Before writing this, I said in jest to our editor that the summation of this review will be, “D3 still good, bye”. How much left is there to say about Diablo 3? Specifically, how much do I have to say about Diablo 3? I have poured hundreds of hours into the game over multiple consoles. I have several, high-level characters and have at least one character for every class. My stash is replete with legendary amulets, weapons, rings, and armor, saved for any future character I decide to create. I can complete greater rifts by myself on high torment levels in a matter of minutes. I have scoured this game and franchise for every secret cow level, item, gem, and appendage belonging to Wirt. It is one of my favorite games of all time; Diablo 2 is probably my favorite game of all time. I love this franchise, so I was curious to see if the Switch version brought any improvements or if it would inspire new feelings inside my dead, level-70-crusader-heart.
Well, allow me to confidently confirm to all of you: D3 still good, bye.
All Blizzard had to do was make a competent port that takes advantage of the Switch’s portability and maintains a solid performance rate, even when there are hundreds of monsters on screen. Thankfully, playing the game on the go has been just as magical as I imagined and, to my latter point, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Switch handles the frenetic pace well. After my experience with Wasteland 2’s shaky performance, I was skeptical my little console could handle the chaos in Diablo 3. This is a game that has no qualm with throwing thousands of demons, devils, succubi, zombies, and vomiting witches on your screen at once, each with their own set of animations and special attacks. Diablo relies on quick, bombastic combat that offers immediate return with its loot system, lest it lose its frenzied tempo and gameplay loop. Framerate and latency matters, so I was worried there would be hitches along the way because of the Switch’s hardware.
I’m not sure why I was worried because, as we have been shown in the past, Blizzard is more than capable when it comes to porting their dungeon crawler to new systems, and the Switch version is no exception. Everything feels exactly as it should: Skill casting is immediate and explosive, the roll feature that was introduced in the original console port works smoothly, load times are quick (arguably quicker than the PlayStation 4 version), and enemies pour onto the screen to pummel your character into oblivion like previous versions. I can finally eviscerate my enemies on the go and on my television, exactly as intended.
Unfortunately, the Switch version does not provide a method to import characters from other consoles. I understand that character transfer is tricky and that there will be a ton of new players for this iteration, but it’s a bummer to veteran players like myself that I cannot pick up where I left off and continue grinding away in bed. Diablo 3‘s campaign is boring, and the beginning can be an absolute slog, especially when you know all of the fun that waits for you. At this point, I have beaten the campaign four or five times, on multiple difficulties, and I have no interest in playing through it again. As my life has become busier and busier, the Switch has simultaneously become incredibly valuable to me, because it allows me to sneak in game time throughout my hectic schedule. If I were able to transfer my characters to the new console, I could continue storming through greater rifts and bounties without a care in the world. Instead, I have to get through the beginning grind yet again, without all of my gold, gems, items, sets and crafting recipes I worked so hard to attain.
There is a silver lining to the lack of character import, though: Players no longer have to complete the campaign to get to adventure mode, or, as I like to call it, the real game. By allowing me to skip the snooze-fest campaign, I can dive right into the meat of the game and sidestep some of the tedium. I still don’t have all of my paragon points to make the beginning stages easier, but at least adventure mode makes leveling faster as it gives the player the opportunity to jump around to higher level areas and access rifts. This was also the first time I played as the new Necromancer class — which, by the way, is an utter, bloody delight — making the monotony less noticeable as it was, for the first time in five years, something new to learn.
In keeping with Nintendo’s image, Blizzard also added some cute features to make the world of Diablo less like a multi-hour Slayer video. Players will have access to a Cucco companion, a Triforce portrait for your character, and the ability to transmogrify your gear to look like Ganondorf’s armor. It’s not much, and it doesn’t add anything to the core experience, but, hey, it’s adorable and so completely Nintendo.
For those wondering, Diablo 3: Eternal Collection is still Diablo 3. It persists to be a fun, frantic, violent, metal-ass video game that enamored me all over again, as my Necromancer summoned skeletal mages and conjured spikes from corpses. Although veteran players will not be able to transfer their characters, Diablo 3 will always be a delight to play for hours on end, and it has found the perfect home on the Switch.
This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game. A review copy was provided by Nintendo.