Developer CD Projekt Red has done what many considered impossible with the launch of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition on the Nintendo Switch. With two expansions and additional DLC included in the port, players can look forward to a massive 100-300 hours of well-made content with the same great voice acting fans have come to expect from the series. The port is an outstanding addition to the Nintendo Switch for its portability, though if one were to play the game for the first time or prefer a more satisfying visual experience, there are better and cheaper options available elsewhere.
A Satisfying Narrative And Actions-Packed Story
Players take on the role of Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher since childhood who has been molded into a monster hunter. Like Witchers before him, Geralt has undergone mutation to become faster, more agile, stronger, and resilient to attacks and effects that would easily down normal people.
The Wild Hunt, from which the game takes its title for the third installment in the series, is also known as the Wraiths of Mörhogg. These are a group of specters that traverse the sky on their dark steeds, and seek to capture slaves from other worlds to serve the Alder Folk. They become the focus of the base game when they target someone close to Geralt for the Elder Blood that flows in their veins.
Much like the other games in the series, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt keeps the player at the periphery of events as they unfold. Geralt is our protagonist, but he is not the center of the narrative universe. Larger stakes are at play in these games, and players do their best to keep up with a world in turmoil.
So Much To Do!
In terms of value, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is hard to beat. There is simply so much content that the time it takes to do it all is probably more than what is needed for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. When starting a new game, players are given the choice of starting from the very beginning with the base story or to start and focus on either of the two expansions, Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine.
Choosing either of the expansions places Geralt in a different starting location with an appropriate set of gear and skills as though one had played to that point in the first story. This is a nice touch for those who have played the game and want to jump into the additional content.
For those not familiar with the expansions, these are not short questlines added to beef up DLC sales, but rather are massive in what they offer. Blood and Wine is considered by some players to be better than the main game and will take almost as long to clear. There is not much else to say about the quality of the content here. The title has won over 800 awards since its release, including over 250 for Game of the Year.
Familiar Controls For Console Players
In general, the control scheme for the port functions without any problems. It feels and controls the same as either the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One when using a pro controller, or in this review, an 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Gamepad. The only important point to note in this comparison is that after having played a considerable amount on the PC, a controller will always feel slightly more cumbersome in combat than a keyboard and mouse, especially when attempting to track smaller opponents, but it takes no time at all to become used to the change.
The Unavoidable Comparison Of Visuals
The biggest question leading up to the launch of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt related to how well it would look on the tiny hardware that powers the Nintendo Switch. Surprising no one, the result is acceptable, but not stunning. Playing in handheld more reveals stuttering from time to time in cutscenes and while galloping about in the world on a horse. Blurred backgrounds are inevitable, and everything looks slightly different from a PC version of the game on a high-end graphics card.
These differences in visuals are even more pronounced when switching over to docked mode. The game looks better in handheld mode as a result. The hardware does its best to maintain a steady 30 FPS, but this drops during the busiest fights and most crowded areas.
A Great Game That Is Better Played Elsewhere
If one were to play the game for the first time, the optimal choice would be a PC with the hardware to bring out the best in the game's graphics. Still, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on the Nintendo Switch is a massive accomplishment, and the portability that it provides is well worth the price. Veteran players will feel right at home with the port, and the task of bringing the game over to the Switch is something that should be lauded. CD Projekt Red has hit it out of the park with this one.
At its core, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition is an outstanding title with enough content to satisfy any player. The presentation is not as shiny and pristine as a high-end PC, but no one should expect the Nintendo Switch to be a beacon of perfect visuals. Instead, players gain portability and a new way to experience the game. It may not be perfect, but CD Projekt Red has delivered what most through was impossible and have set the bar far higher than other developers though possible.
A Switch code for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was provided for this review.The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.