Blizzard Entertainment’s long-awaited sequel to the popular Diablo-franchise originally graced the personal computer back in 2012 with Diablo III. Initially hotly debated and plenty tweaked, in the end it was a hit. Money spoke and company listened, and thus in 2017 Diablo plus its expansions hopped onto consoles with the Eternal Collection. Another year slid past, and finally even the proud owners of a Nintendo Switch got to partake in some demon-slaying action. Sceptical at first as to the port’s potential, my doubt was near instantly blasted into oblivion—Diablo III plays remarkably well through a controller. Everything through movement to menus work intuitively, and the divine capability for local co-op only sweetens the deal. Quality work.
Diablo’s story, when somewhat simplified, is rather simple: the titular Lord of Terror is about to make a troublesome return (again), and it’s your task as the demon/angel/human-hybrid Nephalem to cull his hellish herd and dip his head back in the tar of defeat. While the storyline offers quite little in surprising moments or plot-benders, it works well enough as a general driving force. Blizzard’s unparalleled knack for creating breath-taking cinematics is showcased between story arcs, with many memorable moments to be viewed in gorgeous detail. The graphics are a tad outdated, but the art is otherwise so thoroughly atmospheric as to garner no further ill comment. Finally, the soundtrack is on another level entirely: gobsmacking, illustrious stuff. If you ever happen upon the masterful notes, stay awhile and listen.
Naturally, the gameplay is the meat of the game, and top-down demon-killing action with the distinct tools of seven different playable classes is where it’s at. The classes truly feel like their own things, with drastically different loadouts between each. From a classic elemental wizard to an unorthodox witch doctor, the repertoire is a blast. Replayability is high, through the proverbial ceiling even, with various challenges and modes to guide your loot-filled and potentially infinite ascension after beating the main storyline. The combination of tweakable skills and ever-changing loot is the game’s lifeblood, and both min-maxers and those more casually gravitating will spend countless hours sipping at the wellspring of it. A host of infernal commanders and their armies dug from the dark bowels of hell, bath and beyond stand ready for the player to slaughter at leisure—it would be criminal in both the heavenly and hellish courts to deny them.
Diablo III was great fun on PC, and it’s great fun on consoles. Honestly, I’ve nothing of worth to add. It just works. There’s been something of a surge of action role-playing games in recent years, and while some manage rather well, Diablo feels like the game you should anyhow try out before touching something else. If only for the feel. It might just be you’ll get hooked, after which I have a hell of a piece of good news: Diablo IV is on the way!
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment, Iron Galaxy (Switch port)
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: June 27th, 2017 (PS & Xbox) / November 2nd, 2018 (Switch)
Genres: Action role-playing game, hack and slash
Pictures: screenshots taken by the author