The Diablo series, since its inception with the release of the original Diablo back in 1996, remains, to this day, the veritable king of the third-person, loot-based, action RPG. Originally released on PC in 2012, Diablo III has since come to consoles, seen massive updates and expansions, and has now finally landed on Nintendo Switch—marking Blizzard’s first game on a Nintendo console since 2003. While most AAA ports to Switch see some form of downgrade to fit on Nintendo’s comparably lower-powered console, I’m happy to report that Diablo III on Switch makes no sacrifices whatsoever—this game runs like a dream. Since this is a one-to-one port, there are still issues, such as the game’s flawed difficulty scaling, but overall, Diablo III on Switch is absolutely a title worth double- or triple-dipping for.
Diablo III: Eternal Collection, like its counterparts on other platforms, contains everything released thus far: the base game, the Reaper of Souls expansion, and the Rise of the Necromancer pack. Having poured hundreds of hours into Diablo III on both PC and Xbox One, booting up the Nintendo Switch version felt just like coming home. However, never having purchased the Rise of the Necromancer pack, originally released in 2017, I was eager to jump in and try my hand at this new class.
Immediately on startup, the game tells you that Adventure Mode is unlocked from the start—an exclusive feature to the Nintendo Switch version. That means you can jump in right away and try out Adventure Mode without having to complete the main campaign, which is a boon for player choice. If you’ve played any iteration of Diablo III before, you’ll find that both Adventure Mode and the game’s campaign hold up magnificently, even six years later. While playing in handheld mode is veritably the best and most system-unique way of playing Diablo III on Switch, unless you have a decent gaming grip accessory, you might find your hands cramping fairly quickly, as Diablo III requires command of nearly every button at your disposal. Playing the game in docked mode, I couldn’t tell the difference between playing on Switch and on my launch Xbox One, which is quite telling as to how well Blizzard handled this port.
Jumping in, Diablo III on Switch feels…just like Diablo III. This is the same epic storyline across five acts, wherein the kill, loot, and upgrade gameplay loop has never felt more satisfying. While the game does start out a bit slow, you quickly unlock new passive and active abilities, and each class feels distinct and powerful in its own way. The addition of the Necromancer class adds some especially fresh content, as within an hour I had a veritable army of undead at my disposal.
To my surprise, the frame rate never fell below 60 frames per second, even with multiple characters on screen and a bevy of spells and effects going off simultaneously. This is where, going in, I expected Diablo III’s Switch port to falter, but it holds its ground resolutely in this regard, and Blizzard must be commended for keeping the experience true across all platforms.
Two brand-new features accompanying the Switch version are specially themed items from The Legend of Zelda as well as amiibo support. The Cuccoo companion pet is particularly helpful in gathering gold, and the Triforce portrait frame adds a nice touch and fits in well with the rest of the game’s art. Arguably the best part of this package is the exclusive transmog set which can morph any item into one that visually resembles Ganondorf—though these transmogs don’t come cheap. At 25,000 to 50,000 gold pieces per item, it’s a hefty price to pay, but if you play long enough and routinely sell your unwanted items, you can fully appear as Ganondorf within a few hours of play time.
Diablo III‘s amiibo support adds a nice touch as well. If you tap any amiibo figure during gameplay, a portal will open, and several champion-level enemies will spawn, which is a good opportunity to get a decent amount of experience as well as a chance to get some awesome loot. I tried various figures from the Super Smash Bros. line of amiibo, and none of the spawned enemies seemed to relate or be tied to any particular figure. Still, it’s a great way to challenge yourself on demand and potentially score some great items. Blizzard recently announced a Loot Goblin amiibo, set to release sometime in December 2018, but unfortunately the figure won’t release prior to this review.
The main criticism I’ve had with Diablo III since launch that still holds up today is that increasing the game’s difficulty level really only adds more health and damage output to enemies. While increasing difficulty does also increase your experience gain, gold find, and gives a greater chance to find better loot, simply adding health and damage output does little to actually make the game more difficult. Varying enemies’ attack patterns, or even placing more difficult enemies earlier on in the campaign, would go a long way to help make the game truly more difficult, rather than essentially turning enemies into bullet sponges. Though, admittedly, the flip side is that Diablo III does a remarkable job at making the player feel like a total war machine, and in that way, the game shines, despite feeling a bit too easy at times.
Diablo III: Eternal Collection on Nintendo Switch takes the greatness of Diablo III and all its expanded content and wraps it up in a single, portable package that never buckles under its own weight. Despite increasing difficulty levels feeling somewhat arbitrary, this is the absolute definitive way to experience Diablo III and take hell on the go.
Disclaimer: A review code for Diablo III: Eternal Collection was provided by the game’s publisher.