When CD Projekt Red announced that The Witcher 3 would be coming to the Nintendo Switch, I was incredibly sceptical. How could they port one of the best games of this generation on to the least powerful console on the market right now? It seemed like the musings of a lunatic to even consider squeezing that much game onto such notoriously underpowered hardware. Surely CDPR would have to make far too many compromises to the core game to even begin to create something that held a candle to the incredible original release. It fills me with much joy to say that CDPR, alongside Saber Interactive, has managed to deliver; the package just looks a bit battered and bruised. Let's get this out of the way right now. If the primary factor you measure games on is their graphical prowess, you are not going to have a great time with The Witcher 3 on the Nintendo Switch.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt quickly became the benchmark in which all games of its ilk would be measured against. With the final entry to the trilogy of Geralt of Rivia, CDPR turned the series on its head by introducing one of the most stunning open-world RPGs in gaming history. There's a reason the game won so many awards and game of the year wins. I consider it one of the best games of all time and one of my many save files on the PlayStation 4 version is sitting at just shy of three hundred hours playtime (including the DLC). The game is absolutely massive, and that's without factoring in the two massive expansions that are also included in the Switch version.
If you're unfamiliar with the game, I won't be going into too much detail here as other GP writers have already done a wonderful job of that , so I'll get Dan to link those here if you want a great in-depth look at each entry. Editors Note:Here are the original reviews for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Hearts of Stone and Blood & Wine!
It's frankly jaw-dropping just how much game you're getting in this tiny package. I would have been happy if the Switch edition only included the base game, but somehow Hearts of Stone and Blood & Wine; the two superb DLC expansions are also part of the package. All up, you're looking at a couple of hundred hours of near perfectly designed RPG questing, filled with dialogue decisions that have wide-sweeping (and at times, very dark) consequences, satisfyingly violent sword and magic-based combat, and a beautiful world brimming with well-written, nuanced characters.
Even at full price (I received digital code from the publisher, but still purchased a physical edition so am putting my money where my mouth is), the game is one of the easiest recommendations I could make for the Switch. I consider CD Projekt Red one of the most stand-up studios in the industry and always try to support them because of it. You can pick up a copy on PS4, XB1 or PC for pretty cheap these days, but if you don't own any of those systems, the Switch edition is more than up to filling the void.
While I obviously haven't quite managed to work my way through everything the game has to offer (you'd never get this review otherwise), I've only encountered the usual suspects when it comes to the bugs in the game. Roach is still about as smart as a can of dog food, NPCs move in bizarre ways at times, and some objects seem to materialise right in front of you. Every bug and oddity I've encountered will be familiar to anyone who has played an open-world title from the current generation and never got in the way of me loving every minute I spent in Geralt's world.
Playing The Witcher 3 on the Switch consistently impressed me. Sure, a massive amount of graphical compromises have been made to get the game running on the Switch, but it's still mind-blowing to see the game in motion. Obvious components like textures, foliage and draw distance detail have been scaled back severely, and it's by far the weakest version of the game in the graphics department. The game runs at 540P in handheld, but I definitely noticed instances where it appeared even lower than that. I wouldn't recommend playing the game on the big screen as that shines a massive spotlight on all of the compromises made to the world around you and is by far the least visually impressive way to play.
As far as cut-backs and concessions go, they're all purely technical. All of the game's content is present in this version. Every NPC, every quest, and every place of interest is there for you to murder and talk your way through. I'm still having a hard time understanding just how they got the game working. When so many triple-A developers have shied away from the Switch, sighting its low spec hardware, CDPR and Saber have pulled off one of the best 'hold my beer' moments in gaming this year.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition is an essential addition to your Switch library if you can look past the graphical limitations. The excellent story is merely a backdrop to one of the most amazing games of all time, and the unparalleled amount of content you get here makes it one of if not the best value for money propositions on the Switch to date (and possibly for the rest of the consoles life).
+ Features all of the original content, plus the two excellent DLC expansions.
+ Unparalleled quest writing and design.
+ Excellent combat system.
+ Characters are superbly written.
+ Amazing score and sound design.
+ Voice acting is on-point.
- Low-res textures.
- Load times can be quite long.
- Uses up the Switch battery very fast.
- Controls are still a bit touchy.
- Still has the same bugs found in the other versions.
- I've experienced three crashes in my 60-odd hours so far.