Diablo 3: Eternal Collection for Nintendo Switch review - Prime Evil

The combination of Diablo 3's wealth of content and a portable adaptation that sacrifices little in the way of visuals make Diablo 3: Eternal Collection on Switch the best version of the game yet.

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There was a huge gap in the Switch's library of multiplayer titles until recently.

From Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart to the heyday of Rayman’s rabbid pals on Wii, Nintendo and its third-party publishers drown consumers in party games on every generation of Nintendo hardware. You know the ones. You get together with your friends, run a few races or play a few dozen mini-games. Then the party disbands until the next time you go back to the game, where little to anything has changed. Same tracks, same characters, same mini-games, same rules.

My wife and I each own a Switch. When we want to play a multiplayer game, we turn to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It’s fun, but we’ve been spoiled by a diet of progression-heavy games on other platforms: Resident Evil 5, EDF 2017, Dark Souls—the types of games where you invest dozens or hundreds of hours and are rewarded with upgrades and continuity from session to session. We both enjoy Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but that’s a meal for one. With few exceptions, the Switch sorely lacked the type of multiplayer game good for more than a laugh with friends.

Then along came Blizzard Entertainment determined to feed us Diablo 3: Eternal Collection, a veritable feast compared to the bevy of snack-sized games that clog Nintendo’s eShop. From the original 2012 campaign and the 2014 Reaper of Souls and Rise of the Necromancer expansions to a cornucopia of end-game content, the Switch version has every last morsel of content Blizzard has baked into the game since its initial release on PC in May 2012.

Best of all, it’s playable on the go, making the Switch adaptation arguably the most robust incarnation.

No Bones About It

Diablo 3 turned heads when it came to current- and last-gen Xbox and PlayStation platforms. Not just because of all the content it provided, but because of how well and natural a game designed to be played with a mouse and keyboard has translated to gamepads. The Switch version is no exception.

If you’ve played any of those versions, you’ll feel right at home playing Diablo 3: Eternal Collection on Switch. You move with the left analog stick, dodge and roll with the right stick, map skills and their accompanying runes (modifiers that change some of the effects and mechanics of your character’s abilities) to six of the controller’s buttons, and use the rest for miscellaneous actions such as swigging health potions and hopping a portal back to the nearest town. The game supports Joy-Con and more traditional, Pro Controller-type peripherals, so go to hell on your own terms.

Hell is quite full these days, and that’s a good thing. Diablo 3: Eternal Collection packs in every piece of content currently available for Blizzard’s game, including the 2017 Rise of the Necromancer expansion. The key difference is that Adventure Mode, where you enter procedurally generated areas to track down bounties (kill bosses, explore areas, and so on) in exchange for greater rewards is unlocked from the start rather than as a reward for finishing the story. You can go from creating a level-1 character to Adventure Mode right out of the gate.

That should appeal to veteran players who have finished Diablo 3’s campaign dozens of times, as well as new players who should be immediately introduced to the best content the game has to offer.

Aesthetically, little separates the Switch port from its counterparts. The graphics are slightly sharper on beefier platforms, though that’s something you’ll notice more in the “paper doll” inventory screens where you get a close-up view of your character than during play, when you’re more focused on mowing down monsters and gobbling up loot.

The load times are slightly longer on Switch, especially when creating or joining a session. Even then, your fun won’t be put on hold for long. Creating or joining a session takes around 12 to 15 seconds. Once you’re up and running, jumps from town portals to hostile areas and vice versa are near instantaneous, and the odd loading screen won’t keep you waiting for more than a few seconds.

Up to four players can play on the same system, or via online or local networks, and all multiplayer modes feature drop-in-drop-out functionality. While playing solo and over online and network connections with my wife, I noticed only one instance of slowdown, and it was so minor I’m not sure it even happened. The action held fast and frantic when I played in docked or portable mode, even on higher difficulty settings with hordes of monsters pouring in from all sides and both of us detonating corpses while our armies—dozens of skeletons, revived demons, and a golem each—clobbered our foes. Every battle was like a barroom brawl, only with bodies exploding and monsters rising up from the ground to do our bidding.

Reaper of All My Spare Time

There are two schools of thought on the deluge of ports that have come to Nintendo Switch over the past 20 months. Some players won’t touch old content and are eager for new games, while others who view any ports in a new light thanks to the Switch’s portability. I fall into the latter camp.

The Switch’s greatest advantage is that it can be played anywhere. As a Diablo fanatic for more than 20 years, I’ve always wanted a version of any installment of the trilogy to play when I get the itch to pop monsters like pinatas. That makes Diablo 3: Eternal Collection on Switch a dream come true, even at the $59.99 price point, which some may consider steep when most ports run $40 or cheaper.

If that’s your mindset, consider this. Diablo 3: Eternal Collection and Dark Souls Remastered, which launched on Switch in mid-October after a delay, quenched my wife’s and my thirst for multiplayer games we could come back to again and again thanks to substantial progression to show for our time. Sure, both are re-releases, but they’re endlessly enjoyable and, I hope, will encourage developers to create more progression-centric multiplayer titles to Switch.

Blizzard should be commended for the gestalt that is Diablo 3: Eternal Collection. If you’ve followed Diablo 3’s history, you know the game walked a long, often bumpy path. It’s been addictive for several years, but the option to play on the go makes this package a must-have any Switch owner, especially players looking for a game to lose themselves in for dozens or hundreds of hours.


This review is based on a Switch digital code provided by the developer. Diablo 3: Eternal Collection will be available at retail and on the Nintendo eShop on November 2, 2018, for $59.99.

Long Reads Editor

Pros

  • Six-and-a-half years of excellent content, hundreds of hours of play
  • Local, online, and network multiplayer modes
  • Portability

Cons

  • Slightly longer load times than PS4 and Xbox One versions of Diablo 3

From The Chatty

  • reply
    October 30, 2018 9:00 AM

    David Craddock posted a new article, Diablo 3: Eternal Collection for Nintendo Switch review - Prime Evil

    • reply
      October 30, 2018 9:11 AM

      Diablo 3 on the toilet. I'm sold!

    • reply
      October 30, 2018 9:16 AM

      Can you talk about how it plays on a single joycon? What's their solution for only having 2 shoulder buttons?

      • reply
        October 30, 2018 10:07 AM

        It’s serviceable. Opening the two main menus (inventory and options) is awkward, but accessing skills and potions works fine. I’d use a single JC in a pinch, but a dull unit or a Pro Controller is the way to go.

    • reply
      October 30, 2018 9:20 AM

      Huh. Nice that Adventure Mode is available from the start. That's the mode that doesn't expose you to how gratingly terrible the story is, right?

      • reply
        October 30, 2018 9:34 AM

        More of less, yeah. The story is still there, but you're not actively completing it, and you can pretty much ignore it.

      • reply
        October 30, 2018 10:05 AM

        It is the only reason I am considering it. I don’t want to trudge through the story after doing it so many times now.

    • Zek
      reply
      October 30, 2018 9:50 AM

      D3 is really a great game now and I've only heard positive things about the console versions. Definitely anybody who hasn't played the expansion should give it a try. Just remember to increase the difficulty, Normal is a joke.

      • reply
        October 30, 2018 12:09 PM

        The ps4 version is easily the best version.

        • reply
          October 30, 2018 12:20 PM

          Yeah this is one genre where I think gamepad wins over keyboard/mouse. Such a great game to kick with on the couch.

          • reply
            October 30, 2018 4:20 PM

            My wife and I have been doing some of the seasons lately. It's such a good couch coop game.

    • reply
      October 30, 2018 9:51 AM

      Can’t wait to play this weekend !!

    • reply
      October 30, 2018 9:55 AM

      so there's no druid class hiding in the switch version huh

      • Zek
        reply
        October 30, 2018 9:58 AM

        Certainly not at launch, but it's not impossible for there to be more DLC coming, we'll know by this weekend.

    • reply
      October 30, 2018 10:04 AM

      The idea of playing this local network coop with two devices is pretty incredible. You can slay together from anywhere.

      Thanks for the review!

    • reply
      October 30, 2018 10:46 AM

      Not sure if you'd know the answer since I'm guessing Nintendo probably sent you a digital code or something, but for cartridge purchasers who are offline can you jump right in or is there a download or login required? Debating whether or not to hit up a Walmart first thing Friday morning and try playing this on the train.

      My guess is theres not some download required since Nintendo makes you deface your game cover if that's the case and it doesn't look like Diablo III has this.

      • reply
        October 30, 2018 11:07 AM

        I got a digital code so I’m not sure. I can ask Blizzard, though.

    • reply
      October 30, 2018 1:37 PM

      I'm really curious how it'll run/play in (dense) higher level grifts (like 80-90+), especially in a group situation. They can get pretty demanding, especially with certain builds.

      I haven't tried it in a since it first became a thing, but helltooth fire wall builds were hell in groups a while back (I think around the time the necro launched?), although a lot of that was network side.

      • reply
        October 30, 2018 1:46 PM

        if you have two RATS builds plus a witch hunter and a meteor wizard (like me) the screen is literally a mass of colors. It's so hard to figure shit out. dead bodies exploding everywhere plus arrows all over the place.

    • reply
      October 30, 2018 1:40 PM

      Is the monster density similar to the console and PC versions? I had read it was sparse.

      • reply
        October 30, 2018 1:46 PM

        I assume rifts and greater rifts are the same. get over T13 for rifts and 70+ for GR and monster density has to be high

      • reply
        October 30, 2018 2:07 PM

        To answer your and valael’s similar questions: I did notice a very, very slight slight performance drop in a Greater Rift. My wife and I both rolled Necromancers with revived minions, skeletons, golems, and corpses exploding everywhere. Monster density was quite high; I didn’t notice any corners cut in that regard, and the performance drop was so minor as to be negligible, as I mentioned in my review.