Six long years after its initial release, Diablo III has finally come to a Nintendo console, and better yet, it’s portable too. It may not be the prettiest version, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best third-party ports released thus far on the Switch, and frankly a must-own for fans of the series, or anyone that is into action RPGs.
If you don’t know what Diablo is all about, let me catch you up to speed. It’s a top-down action RPG where you’re participating in a war between the forces of good and evil. If you’ve played Magicka or one of the 3D Gauntlet games, then you have a general idea of what the gameplay is, only with a huge heaping of loot to grind for if you so choose. It’s pretty fun even if you aren’t into grinding, just to play through the story which has beautiful cutscenes and serviceable voice acting.
Diablo III: Eternal Collection comes with everything you’d expect from a port of an older but still modern game, meaning all the DLC and expansions are here. But wait, there’s more! Not only do you get the Reaper of Souls expansion and the Rise of the Necromancer pack, but also some Zelda themed cosmetics such as a Ganon skin and a Cucco pet. Which, even as a huge Zelda fan, I didn’t find all that compelling. The best part of these Switch exclusives is seeing a chicken run around and collect gold for you while you spawn an army of skeletons and resurrect the dead.
I’m happy to report that Blizzard has managed to get this Switch version running at a buttery smooth 60 frames per second in both handheld and docked mode, even when playing with 4 players on a single console. That said, it certainly doesn’t look as good as the other versions of the game, but I wouldn’t say its ugly, just unimpressive. I think most would agree that is a fair trade for having portable friggin’ Diablo III, yeah? Plus, you and three friends can play locally each on your own Switch without the need for a subscription to Nintendo’s online service, which is required for playing online, of course.
Not everything is perfect in Switch land, however, as there are also some issues unique to this port. Voice chat is completely unsupported both in-game and via the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app, which is basically essential for those looking to dive into the harder difficulties with friends. While you can play with a single Joy-Con, it’s pretty unintuitive, as you have to press in the stick and other buttons at the same time for certain actions. Also, you can dodge in the direction you’re moving or backward if stationary by shaking a Joy-Con, which is far too sensitive leading to accidental rolling at times. Even worse, this feature can’t be turned off. Amiibo support is here, which is done via an item called the amiibo portal. Once selected a glowing rainbow portal will spawn, at which time tapping an amiibo to the right stick will cause a group of enemies to spawn. If you manage to defeat them all you’ll get a piece of loot. This can only be done once every 22 hours which is a strangely specific amount of time to make someone wait in real time to get a single piece of loot.
If I had to level any complaints against the main content of Diablo III, it would be that the game doesn’t do a good job of explaining all its systems. There are a good amount of menus to go through from inventory to abilities, and at shops and blacksmiths. Certain characters can transmogrify your equipment. Do you know what transmogrify means? I didn’t till I looked it up. Here it means you can make your weapons and armour look like something different while keeping the same stats. This is actually how the Ganon skin is unlocked, at 50,000 gold per piece, which isn’t anything to shake a stick at. Lastly, loot doesn’t feel rewarding since it is constantly dropping from enemies, which leads to maxed out inventories and having to juggle items till you reach a merchant to sell the ones you don’t need.
While this port of Diablo III has some issues unique to it, they’re easy to overlook just for the ability to play on the go. Being able to clear a floor of a dungeon when you have a few minutes of free time is great. And, as always, it’s still a Hell of a good time.