The Witcher 3 Does The Best It Can On The Switch

How did CD Projekt Red and Saber Interactive get the gorgeous, resource-hungry role-playing game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt running on Nintendo’s plucky hybrid handheld? Lots and lots of compromise and a fair amount of blur.

The Witcher 3 is now available for Switch. On the tiny console, the lighting is flat, the textures are rough, and the game looks like it was filmed by a camera with vaseline smeared on the lens. Compared to the PC version running at 1080p on a modestly powerful gaming laptop, the Switch version running at a docked 720p looks downright shabby.

Judged solely as a Switch game — that is to say a resource-intensive PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 game scaled down to run on what’s essentially a souped-up Nvidia Tegra Android tablet — The Witcher 3 is actually pretty impressive. God rays from the sky filter through the windblown trees. Shadows dance across the ground. The world feels alive, packed with people, creatures and fauna.

More importantly, the game runs well. Thanks to dynamic resolution scaling, The Witcher 3 on Switch maintains a stable framerate whether I’m engaged in battle, galloping full-tilt through a tempest-tossed forest, or wandering a busy village. The only significant slowdown I’ve encountered has been during scripted cutscenes, as well as with the odd bit of stutter here and there during lengthy horse riding sessions.

For those excited about taking the epic adventure on the road, The Witcher 3 also performs well in handheld mode. The resolution drops to 540p, but it’s not a dramatic shift considering the small size of the Switch screen. Menus scale dynamically, so there’s no squinting at small text. The dream of a portable Witcher is real.

If you’ve played The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on PC, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, you’ll have to weigh to graphical downgrade against the convenience of having Geralt on-hand at all times. If you’ve never played The Witcher 3 before then you’re in for a treat, no matter the resolution.


Comments

    Its a very good, large game scaled down to be played on a handheld device. I think its great!

    I just wanted to see it runs ok, now that I’ve heard that I’ll be off to grab a copy today.

    For the love of all that is holy though, if its your first time playing, do yourself a favour and play on PC or a console other than Switch though.

    For those of us who just want to scratch the itch though, its mostly impressive.

      Yeah nah. A lot of people like me will only ever have a chance of finishing this game, if it’s portable.

      Plus, I can never seem to get as into a game as I can with a handheld and headphones on. Seems more personal to me.

        If so, so be it (and one of the reasons why I'm a really strong supporter of cross-progression), but you are missing a good chunk of the artists vision by doing so.

    Maybe I'll get to finish it rather than get distracted chasing "squirrels". Ahhhhh .... who am I kidding?!

    I reckon it's great that they got a game so epic & graphically intensive onto the Switch. Although I won't be buying it since already have it on the PS4 with all of the DLC.
    Great for people who never got ti try it the first time & want a mobile experience.

    I think Eurogamer summarised it best.

    This is a game designed for portable mode.

    If you are going to play on a big screen you might as well get it on PC or the other consoles because you'll have a far better experience.

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