I’ve played a lot of Diablo III on PC. I mean a whole lot. I’ve played on and off from the day the game came out until just a few weeks ago. I’ve bought and sold items on the real-money auction house. I’ve fought through the days of sparse loot drops and bad legendaries. I played as the game rose from the ashes with the release of Loot 2.0. I’ve even played a good 30-40 hours of the game on PS4 and must say Blizzard did a fantastic job of bringing its action RPG to a controller.
When it comes to Diablo III, I’ve seen it all.
And then the game came to the Nintendo Switch. As someone who’s put hundreds of hours into the game, I was reluctant to purchase it for a third time, especially since Nintendo is still charging a full $60 for Diablo III: Eternal Collection on Switch.
But I took the plunge, and now with another 20 hours or so under my belt, I’m here to provide some thoughts about the portable adaptation of Blizzard’s ARPG masterpiece. Was it a good move? Is it worth playing?
While there are some drawbacks that come from playing the game on the Switch, the port really is fantastic. It runs perfectly, feels great, and comes with all the content you could ever want.
If you’re not interested in reading the nitty-gritty details and you just want to know whether you should consider purchasing the game even if you’ve squeezed it for all it’s worth on PC or console, the answer is: Yes, it’s absolutely worth buying as long as you’re aware that it is, at its core, the same game.
Now, let’s go on to a more nuanced breakdown of the differences.
The most obvious difference between Diablo III on PC and Switch is the controls. Obviously, there’s no mouse and keyboard on the Switch, so there does need to be some changes in the way you move your character around the game world and interact with NPCs and enemies.
Thankfully, the hard work was already done when Blizzard figured out how to make the game playable with a controller on Xbox One and PS4. The developers were able to lift that control scheme directly and use it on the Switch, and I’m happy to report that it feels just as good as it did on the larger consoles.
Basically, instead of moving your character by clicking where you want them to go, you have direct control with the joystick. You cast your spells with a combination of the face buttons and triggers.
Just about every aspect of the controls are perfect, and once you play for a few minutes, you’ll get used to it. However, the one issue I have with the controls is that the same face buttons you use to cast spells are also used for controlling conversations and dialog boxes. When I was out in the field and buttoning through conversations, I’d always hit it one too many times and cast a spell—and it’s pretty annoying when it happens to a spell with a long cooldown.
I almost exclusively played Diablo III on Switch in portable mode, as that’s the main reason to buy this version. (Why would I play on the TV when I could play the PS4 version I already own?)
The game looks fantastic on the small Switch screen, and the interface scales shockingly well. I was afraid it would be difficult to read the text (granted, I skipped most of the story after having played through it more times than I care to count), but it wasn’t a problem at all. Even if it’s your first time playing through Diablo III, you’ll have no problem taking in the story even in portable mode.
While Blizzard managed to do a fantastic job of adapting the gameplay to the console, and specifically the small screen of the Switch, inventory management isn’t as great. Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally playable, but I can’t help but feel like it could be better.
It’s a little clunky, especially for a game where you’re constantly messing with your loot, but it’s far from a deal-breaker, and once I got used to navigating around the menus, I almost forgot about the issues I had with them.
First, let’s start with local multiplayer. You and a friend can use any of the Switch’s control methods to play on the same console. If you have two sets of Joy-Cons or two pro controllers, then all of the positives I said in the Controls section apply here.
If you’re trying to use half of a Joy-Con each, things aren’t as amazing. Turning them sideways and having each player use one doesn’t feel great. It’s playable, but if you and a friend really want to dig into the game together, you’re going to want a couple of Pro Controllers
Also, playing Diablo III in portable mode with two players is a little crazy, as there’s a lot going on on the small screen, and we’d definitely recommend playing on the TV instead.
If you have more than one Switch, you can actually play together without an internet connection thanks to its wireless multiplayer option. With this, up to four players can jump in to slay monsters and collect loot together. This is without question the ideal way to play, as it replicates the experience of online play without the need for reliable internet.
Speaking of reliable internet, some features of the game will require you to have internet—namely, the seasonal leaderboards. Thankfully, you can still play seasons without internet, but you’ll miss out on comparing your score to other players. This will only really be a problem for the super hardcore players, as you still get all the fun stuff when you’re offline.
Playing over the internet works like all Switch games. You can play with friends or strangers, and as long as your connection is reliable, it works great. Personally, I didn’t take advantage of this feature very much, as I was consistently playing the game on the go, but if you’re hanging out at home, or somewhere with decent internet, having online multiplayer is great.
From a value standpoint, it doesn’t get much better than Diablo III. It’s the sort of game with endless replayability thanks to features like Adventure Mode and Nephalim Rifts.
On top of that, the Eternal Collection comes with the Reaper of Souls expansion and access to the Necromancer, the newest class in Diablo III.
All I can say is: goodbye to another few hundred hours, because I’m fully sucked back into Diablo III again. The port is as close to perfect as I can imagine, and whether you’ve already played the game or you’re looking to jump in for the first time (I envy you if that’s the case), you should definitely grab Diablo III: Eternal Collection on Nintendo Switch.
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