I originally meant to write this post with my Diablo 3 Switch impressions last weekend, but I decided to delay my thoughts until Graev and I had gone just a little bit further with the game. Right now we’re just about paragon 400 on our Crusader (Keen) and Necromancer (Graev). I feel like that has given us sufficient time to experience everything Diablo 3 has to offer, and experience it long enough on the Switch to give our thoughts.
Is Diablo 3 on the Switch the same as the PC version?
Yes, Diablo 3 on the Switch is exactly the same game as the PC version. The major differences are found in the user interface, particularly with gear management.
To equip gear, you’re given a picture of your character with a radial menu. Gear slots comprise a complete circle around you, and you’ll simply move the left stick around to the item you want to explore. On the right side will be a list of the items in your inventory for that slot. Choosing one will equip that item and send it one step further to the right to indicate it is equipped. From there you can compare items on the left to items you have equipped on the right.
The only change we found so far unrelated to gear management is that items you drop can not be picked up by group members. After some Googling, we found that this is working as intended for all console versions in order to avoid duping and leaderboard exploiting.
Putting items into your chest works identically. Instead of the right area being what’s equipped, it’s what’s in the chest. This system is nice because it eliminates the ‘one giant inventory’ of the chest and sorts it by slots. I do miss my own organization system at times.
Diablo 3 Switch Graphics and Performance
We put the game through its paces and found it to perform admirably. Playing a Crusader Sweep build for fast clears and a massive pet build puts a lot of stress on the game. I was certain my sweep build with my Crusader swinging 20x/second would show some sign of slowdown, but there wasn’t any at all.
Performance was identical in portable and docked modes. In fact, I think it looks better in portable mode than it does when blown up to 960p on the TV.
Does Diablo 3 Control Well on the Switch?
Surprisingly, YES! After about 20 minutes of getting used to the interface, I found the game lends itself to a console just as well as it does a PC. The isometric character view and ARPG gameplay have been a staple of console play for years. Movement on PC is no more free than it is on console.
Mapping skills can be done to any button on the controller (we use the Switch Pro Controllers when docked), and in many ways feels better than having to use a mouse. Perhaps our one critique would be targetable abilities (which are rare) having the limitation of being less “click where you want it”.
Though neither of us have played Diablo 3 on other consoles, we’re told the Switch version feels and plays better than all of the other current/past gen systems.
Diablo On-The-Go Feels Really, Really Good
I make frequently trips over to Graev’s to hang out and play games. Being able to bring my Switch over and play in the same room was flawless. Moving around the house and playing feels really good too. Once again, the Switch has shown how games we’ve previously been tied to a TV or computer for are really neat as portable games too. And you don’t even have to play Diablo Immortal to get that on-the-go experience.
As an avid PC gamer and someone who has played 3 of the last 5 seasons of Diablo 3 on PC, I have to say that playing on the Switch is just as good and in my mind completely interchangeable. If only it had cross-play, or the ability to pick up my PC characters on the Switch and vice versa — then it would be a masterpiece.
Diablo 3 is definitely worth getting on the Switch. Graev, who would have nothing to do with Diablo 3 anymore on the PC, now can’t put it down on his Switch. This is definitely going on our holiday buyer’s guide.
P.S. If you don’t own a Switch, this really is a great time to be an owner. There’s a Diablo 3 Switch bundle worth checking out.