Diablo III looks pretty different now than it did when it launched in 2012. Online errors, a real money auction house for items and terrible rolls on loot are all but gone and the streamlined, improved systems in place now are so different, that it is hard to believe how much has changed. Now things change again as Diablo claws its way onto the Nintendo Switch and goes mobile.
On the go
There is something special about being able to go demon slaying just about anywhere. A bounty or Nephalem rift happen to be just the perfect length while waiting in line or at a restaurant, and the fact that you can do a bounty, put the Switch to sleep and then continue later and still get the reward for finishing all 5 bounties in an act means you can decide if you are playing for 10 minutes or three hours. Being able to do a bounty or two without worrying about missing the cache really changed the way I played and let me do a bounty while waiting for the kettle to boil, getting some sneaky game time in during the day. I am happy that everything besides leaderboards continues to work while offline, letting you play the game when you want and where you want without any connectivity issues, while still enjoying seasonal content, which gives you a solid set of goals to chase for some very lucrative rewards.
The fact that you can do a bounty, put the Switch to sleep and then continue later and still get the reward for finishing all 5 bounties in an act means you can decide if you are playing for 10 minutes or three hours.
If you haven’t played a Season before in Diablo, it is part of the reason I find starting again from scratch less devastating. Seasonal characters don’t have access to your normal vault, or paragon levels or anything like that. You are level 1 with no extra help from a previous character, no big gems to boost your progress or anything like that. From this fresh start, you then follow a Journey, which is a set of objectives sorted into chapters. At first, they are easy goals, things you will get while levelling to 70. Then the game starts offering different challenges, along with a few hints. Can you do this rift on a harder difficulty? What about these bosses? Did you know green gems in weapons are one of the best damage increases? As you complete a chapter in your journey you get rewarded with pieces of a set for your current class, letting you get the feeling of wearing a 6-piece set earlier on than if you just had to rely on dumb luck from monster drops. It also can create a healthy, friendly competition. Can you do a rift faster than your friends or a higher level one? All these things are tracked, for friends and worldwide, to show you how you fare in a current season.
I thought after playing Diablo III, and writing about it so many times too, that I would be completely over it but there I was, chasing the next level, completing the next step in my character’s season journey. My necromancer has wandered the full length and breadth of the area, hunting demons, beasts, undead and reapers with an army of minions. The Eternal Collection includes Diablo 3, Reaper of Souls and the Necromancer add-on, meaning that you have pretty much everything Diablo related to go out and fight the hordes of hell.
All the bells and whistles
The necromancer is a fun class with a whole range of options to make them feasible both while levelling and at higher levels. Curses that weaken enemies, or outright kill them once their health reaches a certain percentage will give you the edge, or you can summon an army of undead to take attacks for you and do a fair amount of damage. You can also rely on blood magic to steal life from your enemies, healing through tough fights, or employ the strength of bone to armour up and shred enemies. Corpse explosion turns corpses into another resource at your disposal, letting you kill a few weak enemies in a pack, before detonating them to kill the others, then luring an elite pack to those bodies before blowing them up in a shower of explosions. You can even use your health as a resource if you want.
Just like with DOOM it feels a bit odd going on a demon murder spree on a Nintendo console but only for a moment of thinking of some of the more cheerful, colourful games on the device. In my time with the game, I never once experienced graphical slowdown, both docked and undocked, though if things get really busy you might see a blurry object or two. The game plays smoothly, with some dark magic helping the transition from a mouse and keyboard to a Joy-Con or Pro Controller. Having the ability to dodge roll makes it easy to get out of annoying attacks while still applying pressure to enemies and with the way the game lets you quick equip gear or skills as you acquire them, you can spend less time in menu screens and more time getting your kill count nice and high. It feels so natural, so comfortable to play with a controller on a couch that I am now completely torn as to where I want to play the next season. Diablo III on the Switch has enough variation to welcome new players and old hats alike, all while running smoothly.