Diablo III: Eternal Collection – It’s Diablo III… on the Nintendo Switch

There are very few games that I can say have influenced me as much as Blizzard’s Diablo series. Going way back to the early part of the 2000s, I remember my first time ever playing a Diablo game. It was surprisingly not on the PC either. It was Diablo on the PlayStation One. Back in those days, there wasn’t a lot of dark and gritty games that you could even compare to something like Diablo. Sure…there was Silent Hill and Resident Evil, but I don’t think you could even place those games on the same level of just how evil a game like Diablo felt to the mind of a kid who wasn’t even in his teenage years yet. I can still remember my first time encountering the malevolent Butcher. Hearing him growl and proclaim, “Fresh Meat” was something that had I found to be terrifying. Blizzard had achieved absolute perfection when designing the original Diablo’s atmosphere, and to me it was a level of design that I don’t think they’ve ever been able to come close to matching again. This is all coming from someone who had spent almost the entirety of their teenage years playing Diablo II’s multiplayer as well. I look back on Diablo II, and see it as being one of the best multiplayer experiences that I can honestly say that I was ever able to be a part of.  But in terms of the overall feels, I just think that the dark atmosphere of the original Diablo was something truly special.

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Fast forward to the year 2012, and we finally get Diablo III – Blizzard’s long-awaited follow-up to the legendary Diablo II. Now, I don’t really want to talk about the auction house controversy, as ridiculous as having it in the first place was. Sure, including it was idiotic on Blizzard’s part, but, I still feel like the base game of Diablo III had lots of merit. See, I don’t think that Diablo III was a bad game at all. I just think that it had giant shoes to fill, with its predecessors being two of the greatest PC games in existence. I mean even then; I must have liked Diablo III well enough. I had given it a 10 on Metacritic while it was being Metabombed.

So here we are at the end of 2018, and I have now played Diablo III on a total of four different platforms. It isn’t going to be a surprise that I like the game, even though I believe that its predecessors are far superior entries. But, let’s just put all of that aside, let’s put everything back in the bag. No other Diablo talk, not even Diablo Immortal. Today, I’m just going to put all of my focus on the Nintendo Switch version of Diablo III. It’s been a few years since I had actually played this game, but I can admittedly say that the Nintendo Switch version of Diablo III was one that I couldn’t want to get started on.  The game is six years old, so none of it should really be all that that surprising. It’s pretty much that same Diablo III experience that we’ve had for years, except that it’s now available on the Nintendo Switch.

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Being a game that was released many years ago, the story should come to no surprise to anyone at this point – unless you’re playing it for the first time on the Nintendo Switch, of course. You play as one of several classes. Your character is basically tasked with destroying the rest of the world’s remaining evils. After events in the game, Diablo is eventually resurrected. After which, you are then tasked with defeating Diablo. In the end, this is pretty much the basis for all of these games. You’re the good. And Diablo is the Bad!

The Nintendo Switch version, to no surprise, also includes the Reaper of Souls expansion. As a continuation of the main Diablo III story, the basis of Reaper of Souls is that the Black Soulstone, which held all of the world’s evils, is stolen by the former Archangel Malthael – with Malthael’s ulterior motive being that, to end the war between Heaven and Hell, he needs to wipe out the human race.  I just have to admit here, I honestly don’t find the story of Reaper of Souls to be all that great, but, I do at least appreciate the content that the expansion brings to the table.

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So, in terms of the gameplay. Diablo III is an action RPG with an endless gameplay loop. You can essentially get infinite replayability out of Diablo III. This is mostly thanks to the game’s loot system, which basically is defeating enemies to get the game’s sweet Unique items. There is something relatively satisfying to identifying these items and seeing what kind of goodies you get, and honestly, it can be a little bit addictive. But, if you’re looking for an action RPG with a lot of value – Diablo III definitely provides that, and much more. Even outside of that, if you’re someone who is just looking to play Diablo III again, but on a handheld, I would say that the Nintendo Switch version is just as good as any of the others.

Now, talking a bit about the games combat and controls. Diablo III’s combat is essentially hack and slash, but with a multitude of different abilities, each based on whichever class that you choose at the start of the game. The combat hasn’t changed at all from any of the other versions, obviously, but I would say that it did feel a little awkward playing the game using the Joy-Con controllers. See, even though I consider myself primarily a console gamer, I do feel that the Diablo series is one that benefits a bit more playing with a mouse and keyboard setup. It’s not terrible, it still works, but, I would say that the amount of abilities in the game that are bunched up together feels a little overwhelming. At least when you compare the console versions to the PC version. It’s alright when playing undocked, since you’re obviously expecting that to be limited anyways. As for playing on a television, I could definitely see myself having a much better time playing with the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. It still works with the Joy-Cons, it just feels a little awkward, but, I suppose this could be due to the fact that I am more comfortable with Diablo on the PC. In the end, the controls are akin to what you’d expect on the other consoles. You can almost fully customize your setup, assigning different abilities to different buttons for usage. This gives you a bit of flexibility, and allows you to play around with different builds for your character.

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In the terms of content, apart from the main scenario quests and the multiple levels of difficulty adjustments that you are able to tweak, there is also the Adventure mode. This game mode allows you to partake in bounties and Nephalem Rifts. The types of bounty vary, with each one having a different kind of objective. Having spent a few hours doing some of the bounties, I had found myself killing random bosses, clearing out specific dungeons, rescuing citizens, and slaughtering waves of enemies. Clearing an Act’s bounties rewards you with loot, recipes, gold, and Blood Shards (which can also be used to obtain gear). And if you didn’t get enough out of the game there, you also have your Seasonal objectives. These objectives can be done if you create a new character specifically for the games current season, and doing these objectives can reward you with a number of various things. The Diablo III: Eternal Collection is definitely a fantastic value, and I can’t express that enough.

So, last but not least, I want to mention how this game looks and runs on the Nintendo Switch. Well, I’d say there is a definite graphical compromise compared to the other versions. It doesn’t look bad or anything, but I can honestly say that has a noticeable graphical downgrade. With any Nintendo Switch port, this is to be expected, but, I can honestly say that it still looks pretty decent in handheld mode. I didn’t really notice any performance issues with the game, so, at least there is that. I wanted to make some brief mention of the games multiplayer as well. I honestly kept my party open for anyone to join one of my games, and I honestly think that in maybe 30 hours’ worth of playtime, I may have seen only three other people max. The game is still fine solo, but, if you are looking to play with other people, I would say that your best bet is rounding up your own friends, or finding people to play the game with you via local couch co-op. This isn’t to put off the game at all, I do still feel that it’s a fun experience alone, it’s just that the multiplayer felt dead to me.

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So coming to a close, I would honestly say that the Diablo III: Eternal Collection on the Nintendo Switch is a pretty solid game for newcomers and anyone who is just looking for a way to play Diablo III on the go. It’s still alright, but, I think that I may have played Diablo III way too much over the years. I got enjoyment out of playing the games story mode again, but… I just can’t see myself putting any more time into this game again. I did appreciate being able to try the new Necromancer class, but I just don’t think that I have it in me to play this game anymore. I don’t want that to retract from how I feel about Diablo III, I still think it’s a good game, but, I think that there are other games that I would rather play before going back to this one again. I think something like this would have greatly benefited from having cross-play, the online just felt sadly desolate compared to how I remembered the PC and PlayStation 4 versions of the game. It’s still a fun experience, and I do think that if I didn’t have anything else to play that I would probably mess around with the Adventure mode a bit more. But, as for this moment in time, I just have to move on from Diablo III. Solid game, definitely worth playing again, but, I personally think I need a break from this one.

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