Diablo 3 for Switch: Portable play keeps the game fresh

Going to hell, again. The Switch makes 'Diablo 3' feel brand-new

diablo 3 nintendo switch impressions diablo3

I bought Diablo 3 on launch day in 2012. Like many others, I experienced annoying connection issues in those first few days that hindered my experience. But once those subsided, I became engrossed in the dungeon crawling loot-based loop. I put more than 100 hours into Diablo 3 in the first month. I purchased the subsequent Xbox 360 port, and though I bounced back to the PC version, I was surprised how well the game translated to the couch. I even bought it again for PS4 the following year. Don’t ask me why. I just wanted it, ok?

Now, more than six years after its launch, Diablo 3 and all of its add-on content has arrived on Nintendo Switch as Diablo 3: Eternal Collection. I’ve played through Diablo 3 at least a dozen times, but on Switch, I once again feel compelled to stick around for one last journey to hell.

When I first booted Diablo 3 on Switch, I was disappointed to learn that it doesn’t support Battle.net. I didn’t think my previous characters would port over, but I hoped to see some integration of achievement or other rewards. That isn’t the case. I had to start from scratch. Yet after sinking 15 hours in the campaign over the course of three days, I began to appreciate this baffling omission — or, at least, I came to tolerate it. Building a new character, a Necromancer, from level one to level 40 (so far) has proven good fun.

This isn’t the first game I’ve enjoyed on Switch after already playing it on a different platform, but it’s by far the one I previously had the most experience with, which, at face value, should make it the least exciting of Switch to start all over. Yet I found myself craving each level, each upgrade, each new skill. The isometric camera angle has a distinctly portable look to it, and the combat, which only requires you to hold a button to keep attacking, is simple enough to pick up and play at a moment’s notice. Diablo 3 is a game of many short quests — five minutes for a bounty here, 15 minutes for a rift there — and that’s perfect for mobile play.

While I’ve given my full attention to Diablo 3 for most of the 40 levels I’ve played, I multi-tasked for a few of those hours by watching TV while playing. In that sense, it’s the rare game that can be enjoyed as both an active and passive experience. When focused on the massive final form of Belial, I’m staring intently at the screen, dodging his attacks and hurling piercing projectiles at his monstrous face. When wading through the large Chamber of Suffering, I’m able to find a group of enemies, start attacking, and then look up to see what’s happening on TV.

If for you have no interest in returning to the campaign for the umpteenth time (I wouldn’t blame you — the story doesn’t hold up), you can jump straight into Adventure mode. Normally endgame content, it’s scaled down appropriately so you can track down bounties and explore Nephalem Rifts with low level characters. Adventure mode offers access to random bounties and rifts, the game’s random end-game dungeons. It’s a great way to level up and, since there’s no story to follow, you can play it for just minutes at a time without losing track of what’s happening.

The only part of Diablo 3 on Switch that requires an online connection is Seasons, the revolving door of challenges that tasks you to create a temporary hero for a chance at unique rewards. Besides Seasons, you can play locally with up to four players, and Diablo 3 is simple enough mechanically to introduce to those who don’t typically play “hardcore” RPGs.

It’s a bit too early to say if I’ll sink hundreds of hours into the Switch version, but this is the closest I’ve felt to the magic of the PC release, and it helps bide the time until the inevitable Diablo 4 announcement. Let’s just hope Blizzard doesn’t make us wait too long.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.


Microsoft is reportedly planning an Xbox One without a disc drive for 2019

Microsoft is reportedly planning to release a new Xbox One model without a disc drive in 2019. The console will be significantly cheaper than other Xbox One systems, including the Xbox One S.

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.

Everything we know about 'Anthem', including new details on Javelin classes

BioWare announced an upcoming action role-playing game called 'Anthem' at EA Play 2017. Here's everything we know about the game so far, including gameplay, DLC, and when you'll be able to play it.

The best free-to-play games you can play right now

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.

Get your gaming on the go with this list of the 25 best Android games

The Google Play Store is loaded with both terrific and terrible gaming titles. We vetted the store to bring you some of the best Android games available, whether you're into puzzles, shooters, racing games, or something else.

15 tips for keeping your vault-dwellers alive in ‘Fallout Shelter’

The wasteland can be an unfriendly place, if you don't know what you're doing. Here are 15 tips that will help your vault thrive in Fallout Shelter, including information on questing.

‘Spyro Reignited Trilogy’ proves nostalgia only goes so far

Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a faithful and beatiful remaster of the PlayStation classics, but its dedication to retaining the original experience ultimately hinders the experience. Spyro was great in the late-'90s, but it hasn't aged well.

Stock up on Switch accessories this week with these awesome Black Friday deals

Black Friday is right around the corner, and it's the perfect time to stock up on accessories for your Nintendo Switch. Here are the best Switch accessory deals on Black Friday, from controllers to cases and more.
Product Review

Make friends. To survive the wasteland of 'Fallout 76,' you're gonna need 'em

Fallout 76 brings the nuclear wasteland online and invites you to hop in with your friends. It’s fun, and a new direction for the Fallout franchise, but it’s not without its faults.

‘Final Fantasy VII Remake’ director sets record straight on game’s progress

Final Fantasy VII Remake director Tetsuya Nomura clarified some information about the game's progress. There were earlier reports that the RPG was put on hold in favor of Kingdom Hearts III, but that is apparently not the case.

From NES to PlayStation, retro gaming is booming. But will it last?

Everyone craves the good old days, and companies like Nintendo and Sony are cashing in with their mini versions of beloved retro consoles. But is this fad built to last or will our fixation with pixelated graphics come and go like mom…

‘Blockchain gaming’ startup gets $16 million in Series A funding

A gaming startup, Mythical Games, has raised $16 million in Series A funding to work on their concept of blockchain gaming. The aim is for the startup to develop games for the PC, console, and mobile markets.

‘Fortnite’ named Ultimate Game of the Year at the Golden Joystick awards

This year's Golden Joysticks, the gaming awards handed out by GamesRadar, have been announced and Fortnite has been named the Ultimate Game of the Year. It beat out Red Dead Redemption for best game, but Red Dead was named critics' choice.

Want to gift a Steam game so you can play with a friend? Here's how to do it

The holidays may have passed, but it's always a good time to give the gift of gaming (especially when there's a Steam sale)! Here's our quick guide on how to give a Steam game as a gift.