The mad lads did it. They actually did. Look, CD Projekt Red is known for being the gang of developers that charts their own course in an industry often bogged down by greedy corporations and insidious monetisation. CDPR have made a name for themselves by making some extraordinarily good games, with bundles of extra content, at a rate and price that’s more than fair. I think more than any other game developer/publisher, CDPR is considered to be the gold standard that many should aspire to, especially after the success that was The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt.
When it burst onto the scene, I think it’s fair to say that Geralt very quickly become a household name due to polish and expert design of The Witcher 3. One need only glance at a handful of gaming dedicated subreddits to find throngs of people figuratively (and literally in some cases) frothing over their love of The Witcher 3. Given the games large and die-hard community, I suppose it makes sense to then bring the game to the Nintendo Switch, even though most people who followed that announcement collectively thought, “How the shit are they going to do that?”.
The Witcher 3 is a gorgeous game. Despite being over four years old now, it still looks fantastic, with gorgeous environments and character models that seemingly blended into one another in a way that’s still impressive to this day. Which is why the port onto the Nintendo Switch came as such a surprise to anyone that’s played on the spunky hybrid console: It’s not exactly the most powerful device around. Don’t get me wrong, the things developers are able to graphically produce on the Switch are impressive, yet to effectively pull off something as detailed and realistic as The Witcher 3, a game that initially made the PlayStation 4 stutter, seemed like a Herculean chore.
Yet here we are, The Witcher 3 displaying Geralt’s grumpy face on the Nintendo eShop and you know what? This game has no right to run as smoothly as it does on such a weeny console. Frankly, I was shocked at the quality of The Witcher 3. Which isn’t to say that the game holds up to the versions supported on more powerful systems, the resolution and graphical fidelity have also been met with a severe downgrade to accommodate for the Switch’s hardware. Despite those reductions, The Switcher 3 still looks damned good. Sure, everything looks just a little unfocused and the game’s frame rate is locked at 30fps, but the result is a more than playable version of one of the best action-RPG’s available on the market, neatly ported to a mobile console. Which is really nice, I guess.
It’s just weird, is the thing. It’s an impressive feat, don’t misunderstand me here, but I’m sure The Witcher 3 is really best suited to a platform like the Switch. Sure, the copious amount of quests you pick up could make for some compelling on-the-go gaming, but the battery life on the Switch just doesn’t have the longevity to support a game of this scale for extended amounts of time.
The Witcher 3 is best played either docked or plugged in and at that point, if it’s possible, you might as well just play it on a console. This is to say nothing of the load times which can be painfully long but this is definitely not the version of CDPR’s flagpole title I would recommend anyone play through for the first time. If possible, I have to recommend playing The Witcher 3 on a device that has a little more oomph to really get the most out what is an exceptional time-consuming but enjoyable game.
If anything, The Witcher 3 feels like a flex by CDPR than anything else. It’s a port that never needed to exist, yet the team behind it still went above and beyond to make it a reality. It feels like, “Look at us, look at the miracles we can pull off, game industry!” and they have every right to make a statement like that. The Witcher 3 on the Switch should by no rights work and play as well as it does.
It should be an ugly, sluggish mess of a port that doesn’t do the original game justice, but therein lies the achievement that is The Witcher 3. It stands toe-to-toe with it’s older, more muscular siblings and while maybe not matching them in terms of looks, flips them off as it walks out the front door while they remain trapped within their cosy little lounges.
Last Updated: October 28, 2019