There’s a lot to say about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, even four years on from its original launch, and there already is. To this day, CD Projekt RED’s most recent action-RPG (until Cyberpunk 2077 comes out in a few months, anyway) continues to inspire new discussions about it, whether it’s studying the status its as one of the most critically acclaimed papers. -players all the time or just list some of its coolest features.
Because of that, it’s almost pointless to spend another entire review talking about it now that The Witcher 3 Complete Edition is on the Nintendo Switch. Of course, though, many interested players haven’t had a chance to try the game for themselves, or are new to gaming in general, so they want to know if it’s worth their time.
Short answer: if they’re interested in dark fantasy role-playing in a vast open world combined with deeply complex gameplay and narrative systems, along with dozens of hours of such content, then, yes, certainly Beyond that, however, they may seriously consider making the Switch their platform of choice, as this new version, aside from including the game and its DLC at no extra cost, may be the best option to experience the grand story. of monster-hunter-for-hire Geralt of Rivia.
That might seem like a strange thing to say, because this is The Witcher 3 we’re talking about, one of the biggest games ever set in one of the most detailed and content-rich virtual worlds ever created. The technical demands of running such a game could easily be forgiven for thinking it couldn’t even run on Nintendo’s console/handheld hybrid, stripped down as it is next to the relative powerhouses that are most gaming PCs , the PS4, and the Xbox One, the platforms the game was designed for.
That’s what makes this port so remarkable, because not only does The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt run on Switch, it runs well. really good.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: there are some notable downgrades that Saber Interactive, the studio behind The Witcher 3’s Switch port, had to do to make it work. This is clearly visible in the visuals. Not only is the resolution reduced (limited to 720p when the Switch is docked), draw distances are slightly smaller, texture pop-ins are consistent, and the framerate drops noticeably at times, especially in locations with a high number of NPCs (such as the bustling city of Novigrad) and in cutscenes with more dynamic camera movements and character animations.
Interestingly, however, that’s about as bad as it gets. As far as downgrades go, they don’t really do anything to detract from the core gameplay experience. Even the aforementioned framerate dips were never severe enough to be a real detriment. That’s incredibly impressive for a game with constantly changing weather, a full day/night cycle, and lots of villages and cities full of active NPCs, the kind of stuff that really gets -drag down performance even on high-end gaming machines. What’s more, thanks to the visual downgrades, The Witcher 3 loads faster on Switch than on other consoles, not by much, but enough to make the repetitive fast more tolerable that travel all over the map in the long run.
The long and short of it then is that even on a less powerful console that barely fits it without a microSD card, The Witcher 3 is the same game it always was in all the ways that mattered. And now that it’s on the Switch, that game can now be taken anywhere, a feature that’s sure to appeal to some new and old fans more than just the optimal graphical fidelity.
For newcomers who haven’t had a chance to read it, then, it helps to offer a quick refresher on what The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is all about. The game takes place in a world where the best solution for the persistent monster problem is witches, people empowered through secret rituals with heightened senses and the ability to use basic magic in battle . Among the few witches left when the story begins, Geralt of Rivia is among the best, roaming the land in search of new monster hunting contracts and dealing with people who view witches as mutants, often with his swords.
Despite being the third game in the series, it does a great job of keeping newcomers up to speed on existing plot-threads related to Geralt’s main story and his personal quest to find his adopted daughter Ciri , a fellow witch and source. of great power, before the deadly band of wraiths known as the Wild Hunt. While engaging and well told, it’s the only plot that ties together everything the game has to offer.
In the many, many primary and secondary adventures the game offers, Geralt encounters a large cast of characters with unique stories to tell in a world plagued by the evils of humanity as much as by magical forces. They give players plenty of opportunities to choose how it unfolds, leading to adventures that can go a number of ways. Unlike many RPGs that incorporate flexible narratives, where the player’s choices are usually cut-and-dry good or bad, The Witcher 3 delights in keeping things ambiguous, with seemingly innocent choices that often result in Geralt making things worse for the people around him.
This keeps the role-playing aspect of the game interesting, as it really encourages players to think hard and consider not only the potential consequences of their decisions, but how the version of Geralt that they have developed through their playthrough will lean on anything given. situation. It returns to the strong narrative foundation that makes The Witcher 3’s world such a joy to explore, even in its more bleak or repetitive moments.
Even after dozens of hours of completing quests, getting monster contracts, hunting for treasure, collecting new gear, playing a few rounds of Gwent, and exploring the vast wilderness in a great big gameplay loop, one is never far from either an interesting bit. of dialogue with a random NPC or a random piece of fantastic worldbuilding found in the middle of nowhere. There is always an interesting story out there to discover.
It helps that The Witcher 3 has a lot of depth when it comes to the gameplay itself. It’s the most profitable of the combat system, allowing players to elevate the fairly basic swordplay with Geralt’s combat spells known as Signs and a mix of alchemy-based potions and bombs that come with a number of unique effect. Add to that the various abilities and perks that can be equipped and upgraded as a level, and the game gives players tons of ways to customize Geralt.
There’s a lot to worry about right now, like weapon durability, inventory weight limits, potion toxicity, etc. but the game does a good job of keeping health and item management organized. This is good, because The Witcher 3 is a real slow burn of a game. Since leveling up is tied to completing quests, players can take a long time to reach a new level and unlock new upgrades if they choose to wander around and fight random enemies for hours. It helps then that the game largely allows players to maintain forward momentum without having to backtrack so often.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the game is perfect. Today Technology’s original review for The Witcher 3 covered this topic well, but to quickly recap, there were a number of glitches that popped up from time to time, such as enemies cutting off parts of the map and NPCs that suddenly disappear in cutscenes. Additionally, the game, for all its intentions to tell a dark mature story, sometimes overdoes the violence and sex in ways that the rest of the plot feels like. However, these are pretty few and far between, and for the most part, the story here keeps things engaging throughout.
There’s a reason why The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is considered one of the greatest action-RPGs ever made. The world is brilliantly realized, everything from the gameplay to the story contains great depth, and it gives players the power to make a significant impact on the world through the choices they make. And with arguably the most impressive Switch port of any game to date, players have a whole new way to experience CD Projekt RED’s massive hit, one that may be the preferred way for those who experience a slightly reduced which are visuals.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is available for PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One. Today Technology was provided with a Switch code for this review.