The Witcher 3 is a phenomenal game.
While it had some issues upon its launch way back in 2015, most of them have since been ironed out. And some of its key strengths, such as brilliant quest design, haven’t been diminished with time. With the arrival of new consoles and tech, however, CD Projekt Red has sought to make The Witcher 3 even more relevant to modern audiences, and the game’s latest update goes beyond just improving the game’s performance and visuals.
We’ve been playing the PS5 version of The Witcher 3, which will be a free upgrade to those who already own the game on PS4. And for those who have played the PS4 version, some of the benefits of this next-gen upgrade will be instantly apparent. Play in Performance mode and though the visuals are only subtly improved, the gameplay is silky smooth at 60fps. It’s our preferred way to play, with the little graphical flourishes found in the game’s world still being able to impress, and everything from combat to exploration being enhanced thanks to the extra fluidity.
For those who are all about the visuals, however, The Witcher 3‘s new Ray Tracing graphical preset certainly adds to the game’s atmosphere. The visuals are sharper, and enhancements to shadows and effects made the whole experience more immersive than ever. Being locked at 30fps isn’t all that terrible here, either, as it isn’t the fastest-paced game in the world. And while we feel like we’ve only scratched the surface of this next-gen version so far, we haven’t noticed any drops that should cause concern.
As mentioned though, the enhancements for this next-gen version of The Witcher 3 don’t start and end with tweaks to visuals and performance. CD Projekt Red has also taken this opportunity to make what some consider its Magnum Opus also feel a little more modern. Geralt is now more manoeuvrable, for example, allowing you to move through the world with a little more finesse. And other improvements include quick Sign casting and the instant looting of herbs.
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Not all the changes here may be welcomed by some players, however. By default, the camera is now much closer to Geralt, for example, making your exploits with him a little more intimate at the cost of environmental awareness. You’re not stuck with the change though; simply go into the game’s options and you can revert back to the old camera if you wish, and even have separate settings for exploration and combat. In fact, it’s worth having a good look at all the settings available and having a play with them, as your experience can be changed in some rather meaningful ways.
Ultimately, there are a wealth of improvements that make this the ultimate version of The Witcher 3. A new photo mode will please those who like to document their game journeys, while cross-platform progression is great for those who own the game on more than one format. And then there’s the inclusion of bonus content that will particularly tickle the fancy of those who have the enjoyed the Netflix adaptation of the series. PS5 gamers get some exclusive features, too, such as Activity Card, Game Help and DualSense support.
It’s hard to see why anyone would be disappointed with this upgraded version of The Witcher 3. For those who have yet to embark on Geralt’s latest and greatest adventure, the experience has just got even more intuitive and visually pleasing for them. And while there are no dramatic changes here, all of the little cumulative enhancements and gameplay tweaks may be enough to entice those who have played through The Witcher 3 before to do so yet again.
In any case, if you already own The Witcher 3 on PS4, Xbox One or PC, you get the respective next-gen upgrade for free, so there’s no harm in giving it a go. And all formats get an update containing at least some of the enhancements mentioned here. It’s certainly spurred us on to play The Witcher 3 yet again, and we’re excited to spend tens of hours in its world. Once we’re done, perhaps we’ve have a brand new review, because this a certainly a different game to what it was some seven years ago.