You might be able to play 99% of the Diablo III content on Switch elsewhere, but it might not be your preference.
The rash of excitement around a new Switch port has predictable detractions: “I played that already—when it came out in 2012!” “You say that about every late port.” “Wake me up when there are NEW games.” In some respects, those critics are right on the money, but I’m sitting here some time after the reveal of Diablo III coming to Switch excited for a game I never really paid any mind to when it came out in PC in 2012, to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2013, and PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2014. No, it’s the Switch version six years after the game’s debut that is making me excited and anticipating Diablo III when it hits Switch on November 2, 2018, more than 2300 days since its debut.
That feeling was only amplified after recently spending some time playing as an overpowered character in a demo of the Switch version of Diablo III. The demo didn’t show off any crazy new Switch exclusive content (though there’s that sick Ganondorf armor and the Cucco pet). It didn’t even highlight the 60 frames-per-second handheld experience or the four-player co-op on one system or the reportedly-easy-to-get-into four-player wireless LAN multiplayer. The demo was just a few minutes of slaying enemies on a TV with an optimized presentation more ideal for Switch. Diablo III on Switch is just that: Diablo III on Switch.
The fact that I’m excited for a 2012 game releasing on Switch in 2018 (even if it has the updates and DLC added since launch) all strikes me as weird, so I figured I’d try to elucidate the whys and wherefores of my personal Switch predilection in a way that might help shine a light on why these ports are fun.
First off, I love portable games. From a period of probably 2010 to 2016, my most played systems were, hands down, the DS and 3DS by a large margin. I still played Wii and Wii U, and over those years had moments playing PS3, PS4, and Xbox One, but the 3DS was my constant. I kept that system on me basically wherever I went and I plowed through current releases, DS games I missed, Virtual Console games, and more. The 3DS is still to this day my favorite system of all time. The generation-spanning library is a large part of that, but I also love playing games portably.
Sometimes that does involve playing while out of the house, whether on public transit, during lunchtime at work, or while having any bursts of downtime. Other times it was while watching TV at home or maybe it was just sitting on my couch with my cats and dog. The 3DS was a versatile system that fit into almost any situation I wanted to play it in.
While the Switch isn’t quite as portable as the 3DS, it’s the heir apparent to a lot of other ways I played Nintendo’s last dedicated handheld. The Switch fits nicely into my everyday life in a way that Wii U, PS4, and Xbox One don’t. Honestly, most of the time I even play Xbox One is when my wife plays Switch portably. People all play differently, but outside of certain games, I’d rather play the Switch handheld rather than on the TV. That’s how I roll.
The next big reason why I like this whole Switch port trend is: all my friends are on Switch. Maybe it’s the nature of the beast of writing for a Nintendo website, but my Xbox friends list is a weird amalgamation of people I don’t know or went to high school or college with (and the people I don’t know might be people I knew in high school or college?) and my PlayStation friends list is similar just a few years newer. My Switch friends list is packed with people I know from NWR and other places and if I want to play multiplayer, that’s the place to do it. This is especially important for a game like Diablo.
Throw in the word out of Blizzard that they’re maybe sort-of looking into crossplay and that broadens the friends list even more. Crossplay is amazing because it breaks down barriers and lets everyone pick their preferred system and roll. It’s also awesome that Diablo III on Switch includes all of the prior content and will even hop into the season content with Season 15 when it launches. So, potentially, you could pick up the Switch version of Diablo III and, in the likely/hopeful future, blast your way through content with your buddy who’s been playing since 2012 on PC, your pal on Xbox who’s had the game since 2014, and—well let’s get real: Sony will probably still be dicks about it.
What I love the most about the prospect of these Switch ports is that they simply offer versatility to game-playing experiences. Yes, to me, I’d rather play something like The World Ends With You on a DS, but now this cult classic is accessible on Switch. Starlink might ultimately end up running smoother on Xbox One or PS4, but the Switch version has that Star Fox swag. I might not be chomping at the bit to replay all those Final Fantasy games, but it’s cool that they’re coming to Switch to reach a Nintendo audience they’ve mostly never been available to before.
Not every port needs to be something that excites you personally, and that extends to all platforms, not just Switch. I just know I like all these disparate games coming to Switch, be they Bethesda games, Diablo III, or Civilization VI. I like this library filling up to reach a different style of the generation-spanning delight I had with the 3DS. You might have played a hundred hours of Diablo III on PC, and hey, now maybe we will be able to play together when I (time permitting) drop a hundred hours into Diablo III on the Switch in November.