Game Title: Diablo III Eternal Collection
Company: Blizzard
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Retail | Digital
Battery Life: 3 – 3.5 hours
Cloud Save Support: Yes
Download: 13.2 GB

When it comes to loot-based RPGs, you’ll never find a list of recommendations or “the best” of that particular genre without seeing one franchise in particular: Diablo. The Diablo franchise has been -the- loot RPG for a long time, whether you’re talking about Diablo 2 or the infamous Diablo III, branded by many as the best loot ARPG of all time.

This is a genre that handhelds have largely been left out of with big name titles. There was Borderlands 2 on the PS Vita, but that port was very technically challenged. If you wanted smooth, well-ported handheld loot RPG, your best bet was getting a small laptop or making an attempt at running some of those PC RPGs on the GPD Win.

Not anymore, though. Blizzard has brought their infamous ARPG to the Switch in one of the most optimized games on the platform to date. Here is my review of Diablo III: Eternal Collection for the Nintendo Switch!

Story

d2 - story

20 years after the events of Diablo II, a falling star crashes down in a cathedral in the town of New Tristram. Deckard Cain (the elder from Diablo I and II) is trapped in the depths of the Cathedral as the falling star has a side-effect, the dead rising from their graves and attacking everyone in sight. The protagonist arrives in town and assists Leah, Cain’s niece, planning to investigate the falling star and why it’s raising the dead.

The plot of Diablo 3 is an interesting one, as there’s a lot of lore behind it. While it is a direct sequel to Diablo II, the game has a lot of background info that brings you up to speed on everything that’s going on with the Angels, Prime Evils, and the Eternal Conflict between them. In this way, it brings newbies up to speed so you don’t need to go back to I and II to understand what’s going on.

Gameplay

d6 - combat

Diablo III is an Action RPG that is heavy on dungeon-crawling and loot-acquiring. As you go through the game, you’ll be navigating dungeons and fighting off huge hordes of enemies with the goal of clearing them out and getting better gear to give to your character and advance them to bigger and better things.

First of all, this is Eternal Collection, so all of Diablo III’s DLC is built into this game. It includes the base game, the Reaper of Souls Story Expansion as well as the Rise of the Necromancer DLC that added cosmetics, new challenges, and the Necromancer as a class to choose for your character. In other words, all of Diablo III’s content is here for handheld gamers.

When it comes to exclusive content, Diablo III on the Switch has a Zelda-themed crossover with Ganondorf-themed armor styles and a Cucco as a pet that can follow you around. The game is also Amiibo-compatible, letting you scan Amiibo figures to spawn special waves of enemies for you to fight.

d4 - character

When you go into Diablo III, you create a character and go through 3 different game modes: Campaign, Adventure Mode, and Challenge Rifts, 2 of which are unlocked from the moment you create a new character. Do note that when creating a character, it defaults to Seasonal Characters, which are more online-oriented and have special challenges and rewards non-seasonal characters can’t get on their own.

However, if you utilize multiple characters, remember that you cannot switch over to seasonal characters from someone else without an internet connection. If you try in Airplane Mode, the game won’t let you, giving you a “Season Not Ready” error message. Make sure that whenever you plan on taking Diablo III on the bus, you have the game already set to the player beforehand that you wish to use.

Campaign is the 5-Act Story Mode that tells the tale of both Diablo III and Reaper of Souls. It’s built to teach players the game with moderately-increasing difficulty while telling the story of the Nephalem (the protagonist) and their quest to stopping the end of the world from taking place.

d5 - bounties

Adventure Mode is similar, but offers far more in terms of gameplay content. It has Bounties, Rifts, and Powers that Campaign doesn’t offer. Bounties are mini-missions that infinitely respawn in each area and give you huge gear rewards when an area’s bounties are complete. Rifts, on the other hand, are spawnable dungeons that are created to test your skills against clearing the enemies within, ending with a challenging “Rift Guardian” boss that will net you special items and currency for higher-tier gear and “Greater Rifts” that offer even higher challenge and rewards.

This is also where the Multiplayer aspect really kicks in. Diablo III is a Co-Op game and the Switch version has both Online and Local Co-Op options for you to trek through. At any time you wish, you can join or grab someone else from around the web to jouney together, whether you’re going through the campaign, bounties, or rifts.

When you actually go through dungeons and fight off enemies, you’ll be moving around in an isometric plane and duking it out in real-time combat. Every class has their own skills and playstyle, but you’ll be moving around and using abilities and skills to fight off enemies and as you level your character, you’ll be constantly learning new skills and “runes” that will power up your other skills with different elements and effects.

While fighting, it’s pretty easy to get overwhelmed as Diablo 3 will give you more and more groups of enemies to fight. The start of the game that has you fighting against groups of 3-6 enemies at a time can quickly turn into fighting groups of 10-20+ enemies at a time, creating not only a very hectic and chaotic experience but a strategic one in how you wish to maneuver around and fight them.

d3 - gameplay

That really raises the combat and gear drops to be the big satisfying factor of Diablo III. Seeing your character summon endless hordes of the undead or fire off a colorful barrage of magic bullets to overwhelm the opponent and be rewarded with gear that sends your stats through the roof is the thing I really love about this game. On top of that, there are 17 difficulty settings, each with greater challenges and even more amazing gear for you to acquire.

Although this game does eventually turn into a dungeon-crawler grind with its gameplay, it has a lot of content to go through. As far as Story goes, I had an incredibly hard time finding accurate readings across the web on how long story actually was. When I trekked through both D3 and Reaper of Souls, I’d clocked in at nearly 20 hours with the Hard Difficulty for most of the way through and doing a fair chunk of the side dungeons and lore readings.

When you combine that with Adventure Mode’s Bounties, Rifts, Greater Rifts, Challenge Rifts, and all of the exclusive rewards and challenges for Seasonal Characters, there’s a lot to do here.

Controls

Controlling the game isn’t too hard. There aren’t any touch controls for the game, so you don’t need to worry about this playing like the recently-announced Mobile DIablo spin-off.

You move around with the Left Analog Stick and can dodge roll with the Right Analog Stick. The D-Pad is used for shortcuts, like the mini-game and teleporting back to town when you’re done exploring. The four triggers are used for potion and skill shortcuts, and the face buttons do the same.

These are all unlocked as you level in the game, so you’re not given all of them all at once. It progresses in a way that’s pretty easy to get a grasp on.

Presentation

d7 - presy

Graphically, the game looks good but at the same time, the visuals are a bit flawed. You do get the same amount of detail you get on other platforms, but there is a fair blurring effect when you see the models up-close. This is apparent in both docked and handheld mode. It doesn’t hurt the eyes, but it’s definitely noticeable.

Performance, though, is great. The game runs at a solid 60 fps docked and handheld, and the load times are nice and short. They did a great job with optimizing this game for the Switch.

Battery Life

I didn’t expect a ton of Battery Life, but I was surprised with what I got. Here are my Battery Times, from 100% to 0%

Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 54 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 58 minutes

Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 24 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 29 minutes

This isn’t too bad at all.

In conclusion., Diablo III is finally available on handheld consoles and the devs did a bang-up job on optimizing it. While the visuals are a tad on the blurry side and you might have some minor issues switching to seasonal characters on the go, there’s a ton of content to keep any Looter happy for a long time.

Final Score: 9/10