Everything that’s right – and wrong – with the new Doom console ports

July 31, 2019
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Released out of nowhere just last week, the first three numbered Doom games are now available across current generation consoles. On the surface, this is tremendous news, but it didn’t take long before the complaints began – and rightfully so, as while Panic Button’s Doom 3 conversion is a tremendous piece of work, the conversions of Doom and its first sequel are seriously sub-par.

And that’s both astonishing and deeply sad. The original Doom remains one of the finest games ever made. With a perfect blend of brilliant map design, finely tuned gameplay and a gorgeous presentation, it’s a game I’ve continued to return to for decades and I know I’m not alone on that. The notion of a compromised port seems all the more baffling bearing in mind how many times this game has been ported to other systems. In fact, since its original release in late 1993, Doom has been converted across to just about everything with a CPU… and that includes game consoles.

Ported by Nerve, the latest conversions of Doom and Doom 2 should be much better than they are. Or starters, the developer has a long history with id Software games and, in fact, it was founded by an ex-id software employee. Nerve is also responsible for the original Xbox Live Arcade release of Doom, among others. Gripes about these ports first started to emerge when it came to light that the games could only be played if you set-up a completely unneeded Bethesda account. It’s a terrible decision that has dominated the conversation around the game and even kicked off a meme cycle, but from my perspective, it’s the tip of the iceberg. In bringing Doom back to modern platforms, Nerve has seemingly ported the codebase to C# while using Unity as a shell of sorts. This approach could be useful for porting the game to other platforms, but it seems unnecessary.

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