The Witcher 3 Next-Gen Review: Customize one of the greatest RPGs of all time

The “next-gen” upgrade for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is almost here, and I’ve spent a few days playing through the first few hours of the game (very leisurely) to see how it’s like. I have good news: it is indeed a complete one witcher 3 Experience with some slight quality of life improvements and a significant graphical upgrade. It also still serves as the pinnacle of RPG design in that it still makes other games seem even more sinister by comparison.

The update I’ve been playing on PlayStation 5 rests on three main pillars: visual upgrades, several fan mods that have been integrated into the actual game, and some new DLCs that integrate Netflix aesthetics The Witcher series into play.

The visual updates offer a performance mode that locks the game at 60 frames per second. They’re good frames, and while I know PC gamers have been living in this world for a while, you can’t beat the experience of kicking back on the couch and watching Geralt of Rivia pirouettes as he slices Drowners in half. It’s also great outside of the action. Watching Geralt’s facial expressions at 60 fps on a big 4K TV is mesmerizing. His signature ‘hrmms’ and ‘uh-huhs’, with their attendant slight changes in expression, have always been at the core of his character; There’s a cleanliness to the game’s lines and movement in Performance mode that makes these things stand out and make them all the more stylized, with well-defined edges and a slightly softer palette in between.

An aerial view of the Duchy of Toussaint in the Blood and Wind DLC in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on Xbox Series X

Image: CD Projekt Red

It also doesn’t hurt that Performance mode never got fans to engage in my PS5. In contrast, whenever Geralt even thought about talking to townspeople or galloping Roach through a monster-infested swamp on my last-gen playthroughs, it sounded like my PS4 launching into orbit.

However, I wasn’t nearly as impressed with the update’s 30fps ray tracing mode. I’m not sure if it was an interaction with my TV or an actual frame rate issue, but turning on fidelity-focused mode seemed to introduce some real stuttering. Even stranger, in an early cutscene with the sorceress Yennefer, it seemed like the audio sync with the character models was completely broken (pausing the cutscene and switching back to the performance fixed it immediately). I didn’t leave it on much other than just to see how things looked with the big light changes.

As I continue my iteration of the game on this newer console, I’ll leave it in performance mode, if only because it allows the game to play to its strengths. Geralt’s world is a world, and the new 4K textures, with their rich greens and troubled browns, provide a beautiful backdrop against which Geralt and his crew stand out. Whatever light ray tracing is called here is just the right amount without interfering with the movement of anything. Velen has always been mostly swamp, but inside The witcher 3In the new 2022 incarnation, the swamps take on an ethereal appearance – almost like petroleum jelly being poured over the wilderness. fantasy Vaseline.

Geralt of Rivia takes on a minotaur-like monster in the next-gen upgrade of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for PS5

Image: CD Projekt Red

Improved graphics, mods that make inventory management and map navigation a little easier, and a few extra DLCs are all good. But I’m not sure if they’re the explosive thrill of returning The witcher 3 in the year 2022. These are elements that might tempt you to repeat, or if you’re lucky, your first foray into the interlocking worlds of commoners, creatures, immortals, and lords that Geralt weaves through. They might get you in the door, but they’re not party.

The party – by which I mean the massive political and interplanar story that unfolds within The witcher 3 – is still incredible and still manages to outperform the vast majority of other open world RPGs (most other gamesreally) seem lacking in comparison.

Let’s take White Orchard as an example. It’s the first area of ​​the game and serves as both a catch-up for veterans of the franchise and a tutorial for new players. Geralt and his pseudo-father Vesemir are trying to meet their old friend Yennefer in the middle of a war zone, and she wasn’t where she told them she would be. You’re on a quest and instantly become involved with things witchers do: there’s a griffin to hunt and local politics to navigate, and the hunters must find a solution that satisfies both. The White Orchard portion of the game lasts less than two hours (quicker for others), but it’s absolutely jam-packed with information about the world and the goals of its characters, big and small. We get to know the nations that are at war. We learn about their politics and who might rise to power if the invaders win. We see inefficiencies and hopes for a better future, and we see old prejudices persist and new ones emerge.

The witchers Ciri and Geralt of Rivia lean against a tree trunk in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt next-gen upgrade for Xbox Series X

Image: CD Projekt Red

Geralt lives in a place designed like any game location has ever been, and what’s more, he’s fed up with it. Through it we learn to grow weary of ourselves and can resent the short-sightedness of its inhabitants. It was amazing to me how quickly I got absorbed back into this fantasy world after I thought I was done and totally over it, having last repeated it (I think) a few years ago. The upgrades help with that sense of character alignment and sitting in fiction – the UI is now more unobtrusive, and there’s a new efficiency to menu navigation that makes the whole thing much quicker to navigate – but that won’t keep people engaged in the next few weeks or even months. That magic was there all along.

Oddly enough, the predominant thought that haunted me while playing The witcher 3 again it was actually about a different game. I was thinking about it Cyberpunk 2077that I played earlier this year and how little it played up to the achievements of The witcher 3. A strength of Geralt’s adventure is how little it really has to do with him. He’s in some important rooms and meets makers and makers, but warriors live and die without him. dynasties fall. Monsters kill the weak. The mechanics of life happen and he doesn’t have to be there to see it all unfold – that’s what makes his story so compelling. He’s a hero when he’s around, and he’ll move or shake as needed, but his world isn’t powered by a protagonist. It’s a humble fantasy, or at least presents itself as one, and in contrast Cyberpunk 2077 was so self-centered on the player’s part that it seemed like people didn’t exist unless they were in my field of vision. In this game, history happened so that protagonist V could be there to inherit. Geralt is almost anonymous in comparison.

The next-gen upgrade will make that available to more people, and I’m looking forward to that. But it left me with a melancholic feeling about where we’ve been and, given the future of The Witcher franchise, where a post-cyberpunk Witcher game could go. I hope that CD Projekt Red’s 2015 RPG and not the one released in 2020 will be the foundation to build on.

The next-gen upgrade for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be released on December 16th on PlayStation 5, Windows PC and Xbox Series X. The game has been verified on PS5 with a pre-release download code provided by CD Projekt Red. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions on products purchased through affiliate links. You can find For more information on Polygon’s Ethics Policy, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *