REVIEW – The adventures of the witcher Geralt de Rivia have captivated many players this generation, and now it is the turn of the owners of Nintendo Switch to live their complex world wherever they want. We review in this review of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition the features of this version.
The first time you start a new game of The Witcher 3 for Nintendo Switch you can really surprise yourself. You probably already know how the sorcerer’s adventure begins, with that scene in the bathtub and then continuing with the training of a small Ciri. The work that Saber Interactive has put here in the sequences of conversations and the short shots is really surprising and from this very moment you start to notice the decisions that the study has had to take when choosing exactly what kind of resolution and Frame rate applies at all times. When the game has to show solidity and when it can be something more permissive.
Once the sorcerer wakes up and you reach the open world of the first large area of the map, things begin to look more like what you could imagine from a port to the Nintendo console, with concessions that make the fighting fluid and show on screen the great distances that the gigantic territory keeps, but by then you know that you are facing one of those conversions that will allow you to play correctly, despite the sacrifices made along the way. It is not a small thing, considering that some ports that arrive at Switch are not nearly as worked, as we could see for example in the case of Mutant Year Zero.
What did I mean when I mentioned that of making decisions? Because not all parts of The Witcher 3 need the same characteristics. Given that the game has to juggle its dynamic resolution and the frame rate per second, you have to know when to prioritize one thing and when the other. Therefore, in the conversations between characters, that those who have played you know that they are very abundant in the work of CD Projekt Red, a higher resolution is chosen that shows the characters with a greater definition on the screen even though at some moments The frame rate wobbles between 20 and 30 fps. If you have a trained eye, it shows, but not so much since in these scenes your attention is more relaxed, focusing more on the story and what happens to the characters.
Exactly the opposite occurs when we most require command. In the fighting everything must go smoothly, respecting stricter frames per second so that we can perform all the actions of the sorcerer when necessary, but therefore the resolution is low and they are the scenes in which we find a more blurred image quality. During the exploration, where we travel the open world with our horse Sardinilla or investigate a specific mission on foot, they vary somewhat more. In general, they tend to favour softness and, depending on the scene, we can find circumstances where the resolution is sharper.
The Witcher 3, silver for monsters
Decisions, consequences. Just like the sorcerer’s path. Others, crucial especially for non-English speakers, have not been taken directly, so if you are going to play in portable mode you will probably have some problem when reading the subtitles that look quite small on the screen of the switch. Let’s not say in the pre-rendered videos, which for some reason are even smaller. Apart from that, the differences between playing in portable or desktop mode have more to do with this resolution, with a maximum of 720p in desktop mode, but dynamic, and 540p for portable mode.
If you are going to buy the digital version, go preparing a good portion on your microSD card. The Witcher 3 occupies just over 31 gigabytes which makes it impracticable from the console’s own memory, although it does not require any additional installation if you buy the game in physical format, a detail that is appreciated thanks to being the first to use a 32 GB memory card, speeding the cartridge to the maximum. In addition to the visual aspect, there are also some differences in the audio, which has had to be compressed more for the occasion or the loading times, which increase the wait a few more seconds, already long.
This edition of The Witcher 3 on Nintendo Switch has also allowed me to take a tour of the menus and check the latest updates that have been since my last game, now entering version 1.40. I am still surprised by the changes, sometimes subtle, but always interesting, that have been made in the game throughout all these years. CD Projekt has not stopped pampering the sorcerer’s adventure and it shows in the way you navigate through menus, inventory and equipment tabs as well as add new skills. Whoever plays now for the first time will take little to get used to, but for those who liked to prepare our potions well, improve different skills or set the challenge of getting and modifying all the sorcerer’s armour, it is appreciated that the study has decided to continue implementing changes and make the process much more comfortable and visually attractive.
One of the best conversions
With regard to conversion, Saber’s work with Witcher 3 is one of the best that has been done on the console. A merit that is greater considering that few open worlds with the complexity of The Witcher 3 have been seen on the console to date. Even so, living the sorcerer’s adventure in 2015 was also a visual spectacle and it is clear that this version cannot quite define some moments that managed to capture the original. It shows in the walks through its open world, where it is easy to see how vegetation or soil have more compressed textures and a poorer definition,leaving the landscape of the Northern Kingdoms somewhat more lacklustre. Also in the near distances there are details that are lost, such as the great work in the armour, the ornamentations of the weapons and the dresses and some facial features. Luckily, the lighting of the different times of the day and the weather continue to bathe the game with great beauty. Finally, the truth is that the conversion to Nintendo Switch of Divinity Original Sin 2 left us a big surprise, such as the compatibility of games with the PC version, and since The Witcher 3 is also a long game and it is not difficult to do with another edition in a rebate, it would have been nice if they had thought of a similar implementation.
The Witcher 3, steel for men
It’s hard to write something about The Witcher 3 that hasn’t been written yet. It is for me one of the games of the generation. The truth is that I expected from this cycle more Western RPGs that followed in their wake, but few have been and less have still managed to live up to it. And this says a lot about the work that CD Projekt RED achieved with this work and that the Nintendo Switch edition continues to maintain. Although it is difficult to focus on one thing, if I had to highlight something, it would be the way to approach the narrative design, which at first glance seems very traditional, but is due to a joint design and script effort in which none tries to step on the other. Only then can you narrate in style in the video game.
Both the main and secondary missions are designed and written with the intention of showing the player as well as possible how this fantastic raw world is and also how beautiful it can be, not only as a mere hobby with which to stretch the hours of duration. All of them achieve something that many developers forget. Generate a story arc that attracts the player, that houses a certain mystery, that gives him a reward, meets charismatic characters along the way and leaves with a piece of information about the world of Geralt de Rivia.
Knowing all the characters, the most important and the most secondary, but also touring each of its cities and territories always leaves with a satisfaction that few games achieve, especially handling such long times. With its expansions, the story of The Witcher 3 can be extended to more than 150 hours if you decide to complete all the missions it offers. Writing now these lines, iron memories arrive. Surprisingly funny and bizarre missions, but that never fall into ridicule. Others exploring social and political problems in which a clear parallel can be established with our own world. After all, one of the objectives of the book series has always been to trace this similarity. There are also hard times, when there are any, when you have to make decisions and face their inevitable consequences, no matter how much we want to maintain the famous witch neutrality.
Battle system: it aged a bit
There is something that is recognized that has not aged so well, that it is the battle system. Keep a lot of depth in the administration of the different potions and alchemical elements, although you will have to raise the difficulty a bit if you want its correct administration to be really crucial, because it is true that it is something more permissive with the preparation before the combat with respect to the other games in the trilogy. But when it comes to combat itself, it has always been the weak point of CD Projekt. While the animations become very visceral and as we improve the level we see amazing pirouettes, the response to the controls feels too heavy and we miss a more elaborate technique, which takes better advantage of the two dodges, which punishes the player more and set more patterns for all enemies.
Because of the lack of these mechanics, The Witcher 3 focuses more on tactics. In learning what is the best signal for each type of enemy while creating potions and oils that can cut the pace if we stay too long in the inventory. If Melitele ever wants it, we return to the world of Geralt de Rivia with a fourth installment or something similar, it is clear that CD Projekt RED has to find the correct formula with the combat system that, although it is functional (that always I will defend it) did not finish tuning in any of the games that make up the saga.
The borders of the possible
It’s hard to finish an analysis of The Witcher. I already said goodbye to writing about him with his expansions, what expansions, what a good way to say goodbye, and it is hard to reconnect with the memories of an adventure that creeps into the player and will be remembered when the generation comes to an end. If you are lucky enough to meet him for the first time now, you will have in your hands the most complete edition with, in addition to all downloadable content and updates, those two extensions that are mandatory: Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine.
Both are of great quality. I do not want to detract Hearts of Stone for being smaller, because every time I review the events of his plot and the characters he rescued I can only smile, with some of the most worked and also funniest missions of the whole work. But obviously, Blood and Wine is something that is not customary to see already in video games. A vestige of the past when these things were called with their own name expansion and that few dare to perform today, because it is in general a complete game, with its own original map that takes us to the bucolic lands of Toussaint, and expand the repertoire of characters, missions, enemies and movements of the sorcerer.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition is a great edition for Switch, which is still in force today as few Western RPGs have dared to face it in their ground. The spectacle of watching such a big and ambitious game on the Nintendo console is assured, as well as the amount of hours it contains, in one of the deepest fantasy reconstructions that the medium has done to date. Maybe with him, as I said at the time, the sorcerer Geralt de Rivia should rest a season, but CD Projekt has taken care that we can all return to him on any platform we have, now overcoming with this version the borders of what possible.
With The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition has managed to move to Nintendo Switch one of the most complex worlds that this generation leaves us. The right decisions have been made in each case, prioritizing resolution or smoothness if we find ourselves in more narrative or game scenes. Although with the graphic reduction it is possible that some of the essences of the world of Geralt de Rivia is lost, the result that Saber Interactive has achieved here continues to surprise, while its game system (which has not stopped improving in each update) and His exciting story and characters remain unchanged, in one of the best RPG of recent years.
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+ A complex world, rich in details and nuances
+ Brightly constructed and written characters
+ The complete edition, with all the updates, DLCs and expansions
– The combat system, although functional, has not aged as well as the rest
– Some bugs, although less after so many updates, are still present
– The world of Geralt de Rivia is beautiful and full of detail, and some of that detail is lost in the conversion
Publisher: CD Projekt
Developer: CD Projekt/Saber Interactive
Genre: Action RPG
Release date: October 15, 2019