“Sorcery” is the word that God of War director Corey Barlog used to describe The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition on Nintendo Switch, and it’s an apt description. CD Projekt Red’s 2015 title takes players on a winding, twisting voyage across many lands each bursting at the seams with mythical creatures, conniving villainy, and a legion of tasks that’ll pay any would-be passerby – namely a witcher – hefty coin to complete. Geralt of Rivia hasn’t left the minds of gamers since his third outing four years ago. The cool, collected slayer of beasts is one with the muck and the mire, and he wades into it with grace. And with The Witcher 3 on Switch, chipping away at life in White Orchard, Velen, Nilfgaard, or other areas is made easier by being able to take it wherever you go.
“A true witcher should never abandon poultry in distress.”
The Witcher 3 is about Geralt of Rivia, who slays monsters and has gone through genetic mutations and training from a young age to do so. The backdrop focuses on medieval politics with warfare between kingdoms being the consistent response to disagreement. Geralt isn’t concerned with such matters, however, as he spends much of his time tracking down the ones he cares for – namely Ciri, a woman he raised from childhood like a daughter and trained. A crew of wraiths known as the Wild Hunt is pursuing her for various reasons, making it pertinent for Geralt to find her first. Along the way, he gets caught up in the drama of others.
The beauty of The Witcher 3 is that it’s so easy to get lost in the sidequests. In fact, I own The Witcher 3 on the PS4 and had previously played much of the game. Though, I never completed the story due to my constant ADD tendency to be distracted by every question mark or exclamation point on the map that signified a point of interest or possible sidequest. This being the Complete Edition with DLC included only makes it even longer. Your playtime can easily reach 200 hours or more depending on how much you like to explore.
“Well, one’s for monsters, the other — for humans.”
As an action RPG, combat feels natural. Although, hacking and slashing will only get you so far until you truly have to begin using all the strategic elements at your disposal, including alchemy, skill points for specific boosts, magic, armor, weaponry, and a thoughtful approach to dominate the larger opponents in the world. In essence, the gameplay doesn’t perceptibly feel any different from my experience on the PS4.
The big question on fans’ minds with The Witcher 3 on Switch is — how does it look? In handheld mode, the visual fidelity is quite impressive for the console it’s running on. Details and textures are more fine and pronounced – for a Switch game. Movement even seems more fluid, though I’m not sure if frame rate truly takes a hit in docked mode. When the picture is blown up on a bigger screen, however, the downgrades become more realized. Textures and details are not as refined and are even more blurred. At times, it seems the colors of the landscape meld together, giving the swamp at Crookback Bog a run for its money. Furthermore, load times can be rather long. In-between deaths, I found myself picking up my phone frequently to pass the time while waiting to be thrown back into my last save point.
“It was just a dream.”
For some, it may be hard to justify paying the full price for this 4-year-old game with diminished graphics. However, if you put greater stock in mobile play or have never played the game before, the value would definitely be there.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition is a killer addition to the Nintendo Switch library. The visual downgrade is apparent when playing docked, but the reality is The Witcher 3 still looks the best that it possibly can on the Nintendo Switch hardware. And the core gameplay and narrative are so good that the disparities in graphical fidelity from the other versions largely go unnoticed as the game sinks its hooks into you. This stands as a testament to the strength behind The Witcher 3’s foundation as a complete package and enthralling gaming experience, and a testament to the quality of its port job to Switch.
A review code was provided by the publisher.