By Mike O’Brien | ★★★★✰
Disclosure: Blizzard provided Quench with a press copy of Diablo III: Eternal Collection for review purposes.
Diablo III: Eternal Collection is a must-buy for any self-respecting action-RPG fan with a lust for loot. If you’ve somehow managed to avoid the behemoth that is the Diablo franchise, it’s a series of games about slaying monsters by the hundreds to score some sweet gear, which, of course, you then slay even stronger monsters with. This vicious cycle is just about as endless as you want it to be, but somehow, it never feels monotonous. Wholesale genocide has never felt so good, and now it’s on the go in one of the best AAA ports on Nintendo Switch yet.
In terms of content, Diablo III: Eternal Collection is enormous. The base story mode offers around 12-15 hours of gameplay, depending on whether you choose to explore the regions and complete side missions – but any longtime Diablo player will tell you that the story mode, and indeed the journey from level 1 to 70, is just a tutorial. The endgame can last about as long as you want to, sinking anywhere from a hundred to a few thousand hours in the game’s Adventure mode, a story-free playthrough with random dungeons, new targets, and most importantly, even better loot. If that wasn’t enough, Blizzard have been supporting Diablo III for years with ‘seasons’: periods of time where players can start afresh under different conditions to fight new enemies in new rifts to earn unique loot. These seasons and all their content are completely free, too!
Returning players hoping for new content exclusive to the Switch version will be disappointed, since outside of a few cosmetic options like armor transmogs and pets, there’s not much to be found. This is mostly for the sake of parity with the other versions however, which Blizzard have achieved masterfully across the board. Diablo III: Eternal Collection is not only the exact same experience on Switch, enemy density and skill effect included, but it’s also visually excellent, running at 900p docked and 720p handheld, both at an unshakeable 60fps. I have tried extensively to break Diablo’s sturdy resolve, but outside of a very brief dip in framerate from nuking a massive pile of corpses, it could not be toppled. Like other AAA ports, Diablo uses dynamic resolution scaling techniques to maintain performance – dipping to 756p in docked mode and 540p in handheld. It can be visibly blurry at times in handheld mode, but not only are these moments are few and far between, they never disrupt the experience. For reference, it’s closer to the extent of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s milder resolution scaling than the aggressive blur-fest that is Rocket League.
Diablo III: Eternal Collection’s gameplay is immensely satisfying. The power trip of slaying a hundred foes in the space of twenty seconds is invigorating, and so is toppling a troublesome tyrant. A variety of classes are available: Barbarians specialise in – you guessed it – hitting things really hard and gaining fury in the momentum of battle, which can be used to unleash devastating attacks. Wizards on the other hand manipulate the battlefield and the elements to orchestrate deadly storms of chaos from a distance. My personal favourite class is the Necromancer, a morbid mage who specialises in using blood, bones, and undead thralls to fight Diablo’s monstrosities with their own army of hell. Not only is each class distinctly unique in playstyle, but they all come packed with a wide range of abilities which can be tweaked, allowing for a cosmic level of experimentation. There’s a world of gameplay customisation available, and the journey to perfecting a build fit for your style of play is never dull.
Being a fast-paced and addictive action-RPG, Diablo finds a perfect home on the Switch. For PC players sceptical about the plausibility of playing Diablo on controller, it actually works extremely well. I daresay that, for builds with less emphasis on the precise deployment of traps and area-of-effect skills, it actually controls better – and that includes use in handheld mode, split JoyCons, and the Pro Controller. The Switch’s touchscreen and gyro controls are regrettably unutilised, missing an opportunity to enable more precise attacks and quicker menu management. Nevertheless, it still plays extremely well, and the game’s ‘elective mode’ allows players to rebind attacks to their liking. Furthermore, sessions with seasonal characters can only be launched with an online connection, which does somewhat undermine the convenience aspect.
It’s a testament to how great this port is that, despite having played through Diablo III on PC and PS4 for dozens of hours, the Switch version is the only one I envision myself playing from now on. Blizzard have produced one of if not the best Nintendo Switch ports available right now. With quick load times, seamless multiplayer local or online, excellent technical performance, snappy controls, and a world of content, it’s hard not to recommend Diablo III: Eternal Collection to anyone who enjoys ARPGs. It’s a blast just to play during five minutes of downtime, and it’s just as fun to play for hours on end. At £49.99, the pricetag is rather steep – but for first time players, and those who never pushed Diablo to its brink, the quality and amount of content comprise a wise investment. Diablo III: Eternal Collection is a dangerously addictive black hole, and a technically impressive incarnation of gaming’s most beloved lootfest.