Perhaps unsurprisingly given the franchises’ impending expansion into the mobile space, it turns out that the best version of Diablo 3 is the one you can take with you.
First released in 2013, the third installment in Blizzards venerated action-RPG franchise has now come to the Nintendo Switch. This new version of the game, dubbed The Eternal Collection, is essentially a refresh of the console port with new Amiibo support and bonus content thrown in for good measure.
For those unfamiliar with the series: the setup here is that you’re thrust into a gothic fantasy world as one of seven heroes (Barbarian, Monk, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter, Crusader, Necromancer or Wizard) drawn to the sleepy hamlet of New Tristram. Taking place decades after the previous Diablo 2, a legion of monsters lurk around every corner and it’s up to you (and up to three friends) to vanquish them.
You kill enemies, get loot, level up, rinse and repeat. It’s the hack and slash subgenre at its purest, and Blizzard have the franchise’s addictive gameplay loop down a science in Diablo 3. You can even play with up to three players in local co-op. Even just conceptually, that's super cool - though we mostly played solo during our time with the game.
Like the console versions of the game, the control scheme in Diablo 3: The Eternal Collection does feel strained at times. Still, for the most part, it works. Some of the point-and-click simplicity of the original PC version is lost in translation, but you can totally play Diablo 3 on the Nintendo Switch.
Our experience saw Diablo 3: The Eternal Collection run at a slick and stable 60FPS, and though the textures in the Switch version are muddier and less detailed than the previous iterations, the series’ art style still manages to hit its marks.
That said, there are a few areas where the Switch version of Diablo 3 don’t quite live up to what it could be.
For one, the little bit of extra Switch exclusive content here doesn’t particularly amount to much. There’s a unique Ganondorf cosmetic skin, Cucco companion pet and Triforce portrait frame - but none of this can be taken back into another version of the game or tied to a Battle.Net account, which makes it a little pointless.
Once the Treasure Goblin Amiibo arrives in December, Switch players will also be able to access an exclusive treasure realm called Greed’s Domain. However, for obvious reasons, we weren’t able to see this new nether-realm for ourselves.
More practically, it’s a real shame that you can’t navigate some of the menus using the Nintendo Switch’s touch screen. Like I said before, the control scheme for Diablo 3 might be workable but it’s definitely still a little convoluted. I felt like I frequently ran into situations where it would have made a lot more sense to just reach out and touch a menu option, rather than hold and press three different buttons to accomplish the same thing.
The final irk I had with this version of the game isn’t a massive one but it would have been really nice to see cross-play support - or at least some degree of connectivity - here.
I’m a big fan of the series - and I’ve sunk a ton of time in to the PC version of the game. Giving me the option to load in as and continue leveling my existing PC characters would have made me much more likely to stick with the Switch version of the game of my regular go-to for it. There’s probably a bunch of technical game development reasons why this feature wasn’t feasible. It feels like a real shame nevertheless, given how late we are in the life cycle of Diablo 3.
The Bottom Line
If you’re somehow both a fan of addictive action-RPGs and haven’t managed to sink your fangs into Diablo 3 before, the Switch version of the game is probably the best option out there. However, if you have dabbled with it in the past, you have to really want to replay Diablo 3 - and have the capability to play it on the go - for The Eternal Collection to be worth the buy.
Diablo 3: The Eternal Collection is available on Nintendo Switch now.