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19 Dec 2022

REVIEW: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Next Gen Update - Xbox Series X

Review by Jon Donnis
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was originally released in 2015, and is widely recognised as one of the greatest games ever made, so it is pointless me just reviewing the game as it is, instead I will specifically concentrate on whether or not it is worth replaying since it now has a next gen update. For the record if you have never played it before, then yes, 100% you need to play this game. But what if like me, you had it when it was first released, and now have either a Xbox Series X or a PS5, should you restart the game from the start? Is there enough there to warrant it? Read on to find out.

My impressions come from the Xbox Series X version.

So, what are the main updates, well obviously the visuals have improved, the game already looked great, but now the game has added some bells and whistles to fully take advantage of the power of Xbox Series X and PS5. We have the addition of ray tracing, which can be chosen from the graphics menu, this mode offers better graphics (mainly the light effects), but the FPS drops to 30. The other new mode is a performance mode, that gives you a greater frame rate (60FPS), but less graphical improvements.

There is a new camera choice to, which is basically just a bit closer to Geralt. more of a modern over the shoulder type view, I am not sure if anyone will actually use this though, as when you have a closer viewpoint, you can't see as much around Geralt, meaning that you might miss enemies etc. But I am all for choice, so it is a welcome addition regardless.

Other than the visual updates, there are also some direct gameplay updates, which are based mainly on complaints from people who played the original release.

There is now a bit more freedom when viewing the world map, taking a page out of the Assassin's Creed games, you can now filter which icons you see, whereas before you just had everything always there, making things seem very busy visually.

Other gameplay improvements include the Quick Sign Casting option, meaning you no longer have to open the radial menu and choose the sign from there, which in turn used to slow down battles, and generally was a bit of a faff. Now it is much quicker to do and allows much more variety in casting. Basically, you hold the left trigger and press a button instead.

A few other improvements include being able to survive falls from higher heights, herbs can now be instantly looted with a quick press of a button, various HUD Configuration options, you can walk slower as well as sprint with a quick tap of the left joystick, and just general fixes here and there.

There are also alternative outfits for some of the characters, specifically Geralt, Dandelion, and the Niflgaardian soldiers, as well as a new quest, "In The Eternal Fire's Shadow" available in Velen

The Good
CD PROJEKT RED have listened to gamers, fixed a few issues, and given what is in essence a free update to anyone who already owns the game. Of the two new graphical options, performance mode is probably the one you will end up choosing and sticking with long term. The better frame rate practically doubles what the original release would get, which in turn makes everything smoother, as well as the graphical updates.

Water reflections look better, as does vegetation and the environment in general.

The ability to pick and choose what you want, the customisation, the choice. As a gamer, choice is everything, so the more choices you give the player the better.

The Bad
Ray tracing mode seems a bit pointless, since it keeps the frame rate at 30. On a high-end PC, you will choose this mode for the maximum possible benefits. On a Xbox Series X or PS5 then you will choose performance mode.

If it has been a while since you played The Witcher 3, and you have one of the newer consoles, then this is a no brainer, you should restart it and enjoy the game all over again. If you have never played The Witcher 3 before, then what are you waiting for? This is one of the all-time great games.

The Next Gen updates are enough to give you reason to play once again.

I score The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Next Gen Update a near perfect 9/10

Out Now!

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