When you talk about the legacy of dungeon crawlers, there’s a good chance that you’re talking about Diablo. Since the series began almost 22 years ago, it has enjoyed great success and familiarity amongst genres fans. Diablo 3, while a rocky launch back in 2012 with controversial real money purchasing options, eventually found its footing and is easily just as good as it’s predecessors. Now, for the first time ever in it’s two decade run, Diablo is gracing a Nintendo console with it’s devilish presence with Diablo III: Eternal Collection.
The Eternal Collection bundles together everything current players of Diablo III should have access to – you get the base game, the Reaper of Souls expansion pack as well as the recently released Rise of the Necromancer expansion too. On the Switch, there’s some other minor exclusives too, including some Zelda themed items and pets as well as amiibo support. Though it’s where the Switch version differs from other versions of Diablo that really sets it apart.From the get-go, Adventure Mode is unlocked (where it previously required you to beat the story proper) which lets you jump straight in with mates in a mode that’s light on story but high on replayability. This is what is available in any other version of Diablo but it’s the Switch’s hardware that sets it apart from the others – Diablo III on the Switch supports any combination of controller schemes, online and off as well as couch co-op.
You’ll be given the option to select seven distinct character classes, each of whom have their own unique abilities and attributes. I’ll admit, having not played Diablo III since it’s original launch six years ago, I was a bit shocked to see the roster expand by only two, presuming Blizzard would have expanded it considerably since then. Despite this, the classes you have to choose from in Eternal Collection are diverse enough and cover so many different playstyles that most players will be able to find their sweet spot.As with its original release, Diablo III has a great flow to it and is easy to get addicted to. Owing to this is the progression system which doesn’t ever really feel like a grind. The game doles out loot and equipment in droves, and your characters growth not only happens quickly but feels meaningful – you’ll notice your character gets more and more powerful as they progress. It’s a strange thing to notice but it’s the difference between a grind and a joy and Diablo III understands it.
More recently added to the console versions (and the Switch) is the addition of Seasons Mode, a kind of way to keep players engaged and interested in the game outside of the Story and Adventure modes. Seasons Mode endows your character with unique abilities and the opportunity to earn rare and unique loot too. Being time sensitive, once each Season is over you’ll be able to convert that character to use in every other mode and keep all the loot too. It’s a minor thing, but it gives players old and new a way to join to work towards a similar goal and keep playing.Beyond that, there’s not too much more to say about Diablo III. It’s been ported a few times from PC and subsequently two generations of console, but the fact that it still plays so well so long since it’s release is testament to its quality. Newcomers looking to jump to the Switch version from the PC will undoubtedly miss their keyboard and mouse setup, but Blizzard’s console port of Diablo III makes use of console controls almost perfectly.
If you’re not keen to give the game a go with friends offline, you’ll be able to open your game up to online visitors too. Given the lower, less-than-natural populations of the game pre-launch, it was hard to lure anyone into my game, though I’d recommend most people to finish at least one run of the game before inviting (random) experts in. Additionally, the rich meta-game means that having another player to combine abilities with and strategize with makes the game so much more enjoyable.As a package, the Eternal Collection feels incredibly comprehensive. A single run through the game’s story mode could easily take up around twenty or so hours of your time. What’s most unique about Diablo III, however, is that you’ll want to keep playing it after you’ve finished. Pick one of the six other classes and begin to level them up and shower them with elusive loot. Throw in the Necromancer expansion, which easily adds another fifteen or so hours and you’ve got quite a bit to get through.
The only thing that isn’t quite the best with Diablo III are the presentation and visuals. This is through no fault of the Switch, however, more so that the game is starting to age. Diablo’s art direction is strong, and the environmental designs are macabre yet inviting, but from a technical standpoint the game is starting to show its age. During some moments, where heaps of enemies flood the screen, there’s some slowdown too, though nothing major. Like most games, Diablo III looks better than docked when playing handheld, which helps hide some of these signs of an aging game.
THE NINTENDO SWITCH VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW. DIGITAL REVIEW CODE WAS PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER.
Diablo III: Eternal Collection for the Nintendo Switch represents the best way to play Diablo III right now, whether it be with friends or by yourself with whatever controllers you have. While the exclusive gear and equipment are superficial and not a sole reason to buy on the Switch, Diablo III is a perfect fit for the platform, as cliché as it sounds. Sure, it’s starting to show signs of ageing, but it still plays as well today as it did all those years ago.