Six years after its initial release on PC, Diablo 3 sees a new iteration launching on Nintendo’s newest handheld hybrid that could. Everybody knows by now that Diablo 3 is good, but is this the definitive version?
At a Glance – 9.5/10
Diablo 3 Eternal Collection is the definitive version of an already amazing game. It combines every bit of Diablo 3 available into a tidy package, and enables you to take this loot extravaganza on the go. The Switch runs the game surprisingly well, with nary a stutter in sight–even when I pushed it with three other players and an array of colorful spells and abilities.
The game is just suited so well to the Switch that it is a match made in heaven, and one that you should consider picking up; whether you’ve double dipped on it multiple times before like me, or this will be your first foray into the Diablo universe.
Your short answer to that question: absolutely.
If you’ve never played a Diablo 3, or are coming back after a long period of absence from the title, then draw nearer readers and I’ll give you a quick rundown of what you can expect before we delve into how the Switch handles the game.
Diablo at its core is based around an extremely addictive loop of powering up one of several character classes, using the unique power set from that leveling to destroy monsters, grabbing loot from those monsters that grows ever more powerful, and continuing that loop for all time. It sounds like something extremely simple on paper, but rest assured when I say that when you experience it first-hand there are few people that aren’t sucked in.
Once you’ve completed the well done story mode of the game your journey is really just beginning, as you then can continue playing with that character or starting new characters in the Season mode. This mode resets every few months and allows players to earn new rewards each season by making their way through the game using newly minted characters. They managed to keep this mode fresh with a number of Nephalim rifts you can play through that level your character astonishingly quick, and by undertaking different tasks and quests not found in the main story mode. All of your progress feeds back into your overall Season mode, and if you thought the standard campaign was addictive, these additional layers up the ante ten fold.
The talented developers at Blizzard make this loop appealing in a number of ways, but most of all they make sure that killing waves of enemies just feels really good. You control each attack via the touch of a button and the feedback is instant via heavy feeling audio and visual cues that gives a weight to every blow. Special powers light up the screen with a variety of wonderful effects, and each new level provides a new way to customize your playstyle by unlocking new modifiers you can equip to each ability.
There is an undeniable polish that makes Diablo the top of its genre, and it carries over to every facet of the experience. Even though the game is aged the graphics still look incredibly good thanks to the slightly cartoony style the game adopts, and it runs butter smooth, even while in Switch’s handheld mode. Though I found myself in a horribly crowded rift with three other players setting off incredible looking special attacks I never saw even a hint of slowdown.
I’ve owned the PC version, the console versions (both Xbox One and PS4), and now the Switch version and I have to say that Nintendo hosts the absolute best version of the game, if for no other reason than the fact that you can take it everywhere. The type of gameplay that has made Diablo such a well-loved series is absolutely at home on the go, and with the Switch version it doesn’t feel like there are any sacrifices of substance that take away from the experience. I deliberately pushed the device trying to get it to stutter and drop frames, but it simply didn’t happen. It is almost hard to believe this game is available in a portable flavor, but it is here and the port is handled with a deft hand.
There are some additional items that are exclusive to the Switch version, but if they are your main reason to grab the game they are really just a welcome diversion that should have been better. If you purchase the Nintendo SKU of this game you’ll get a cosmetic Ganondorf skin, a gorgeous Triforce frame for your character’s portrait, and a Cucoo pet (which if you don’t know the Zelda universe, is just a chicken). The skin is something called a transmog set, which means that you have to use a special vendor to hook the cosmetic to a specific set of armor. Especially early on when you are constantly swapping armor it makes it something of a pointless item, because it costs money to link the cosmetic to an item as well. This makes the transmog a late game item, unless you want to splash out coin early on, and then five minutes later do it again.
This doesn’t take away from the game at all, but I certainly felt like Blizzard dropped the ball here. They had access to an entire history of Nintendo games, and choose to represent one character and give you a chicken. It is certainly a nice added touch, but ultimately I feel like there could have been far more done here, or at least they could have made the skin something usable from the start of the game for free.
Small gripes aside, Diablo 3 is the same magnificent game that it has been all along on the other consoles, but now with the added benefit of being able to take it wherever you go. The game is just suited so well to the Switch that it is a match made in heaven, and one that you should consider picking up whether you’ve double dipped on it multiple times before like me, or this will be your first foray into the Diablo universe.