Blizzard’s Diablo III is now available for Nintendo Switch, marking the well-known developer’s return to the Nintendo fold – a first since StarCraft made its way to the Nintendo 64 way back in the year 2000. It’s been a long time coming and with the Diablo III: Eternal Collection, the studio brings perhaps the greatest pure action-RPG to the console-handheld hybrid. The pick up and play nature of the fast-paced combat and loot progression that has been fine-tuned and perfected over the years make it the perfect fit for the Switch. In a port that stands as one of the most impressive transitions the platform has ever seen, Diablo III on the Switch looks great, plays smoothly and showcases why Diablo is one of the most iconic franchises in gaming history.
With that in mind lets take a quick look at what makes Diablo, well, Diablo – and provide handy tips to survive the demonic threat in Sanctuary and the High Heavens.
The Story So Far aka Diablo in 5-Minutes or Less
The Diablo universe is one where an Eternal Conflict between angels and demons has been taking place for generations across the lands of humans and even spilling over into the High Heavens and Burning Hells. A dark gothic world where necromancy, magic and kingdoms rise and fall depending on just what the Prime Evils are up to. The title, Diablo, refers to one of those Prime Evils – perhaps the most nefarious, a large hulking monstrosity hell-bent on implementing a fire and lava-pit only décor across all planes of existence.
The Eternal Conflict is filled with many notable demons and angels fighting over control of creation itself, and a mythical crystal known as the Worldstone. This powerful artefact led to the creation of Sanctuary and the world of man, whose creation bore direct lineage to angels and demons. Where after each generation – the Nephalem’s power would grow weaker and weaker. In other words, more human. As the war between angles and demons continued, the Brotherhood of the Horadrim was formed to fight alongside the angels.
Diablo III picks the story up after the cataclysmic destruction of the Worldstone by the archangel Tyrael, where in the quiet town of New Tristram people have mostly moved on from the horrors of the past. Not so for certain townsfolk who remember the Eternal Conflict, and in due time this brief moment of peace inevitably leads to the return of a familiar threat and the discovery of the last Nephalem powerful enough to enter the fight.
Choosing the Right Hero for You
Diablo III is a fast-paced action-RPG where you get to choose what class of hero to play – with seven in total. The Barbarian can wield one or two-handed melee weapons, and thanks to being able to leap great distances and spin to create a whirlwind of damage, they can also cleave through swarms of demonic hordes with ease. The Monk introduces a martial arts approach to conflict, one built on speed and being able to dash around the screen whilst calling in magical spirit-based assists. The Wizard, with wand in hand, has direct control over the elements and can fill their surroundings in a blizzard of fire or project a large beam of pure arcane energy straight into the heart of any threat.
The Witch Doctor can summon creatures and cast poisonous spells. The Demon Hunter, armed with a bow focuses on a more assassin-like approach with speed, shadow, and piercing abilities in tow. The Crusader calls on the power of light and justice in the form of a flail and a large shield to charge through enemies and smite them with the purity of Holy damage. Finally, the Necromancer, the darkest of the heroes, uses magic and blood to create armies of the undead to fight for them as well as trigger explosive displays of bones and entrails.
No matter the class chosen, new skills and abilities are learned the more you progress, offering play-styles that can alternate between crowd damage, attack speed, tank-like defence, or a mixture of everything. Beginners might find the Barbarian the easiest of all classes to come to grips with at first, with the Witch Doctor providing a headier mix of spells and buffs to learn. No matter the choice though, this decision only marks the beginning of your journey.
Loot 101 – Legendary Weapons and Armour Sets
At the most basic level each hero commands a primary attack and a secondary - with the primary generating a resource and the secondary attack spending it to perform more damaging blows. From there dozens of new skills and more secondary abilities can be equipped, augmented and changed alongside a selection of passive abilities to create what is referred to as a ‘build’. For example, a Demon Hunter Sentry Build focuses on placing mobile attack sentries on the ground, so the goal is to not only pick the right skills and passive abilities as you level up - but also incorporate the right armour or set pieces that offer sentry specific bonuses.
And it’s here where Diablo III comes into its own. As an action-RPG the Diablo III experience is one filled with loot from both fallen enemies and bosses and chests, and through crafting at the local Blacksmith. Item quality is determined by colour, with the very best being legendary (orange). Legendary weapons in Diablo provide incredible bonuses and augment abilities in ways that transform the game, so the key to progression is to adapt early and often to take advantage of the legendary weapons, armour pieces and items at your disposal.
If a new legendary weapon or armour piece calls on a skill you don’t have equipped spend the time to adjust your build to incorporate and experiment with a new playstyle. Using the example above, the Demon Hunter quiver Bombardier’s Rucksack lets you place an additional two sentries down, effectively and immediately doubling your damage potential using sentries. One of the many joys of Diablo III, outside of the endless fun of the action itself, is reading through and calculating what legendary items add to a potential build and pairing them with the right skills, sets and jewellery. Green armour sets, of which each class has five, offer bonuses for every two pieces you find and equip with the six-set bonus providing radical buffs to skills and damage potential.
Nephalem Checklist – A Quick Guide to Power
- Ensure your weapon has a socket and fill it with a powerful green gem to boost your Critical Hit Damage.
- Each class has a base stat which adds to your overall damage and defensive abilities, so you want to increase your total Intelligence, Strength or Dexterity regularly.
- Sockets in chest pieces and leg pieces of armour are tailor-made for adding gems to do just that.
- Pants, boots, chest pieces and belts offer specific bonuses to skills effectively adding a 15% damage buff to both Primary and Secondary attacks.
- If your braces or amulet provide a boost to Fire Damage, check that your skill is dishing out pure fire.
- Critical Hit Chance is important so keep an eye on all armour and jewellery stats to try and get your total percentage to over 40%. Which will result in more attacks causing massive points of damage.
- Dying a lot? Keep an eye on your Vitality, Armour and Elemental Resistance values to keep the right balance.
- Re-roll and re-roll often, use the enchanter to fine tune gear according to the above and to create sockets too.
The Action Continues in Adventure Mode
Across five Acts, Diablo III’s story spans numerous and varied locations with countless moments that have a lasting impact on the world and its characters. It’s an epic journey that is worth experiencing with your hero of choice. But as the story ends, the journey to becoming the most powerful demon slayer in the world has only just begun. Reaching the level cap of 70 provides only a taste of the pure action delight and RPG potential that comes with Adventure Mode. The post or end-game setting to continue the fight, complete bounties and clear Rifts - which are Diablo III’s procedurally generated and varied dungeons. Seasoned players can also skip the story and jump straight into Adventure Mode.
Revisiting each Act to find new rewards and items introduces new depth to the action-RPG combat, whilst also building on the incredible story. No less than 13 different Torment difficulty levels provide an exponential ladder to climb in terms of difficulty – only made possible with the right legendary gear and set items equipped. With the ever-present idea that you can always improve or find something better, or fine tune passive abilities and skills, there’s never a sense that you’ve hit the limit of your potential. New Paragon levels grow your base powers and abilities after hitting level 70, offering up incremental improvements that you have direct control over.
Adventure Mode highlights just how fun Diablo III can be with each class offering several meaningful and varied builds that are worth pursuing and then saving and calling upon in a moment’s notice.
The Season Journey and You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
As great as Adventure Mode is, playing through a Diablo III Season is a rewarding experience. Here you’re tasked with completing various Challenges across several chapters with Seasonal Rewards offering set items to kick-start your journey to becoming all-powerful. Leaderboards let you gauge not only your own individual performance but look at what other Barbarians above you might have equipped. Which also highlights the deep well of learning beyond the often simple and intuitive combat, and one’s own understanding of Diablo III’s core mechanics.
The Nintendo Switch version is also a multiplayer delight, offering both same-screen and online co-op where you can team up with friends to take on new challenges. System-link capability is also present, giving players the option to create their own real-world round-table of destruction anywhere they see fit. Multiplayer Diablo III adds to the fun and opens the door to classes and builds that, well, build on each other. Where a Crusader might be on the front lines gaining the attention of a nasty Rift Guardian, with a Wizard taking a step back to focus on pure damage. The choices are not only varied, but almost endless too – making Diablo III a journey well worth revisiting alone or with others each season.
Because, hey, these demons aren’t going to slay themselves.
This article is brought to you by Diablo III: Eternal Collection for Nintendo Switch.