Friday, November 2

Review: Diablo III - Eternal Collection [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Less than 2 years into the Switch’s liefspan a day has come that I never really expected. Diablo III is on the Switch. Not some retread, not a hollow imitation, in practical terms this is a no-compromises full-blown port of one of the biggest and best games to come out in the past decade that offers hundreds of hours of gameplay. I should know, I’ve been playing it on PC since the original Beta, have taken all character classes past Level 70, and have spent a substantial amount of time exploring post-game play. If you’d asked me when the Switch launched whether I thought this would ever really happen, even as much of a Nintendo and Blizzard fanboy as I am, I probably would have laughed. Having now spent time with the Switch build of the game I’m here to tell you it’s no joke.


For the uninitiated Diablo is among the most well-known action RPG series ever made and may be the ultimate loot reward loop game. Yes, going back to the original there’s the story of the corruption of Tristram, a collection of characters including angels, demons, an old man who always wants you to “Stay awhile and listen”, and some other key figures. The lore is actually all fascinating (though if you’re coming into it this far in you may find it a tad confusing) but that’s mostly icing on the cake to me. There are people who’ll play through the main Story campaign with a character class or two and quit because they feel they’ve seen it all. Don’t be that person if you want to get the most out of the game.


Where Diablo III truly shines is in the development, exploration, and experimentation with each of its diverse classes. Each of the game’s 7 classes, though they may seem to break down in similar ways, can have a very different flow to them. On top of that, depending on your abilities, your gear, and your enhancements you’re able to play each class very differently as well. You like getting down and dirty? The Barbarian is all brute force and power while the Monk can combine speed and abilities like Exploding Palm to do some truly nasty things. If you like playing ranged the Demon Hunter the Sorcerer are glass cannons but can devastate foes if you can keep the mobs away from you. If you like to have more options the Witch Doctor is versatile and can do a little of everything, as can the Crusader and the Necromancer. In the early game it can be a bit overwhelming and more of a challenge as you’ll need to work with what you’re given, your build typically matching with the gear you have, especially when you’ve found legendaries that enhance specific skills. Up through Level 60 you’ll have opportunities to tune your gear and skills to your will but you’ll still generally be beholden to what you luck into getting through drops or gambling with Kadala.


Once you hit Level 70 though, for me that’s where the fun really begins. With a collection of various legendaries you’ve accumulated you should be seeking out Kunai’s Cube and working through the bounties in each Act in Adventure mode to have the materials you’ll need to extract abilities from them. You should be going through Greater Rift runs to accumulate and power up special gems that provide a wide variety of enhancements. You should try your best to complete the Seasonal Objectives to obtain all of the pieces to your first Armor Set, which will power you up in a hurry to do truly obscene amounts of damage. By layering all of these things together in different combinations you can create a build that really suits you and it can be exhilarating to go out and mow down the minions of hell with these powers. If you want to get the most out of the game doing this with friends or even strangers is always more fun (and you’ll gain more XP as well), and working in a pack the utter chaos potential of the game can finally be met, making for a crazy time full of monsters and loot!


In terms of the Switch specifically, aside from the fact that the videos show signs of compression and the overall appearance of everything isn’t quite as crisp as on my high-powered PC I can’t say I’ve seen any issues. Whether in docked or handheld modes performance is smooth, the resolution is sufficient that everything looks good, and even though the text is on the small side (my eyes are getting old), it is still all readable. If anything my concerns are just with the console implementation of the menus, but that could be a matter of what I’m used to. With as much as there is to know and be comfortable doing in the game I feel like in the console menus it’s easy for key things to get missed. Especially if you’re new to the game if you don’t know what to look for or expect to find I do worry people could miss out of some fun, including even simple things like your Cucco pet or the wings you’ll have to start with and just need to find. I’d almost suggest looking up a tutorial or video if you’re new to the series so you’re sure to know everything that’s vital to making the most of the experience.


All in all, even years into its life, Diablo III is an amazingly strong title that may have had a rocky start way back at launch but has course corrected and improved substantially over the years. It offers a ridiculous degree of variety in how you can approach combat, a tremendous menagerie of monsters and bosses to contend with, and the variety of things to do after you’ve “beat the game” is staggering if you enjoy grinding to get that ideal build. Even if you’re just planning to play through the story with a class or two that will take you quite a number of hours and with a wide array of skill levels to set the game to you can push yourself hard or opt to slaughter everything in your path. The fact that all of this can now be taken anywhere you go and plays practically flawlessly is a true testament to what the system and the development team who converted the title are capable of.

Score: 9.5

Pros:
  • An outstanding game full of variety and a substantial amount of content
  • 7 classes that are very different from one another already that have a substantial number of diverse and viable builds
  • A great game to enjoy with friends or strangers for more fun and intense gameplay
  • Whether played in docked or handheld mode the game looks incredibly good and has very few issues even when on-screen action gets crowded and chaotic


Cons:
  • If this is your first exposure to the game and series you’ve got a lot of catching up to do on multiple levels, to help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed tutorials may be a good start
  • The long-term grind isn’t for everyone, though that means you’ll miss out on much the game has to offer
  • When trying to find that perfect build or that last piece of gear you need the RNG gods aren’t always very kind