When I first played The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I remember how pretty the game looked and how detailed it was compared to other games at the time. Its story, quests, and cast of characters made for an action RPG that kept your attention all through its 100-some hours. I never truly completed it, but its recent Next-Gen update makes it easy to pick it up again.
Let’s not forget The Witcher 3 is a 7-year-old game. CD Projekt Red didn’t need to spend time working on this update, but in doing so brings a renewed relevance to a game that has seen plenty of awards, downloadable content, and even a Netflix show that continues to reach new audiences. The results are quite good and enhance an already incredible experience.
- Beautifully updated visuals bring new life to a 7-year-old game;
- Quality-of-life improvements enhance the overall experience;
- It’s still The Witcher 3—a fun, thrilling, and engaging action RPG that gives you hours of fun.
- Ray Tracing mode slows down the framerate too much.
The standout element of this update is that the game looks amazingly more realistic thanks to updated textures, lighting, and two different modes that give you an elevated experience to your gameplay. Geralt of Rivia has never looked so good, and even his armor glistens in the sunlight while the leather straps of his gear stand out against the cloth of his shirt. It is these details that make the people (and monsters) you meet feel more real than ever. Even the environment seems more alive as fields have more vegetation and trees look fuller as they sway in the wind.
CD Projekt Red’s free update overhauls the Witcher 3’s graphics, fine-tunes some familiar features, and offers you a nostalgic experience that feels new at times but just as good as you last left it.
On the PlayStation 5, you can choose between a silky-smooth Performance mode and a more detailed Ray Tracing option. The latter gives you a more sluggish 30 fps experience, but you do get more detailed enhancements as a payoff. Personally, I preferred Performance mode’s 60 fps especially during battles when all I cared about was outmaneuvering my enemies. The great thing about both modes, though, is that they completely enhance the mood of the game with added fog and weather effects that give certain areas a new sense of dread and intrigue. It’s impressive a game so old can still give you something to gawk at.
Besides just improved graphics, the update also brings with it a tighter camera angle meaning you can focus more on the action in front of you. It’s not always great for encounters that have many enemies coming at you from all sides, so you can thankfully revert it back if you need to. Casting spells is also a lot easier as you can set quick-cast spells using the right shoulder button rather than going to the menu to select one each time. So, while the essence of the Witcher 3’s combat system stays the same, these small but potent enhancements give you a more fluid experience you never knew you needed.
On top of these improvements, the update also offers a couple of new quests that provide a tie-in with the Netflix series. These quests are short but are a nice touch that reward you with new outfits and blueprints that let you don Henry Cavill’s garb from the show. Additional mods also make some light tweaks to the base game, though these won’t change your original experience too much. You still get a solid RPG filled with the highs and lows of combat and a character customization system that lets you play to your style.
Worth Playing Again?
Our reviews are featured on Metacritic.
Overall, CD Projekt Red’s free update overhauls the Witcher 3’s graphics, fine-tunes some familiar features, and offers you a nostalgic experience that feels new at times but just as good as you last left it. Is it worth playing it all again? That answer really is up to you, but if it’s been some time since your last foray into Wild Hunt, then you will appreciate the tweaks that make this version the definitive experience.
For those who have yet to play this masterpiece, its $50 price tag is totally justified for the amount of content you get. The updated visuals create an impressively beautiful world paired with a story that has characters and a world you will be drawn to. The Witcher 3 may be reaching a 10th anniversary soon, but fans new and old can celebrate early thanks to this welcome update.
Giancarlo Saldana | Gamepressure.com