Already Excellent, Witcher 3 PS5 Provides 60fps & Photograph Mode

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Geralt looks at a village off in the distance.

Screenshot: CD Projekt Pink/ Kotaku

Nearly seven years later, The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt doesn’t simply maintain up: it’s nonetheless head-and-shoulders above a lot of the competitors. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is perhaps greater, and Horizon Forbidden West is perhaps prettier, however virtually no different recreation marries magic, monsters, and grim politics collectively right into a meaty open-world journey the place each character and battle is allowed to be the grasp of its personal reality. A free new “next-gen” upgrade for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S doesn’t essentially change that calculus, but it surely does repackage it into one thing simpler than ever to fall in love with.

The Witcher 3 is now almost as old as Halo 3 was when Halo 5 launched, and has develop into simply as necessary a touchstone. An adaptation of Polish creator Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy collection, the sport is ostensibly a couple of mutant monster killer named Geralt looking for his magical surrogate daughter named Ciri to attempt to save her from differentworldly specters known as The Wild Hunt. It’s simply as a lot a office dramedy a couple of middle-aged guardian tying up unfastened ends and reconciling with previous pals earlier than retiring from the one factor they’re good at. Two massive expansions after the sport’s launch doubled its dimension and delivered even greater payoffs.

Save Information Transfers

I wasn’t ready to make use of my previous save knowledge as a result of a brand new cross-save characteristic isn’t dwell but. As soon as it’s on December 14, CD Projekt Pink says gamers will have the ability to switch recordsdata with no downside, together with between the PS4 vanilla model and full version, which is at the moment not the case.

Whereas the exploration and RPG tinkering are nice, it’s the top-notch writing and performances that seize resigned dignity within the face of countless hardship which have led to widespread essential acclaim, tens of hundreds of thousands in gross sales, and creator CD Projekt Pink coming to be considered a first-rate studio. “This land by no means flowed with milk and honey, and now it flows with blood,” says one throwaway character early on. It’s emblematic of a gear The Witcher 3 shifts down from.

Learn Extra: A Year’s Worth Of Articles About The Witcher 3

So what of the improve out December 14? The primary time I booted up the next-gen model of Future 2 on PS5 I used to be legitimately stunned. Bungie’s beautiful alien sandbox, which I’d performed tons of of hours of over the course of a number of years, felt like a complete new recreation. That’s by no means the response I had when beginning the PS5 model of The Witcher 3, a recreation I’ve additionally sunk a ton of time into on older {hardware}. It appears and flows higher—the countryside is fuller, the puddles greater, the body charge smoother—but it surely feels rather more like looking at a brand new paint job than driving round in a model new automobile.

A screenshot shows a river in Novigrad from The Witcher 3 on PS4.

Novigrad as seen within the PS4 model of The Witcher 3.
Screenshot: CD Projekt Pink/ Kotaku

A screenshot shows a river in Novigrad from The Witcher 3 on PS5.

On PS5 the water and lighting results are improved, as are visible particulars within the background.
Screenshot: CD Projekt Pink/ Kotaku

Crucial a part of the free improve is a brand new efficiency choice mode. On Xbox Collection X and PS5 (which I’m taking part in on) you’ll be able to toggle between ray-tracing or 60fps. Whereas ray-tracing is nice for snapping photos within the new photograph mode, and does barely however noticeably enhance lighting distinction, reflections, and the general sense of fullness and vibrancy within the scene, it’s additionally type of busted. Having ray-tracing on results in an honest quantity of stuttering, frequent framerate dips, and an total extra jarring expertise.

60fps, alternatively, makes every part from fight to cutscenes look crisp with out sacrificing an excessive amount of graphical constancy. Gamers on PC have lived this fashion for some time, but it surely stays the only greatest profit to “next-gen” gaming to this point, and the Witcher 3 console expertise advantages immensely from it, particularly when a lot of the sport’s allure and character depends on a world that feels prefer it’s operating uninterrupted even if you’re not round.

You possibly can lastly run by way of Novigrad like a child residence from college with out the sport chugging.
Gif: CD Projekt Pink / Kotaku

Subsequent up is the addition of fan mod 4K textures and different extra visible particulars. Smoke rises from village chimneys within the distance. Foliage of all types is thicker, right down to random roadside patches of grass. Cobblestone streets look a bit grimier, whereas our bodies of water seem to splash and move a bit extra naturally. These are all minute variations. A few of them have been obvious because of the entire time I spent with the unique model of the sport. Many have been gleaned solely from pouring over comparative screenshots.

Nonetheless, they do produce a small however cumulative impact, and maybe nowhere is it extra pronounced than in Novigrad, a seaside fort metropolis that’s residence to a few of the recreation’s most memorable characters and questlines. Within the previous model of The Witcher 3, the framerate can actually begin to dip as folks and streets pop out and in of view. Within the PS5 model that’s now not a restriction. Geralt can dash down again alleys with no hitch in efficiency mode, whereas moist cobblestones and further NPCs make the business hub really feel extra bustling than ever.

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Screenshot: CD Projekt Pink/ Kotaku

Elsewhere stock modifications and Signal magic shortcut buttons proceed the lengthy technique of decluttering The Witcher 3’s once notoriously arcane RPG systems. There’s additionally a brand new armor quest line I haven’t gotten to, and a few up to date alternate appears for just a few of the characters. Principally I’m simply having fun with tinkering with the UI show settings to maintain the display as minimalistic as attainable whereas as soon as once more looking for ghosts at nightfall. The principle map, as soon as beneath siege by quest icons, now mercifully defaults to being principally clean exterior of key factors of curiosity.

The Crows Perch in Velen, a infamous fast-journey ache level early within the recreation, nonetheless stays bewilderingly exterior the Bloody Baron’s fort. The third-person digital camera additionally stays finicky at instances. And the brand new photograph mode, whereas onerous to not pull out each 10 toes whereas replaying considered one of my favourite video games, is gentle on choices for tinkering in comparison with these you’ll discover in a Sony first-party recreation. In any other case, there’s little room for enchancment at this level.

I felt equally once I final put the sport down in 2019 throughout my second playthrough. And whereas I wouldn’t put it previous CDPR to provide you with just a few extra patches down the street, together with to handle issues like a few of the stuttering within the ray-trace mode, the diminishing returns make the new-gen improve really feel like a deserved victory lap fairly than one thing nearer to a 2.0 refresh. I’ll take it. It’s free in any case, and three hours testing out the replace was all I wanted to lose myself in 2015’s GOTY over again.

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