The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was originally released back in 2015 on Xbox One. It became one of my favorite games of the generation with its well-written, mature storytelling in a dark fantasy world. Seemingly non-stop since release CDProjekt Red has been tweaking, upgrading, and fixing every issue they could find with the game. Now we get a native Xbox Series version that gets you every piece of content ever made for the game and a breathtaking graphical overhaul.
Space and Time
This will be a short overview of the game, as it has been out for years and was even available in Game Pass for a while. The Witcher 3 is a massive, gorgeous, and brilliant RPG. The combat may be floaty, and the movement at times can be frustrating but it is a masterpiece of an experience otherwise. The combat consists of almost Batman Arkham-like combat, but nowhere near as hard-hitting. X is a quick attack, and Y is heavy. You’ll have a steel sword for people, and a silver one for monsters. As Geralt of Rivia, you will press B to dodge thousands of times throughout your playthrough and see lots of butts and breasts while doing so.
Geralt is a Witcher, most of you know him, Ciri, and Yennefer from the recent show on Netflix. These versions of the characters are CDPR’s own, and vary greatly from the books and slightly from the show. You will make choices that change the fates of countries and either help or hurt those who matter to you most. It is a brilliant, mature, horny tale that is worth its lengthy playthrough. Included in the Complete Edition package are both expansion DLCs. Heart of Stone is quite good, but Blood & Wine is my favorite video game expansion ever. Alongside these meaty pieces of content are a plethora of DLCs that were made available over the years both from the devs themselves and a few community mods such as high-resolution texture packs are included.
It does help to know the story from two previous titles, and there are several handy breakdowns available online to aid you if you never played them. Cross-save has been added in with the use of a GoG.com account, and the UI has been improved to help things such as swapping your magic signs more easily. For those of you with the talent a photo mode is now included, but the big thing here is the graphical upgrades for Xbox Series consoles.
The Beauty of Blavikin
Back at launch The Witcher 3 was a great-looking game, on PC. The Xbox One and PS4 struggled mightily at times, even just at only thirty frames per second. The One X saw a patch that unlocked the framerate and upped the graphics to a more appreciable level. What we have now with this Xbox Series version is remarkable and looks better than I remember the game ever doing on PC. Texture quality, draw distance, character models, lighting, and more are all redone either by CDPR or by integrating well-made fan mods. I started out using the ray tracing mode, which limits the game to thirty fps but adds in ray-traced lighting and shadows (On PC you get reflections as well).
After half an hour or so I couldn’t take it anymore. Things are too slow and muddy though the visual clarity during movement does improve once you turn off motion blur. Performance mode looks better in motion at all times, and outside of comparative screenshots, I didn’t notice any downgrade in visual quality. I’ve beaten the game a few times in the past and going through the most challenging areas I never noticed a drop in performance. Once in quality mode in the sewer section of a major city, I did see some stutter when looking in a specific direction full of dense fog. Other than that it was silky smooth and looked stunning.
The price goes up to $50 which is a lot for a game this old. If you haven’t played the game yet this is the best time to get into it. While texture clipping and some movement issues will always be found it is a far cleaner package than it was back at launch. In typical CDPR fashion, all who already own the game will get a free upgrade to the Game of the Year edition, which means you get the expansions as well. It’s a great move and par for the course with them.
The Witcher 3 is nearly a masterpiece. If the combat and movement were better it would be for me. As is this is one of the best experiences in gaming, and everyone should play this version of it.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Next-Gen Edition
Xbox Series X
- Incredible Writing
- Great Music
- Massive in Scope
- Consistent in its quality
- Combat is floaty
- Buggier than I remember