The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition Review – The Best Gets Better

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition Review

If you’re a fan of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Christmas (or whichever holiday you celebrate) has arrived early. CD Projekt Red has just released a free update to the seven-year-old action RPG. If you own the game on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, or PC, The Witcher 3 is about to rock your world again. Or is it? Do the update and new content improve an already excellent game?

Look at the Shiny Thing

Before the whole Cyberpunk 2077 debacle, CDPR was riding high on the success of The Witcher 3 and its two pieces of DLC. It was a beautiful-looking game for its time, especially on PC, where mods could work their magic. The best part of the Witcher 3 was – and remains – the rich cast of characters, quests, and excellent writing. Geralt of Rivia became as iconic as any character in video games. The Netflix series brought fans of the game to the show and also brought newcomers to the game in return. It comes as no surprise that the game’s update includes a bit of cross-brand promotion.

The most obvious aspect of the update is, of course, the graphical enhancements. Console players have the choice of a 30 fps raytracing mode or a 60 fps performance mode. While out the world the graphical update results in some stunning vistas and incredible lighting, it doesn’t do much for the cutscenes, which are beautifully staged but show their age. We’re guessing that most players will want the fluid gameplay of performance mode. Even in performance mode, the game looks much better, with improved textures and visual polish. PC players will have a suite of new graphical options in addition to the raytracing mode including DLSS.

Secrets and Surprises

Beyond the updated graphics, there are lots of gameplay or camera mechanics that have been tweaked. The new camera is positioned closer, maybe too close for encounters with multiple enemies. It can be toggled back to the default camera for battle, with the new camera view adding an especially cinematic look for exploration. Roach can now step backward. Geralt auto-collects herbs. Maybe the most player-friendly new option is single-button sign casting. Once you use it, you’ll wonder why it wasn’t there all along.

The Witcher 3 update also includes new DLC based on the Netflix show. Depending on your level, it can take less than an hour, but it lives up to the high standard of the base game. However, we won’t spoil it. It’s accessible relatively early in the game and unlocks new outfits – or blueprints for them – for Geralt and several other characters. There is also an option to turn on the Netflix show’s armor sets for some world characters.

Several of the graphic improvements come via some established made by the dedicated Witcher 3 fan community. Unfortunately, Nintendo Switch and PS4/Xbox One players won’t be getting the graphical overhaul, though the update will include bug fixes, some mechanical changes, and the new DLC.

One More Time in the Fray

Many people have played the Witcher 3 Wild Hunt and its DLC multiple times. There is no shortage of gamers that contend that it’s the best action RPG ever made. Anyone who calls themselves a fan of the genre has to play it. The question is, is it worth diving into again?

There is no question that the free update makes The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt a better game. It looks better, it controls better and the many, minor improvements add up to a significantly improved experience. The Netflix-based DLC is not a cheap tie-in but a well-made and completely integrated new chapter worth playing. Short of an actual remake, the update brings a seven-year-old game within spitting distance of the best current-gen title. The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt update breathes new, exciting life into a genuine classic.

***PS5 code provided by the publisher for review***

The Good

  • Outstanding graphical enhancement
  • Lots of mechanical improvements
  • Netflix-inspired DLC
  • Free!

The Bad

  • Some cutscenes showing their age
  • No graphics update for old gen consoles or Switch