Games

11.05.16 / in Games

The Witcher 3 : Wild Hunt

Gameplay

The dichotomy of beauty and violence has always been a driving theme in The Witcher series. The Northern Realms' gorgeous vistas are dotted with war-torn battlefields, kindness--no matter how fleeting it may be--is often juxtaposed with savagery, and even the warmest characters have a cold and calculated side to them. That neverending tug-of-war is ever-present in The Witcher 3, even when its stripped-down visuals may obscure some of that beauty.

Everything is here in the Nintendo Switch version--The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, its two expansions, Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine, and all of its DLC. The main game alone offers dozens of superb quests filled with interesting characters, fantastic twists, and rewarding combat encounters. As Kevin VanOrd said in GameSpot's original review, "Excellence abounds at every turn in this open-world role-playing game." The same is mostly true for the Nintendo Switch version.



As you'd expect, the visuals have been pared down significantly. The textures are muddied, the draw-distances are reined in, and the resolution has taken a hit. These issues are exacerbated during docked play. While it technically runs at a higher frame rate and resolution docked, these visual issues are all the more noticeable when projected onto a larger screen.

The standard Nintendo Switch's 6.2-inch screen does a great job of hiding the blemishes. Even though it's running at a lower resolution, the smaller screen gives it a much crisper look, so the poor textures and pop-in are less apparent. If you do plan on playing it in handheld mode, you can, thankfully, adjust the size of the HUD to make things easier to read.

For returning players, the visual downgrade may require some getting used to. However, focusing solely on The Witcher 3's visuals does this port a disservice. Four years later, the game is still massive in scope, and seeing the battle-scarred swamps of Velen, jagged peaks of Skellige, and sprawling countryside of Toussaint on a technically inferior platform is still a sight to behold.

More importantly, the grittier look of the Switch port doesn't affect The Witcher 3's core gameplay. The combat and exploration may be smoother on a PC, Xbox One X, or PS4 Pro, but I found performance to be consistent throughout a wide variety of combat encounters and locales. After nearly 30 hours, I haven't experienced any significant frame rate dips. Even the swamps in Velen--an area notorious for causing frame rate issues on PS4 and Xbox One--are comparable to the rest of the experience on Switch. According to developer CD Projekt Red, the frame rate should range between 24 and 30 frames per second. In populated areas like Novigrad, the frame rate dipped to the lower end of that range. Given the slower pace of The Witcher 3, I never found these dips to be an issue, even in the heat of combat.

The Witcher 3's visual prowess may have been a selling point for some in 2015, but the Nintendo Switch version is a reminder that there is far more to this adventure than a pretty picture. Even today, there are few games that can rival the storytelling and worldbuilding on display here. Nothing is as simple as it seems, and every thread you pull on reveals enticing new details about this world and its characters.

A large network of solutions and their consequences is as impressive as 2015. Even though it wasn't obvious in your first game, your small and big actions can have serious consequences even if you try. the right thing. Even more impressive is how well this path is separated and how it performs and through the main tasks and side tasks. Even though many designs are sweeter, no one feels retarded.

Where The Witcher 3 continues to shine lies in many of its very human stories. While the political aspects of the world's main story and the figures that inhabit it provide context, Geralt's interactions with its inhabitants add to the weight of the experience. Not good or bad. There are only people who struggle to find hope in a depressed world. Many searches raise questions like: Are you going to hurt others for your loved ones? Can the most evil man also be forgiven? How far can fear drive someone?

Great story continues in both game extensions. Heart of stone, blood and wine. Although these two extensions are not needed for the main story, they are considered as additions to the Geralt story. In particular, Blood and Wine are heartbroken for the story of the series. If you return to the game and just want to try it, you can go right there after the first loading.

Even though Nintendo Switch might not be the best platform for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, it's still a fantastic experience that you shouldn't miss. If you want to play The Witcher 3 again and look for details and beauty, the switch port might not itch. However, what makes this game so great is not the graphics, but the powerful stories it tells, which are more lively than before on the Switch.

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