When I heard that CD Projekt Red and Saber Interactive were bringing The Witcher 3 to Switch, I had my share of concerns on how the device will handle everything from graphics to performance. The game originally released in 2015 but it’s as gorgeous as any other today, so how does it translate on the less powerful Switch system?
Let’s cut to the chase: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition feels like it was made to be played on handheld. If you really want to experience the visuals at its best, do yourself a favor and play any other version, especially if you prioritize graphics above all. Now that doesn’t mean Switcher is unplayable docked. If you’re not too picky about graphics it’s still a fine way to experience the RPG, especially if it’s your first time playing, but keep in mind that you’re missing out from some of the finer details—from splendid sceneries to Geralt’s luscious hair. Just sayin’.
The Witcher 3 runs at 720P (1280×720) while docked and 540P (960×540) in handheld mode. While the resolution and framerate are better in docked mode, playing on a larger screen makes the blemishes and blurs more apparent, and they’re that much more noticeable if you’ve played any of the other versions at 1080P or higher. Handheld mode performs at a lower resolution and framerate but it isn’t nearly as apparent while playing on a smaller screen.
For those who really can’t stand blur and motion blur effects the option is there to keep them off, but after messing with them I found that I actually prefer having both on while playing handheld. There are several options to tweak, including the option to scale and adjust the HUD, however, regardless of settings you will notice some hiccups here and there for cutscenes and other parts of the game that gets crowded with buildings such as cities.
Switcher runs at 30fps so its action animations aren’t as smooth as the other versions, but after playing for a few hours the gameplay pretty much felt the same. I also felt that it was a bigger deal that it stayed consistent while battling multiple enemies and it does just fine in that front. I was surprised to see that the game doesn’t suffer from harsh framerate drops that often, regardless of what you’re fighting and where.
The game’s file size is close to a whopping 30GB but keep in mind that a lot of compression was done to make that happen with the sheer amount of content from the base game and its expansions. Unfortunately that comes with some loss in quality, notably from textures and sound, but again, these downsides aren’t as obvious while playing handheld mode, if you needed another reason to do so.
The Witcher 3 looks amazing on PC and higher-end consoles but its story, character interactions, and quests offer more than enough to carry its own to enjoy without the need of higher-end graphics. Heck, it’s just awesome to have the option to play The Witcher 3 while being lazy on the couch or bed.
Food for Thought
- The water looks great
- Geralt looks great
- Geralt in water looks great
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition is currently available for Nintendo Switch. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.