Review | The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Next-Gen Edition on Series X|S

Originally published at: Review | The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Next-Gen Edition on Series X|S - XboxEra

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was originally released back in 2015 on Xbox One.  It became one of my favorite games of the generation with its well-written, mature storytelling in a dark fantasy world. Seemingly non-stop since release CDProjekt Red has been tweaking, upgrading, and fixing every issue they could find with the game.  Now we get a native Xbox Series version that gets you every piece of content ever made for the game and a breathtaking graphical overhaul.

Space and Time

This will be a short overview of the game, as it has been out for years and was even available in Game Pass for a while. The Witcher 3 is a massive, gorgeous, and brilliant RPG.  The combat may be floaty, and the movement at times can be frustrating but it is a masterpiece of an experience otherwise.  The combat consists of almost Batman Arkham-like combat, but nowhere near as hard-hitting.  X is a quick attack, and Y is heavy.  You’ll have a steel sword for people, and a silver one for monsters.  As Geralt of Rivia, you will press B to dodge thousands of times throughout your playthrough and see lots of butts and breasts while doing so.

Geralt is a Witcher, most of you know him, Ciri, and Yennefer from the recent show on Netflix.  These versions of the characters are CDPR’s own, and vary greatly from the books and slightly from the show.  You will make choices that change the fates of countries and either help or hurt those who matter to you most.  It is a brilliant, mature, horny tale that is worth its lengthy playthrough. Included in the Complete Edition package are both expansion DLCs. Heart of Stone is quite good, but Blood & Wine is my favorite video game expansion ever.  Alongside these meaty pieces of content are a plethora of DLCs that were made available over the years both from the devs themselves and a few community mods such as high-resolution texture packs are included.

It does help to know the story from two previous titles, and there are several handy breakdowns available online to aid you if you never played them. Cross-save has been added in with the use of a GoG.com account, and the UI has been improved to help things such as swapping your magic signs more easily. For those of you with the talent a photo mode is now included, but the big thing here is the graphical upgrades for Xbox Series consoles.

The Beauty of Blavikin

Back at launch The Witcher 3 was a great-looking game, on PC.  The Xbox One and PS4 struggled mightily at times, even just at only thirty frames per second. The One X saw a patch that unlocked the framerate and upped the graphics to a more appreciable level.  What we have now with this Xbox Series version is remarkable and looks better than I remember the game ever doing on PC.  Texture quality, draw distance, character models, lighting, and more are all redone either by CDPR or by integrating well-made fan mods.  I started out using the ray tracing mode, which limits the game to thirty fps but adds in ray-traced lighting and shadows (On PC you get reflections as well).

After half an hour or so I couldn’t take it anymore. Things are too slow and muddy though the visual clarity during movement does improve once you turn off motion blur.  Performance mode looks better in motion at all times, and outside of comparative screenshots, I didn’t notice any downgrade in visual quality. I’ve beaten the game a few times in the past and going through the most challenging areas I never noticed a drop in performance.  Once in quality mode in the sewer section of a major city, I did see some stutter when looking in a specific direction full of dense fog.  Other than that it was silky smooth and looked stunning.

The price goes up to $50 which is a lot for a game this old.  If you haven’t played the game yet this is the best time to get into it. While texture clipping and some movement issues will always be found it is a far cleaner package than it was back at launch. In typical CDPR fashion, all who already own the game will get a free upgrade to the Game of the Year edition, which means you get the expansions as well. It’s a great move and par for the course with them.

In Conclusion

The Witcher 3 is nearly a masterpiece.  If the combat and movement were better it would be for me.  As is this is one of the best experiences in gaming, and everyone should play this version of it.

Reviewed on Xbox Series X
Available on (this upgrade) Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, PC
Release Date December 14th, 2022
Developer CDProjekt Red
Publisher CDProjekt Red
Rated M for Mature

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Thanks for covering this upgrade. All sounds very positive. One of my all time favourite games.

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This will always be a certified classic bnager so glad it’s now playable in better form and for free :keanu:

(Unfortunate that the combat and movement don’t seem much imoroved)

I’m gonna have to fit a replay of Witcher 3 in my backlog now :melting_face:

Truly one of my favourite games ever, along with Oblivion and GTA San Andreas.

I cannot begin to imagine what CDPR has planned for Witcher 4. I just hope on thing, that they don’t get overly ambitious. Please no repeat of Cyberpunk please.

Got the Witcher 3 CE D1. For me it’s the game of the generation. To see that the next gen version is an improvement gives me a reason to replay it.

My body is ready for 100+ deaths on Death March difficulty. I’m also avoiding open every chests in Skellige. This was painful.

You’re going for a full playthrough? Holy cow. I think personally I will start with Blood and Wine first. Been saving that for the update.

Yep, full playthrough. It’s been too long and I recently replayed Witcher 2 on Xbox, so I’m ready to putting in another 100h+ into Witcher 3.

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I own both editions of The Witcher 3, the first revision and then the GOTY revision. It will be interesting to see what happens with that. Will both be upgraded to essentially the same revision? Will the achievements remain separated? Will they be unified into 1 single install? :man_shrugging:

My understanding is that achievements remain untouched.

I just need to know how this and the PS5 versions stack up. If identical I wouldn’t mind restarting everything again a fresh with the PS5 trophies untouched and the haptics. But if it performs better on the XSX, then I’ll likely stay with that version. Either way I’ll be booting this up on XSX at midnight tomorrow.

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Adjusted the minimum height for fall damage, allowing the player to survive falls from higher heights.

Best update ever.

Looks like it’s stackable on Playstation.

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Thanks matey. I haven’t got it on PS5, so it would be new for me there. But yes that makes sense for PS5 with how they do things.

He did not mention it during the review but it a free upgrade for those that has the game all ready. And on pc GOG Witcher 3 game of the year is on sale for 9.99$

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So the PS5 seems to struggle holding 30fps in raytracing mode. Performance is far better in frame rate consistency with a much higher 4k dynamic, average circa 1600p resolution. Though it still sees drops in Novigrad. I wont lie, I think this is a bit disappointing. I used to run this on ultra at 4k with a locked 60fps around Novigrad on a GTX1080Ti. And both PS5 and XSX are capable of far more than that.

This is an ideal time for the XSX to shine. Will be good to see how it comes in and compares. I reckon its going to be better. Simply because the original was a primarily PC designed title. And it performed very well on the X1X. Which lets not forget gave 4k 30fps, locked.

Going by this review it sounds like there’s no noticeable difference between raytracing mode and performance mode, in terms of visuals. I did easily notice this before. It still looked good in performance mode but not nearly as crisp as resolution mode. This time however I sit much farther away from my TV, which always helps.

I never had any issues with the 30fps in the game, always found it one of the best games with 30fps. Would you say raytracing mode feels like a more stuttery 30fps or not necessarily? @Doncabesa

It would be quite the feat if performance mode is pretty much the same as raytracing mode, except the raytracing of course, and way smoother too. I guess raytracing is that taxing, damn.

On the PS5 you have RT giving circa 1200p vs the 1600p on Performance. I think Performance without hesitation is the way to go.

I can see X offering a higher resolution than that or maybe CDPR went for parity.

I think if my viewing distance was still two meters or so I’d definitely notice it, but the 3.5+ meters that I sit now…not gonna notice that. If all the other graphical bells and whistles are the same, then performance mode it is.

Yeah but the reason I said Performance is also not only res. But frame rate is more consistent - from what I’m reading from multiple sources. Also there have been reports of bugs and glitches using the RT mode. Of course there may well be more patches to come…

Consistent and steady framerates are indeed more important than the number of frames. For me at least.

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the 30fps mode isn’t bad, but 60 feels so much better and I think offers better visual clarity in motion. for screenshots/cutscenes 30 is fine but once you’re playing I can’t stand it compared to 60.

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