Diablo III: Eternal Collection (Switch) Review
The Switch just keeps the third party support going on a whole new level, with Diablo III being an incredible adaption and fit for the portable gaming platform. It almost feels like a cliche, saying that a game is a good fit for the Switch, but Diablo has always been a game that fits the paradigm of a game that can be played in short bursts, which is my idea of a perfect portable experience.
I first got Diablo III on a whim on PC quite a while ago. I had never played one before, but the combination of ‘button mashy’ and character building intrigued me. I loved the idea that there are moments where you’re just smashing every button while waiting for cooldowns, with moments of figuring out the best combination of abilities, modifiers and gear to work in sync with each other.
Which is really a key thing with Diablo — while a few other Blizzard games rely on the idea of specific combinations working well, Diablo has a lot of broad abilities and qualities on just about everything, so you can really apply some creative thinking to how your character is built.
And while I really did enjoy Diablo III on PC, the gameplay and style of game really does work well on console. I remember playing the Xbox One version when it first came out, and was really surprised at how natural the button layout worked with all your character abilities, and their ‘weapon wheel’ style of UI for swapping around weapon gear.
So while Diablo on console is already a fun enough experience, the Switch adds portability to the mix, letting you hack and slash on the bus, in bed, on the loo — the standard Switch spiel. Being a game that was originally designed to be played sitting at a computer, it’s actually really nice feeling unchained from the typical gaming chair or couch to play.
One of the perks of handheld, is being able to play multiplayer over a local wireless connection. While each player does need a copy of the game, that Nintendo brand of local multiplayer blends with the Diablo co-op DNA in a way that makes me very excited to play more in the future (maybe with some other Blizzard properties…?)
And of course, one of the first things that would have popped into your mind is “but how does it run?” Having played a fair chunk of this handheld, I can confidently say that the game runs as smooth as butter, without seeing any performance drops, stutters, or frame pacing issues. Loading times are very reasonable, if not non-existent in some areas. The only real gripe I could come up with, is that the text is quite small for the distance I typically play handheld.
While Diablo III is getting on in age, not everyone reading this may have experienced it, or know what it is. Luckily, it’s quite easy to explain — it’s an isometric hack and slash, with the heavy influence of a battle between heaven and hell, angels and demons. There’s a variety of classes with very different styles of play between, and within, them. My personal favourite is the crusader, with a build with plenty of flying, orbiting hammers that shoot lightning.
Editor’s note from Ollie: I also received a review copy of Diablo III, and played the Necromancer class. It’s a heck of a lot of fun, and there’s nothing quite like the feeling of power that comes from exploding the corpses of your enemies to do damage to more enemies, making even more corpses to explode. If you’ve played Diablo III before but haven’t played the Necromancer, I’d strongly suggest you give it a go.
Levelling up brings more abilities, modifiers for those abilities, and a rapidly growing feeling of power from within your character. Even though you’re really just pressing some buttons around enemies, that feeling of power is quite addictive. Especially when you’re constantly collecting gear, with a new way to quickly view and equip upgraded gear with a button for consoles.
The game is also packed with plenty of backstory, with a strong narrative giving you a sense of direction within it all. Each act in the game (there’s 4 from the original release, and 1 more from the Reaper of Souls expansion which is included) has a strong motif visually and narratively, but I found myself getting lost more in the gameplay than the world itself.
And as much as I love a good video game story, it’s rare for me to fall so deep into the gameplay first that I could honestly just keep on playing the game with the procedurally generated portals the game offers.
Playing Diablo on the go isn’t the only Nintendo Switch perk you get, though. It also supports amiibo, being able to summon strong monsters to fight for gear, with a daily cooldown. The wording of this feature does imply there may be more amiibo support in the future…
There’s also a Ganondorf set of transmogrification armour (read: you can make your equipped armour look like Ganondorf) but the high cost of doing so means you’re much more likely to want to do this when you’ve reached max level with some armour you’re very, very happy with.
Diablo III has always had a soft spot in my heart, being a game that blended a nearly mindless button mashing of huge payoff, with deliberate character building and attention to detail. Being able to play on the go, or with a friend on the same couch without having to share a TV, really makes this feel like *the only* way to play Diablo III.
+ Incredibly smooth port
+ Still the fun, and limitless experience it’s always been
+ Nintendo exclusive features are a nice touch
- Text is sorta small handheld
- NPC dialogue trails off sometimes
- Daily limit on amiibo usage