Hands-on: Diablo 3 goes portable on the Nintendo Switch

Diablo 3's console ports brought it beyond the PC, but this fall it'll be able to go everywhere, co-op included.

Jason Parker Senior Editor / Reviews - Software
Jason Parker has been at CNET for nearly 15 years. He is the senior editor in charge of iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.
Jason Parker
3 min read
Blizzard Entertainment

The rumors we've been hearing for months about Diablo 3 coming to the Nintendo Switch were finally confirmed by Blizzard, and we can confirm that at least upon first impressions, the port delivers on the promise of the first truly mobile Diablo experience.

Last week, I met with Diablo 3 senior producer Pete Stilwell and associate producer Matt Cederquist and almost immediately, I had a Switch in my hands with the Diablo 3 start screen staring back at me. Stilwell and Cederquist explained that the whole game, including the base version of Diablo 3, the Reaper of Souls expansion and Rise of the Necromancer DLC would all be included when it released this fall. But what they were focused on was providing the first hands-on experience with the game outside of Blizzard's halls.

Cederquist told me to choose one of the seven character classes (all of which were max level for this demo) and before long we were playing through a Nephalem Rift -- one of many styles of dungeon crawling you can explore in Diablo 3: Eternal Collection. 


Skeletons are Diablo's bread and butter.

Blizzard Entertainment

It took a few minutes to figure out which buttons to use to activate my abilities, but fortunately Cederquist kept us alive while I got acquainted with the layout. I was playing using the Joy-Cons attached to the Switch, but Blizzard says you could dual wield Joy-Cons, play together with a friend using individual Joy-Cons or use a Pro Controller. 

Up to four players can play on a single screen, or up to four separate Switches can be brought together using Nintendo's online services, which will get a full debut in late September. In a feature unique to the Switch, players can connect via the Switch's Local Wireless Play to engage in co-op dungeon crawling without needing an internet connection. 


The Demon Hunter with their dual crossbows.

Blizzard Entertainment

The game ran smooth as could be, the controls reacting seamlessly as we melted all manner of monsters. I chose the Demon Hunter class, whose hand crossbows dole out huge amounts of damage and whose powerful turrets launch missiles that seek enemies. It's my favorite class, but I'd love to dive back in as a Wizard or Necromancer.

Stilwell pointed out as we played that the game was running at 960p resolution at nearly 60 frames per second while the Switch was docked, and 720p at nearly 60 frames per second while undocked. The docked version is similar to what you see on the PS4 and Xbox One versions.

When you get to the end of a Nephalem Rift, there's always a huge battle with a strong boss monster. Even with both of us lighting up the screen with all of our abilities and projectiles flying in every direction, the Switch didn't flinch a bit. 

Blizzard has yet to reveal a date, but Diablo 3: Eternal Collection is due this fall for $60. It's already available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC for the same price.

As for whether this means other Blizzard titles could be headed to the Switch, we have no confirmation, though Blizzard did tell our sister site GameSpot that "anything is a possibility" when asked about a potential Overwatch release for the portable console.

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