Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Category: Action, Adventure, Role-Playing & Party
Release Date: November 2, 2018 (EU & NA)
Diablo III: Eternal Collection for Nintendo Switch is most likely the best port I’ve experienced on the Switch. It might not be the best game on the console, but it does do the best job of maintaining a level of performance expected from a modded PC. Diablo III runs a consistently 60 fps at all times no matter what is happening onscreen and it might be safe to say Blizzard has absolutely nailed squeezing such a big and complex title into an under-powered and handheld device.
Diablo III has always been a controversial game and no matter how great it is today, it will always be remembered in infamy for an extremely buggy launch, real-money auction house, and lackluster endgame with the original PC version. Much of this changed with the Reaper of Souls expansion I played on PS4, and Blizzard continued to evolve the game even beyond this with the release of Adventure mode, bounties, leaderboards, and a seasonal structure that encouraged you to come back and check out the added features
Going even further with additions, Blizzard added the Crusader class with Reaper of Souls, and Necromancer class as a standalone DLC pack. On top of all this, they ported all this content over to PS4 and Xbox One, and in so doing they completely redesigned the UI around radial dial menus. This may not seem like much at first, but with the Diablo franchise always being such PC-centric titles it would have been easy for Blizzard to just ignore this and simply add something less functional. Fortunately, they rebuilt every aspect of the UI from the ground up, working quickly and intuitively on consoles, and still remains one of the best UI redesigns in recent memory.
No doubt, Diablo III has changed leaps and bounds from six years ago in 2012 and it was very average at first, but Diablo III today is actually the best way to experience it. Now, the beauty of the Diablo III: Eternal Collection on Switch is that you get absolutely everything that’s been released up to this point. This includes the Reaper of Souls expansion, the two new classes, the redesign UI, and six years worth of updates all in one package. If that wasn’t enough, there is also added amiibo functionality and a special Ganondorf skin that you can use with either the Barbarian or Crusader classes.
Diablo III has always been a straightforward affair, it’s a top-down action RPG where you lead your character against the ever-escalating war between the forces of good and evil. It’s very similar to the Gauntlet franchise, with hordes of enemies and monsters, bloodthirsty to make a quick end to you. The gameplay is of the hack-and-slash variety, but you are constantly leveling up and earning new skills, intuitively designed around the joy-con controllers. It’s fun to play even if you’re just grinding levels and loot, and there is also a story told through beautiful cutscenes and adequate voice acting.
The biggest question for Diablo III: Eternal Collection though was how it would be able to run well, and not how great it would look since the Switch can already compete admirably with the current gen consoles. There was some serious concern on whether it could effectively render more units onscreen at one time and there was a lot of concern that you’d see more frame drops and sluggishness when the action got really fast or the entire screen filled up with enemies.
Fortunately, during my playtime there were absolutely zero instances of slow-down or framerate drops and may run better than its other current gen counterparts. Even in the most fast-paced and hectic areas, fighting was easy to manage and I never felt like I was out of control. The load times and online connectivity options were also optimized well and Diablo III definitely sets a new benchmark for all ports making their way to Switch on how they should play and run. There is less graphical fidelity on the Switch versus the PC, PS4 or Xbox One versions, but it’s quite frankly not a big deal, as you are most likely not playing Diablo III for its graphical prowess.
My main playthough was with the Crusader (I wanted to try the Ganondorf aesthetic) and I was amazed at how well Diablo III ran, even with all the particle effects and enemies coming at me. It should be stated I played mainly in handheld, with the docked setting still looking gorgeous and immensely detailed. Online play also worked well, and I encountered zero connection issues throughout. You can also play offline like the other console versions, but remaining connected to the Diablo servers gives access to online leaderboards when playing Seasons, and I never had the game drop me unexpectedly from the server even when returning from putting the console to sleep.
Another big addition is the ability to use amiibo and you can check out our handy amiibo guide for using them in Diablo III: Eternal Collection. This is mainly accomplished by fetching the amiibo Portal from your Stash crate and then using it to summon more powerful monsters that drop rarer loot. The amiibo Portal can only be used once per day and each amiibo you use will have different non-determined effects.
There’s not much else to be said about Diablo III, but if you’ve never played it before, the base game is broken up into four lengthy chapters that should take some time to get through. This is basically the same title from the beginning iteration in terms of gameplay and story, but there has definitely been some changes with having every mode open from the start.
Overall, if you had any doubts of Diablo III: Eternal Collection being just an average port of a fantastic game, well, this is probably the best version to play. It comes loaded with extras and Switch specific functionality, and also having the option of taking this huge AAA experience on the go is amazing in its own right. Diablo III sets the standard of how ports are to be treated and Blizzard cut no corners in delivering an authentic masterpiece for Switch and one of the best experiences.
THE VERDICT: 9/10
*Review Key Provided by Blizzard Entertainment
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This post was written by minusthebrant