The Witcher 3 is releasing a long-awaited next-gen (next-gen?) update that includes features that will bring a 7-year-old game up to par with the beefier console generation. While that won’t convince anyone that The Witcher 3 is suddenly a brand new 2022 release, the updates we’ve seen will no doubt become the new default version of the game for new players and old players alike.
IGN played three hours of The Witcher 3’s next-gen update, which will be released for players who already own the game on console or PC. You can expect a similar suite of upgrades that usually come with next-gen updates, which include a graphics mode that prioritizes 4K visuals and 30fps ray tracing, or a Performance mode that gives priority at 60 fps.
CD Projekt has also added a series of community-created as well as in-house studio-made game-enhancing mods, a photo mode, and even new Easter eggs tied to the Netflix show. While all those bells and whistles are nice, the highlight of my game was definitely the Performance mode which offers a super-charged and incredibly smooth version of The Witcher 3.
Screenshots from The Witcher 3 PlayStation 5 Next-Gen update.
CD Projekt Red’s RPG was an instant hit in 2015 and has consistently been ranked as one of the best modern open-world RPGs. And while by no means unplayable, its ambitions have certainly pushed the boundaries of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
There were many areas where the framerate dipped, or the textures of the models clashed. Never mind the funniest glitches (Roach, what are you doing on the roof?).
Next-gen updates will likely advance these non-issues, especially when using Performance Mode on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. on a level I’ve never seen on consoles.
While the graphics mode introduces ray tracing, this cosmetic effect mainly improves The Witcher 3’s thinner margins, while the performance mode will make the game look almost new for returning gamers and eliminate any frustrating frame rate drops. for new players.
PlayStation 5 and Xbox players should choose whether to prioritize performance or graphics, the next-gen update also features several universal changes that should improve the overall experience of The Witcher 3 no matter what mode you’re in. play.
This includes Quick Sign Casting which allows players to cast Geralt’s various Witcher spells without opening the radial window. The camera has also received a big change that allows it to react dynamically to movement and combat and also moves closer to Geralt for a more personal feel. Similar to the camera distance to Kratos in God of War.
Character and enemy models have also been reworked with higher resolution textures while removing imperfections such as haircuts and armor cuts.
These changes won’t convince anyone that The Witcher 3 is a new release in 2022. Instead, it gives CD Projekt an opportunity to revisit its biggest hit and alleviate some of the speed bumps that exist in a seven-year-old game. .
This means that new players in particular will be able to play The Witcher 3 without any of the issues that plagued players when the game was first released. But given that even with some of the frame rate drops and bugs, The Witcher 3 still won several Game of the Year awards (including those from IGN), it’s not like these technical issues hampered the quality of the game below.
And for fans of the Netflix series, the next-gen update gave CD Projekt the opportunity to include some Netflix-inspired Easter eggs in the game, including a new questline with a fitting reward of Netflix-style The Witcher.
A fun option is being able to change the Nilfgardian armor worn by the NPC in the game to the infamous armor worn by the Nilfgardians in the Netflix show. Don’t worry, this armor can be changed in the settings, but personally I think it’s a fun option to keep for baddies.
While nothing fundamentally changes with The Witcher 3 after its next-gen update, the rough edges are now much, much smoother, and the new creative changes deliver a fresh enough take on newcomers and veterans alike to want the least check for changes in the update. Chances are it will suck you in for your second or fifth playthrough.
Matt TM Kim is IGN’s Managing Editor. You can join it @lawoftd.
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