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‘Diablo 3’ brings delightful despair to the Nintendo Switch

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Diablo 3 is one of the most enrapturing games of all time.

With the third installment of its gothic dungeon crawling series, Blizzard Entertainment created a masterpiece that continues to completely engross the brain six years into its life. The release of Diablo 3 and its expansions on Nintendo Switch is the perfect excuse to revisit one of the greatest games of all time.

I jumped into the Nintendo Switch version of Diablo 3 and sunk more than a dozen hours into the game within just a couple of days. Despite having played through the story and beyond a handful of times since its PC release in 2012, Diablo 3 pulled me in again, except this time I could play it anywhere I wanted.

Running through demons like a hot knife through butter.

Running through demons like a hot knife through butter.

Image: mashable / blizzard entertainment

A world worth visiting

Diablo 3 is set in the fantasy world of Sanctuary, standing on the precipice of a demonic invasion. A star has fallen near the bleak town of New Tristram and the dead are rising. A hero has been sent to investigate the situation.

The despair of Diablo 3 is unceasing

A tale unfolds, with twists and turns and rising stakes that ends with an all-out war between the forces of heaven and hell as Diablo, the Prime Evil, seeks to destroy the home of the angels.

Diablo 3 weaves through setting after dire setting, delving into torture dungeons devised by a mad king, a city beset by death with bodies choking buildings and streets, and even the streets of the High Heavens itself where angels, hopeless against the onslaught of hell, stand impaled by knotted black spikes.

The settings are stunningly macabre.

The settings are stunningly macabre.

Image: mashable / blizzard entertainment

The despair of Diablo 3 is unceasing, only mitigated in fleeting moments by the hero’s accomplishments against seemingly insurmountable evils.

In any other context, the content might be too much, too overwhelming, but the backbone of Diablo 3 turns the dismal setting into a beautiful, cathartic orchestra of progression that is unmatched by almost every game that has come before or after.

The evils of hell are relentless.

The evils of hell are relentless.

Image: mashable / blizzard entertainment

The magic of Diablo

Playing Diablo 3 is like sitting at the edge of the ocean’s tide, with its cool, calm waves of salt water lapping over your legs to relieve the sun’s skin-sizzling heat. 

The heat is wave after wave of demon, cultist, and crazed beast in Diablo, and the relieving water is the game’s steady stream of new abilities and item upgrades.

While the story of Diablo 3 is entertaining on its own, the magic of Diablo lies in this progression that continues long after the story wraps.

There's nothing more satisfying than a powerful Corpse Explosion.

There’s nothing more satisfying than a powerful Corpse Explosion.

Image: mashable / blizzard entertainment

As the hero of Diablo 3 levels up, the difficulty of enemies scales up right alongside them. New levels bring new abilities and passive upgrades that allow players to sculpt their hero to their own personal playstyle. Trying out new combos of moves to find the perfect balance keeps the game interesting even after dozens of hours of playing as the same character.

It’s an intensely gratifying feeling

The secret sauce is the random loot that drops from elite enemies, treasure chests, and giant bosses. Sure, new abilities are fun, but the joy of Diablo bubbles up from the feeling of power that comes from earning a legendary item that gives you such a large stat boost that previously difficult hordes of enemies suddenly turn into walking cannon fodder.

Enemies drop like flies when you get a good legendary item.

Enemies drop like flies when you get a good legendary item.

Image: mashable / blizzard entertainment

In the lead up to a boss fight, it may take a handful of powerful attacks to take down an elite enemy, but if a legendary weapon drops, all of a sudden those enemies that used to give you pause go down within a second.

It’s an intensely gratifying feeling. Happening upon an especially powerful item is akin to being used to cutting grass with scissors and all of a sudden being handed a lawnmower.

At times Diablo 3 is difficult, but persistence and patience will always reward players with that sweet nectar of power, allowing players to dig deeper into the game and its endlessly satisfying endgame content. The challenge never really ends with 17 levels of difficulty and new seasons that introduce new challenges.

Diablo on Nintendo Switch

Just as Diablo succeeds on other platforms, it succeeds on Nintendo Switch with a few added bonuses.

The most obvious bonus is the fact that Diablo 3 can be played in both home console mode and handheld mode, which is a first for any Blizzard game. In fact, Diablo 3‘s arrival on the Switch is the first time a Blizzard game has hit a Nintendo console since the Nintendo 64 version of StarCraft in 2000. 

I did this on the train to work.

I did this on the train to work.

Image: mashable / blizzard entertainment

If you don’t have Nintendo’s online service, you still have access to Diablo 3 leaderboards and can still play local co-op (either using the same console or a couple of consoles near each other. That means LAN parties just got a whole lot easier.

The Switch version of Diablo 3 also comes with some console-exclusive cosmetics, including a dark purple pair of ethereal wings inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, a pet cucco (chicken) from Zelda, and the option to transmogrify all of your gear to look like the primary Zelda villain Ganondorf.

You know I put on those wings and had that cucco follow me around all game and watch me destroy the most evil and powerful demons from hell.

Check out my wings and cucco. My flair is unrivaled.

Check out my wings and cucco. My flair is unrivaled.

Image: mashable / blizzard entertainment

Having played the game on PC on and off for so many years, it took a couple hours to get used to playing a hack and slash dungeon crawler with a controller, but I sunk right into the game just like I’ve done half a dozen times before.

It continues to be one of the best games I’ve ever played, no matter what system it’s on.

Diablo 3 invades the Nintendo Switch on Nov. 2. 

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