Doom Eternal review
Doom Eternal reinvents its own wheel without abandoning its classic foundations. It has all the blood-pumping, gore-packed fun we expect from a Doom game, while adding a bunch of new RPG-like elements we didn’t even know we needed. This is one not to be missed.
- Fast-paced combat remains intact
- Arenas feel natural but challenging
- Cutscenes don’t interrupt momentum
- Levels are varied and fun
- New enemies, weapons and progression systems
Why you can trust TechRadar
We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.
Time played: We played 15 hours of Doom Eternal, finishing the main campaign on the Hurt Me Plenty difficulty and gathering most of the collectibles and upgrades.
Doom Eternal has risen from the depths of hell as the sequel to Doom 2016, continuing its predecessors’ legacy of mixing old and new in hopes of revitalizing the FPS genre. Although Doom 2016 had its shortcomings, these initial ideas now serve as the spine for a complete new vision for what Doom truly is.
Fast-paced combat, loud weapons, and terrifying demons abound in 2016’s offering. The retro DNA had found the perfect balance alongside the technical improvements that have been present all these past decades – and Doom Eternal has built on this in abundance.
It’s been more than 25 years since the first Doom, and Doom Eternal looks and feels exactly what the game 2016 tried so desperately to be. The elements that worked in Doom 2016 are still present in a new single-player campaign, but everything else has been cranked up to 11 and then some; every punch, slice, dodge, and guitar riff is a testament to this.
The Doom Slayer, best known as the Doom Guy, hasn’t ceased to fight against demonic creatures since his last adventure. He’s now residing on a massive ship fittingly called Fortress of Doom, which serves as a base of operations that you’ll visit in between missions. The story begins with a warning message announcing that hell has arrived on Earth, and the situation is growing worse by the minute. It’s your task to find the root of what’s causing this, and rip it with your bare hands to try and save humanity, traveling through heaven and hell.
Even though Doom Eternal places a bet on storytelling, cutscenes are rather short most of the time, giving you plenty of time to kill demons and explore every nook and cranny of each level in search of collectibles and secrets. Throughout the 15 hours it took us to finish the campaign, we witnessed several story moments involving new and returning characters, building up the tension and ambiguity of our mission as we began to notice the consequences of saving mankind when an ancient civilization sees the arriving of judgment day as a prophecy.
But the Doom Guy doesn’t care. He hunts and kills whoever proves to be an obstacle, and he does so without speaking a single word – his actions often being gruesome and even hilarious during said cutscenes. This gives the character a sense of authority that goes along well with its mythos, seeing him turning his back on someone that’s trying to warn him about the outcome of the mission or simply interrupting an enemy’s speech by shooting his head off without hesitation.
This heavy metal attitude is embedded in every new addition to the game. Your old suit is replaced by a weaponized armor that can shoot bombs or light enemies on fire using a small turret on its left shoulder, and all the while a hidden blade can be found on the right arm ready for use. The iconic double-barreled shotgun now comes packed with a grappling hook, but in a clever and very Doom way, it isn’t used to swing from platforms; instead, it acts as a meathook to close distance between you and the enemy you’re aiming at. over, every weapon has two mods that alter their secondary fire that can be upgraded and even mastered by completing a challenge, gaining yet another perk.
Runes also make a comeback, and you can select up to three of them at the same time. These can give you a boost of speed after finishing a glory kill, close-quarters executions that make for quite a view as we break bones and necks with that new blade of ours, slow down time if you’re using your secondary fire in mid-air, or even give you a short time window to pull yourself back together when you’re about to fall in battle.
The only thing they fear is Doom
Pretty much every aspect of your Doom Guy can be enhanced, and luckily there’s plenty of ways to find the means to do so. There’s an array of items to hunt in each level, but exploration doesn’t feel like a chore anymore. From short underwater sections to acrobatic segments that seem straight out of Super Mario Galaxy, exploring levels might sound too different to what we’re used to on paper. But these moments never interrupted the momentum, and we were back in a fight before we realized.
Said momentum is powered by battle arenas once more, which are now even signaled on the minimap. They had a big importance in the past game, but needing to activate a gore nest each time felt unnecessary pacing-wise. Now, as soon as you get close to the area, there’s a high chance that enemies will be either already be welcoming you with fireballs or fighting with each other as the Doom Guy stomps into the fray. These encounters feel natural, and all arenas are cleverly designed to make it easy to take a step back or a detour to gain advantage over the enemy, using jumping platforms and portals for navigation as everything in sight is trying to take you down.
Doom Eternal’s new additions turn you into a one-man army, and combat feels more strategic as a result. Pouring flames into enemies makes them drop armor when shot as if they were popcorn, glory kills grant you much-needed health kits, and mutilating demons with a chainsaw leads to an explosion of blood, guts, and tons of ammunition. These basics are key to survival, playing almost the role of a rulebook to follow, which seems like a lot at first but slowly turns into second nature.
Demons now have weak points that can and should be exploited properly in the midst of battle. Shooting a grenade into a Cacodemon’s mouth will stagger it, exposing it to a glory kill in mid air where you rip its eye with your hands. You can destroy the cannon of a Mancubus or the turret on an Arachnotron’s head to gain tactical advantages as you deal with multiple demons at once. While first encounters were more erratic, by the later levels we were constantly putting these lessons into use.
There’s a lot of information to keep up with, but each fight feels seamless, pace and intensity being intact regardless of the difficulty you choose to play on. As in traditional fashion, you’re able to go back to each level to hunt down all remaining collectibles and upgrade items, while Master Levels present themselves as a remixed version, with different enemies for an additional challenge.
Mastering all weapons and fully enhancing your suit will take a significant time, but finding everything and beating the main campaign feels like a mere beginning. As soon as we saw the credits rolling we were already thinking of selecting a higher difficulty and going back again. Doom Eternal encourages you to learn everything it has to offer until you become stoppable, multitasking headshots and glory kills in mid air while planning your next move ahead as you study your surroundings in the blink of an eye.
The vision of the series has been iterated with the passage of time, but its soul remains strong here. Visiting the Fortress of Doom feels like an homage, with collectibles such as songs from both past entries and other games like Quake II held on display and ready to play. Toys also make a comeback, now presenting chibi adaptations of enemies on a shelf inside the slayer’s personal room, which is packed with easter eggs and lore references. Everything has purpose and meaning, but it never feels like a different game altogether, and it’s tailored to the experience we’ve all grown to love.
If anything, Doom Eternal elevates said experience in multiple ways by adding just the right amount of new additions to keep things fresh in each level, either with boss fights or secret challenge rooms, with meticulous level design pulling it all together.
While we didn’t have the chance to try out Battlemode (the servers aren’t live until launch), the new slayer versus demons multiplayer mode, the campaign carried the perfect length, knowing exactly where to iterate on a previous idea or present a devastating new enemy, and there are weekly challenges planned for the foreseeable future that grant you skins and many other cosmetics for your multiplayer profile, which seems like the perfect excuse to come back from time to time.
But aside from this additional content, the experience shines the most when it understands when is the right moment to just simply let us into an arena to fight back hordes of enemies while distorted guitars and Rapid-fire riffs chants us in the background.
If Doom 2016 felt fast and violent, Doom Eternal is furious and relentless. It takes everything you know from the FPS genre, and everything you loved from the classics of the 90s, and pays tribute to both, opening the gates to something familiar yet completely new.
The array of difficulty options and highly customizable UI welcomes everyone into the action, and aside from an ending that feels a bit rushed, you’ll be left wanting to get back into yet another arena after learning the ropes, taking on even greater challenges in a natural progression that feels endless.
Doom Eternal releases for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC on March 20.
Doom Eternal: Recent Updates
Bethesda and ID Software have kept Doom Eternal busy with post-launch updates. There’s the standard bug fixes but the last major update, fittingly titled Update 6.66, introduced a new Horde Mode. Better still, 6.66 also included two new Master Levels, Mars Core and The World Spear, alongside a revamped Battlemode 2.0.
But that’s not all. For those after some solo content, the star of the show is The Ancient Gods DLC, which launched in two parts in October 2020 and March 2021. Extending Doom Eternal’s storyline further, this explored the repercussions of the Doom Slayer’s actions in the main campaign.
Finally, alongside a Doom Eternal Nintendo Switch port, Bethesda also brought us upgrades on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, though Doom Eternal had some initial PS5 issues. That’s since been fixed, meaning new-gen players can now experience it at 60fps with ray-tracing at 1080p, 4k resolution at 60fps, and a Performance Mode running at 1800p/120fps.
Best Action Games On Nintendo Switch
These great action games for the Nintendo Switch will get your blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing.
Good action games are usually memorable and electrifying blasts from start to finish. They come in all shapes and sizes, though one thing they all have in common is their penchant for huge thrills and bombastic set pieces. Despite Nintendo’s child-friendly leanings, it doesn’t shy away from including a bit of edge-of-your-seat action on its platform.
The Nintendo Switch has gathered a huge variety of action titles since launch. From top-down indies, big-budget shooters, or even frantic hack-and-slash games starring some of Nintendo’s most beloved characters, there’s an all-out action game to satisfy the daredevil within us all on the Nintendo Switch.
The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is a ground-up remake of one of the most beloved games of all time. In true Zelda fashion, this is an action-adventure game that will take you straight back to the 90s.
The 2019 re-release gives the game a gorgeously vibrant lick of paint and makes your revisit to Koholint Island all the more pleasing to the eye. You take control of a freshly animated Link as he explores an open world that’s chock-full of dungeons to explore, classic Zelda puzzles to solve, and tense boss fights.
Hyrule Warriors: Age Of Calamity
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is an offshoot of the ever-popular genre of Musou games, otherwise known as the Dynasty Warriors series. It’s a prequel of sorts to Breath of the Wild and is set 100 or so years before the events of the game, where Link and Zelda recruit allies all across Hyrule to stop the evil forces led by Calamity Ganon.
You will take part in large-scale battles while strategically commanding your army to victory. Although lacking a little depth, the moment-to-moment hack-and-slash gameplay feels great, and there’s a huge amount of content to get stuck into, making it well worth a purchase.
Hollow Knight is a brilliant sidescrolling action platformer that merges some of the most popular genres. Those familiar with Soulslikes will feel right at home with the game’s brilliant skills-based hack-and-slash combat, as well its eerie atmosphere and intriguingly vague lore.
It also heavily borrows from Metroidvanias, with a huge sprawling cave network to uncover and explore, as well as a variety of traversal upgrades to go back and enter previously inaccessible areas.
Astral Chain is yet another fantastic title to come out of PlatinumGames’ brilliant library of action games for the Switch. Its frantic combat is set against a futuristic cyberpunk-esque backdrop that comes with all the grandiose set pieces and delightfully unique mechanics you would expect from the prolific developer.
As a detective from a special police task force, it’s your job to investigate and solve cases while exploring and interacting with NPCs. You’ll eventually stumble upon the Astral Plane, where the meat of the awesome combat will take place. Here you’ll be able to summon a variety of Legions to do your bidding, with each coming in different forms and with their own unique combat and traversal abilities.
There is so much that Hades gets right. This ever-pervasive indie mega-hit merges the best elements from top-down isometric dungeon crawlers and the thrill of satisfyingly difficult action roguelikes. It puts them all under the same mythological umbrella and includes a captivating story that features an exciting assortment of Gods from the Greek pantheon.
The moment-to-moment gameplay feels slick and punchy, allowing you to try out a variety of weapons, while also granting you the ability to change up your build on the fly. The visuals are gorgeous, and the story is worth the countless amounts of deaths you’ll experience before the end.
The first two Bayonetta games brought the series’ stylishly explosive combat and memorable set of weird and zany characters to the Switch with two very good ports. Bayonetta 3 is no different, upping the ante in every regard and satisfying the desire for more all-out action and wackiness for its fans.
Building upon the brutal combat from the first two games, this time around Cereza can summon Infernal Demons to dole out some pain and punish her enemies. As a Nintendo Switch exclusive, it runs surprisingly well on the system — especially when taking into consideration the game’s fast-paced nature and more open-ended level design.
Doom Eternal is yet another one of Panic Button’s amazingly inexplicable and unfathomable Nintendo Switch ports. Much like the Switch port of the first Doom (2016) reboot, Eternal allows you to live out your violently depraved fantasies as you battle the demonic forces of Hell in a very bloody fashion. This time around there are an even greater number and variety of demons to slay, and more gear and abilities to play with.
Sure, it suffered a whole host of visual downgrades and only runs at 30fps, but considering it’s running on a fairly underpowered handheld in comparison, it’s a pretty admirable feat. In our minds, Panic Button pulled it off, granting Switch players access to a fantastic experience they would otherwise rarely find on the platform.
Serving as a sequel to the classic 2D Metroid games of old, Metroid Dread hearkens back to the series’ glory days. You’ll use Samus’ trusty arm cannon as she blasts and charge beams her way through a variety of formidable foes.
The combat feels as slick as ever, with brilliantly refined controls, fast-paced movement, and extremely satisfying exploration. The visuals are absolutely stunning too, with greatly increased production values across the board. The soundtrack and cinematography are top-notch and are paired perfectly with the enhanced colour palette of the Nintendo Switch OLED screen. It’s as good as Metroid gets.
Monster Hunter Rise
With the mainstream success of Monster Hunter World, many new players were introduced to the glorious open-ended monster-hunting gameplay that Capcom has perfected over the years. Monster Hunter Rise built upon the excellent quality of life features from World with a few tricks of its own.
You can traverse the open levels and fight on the back of the new Palamute mounts for a bit of canine-infused exploration. Wirebugs allow you to grapple and swing to seemingly inaccessible areas, while also granting unique interactions with the game’s huge assortment of weapons. This results in many emergent gameplay opportunities in both traversal and combat, giving the player an unprecedented amount of freedom with how they tackle the overwhelming variety of creatures.
Metroid Prime Remastered
Metroid Prime Remastered is a fully-fledged remaster. All the game’s visual assets have been vastly improved, with better lighting, environmental design, and textures. You can even opt for a different control option that emulates a dual-stick approach akin to most modern shooters.
Gameplay-wise, everything is left virtually untouched, and it feels as good to play as it did back in 2002. All the elements of a brilliant Metroid game are intact here, including the powerful upgrades, expertly crafted level design, unparalleled exploration, and awesome combat. Samus is back.
Steam Deck Vs. Switch OLED Model: Which Should You Buy This Holiday Season?
It will be hard for fans of gaming to decide whether they want the Steam Deck of the Switch OLED Model as both have their pros and cons.
Valve recently announced Steam Deck for a December release, a portable platform that runs Steam OS. Though it is different in many ways, the upcoming platform draws many comparisons to the Nintendo Switch, which is also releasing a slightly upgraded model in October called the Nintendo Switch OLED.
Some consumers might be wondering which console they should buy. The entries below should help anybody on the fence make a decision. Depending on the type of gamer one is, either the Switch OLED model or the Steam Deck will be the perfect thing for the gamer on the go.
Steam Deck: Buy It If You Already Have A Switch
Even though the Switch OLED is a different purchasing option, it does not add anything to the internals of the Nintendo Switch. It has a larger, improved screen but other than that it is not an iteration on the same level of a PlayStation 4 Pro or Xbox One X. Those who mostly play their Switch docked will find the Steam Deck offers a more unique, upgraded experience over anything else a gamer already has in their home.
Switch: Buy It For The Exclusives
The line between PC and console gaming has thinned in recent years. Even notable Sony exclusives are coming to PC these days. Nintendo is holding on to its exclusives, making the Switch a valuable proposition for anyone interested in Super Mario or The Legend of Zelda.
Unless something drastically changes in the gaming landscape, do not expect Nintendo exclusives to come to PC anytime soon. The Switch is worth it alone for critical and commercial darlings like Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild.
Steam Deck: Buy It If You Are Already In The Steam Ecosystem
The most annoying thing about any new platform early in its life is the lack of new games. Steam Deck immediately does away with this problem for anybody who already has a Steam account with a sizable library. Steam also often has many sales where games can be bought for extremely cheap prices. Using Steam Deck on a train or a long trip might be just the perfect place for someone to peak into those impulse purchases.
Switch OLED: It Is Cheaper
Switch OLED is the most expensive version of the Nintendo Switch available at 350. Steam Deck’s cheapest option is already coming in at 399. If one is looking to upgrade their Switch or jump into modern portable gaming for the first time, the upcoming Switch is a better alternative for anybody on a budget. Even so, anyone planning to play the Switch exclusively in handheld mode is better off with the 200 Switch Lite.
Steam Deck: It Is Customizable
Steam Deck will be great for anyone looking to bring their Steam library on trips or vacations. Additionally, it is essentially a small PC. Just about anything one can do on a desktop is achievable on Steam Deck. One can even completely change the operating system. Nintendo Switch is all about games and not a handheld PC by any stretch of the word. You can hook up a mouse to Steam Deck and also hook it up to a monitor among many other things.
Switch OLED: Multiplayer
Nintendo Switch has its share of party games from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. With the Joy-Cons and other controller options, it is quite easy to make a four-player game without having to invest too much extra cash. While controllers and other accessories will allow for multiplayer on Steam Deck, PC has never been known for its local multiplayer.
Steam Deck: Powerful
Steam Deck is touting the ability to play most of the Steam Library. Obviously, it won’t be on the same level as Xbox Series X or PS5, but early reports indicate it is about as powerful as a PlayStation 4.
The announcements already show Control and Doom Eternal. two visually impressive games. running on Steam Deck. Compare this to Switch which already has a lot of problems running multiplatform titles. Without a hardware upgrade on the OLED model, the new version will have the same problems as before.
Switch OLED: It Is Easier To Understand
As a portable PC, Steam Deck takes a little more know-how to get around and understand. The Switch OLED model will work just like the other Switch models. Either put in or download a game and it will work just fine. There is no need to understand settings or graphics options. The more options available on Steam Deck also might make it a little harder to get into for casual gamers. Young kids especially will be better off with the Switch than Steam Deck.
Steam Deck: Purchase Options
The Nintendo Switch’s purchase options have slowly diversified over the years. It launched with only one version before the Lite and now the OLED gave consumers more options. Steam Deck is coming out of the gate with three different models. The power is the same, though the main difference being storage size. Options are nice, but just be aware the upgraded models are pricey, coming in 529 and 649.
“Will Steam Deck Doom the Nintendo Switch? Ask General Audiences!”
The Steam Deck has been freshly announced and it has quickly been compared to the Switch. But what do you think the average consumer thinks?
Yesterday, Valve revealed the new Steam Deck, a powerful, portable gaming device that occupies the niche filled by the Nintendo Switch. It will allow players to game through their Steam library on the go and it will also connect to external monitors like your living room TV whilst you sit in your favorite chair. It’s easy to see why comparisons (and contrasts) between the Deck and the Switch were quickly being made with some suggesting that the Steam Deck spelled disaster for the Switch’s sales.
Gamer Prophets quickly prognosticated that Steam’s immense library and the potential to emulate and mod the heck out of the Deck would put a sizable dent in the Switch’s steamrolling success. So let’s phrase this in terms of the pros going for the Deck.
- Accesses a massive shop of Steam games which frequently go on sale.
- Provides a flexible handheld experience instead of being stuck at a computer.
- Not bad, just check out those specs.
- Emulating potential off the charts.
But what the Steam Deck will need to do in order to match, surpass, or demolish the Switch’s approximately 85 million units sold is appealing to a wider audience, a general audience, and broader demographics than just the PC gamer or console gamer looking for a comfortable doorway into Steam. The Switch remained a best-selling product for years and has only recently been matched in June (2021) by the Xbox Series in dollar sales (though Switch leads in unit sales) not because it appealed to gamers along the lines of hardware specs. Far from it.
In fact, the Switch is seen by some gamers as a toy, a console for children, with no small disdain. And there’s no way around it. Its abilities are insignificant next to the power of the Playstation, the Xbox, and the PC. But you can clearly see how that puts an overreliance upon power and specs as deciding factors in how consumers choose which platform to purchase.
How many times has the most powerful console of a generation been the most successful?
Or perhaps a more appropriate question: how many times has a more powerful handheld device seen the most success in terms of sales? Think back upon handheld gaming history. From the Game Boy to the DS, from Neo Geo to Atari to Sony to Sega, Nintendo has been a powerhouse in the handheld scene.
The Game Boy couldn’t hope to match the Game Gear’s colors and Sega drummed up their handhelds technical superiority to the Game Boy. And they weren’t wrong, of course. But the Game Gear launched at ¥19,800 in Japan, 149.99 in North America, and £99.99 in Europe. Sega developed the Game Gear in direct competition to the Game Boy but guess which one people bought? The one that cost price JP¥12,500, US89.99, and £67.40, resulting in a difference in sales of 118 million (Game Boy and Game Boy Color) to 10.6 million (Game Gear).
Now someone will say “but sales aren’t everything!” And of course, they’re not. I don’t want to oversimplify competitive handheld sales. Sales don’t dictate what you should like or how much you should like it. We don’t even benefit from sales directly as consumers. Switch sales aren’t lining our s. Other way around, actually!
But if we’re talking in terms of financial success and the Deck digging into the Switch’s lead, then we’re absolutely talking sales.
While the Deck will have its tremendous library access, potential for emulating and modding, and power to boot, let’s consider some cons.
- Its price tag.
- No exclusives(?), at least that we know of yet.
- “Normies” or “filthy casuals”, whatever you want to call them, won’t know offhand what Steam is or who Valve is, but decades of marketing guarantees they can recognize Mario as a brand.
- Nintendo itself is a more recognizable brand for the average consumer and the Switch has its gimmick in its title. What will Steam Deck mean to a non-gamer?
- It seems as if you won’t be able to walk into a retail store and buy a Steam Deck on impulse or for a late Christmas gift.
- Certain PC-oriented games may be either uncomfortable or unwieldy to play on a small handheld screen, or may require exterior equipment to play outside of the Deck’s controls, minimizing its flexibility as a carry-on handheld.
- Emulation takes time and effort which the average consumer may not necessarily have in spades.
- Steam Machine and Steam Link potentially set a bad precedent for Valve breaking into gaming that more closely resembles consoles.
You can already play this on a more affordable option.
Why has the Switch been successful? It occupies a handheld gaming niche (and is also a console) that is priced affordably compared to its predecessors, does not rely upon the best hardware specs to appeal specifically to those to whom that sort of thing appeals, it is apparently easier to manufacture and distribute for that reason (see: next-gen consoles), it is stacked with exclusives that appeal to a wide range of age groups and demographics, and remember the lesson of the Game Boy vs the Game Gear: both had game libraries but one was more affordable than the other.
Can you envision a grandma buying a Switch for her grandkids to play Mario Kart?
Ok, what about a grandma buying a Steam Deck for her grandkids to mod in order to play Mario Kart for a steeper price? I’m not saying it’s impossible. I’m saying it’s unlikely. A statistics game.
I admit it can be difficult for us, people who have gaming-themed online personas, who run gaming-themed websites, who write and read about games, who talk about games with strangers online on a daily basis, to understand the perspectives of other demographics who do not have the same hobbies, pastimes, interests, or impulses, but the fact remains that those differences exist. People to whom the Steam Deck appeals are either already Steam users or people interested in Steam.
Does not drift! Add that to PROS.
How do you demonstrate to an average consumer that Deck isn’t just a knockoff of a product that’s already been available for half the price? There are many consumers who can’t tell the different between a Playstation and an Xbox, or tell you which company Mario or Sonic belongs to, nevermind navigating Steam, hacking the Deck wide open, etc. etc. There’s a reason why grandma gave little Johnny a Switch for his birthday and not a Raspberry Pi, despite the fact, as we’re often reminded, that you can just upload every game you ever wanted to a Raspberry Pi.
Further, the Switch occupies a complimentary gaming slot. With its 1st party exclusives, you can play almost everything there is to play with it plus another big platform. That’ll still be true with the Deck. Someone may bring up emulation again but that still flies in the face of Average Consumer Person. Normally, perhaps ethically (?), average consumers will not be playing Breath of the Wild on Steam Deck.
Comparisons with the Nintendo Switch are impossible to avoid but is the Steam Deck a Switch killer?
Well, maybe it will do better than the Steam Machine or the Steam Link, but it remains to be seen if it can really switch up the handheld/hybrid game. It may sell well, in its context, but it’s not for the same audience as the Switch. It’s easy to see why the Switch appeals to non-gamers but not so easy to see why the Steam Deck would.
Also, missed opportunity to call it the Gabe Boy.
If you disagree, that’s ok. Disagreement is interesting! Let’s just do it without getting too riled up.
Red formerly ran The Well-Red Mage and now serves The Pixels as founder, writer, editor, and podcaster. He has undertaken a seemingly endless crusade to talk about the games themselves in the midst of a culture obsessed with the latest controversy, scandal, and news cycle about harassment, toxicity, and negativity. Pick out his feathered cap on @thewellredmage or Mage Cast.
thoughts on “ “Will Steam Deck Doom the Nintendo Switch? Ask General Audiences!” ”
The Steam device looks nice, but it suffers from the same problem I have always seen when talking about the war between consoles and PC’s: Uniformity issues. When I buy a Switch I know I am getting the same Switch everyone else is using. Every game has been made to work on said console and I can go to any other Switch, punch in a game and play, no questions asked, not reconfiguration, no difference in gameplay. With PCs the customization option, which is one of the biggest PRO points, can end up being one of the biggest CON points. People will start messing with these things and suddenly you are going to have different devices everywhere, and lose that uniform play experience. Though it seems like the actual guts are the same across the board for the Deck with the exception of storage, not all games in the Steam library will be optimized to run on an underpowered piece of hardware (when compared to modern gaming rigs). Yeah, so maybe just stick to lower end games, but then why buy the Deck? You can emulate Smash Bros, sure, but can you connect 6 controllers? Can you connect 6 controllers, easily? One of the reasons I ended up buying a Switch and then rebuying some games I had bought on Steam was that it was easier for me to just plug in the Switch and attach 4 joycon for multiplayer stuff than breaking out my laptop and fighting with bluetooth to connect 4 controllers People are saying “no drift” is a PRO, and I would agree, but what happens if your Deck controls take a dump? That doesn’t look like its going to be very fun to open up, and admittedly its 70 a pop, but I can just buy a new set of Joycon. I think people who want the Deck are going to buy it and enjoy it, but the Switch is going to remain the top seller. My brother bought one, he lives with my parents. My sister visits them with her kids, and she bought several Switch games for them to play on my brothers Switch while they are there. Her kids are all saving money now to buy themselves a Switch, and the Deck isn’t even on their radar. Now just bring FF14 to the Switch and I’ll be happy.
The thing a lot of people seem to be missing is that this isn’t a new platform, it’s a PC. It can even be a Windows PC if you want it to be, though presumably it’ll be SteamOS/Linux out the box. With that in mind, I find it hard to look at it as competing with the Switch, because all it’s doing is offering an alternative way to experience the existing PC library — which has plenty of “exclusives” both on and off Steam. The ability to load stuff externally from Steam onto this — which Valve has already said you can do — is going to be this thing’s killer app. Because it’s not a new platform that is dependent on proprietary releases like the Switch was when it launched, it doesn’t really matter if it does well commercially or not, so long as it does what it says — which is allow people to play PC games on it. If it fails to sell significant quantities, no-one who owns one will give a toss because PC gaming isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and as such there will be no issue with “support” — it’s just a PC. If only one person bought a Steam Deck, they’d still have a fully functional PC; it will never be a paperweight. And that’s why I don’t think the “average consumer” really matters in this case; the Steam Deck absolutely isn’t dependent on them at all. People who want this know they want it; there’s little to no need for Valve to cater to Grandma. If the Switch had failed, meanwhile, anyone who bought one would have likely been annoyed that they’d invested in another Nintendo platform that had flopped and had a tiny software library. (Or they’d be like me and be delighted that they’d jumped in on a system that may well be looked on as another Dreamcast, Neo Geo or PC Engine in years to come.) Nintendo likely wouldn’t have recovered from two failed consoles in a row. Thankfully, that didn’t happen — thanks in part to Grandma — and the gaming landscape is richer for it; the Switch provides many more unique experiences than PlayStation 4/5 and XB1/XBX do.
A doozy! Ok, so it seems to me you are saying that it doesn’t matter if the Deck sells well or not because of the reasons you listed. I agree with that and I think it’s beside my point, existing in its own bubble of truth, if you like. I think the question I’d like to answer here isn’t so much will it matter if the Deck is successful but rather will it matter at all to the average consumer, in the context of the average consumer’s interest in the Switch vs the Deck. I agree the average consumer won’t have much to do with selling the Deck, it’s for a niche market, which is why I don’t think it’ll kill the Switch. In other words, I wrote this in answer to that specific question.