Blizzard Entertainment is one of those companies that just always get it ‘right’. Between every one of their franchises, they are constantly putting out games which basically prints money for them! Over the past few years, they have seen great success with Overwatch and games like World of Warcraft are still running strong.
There is no denying though that Diablo III is still a great breadwinner as many people, such as myself, continuously are going back to New Tristram to ward off Diablo and his minions from Hell. So there was no doubt in my mind that with the debut of Diablo III: Eternal Collection on the Nintendo Switch, I had to play the game again
Diablo III was originally released on May 15th 2012, for Microsoft Windows and MacOS. At the time I was a heavy World of Warcraft player and so it came as a fantastic surprise when Blizzard offered an annual pass for World of Warcraft, where players who signed up for a 12-month subscription to that game received a free digital copy of Diablo III once released. What was neat was that you didn’t have to pay for the pass, it was more of a commitment to Blizzard that you would be playing.
A console version was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on September 3rd 2013. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions were released on August 19th 2014 as the ‘Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition’, a version which had a few graphical improvements and came with the Reaper of Souls Expansion pre-installed. The latter versions, along with the PC, would also continue to receive updates and new features such as the implementation of ‘Seasons’.
Diablo III: Eternal Collection contains the base game, the Reaper of Souls expansion, and the Rise of the Necromancer pack. It’s also avaliable in this form on the PS4 and the Xbox One, should you wish to pick it up with all of the content released to date. The main difference between the high-end consoles and the Switch, other than the graphical differences, is that it includes the Cucco companion pet, a Triforce portrait frame, and an exclusive transmogrification set that will let your heroes sport Ganondorf’s iconic armour. You’ll also receive unique cosmetic wings.
I’ve probably sunk in close to 350 hours total between the PlayStation 3 and 4 versions of the game. That made going into this review extra special. I know each cutscene almost word for word and I know each nook and cranny of the acts. As I played the game, this run as a Necromancer, I made special attention to do as much as I could to see if the game had to be compromised to be on the Switch.
As a person with Platinum Trophies for the PlayStation 3 and 4 editions, I can tell you that this version of the game is absolutely flawless in comparison to the other console versions! I tried switching back and forth between the handheld version as well as docked, and both ran as smooth as a hot knife cutting through butter.
For those of you that have never played a Diablo game, you are in for a treat! In fact, we have not seen a Blizzard Entertainment game on a Nintendo platform since Blackthorne, The Lost Vikings and Rock n’ Roll Racing were released for the Game Boy Advance, and that was 15 years ago! In fact, Diablo III: Eternal Collection is the first Diablo game to ever appear on any Nintendo console.
The Diablo games are essentially a top-down dungeon crawler with a focus on gaining experience and diving deep into dungeons and other environments to better your gear. Upon starting a new game, you’ll be tasked to choose your class to play as, of which there are seven. Each class has their sets of Strengths and Weaknesses that make it so no one class is better than the others. It just depends on what your preferences are as a player, but at the end of the day, each character can be very enjoyable to play. The classes are as follows:
The Witch Doctor:- A ranged magic user that utilises shamanism and voodoo. The witch doctor has the ability to summon a variety of monsters, cast curses as well as other AOE (area of effect) spells.
The Barbarian:- The Barbarian is a melee user that utilises Fury to destroy their enemies with brute strength. The barbarian is able to whirlwind through crowds, use leaps to clear the distance between them and their foes and grapple-snap enemies into melee range.
The Wizard:-The Wizard uses Arcane Magic such as shooting lightning, fire, and ice at their enemies. They can also teleport past enemies and through walls. This is useful when playing by yourself to get some distance between you and the enemy when they get too close for comfort.
The Monk:- The Monk uses Spirit to attack their enemies with Martial Arts techniques. They are the fastest attackers in the game. They can also deflect projectiles as well as move quickly around the map.
The Demon Hunter:- I feel like the Demon Hunter is a class that is great for newcomers. They utilize Discipline and Hatred to dish out different attacks. They are ranged attackers that use bows and crossbows to do damage. This was my personal favourite class to play as.
The Crusader:- The Heroes of Light and Justice! The Crusader uses Wrath in a variety of combat skills such as a spinning hammer attack and calling lightning to crash down. I feel like they are one of the best-balanced classes in which you can get attacks in, no matter the distance.
The Necromancer:- The class that many fans of the series have been begging for. The necromancer specialises in controlling the dead! This has different variations such as summoning minions, reviving dead enemies temporarily or using their corpses as bombs to kill hordes of enemies, just to replenish your lack of dead bodies for bombs. What I am trying to say is that The Necromancer is a ton of fun to play as!
After choosing your class, you set out on the Main Campaign. Diablo III will take you through 5 acts and thousands of hells spawn. The boss fights in the game actually feel like they have weight behind them. Fans of the original Diablo will be treated with a boss fight against a foe that has a classic line, you know who it is! You have the option to stay on the main quest line but there are a variety of side missions you can do as well. What I personally love about Diablo III is that you will always be rewarded handsomely in experience points, gold and or gear upgrades, so it is always worth going off the beaten path. I will admit that the story itself is not the greatest story ever told in gaming. You will still want to watch everything though as the cutscenes in the game are still breathtaking, especially being a game that is almost 7 years old, it’s a testament to how great Blizzard Entertainments visuals are in their games!
Although I would highly suggest playing through the campaign at least once, Blizzard has changed the game so that you do not have to play through it in order to be able to play the endgame content. Originally, after you beat the game, you were allowed to play in Adventure Mode. Adventure mode has a lot to offer, allowing players to select any of the 5 Acts home bases and complete random bounties for more money and better gear. The bounties could be as simple as defeating an Elite monster up to fighting “Mr. Giggles” Diablo himself! Complete five bounties in one act and you’ll earn a special bonus.
Even if you complete all the bounties between all 5 acts, all you have to do is save your game and reload it to reset all the bounties. It can be quite addictive!
If the bounties get to be too repetitive, you can also dip your toes into the Nephalem Rifts. These are special dungeons that can be accessed from whatever Act you are on whilst in the camp. When they are opened, you are put into a dungeon of near endless enemies. As you kill them, they will drop special orbs that fill up a meter until, upon reaching 100%, the Rift Guardian will appear. After you defeat him, you will be rewarded with gear, money, and experience. Eventually, you will get to take on the hardest part of the game, The Greater Rifts. Only the best equipped and higher levelled challengers should even consider going into the Greater Rifts. You WILL die…a LOT. However, the reward is worth it in the long run. The max level is 70, but even after you reach that, you gain Paragon levels. Each Paragon level will give you points to boost a number of your stats. You can only imagine what your stats start to look like if you reach, say, Paragon Level 10,000!!
The game only gets to be more enjoyable as you round up friends to play. You can have up to 4 players in one game. The game does get harder with each additional player, but that is what makes it more enjoyable. The rewards are also increased so it’s more motivation to go out and play with friends.
Diablo III is one of those games that seems to come out on every platform, but there is a damn good reason for it. Even after almost 7 years, it still holds up as one of the best dungeon crawlers we have seen to date. The graphics are great, the music is great, the overall experience of Diablo III: Eternal Collection still gives me eternal joy. It’s rejuvenated my hype for the day when Blizzard Entertainment finally announces Diablo 4.