Editorials

Review: Diablo 3: Eternal Collection

Fans of the iconic dungeon-crawling RPG franchise were ecstatic to learn that Diablo 3 would be hitting consoles in 2013. One year after the launch on PC, Diablo 3 was met with an outstanding commercial reception on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

The following year, Blizzard announced the Reaper of Souls expansion pack and revealed that the release would coincide with the game’s launch on current consoles. Over the last four years, Diablo 3 received support in the form of the Rise of The Necromancer pack and the community continues to stand strong.

Now, Blizzard has recently launched Diablo 3: Eternal Collection for Nintendo Switch. Six years after the initial launch, the Eternal Collection packs every single update and expansion into one hellishly-good package.

For those unaware, Diablo 3 takes place twenty years after the PC-exclusive Diablo 2. Players are able to choose their class from seven different options. Each class offers a wide variety of different abilities and movesets, all unlockable throughout the game’s level progression.

As you embark on your journey to thwart the oncoming onslaught from Hell’s Gate, you encounter a number of different baddies to hack and slash your way through. The loot and progression system is beautifully crafted as every item has randomized stats. Each section of the map is randomly generated. As you replay the game, each location is laid out differently, offering a slightly new experience.

One of the core aspects of Diablo is the grind and replayability. The initial playthrough on Normal is somewhat on the easy-side. You’ll quickly venture through the story, gaining new abilities and acquiring unique and rare items. This is only to get you to the end where you’ll have the experience needed to begin tackling the harder difficulties; Hard, Master, Torment, etc.

What truly makes this port special, was Blizzard’s ability to pack everything developed for the game into one release. It has been 18 years since Blizzard last released a game on a Nintendo console. Blizzard delivered and did not pull a single punch. Players are able to jump into PvE, seasons, and leaderboard activities. Diablo 3: Eternal Collection even brings the newest class available to the game, the Necromancer.

Most surprising is the convenient ability to jump into couch co-op and use the standard Joy-cons. Diablo has always had a rather complex control scheme. Even when playing on Xbox or PlayStation, every button is essential. Each Joy-con has a limited amount of buttons, but Blizzard found a way to not only make it functional but also make it intuitive.

Blizzard has made great use of the analog stick. Holding it down and selecting any of the face-buttons will bring up access to quick-menus such as a larger onscreen map. Releasing it will bring back your abilities for combat. This creative endeavour shows the amount of thought and effort Blizzard went through to bring their game to Switch.

Running Diablo 3 on Switch’s docked-mode, the game looks as polished and crisp as I remember it being back in 2014. Some rough corners show the age of the game. Despite that, Diablo 3 runs at 960p/60fps while docked. The colours and details pop, and not once did I see a drop in framerate.

Even after six years, the interstitial cutscenes are masterfully done. The short animated story pieces have always been a beacon of fidelity when it comes to Diablo, and they stand the test of time.

In handheld mode, the resolution does drop to 720p, but still runs at 60fps –– for the most part. In times of high-onscreen-action, a small amount of stuttering can be noticed. That being said, if you had ever told me that a full-fledged Diablo experience would one day be playable on the go, I’d call you a liar.

Diablo 3, and it’s easy pop-in, pop-out gameplay makes for a gratifying handheld experience. Being able to jump in for 15 minutes at a desk, or take it along with you while commuting is incredible.

Some of the pieces of content do require a stable internet connection. The season content, which players participate in month-long trials, do require the internet to create the initial character and take part in leaderboards. Otherwise, the game is entirely playable offline.

As an added bonus for Switch users, Diablo 3 comes with exclusive goodies. Naturally, Diablo 3 is enabled for Amiibo use. Each day, players can tap one Amiibo to spawn a wave of enemies. Defeating these creatures will drop a few great pieces of loot.

On top of that, the most fitting Nintendo property to become entangled in Diablo would be The Legend of Zelda. Diablo 3 has a slew of Zelda-inspired bonuses. One being an on-screen Cucco pet that will follow your character and help pick up any dropped gold.

Players also receive some cosmetic items. Speaking to any Mystic, you’ll be able to select Transmogrify any piece of armour to resemble Zelda-antagonist, Ganondorf. This ultimately comes at a steep price. Players will have to have 300,000 gold to get the full set.

Finally, players are given a particular set of cosmetic wings, ripped straight out of Majora’s Mask.

Blizzard’s Diablo 3: Eternal Collection is an outstanding experience. Longtime fans of the series will be happy to jump in once again and have the option of taking the acclaimed game on the go. Blizzard went above and beyond to deliver everything the developers have created for Diablo 3.

First-time players will likely be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content and replayability Diablo 3 has. Whichever party you fall into, Diablo 3: Eternal Collection is a welcoming addition to the Switch’s catalogue of games.

[A copy of the game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]

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Steve is based in Toronto, Ontario. His enthusiasm and adoration of the video game industry go back to the days of SNES. Find him on Twitter and join in on the escapades.

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