flood the halls of this technological wonder. Unlike other titles in the DOOM series this particular game doesn’t begin with a version of the UAC Mars Facility prior to the demonic invasion – instead, DoomGuy will pick up a pistol within the first 15 seconds of beginning the single player and immediately starts slaying Demons to pumping rock music.

Destroying the forces has never felt as satisfying as it has in 2016’s DOOM, this has a lot to do with just how id Software has improved upon the combat systems of old to make them fresh while keeping in things like the over the top violence that makes this reimagining distinctively DOOM. Typically the DoomGuy will take on encounters of 5 – 10 demons with several more waves spawning once the previous group has been destroyed. Unlike other games in the franchise, enemies will flash bright orange or blue if you’ve defeated them quickly enough. Rushing forward and clicking the right stick while this flashing animation will have the DoomGuy perform a “gory kill” – which can range from ripping off an enemy’s arms and beating them with them or ripping out a demon’s entrails and feeding them to them. Yes they are gruesome, and they do get repetitive but the gory kills can provide absolutely necessary extra health to DoomGuy during the middle of an encounter.


The other thing that makes the combat in this game so satisfy in the weaponry. A lot of the DOOM classics return – the pistol, the shotgun, the super shotgun, the pulse rifle and the BFG 9000 to just name a few but iD Software has once again outdone themselves by adding a bevy of secondary modes and modifications for each weapon. While playing challenges will passively be completed throughout the campaign awarding “weapon upgrade” points that can be spent on your arsenal.  A standard set of enhancements will be available right from the get-go, such as enhanced magazines and quicker reload speeds but what really makes the weapon upgrade system so robust is the inclusion of modifications. By locating weapon drones in each level DoomGuy can unlock a set of modifications for each weapon. These modifications range from placing an explosive barrel underneath the shotgun to equipping the heavy machine gun with a scope – giving you options that allow you to deal with both up-close groups and far away targets. One of the best parts of the weapons modification system is that once you’ve unlocked multiple of them for a single weapon you can easily swap them with the press of the D-Pad.

With its focus on quick paced combat and first person platforming, it might not sound like DOOM is a game that you’d want to play for the story but id Software has actually spent a considerable time crafting the world of DOOM. Upon completing levels players will unlock dossiers on iconic enemies like the Pinky Demon, Cyber Demon, Hell Knight, Imps ,and others – these dossiers not only flesh out the traits & mechanics of these enemies but also does quite a lot to inform players about the societal structure of hell. Particular attention should be paid to the in-game narrative cutscenes and hidden PDAs contained in the levels because the sci-fi narrative about a mysterious corporation helmed by the first sentient artificial intelligence. For what could have been a throwaway narrative designed to simply introduce reasons for the DoomGuy to slaughter the minions of Hell, I found the narrative quite engaging.


DOOM’s single-player is a damning critique of the 4-hour campaigns we’ve seen in other FPS titles, whether that was id Software’s intention is debatable. What is clear is that they’ve taken the time to craft a very detailed science fiction universe for a franchise that is known more for splattering demon’s brains against the wall than it is for its storytelling. By marrying an optional rich world. gunplay that provides dozens of tools and upgrades to explore, the series’ trademark gore and large levels with dozens of secrets iD Software has managed to create a campaign that is nearly double the length of its competition and demands to be replayed. Finding all of the secrets can be daunting and failing a demon encounters on higher difficulties a few times can be frustrating but none of that detracts from just how slick of a package that DOOM’s single player is.


DOOM’s First Paid DLC – Unto The Evil – Arrives

Posted on August 5, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Bethesda has released the first downloadable content for id Software’s DOOM on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC. The $15 USD DLC pack is called “Unto The Evil” and it adds 3 new maps to the multiplayer, one new weapon, a playable demon and new color sets for player armor.

Unto The Evil won’t be entirely gated behind a paywall – thanks to Bethesda’s “PartyPlay” system the host of  a multiplayer loby is able to share their purchased maps with their friends in the party.

I find the PartyPlay system an interesting addition but I can’t help wonder if eventually Bethesda will have to just release the paid DLC for free to keep the community from fracturing and dwindling. This is why Microsoft’s approach to Gears 4 DLC is so refreshing – paying for DLC is only required in private lobbies in that game.

Here is the complete breakdown of Unto The Evil’s new content:

New Maps

  • Cataclysm
  • Offering
  • Ritual

New Equipment

  • Kinetic Mine

New Weapon

  • UAC EMG Pistol

New Demon

  • The Harvestor

DOOM is currently 50% off on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Steam in celebration of QuakeCon.


DOOM Developers Rollout Vulkan Graphics Options, Boosts Performance On Older Hardware

Posted on July 11, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

ID Software has released a major patch for this past May’s DOOM which enables support for the Vulkan graphics API. To the casual observer, this may be unexciting news as games typically support a number of graphic options ranging from DirectX 12, Open GL to Open CL. Vulkan isn’t just a new alternative for developers but may also provide large benefits for players on older hardware.

Vulkan will allow players on newer graphics cards, like the Radeon 480 and Geforce 1070  to experiences higher frame-rates than those available through pre-existing rendering options. Over on the Bethesda Blog ID Software’s Robert Duffy wrote that the Vulkin technology is a cutting edge API that will bring high frame-rates that will improve the feel of movement within DOOM.


Here is the specific quote about the improvements on older hardware:

We also anticipate some older GPUs will now be able to play the game at good framerates. We hope the range of GPU support widens with additional game and driver updates.

Bethesda & iD Software have been working with both AMD and Nvidia to provide new drivers that will optimize performance for Vulkan. According to Robert Duffy the devs have been working with the major graphics card manufacturers since this past March to make this latest update a reality.

In part he wrote:

Since late March 2016 we started working daily with both AMD and NVIDIA. Both have been great partner companies, helping bring full DOOM and Vulkan driver support live to the community. There was a lot of work on all fronts but we are pleased with the results.

Over on Neogaf users have reported increases ranging from 10 – 25 frames per second depending on the particular graphics card and processor configuration.  Others have reported that the game is maintaining 60 FPS a lot longer when using Vulkan than it was prior using other rendering technologies prior to the update.

The below graph shows some of the users results:


You can snag the latest AMD and Nvidia drivers at these respective links.


Doom’s Multiplayer to get revamp

Posted on June 9, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

Most people (including Rae) who played the single player campaign of DOOM said “wow this is good” but then found the multiplayer to be lackluster, generic, and boring. Some of the complaints were legitimate and the internet was full of players trying to get their money’s worth  out of a crappy game with little online content, while also having to contend with cheaters and a lack of standard features like custom games. Speaking to Eurogamer, executive producer Marty Stratton revealed how id is tackling complaints.

“There’s certainly no lack of commitment to Doom as a multiplayer game on our side. We are already working on private matches with custom game settings and expect to include that in a free update this summer.”

So there you go. If you were one of those people who bought DOOM for nostalgia, because you love ID or just because you thought it looked cool you might be getting a massive content update soon. Though private matches are mentioned here, dont expect those to occur on private servers, rather what  Marty is probably saying is that they will allow for games with custom options. This doesnt fix one of the most rampant issues, the cheating, but it also means that people wont be able to set up say a surfing server or a server will all of one type of gun, or a server running a hacked lobby. It leaves more control in the hands of the developers, which I can’t see as being too bad.  ID is looking into implementing a traditional match browser too. Bots are also planned, but according to Marty they are still some ways off.

“Our bot system was actually written by one of our long-time senior programmers, John Dean, known online as ‘Maleficus’, who also wrote the Return to Castle Wolfenstein Fritz bot and the bots in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, so he does great work with bots. But John also just happens to be our internal lead programmer on SnapMap, so he’s very busy.”

In my most humble opinion, shipping a game with something as powerful as snapmap and not giving people the private server to play those maps on, and the bots to practice against, was a poor move by ID. Bethesda will be talking more about their newest shooter at their E3 showcase on Sunday 12, 7pm PT. We will be covering it live, so be sure to tune in!


Early DOOM Campaign Impressions: “Absolutely Brutal”

Posted on May 13, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards


I’ve been following id Software’s revival of the granddaddy of First Person Shooters, DOOM, since it was announced over two years ago. After the rather bland looking E3 campaign demos from last year, there was relative silence about the single player content right up until a few weeks before the game’s release. After spending 3 hours with the single-player mode into the wee hours of the morning I’ve got some initial impressions to share.Read More


WHOA! The New DOOM Looks Incredible!

Posted on May 13, 2016 by Les Major

DOOM Intro

Over the past few weeks we’ve heard lots of complaints about the new DOOM, of course based on multiplayer. Fans have felt let down that it didn’t seem like DOOM. News got worse when it turned out review copies wouldn’t be released until launch day. What we didn’t expect was the campaign to look like a huge SMASH HIT!

The recent launch trailer was a nice touch and gave rise to gamer curiosity. What were we missing here? There was suddenly all this story and much more content than had really been released. We’d seen some PR, but nothing that really indicated the full scope of what the new DOOM would be. That little trailer gave a look at such an intriguing new campaign.

I mean, good on Bethesda for keeping things under wraps to launch such a huge surprise like this! Even I wanted some of the monsters to more resemble their classic game counterparts but after seeing footage of the new release, I’m really feeling the new DOOM!

Head over to Kotaku and check out their first few minute preview of DOOM! It’s something else!

Here’s that launch trailer as well:


DOOM Launch Trailer Asks Us To Fight Like Hell

Posted on May 5, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

We didn’t really have a good idea about what DOOM’s single player would be like, outside of the DOOM single player demos from last year’s E3. That all changed with the recent 2 hour live-stream hosted by Bethesda where we learned new details like the fact that sometimes, especially on custom Snap-map game types enemies will fight amongst themselves before getting to you. Some fans have described the gameplay as “fairly large open sections with enemies sprinkled into them”, and after watching a lot of single-player footage I’m in agreement. This might feel like a bit of a step back, especially since games like Call of Duty have had us expecting huge set-pieces, but it looks like the new DOOM is trying to take things back to basics.

The new DOOM single-player launch trailer doesn’t give us much in the way of story – outside of the fact that the player character is “the only flesh to walk between this world and theirs (presumably Earth)”. Then again, the original DOOM titles weren’t exactly known for their stories – you were basically one marine versus several levels of demons.

DOOM releases on May 13th for PS4, Xbox and Windows PC.

[youtube id=”RO90omga8D4″]


The Many Boothes, Game Stations & Custom Stuff From PAX East

Posted on April 25, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

The Penny Arcade Expo floor is absolutely massive and it’d almost be impossible for one person to see every game, exhibit and custom piece of kit being shown off. Over the course of the last three days I’ve checked out everything from hardware manufacturers, to Square Enix’s latest offerings to the Indie Mega Booth in search of some of the coolest stuff to be found on the show floor.

Fionna shot an excellent 7 minute floor walkthrough video that gives you a small taste of the PAX East experience.

[youtube id=”VqAjUZDMSVQ”]

Read More


Doom open beta extended

Posted on April 18, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

If you aren’t our own Rae Michelle, you are probably enjoying the DOOM beta this weekend. Its blend of rockets, fast movement, cosmetics and unlocks seems to have made someone happy as its overlords, Bethesda softworks (yes the skyrim people) have decided to extend it to 11:59pm ET. on April 18. Personally I havent been able to get in to it at all, as this weekend saw the Overwatch beta as well as a bunch of other gaming related stuff, but I did watch some streams of it, and they seemed pretty good.

Plenty of peole had the same set of complaints as Rae all of which you can read here  but ill summarize: “It seems that DOOM is a game at odds with itself based upon what I played in the closed beta– while the gameplay mechanics are fun and the shooting solid, the rest of the package feels generic and severely lacking in-depth” Rae was right. Nothing that I saw made Doom seem like Doom. Which is really too bad because in this era of white washed shooters it would be very nice to have one that wasnt just space marines shooting each other.


Doom open beta to kick off this weekend

Posted on April 12, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

Doom’s closed beta was just a couple of weeks ago, but already developer Bethesda are opening up their new game to the masses. An open beta will begin later this week (April 15th) and its going to last two days. Fragging will be plentiful as all players will be welcomed in, with nothing but an age gate to prevent you from seeing the new masterpiece from the creators of Skyrim.

We even have a new trailer just for the open beta, and watching it should give you some idea of what you can expect in the gameplay. Basically a lot of blood death, and healthy pick ups, oh and a few demons and some chain saws.

Perhaps disappointing to those in the closed beta, this new open beta will not feature any new content but will feature all of the same contnet. Here is what we know so far:

Maps: Heatwave and Infernal
Game Modes: 6v6 Team Deathmatch and Warpath
Demon: Revenant
Weapons: Rocket Launcher, Plasma Rifle, Super Shotgun, Vortex Rifle, Static Rifle, Heavy Assault Rifle, and Lightning Gun
Power Weapons: Gauss Cannon
Equipment: Frag Grenade, Personal Teleporter, Siphon Grenade

Our own Rae Michelle got herself in to the closed beta and not too kind words to say about it  calling it “hellishly bad” and “at odds with itself” in her review of its beta content. Hopefully another weekend with it will give her a better feeling for what is to come. Untill then make sure to keep your chainsaws running and your rocket launchers loaded! See you in Hell.


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