Seven years ago, we were gifted with one of the greatest games of all time. A stunning title that elevated CD Projekt Red from a plucky European contender to one of the most highly regarded developers in the world, The Witcher 3 was met with the kind of critical and commercial success that would make any major publisher envious. Now, seven years later, we have the Complete Edition, designed to get the very best from the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X and S. Not only that, but an upgrade has also been pushed out so that PC, PS4, and Xbox One owners can enjoy the new graphics and content for free. It’s a fresh coat of paint for a classic title and a return to familiar successful shores for a developer that is still smarting from their failure to follow up on their greatest success.
All said and done, this is the definitive version of one of the greatest games of the last decade, and anyone who has yet to experience the adventures of Geralt of Rivia as he seeks to find his heart’s adopted daughter Ciri should absolutely dive in and experience the bliss. I was lucky enough to play on the PlayStation 5, and the improved graphics and increased performance really do make this a fitting title for modern console owners.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition offers everything you could hope for on new hardware. Raytracing options will target 30 FPS and variable resolutions on consoles, but the resulting graphics are impressive. I will always opt for higher framerates to get smoother gameplay, and the title’s performance mode does not disappoint. The graphics in performance mode are still leagues ahead of the older generation, and anyone looking for an improvement in graphical fidelity will not be disappointed. On PC, even more robust options that include Nvidia DLSS technology should keep players happy, although there are some performance issues in the update that CD Projekt Red has been working on.
Being an open-world title, The Witcher 3 also contains a lot of water and includes several sections where players can choose to travel by boat, should they wish. A rework of how water reflects light has been included, meaning a significant improvement in the quality versus the performance costs. Finally, vegetation has been reworked to result in denser, richer plants and flowers. It all comes together to result in a dramatically improved, richer, and more dramatic world, and the impact this has on the storytelling cannot be understated.
The real strength of The Witcher 3, and the reason it has been such a critical darling and a favorite with fans, is that the way the story was told was something of an evolution for CD Projekt Red. From the main campaign to the side quests and world-building, there was a delicacy to the writing that made people fall in love with the world of The Witcher. Now that the graphical engine has the muscle to really create a stunning world for Geralt to explore, it feels like the tech has finally caught up to the narrative. Getting to experience The Witcher 3 for the first time with the Complete Edition would be an enviable experience.
There has also been a slew of other improvements with this iteration, from the improved map and user interface to the polishing of previously tedious mechanics and menu-hopping that were required around crafting and looting. Players who are looking for something to occupy their time over Christmas can get themselves over a hundred hours of excellence with this package, as it includes both the base game and the Blood and Wine and Hearts of Stone expansions. Improved customization and accessibility options mean that it is doubtful that any player will run into an insurmountable wall when it comes to interacting with the game in a way that suits them.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition is available now on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X and S, with free updates available for owners on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.