The Witcher 3’s next-gen replace arrives on December 14th, lastly giving the sport a correct launch on PS5, Sequence X and Sequence S. And likewise, it improves the PC model with a sequence of long-awaited upgrades together with ray-tracing assist. Seven years after the unique launch, after a number of expansions and a profitable Netflix adaptation, this replace is the proper alternative to create an final model for longtime followers and newcomers alike. And I am blissful to report, after flying to developer CDPR’s workplaces in Warsaw final week to go hands-on with the PS5 and Sequence X variations, this revitalized version seems very very similar to it’s going to stay as much as that promise.
Whereas we weren’t allowed stay recording on the occasion, we did get footage from the primary quarter-hour of the brand new replace operating on PS5 and Sequence X, in each their efficiency and RT modes – greater than sufficient for a preview earlier than a full breakdown nearer launch. As at all times with pre-recording, it is price emphasizing that every one of that is nonetheless being optimized and the ultimate model might be additional improved.
Nonetheless, The Witcher 3 on PS5 and Sequence X impressed immensely within the 4 hours we performed it – and never simply within the visible upgrades, which embody reworked foliage, 4K textures and higher-quality fashions. There are additionally vital stay high quality enhancements, reminiscent of a revised digicam and sooner controls for utilizing characters, the magical spells within the Witcher universe. All in all, the sport actually seems and performs higher than ever earlier than.
As talked about, the PS5 and Sequence X variations of the sport supply a 60fps efficiency mode and a 30fps ray tracing mode, every of which makes use of AMD’s FSR 2.1 upscaling to provide a 4K output with dynamic decision scaling. FSR 2.1 additionally takes over anti-aliasing duties from the older FXAA and TAA choices, producing a way more secure picture because of this.
So how do these two modes maintain up in observe? Beginning with the 30fps ray tracing mode, we see two types of ray tracing enabled: world illumination and ambient occlusion. The primary permits the lighting to bounce realistically between surfaces, shadow and shade the corners of the world, whereas the second ensures objects are higher grounded of their environment with extra plausible shading. Collectively, the consequences have a transformative impact on many scenes, particularly these indoors or in any other case not directly lit.
The comparisons we are able to present round White Orchard do not actually do the adjustments justice, however after I performed the sport on PS5 and Sequence XI I discovered the variations to be vital at instances. Little doubt we’ll have the chance to showcase some extra compelling eventualities past the primary quarter-hour, particularly our favourite check areas like Novigrad Metropolis and Crookback Lavatory.
PC customers have loads to rejoice right here as nicely. A high machine will profit from two further RT options – reflections and shadows, finishing the quartet of probably the most well-known RT results. Even the premium consoles haven’t got sufficient GPU horsepower to run all 4 without delay, so CDPR went with the 2 choices that gave probably the most “bang for the buck,” so to talk—a good selection, provided that the Witcher’s setting is not precisely stuffed with rain-soaked streets or glass-clad buildings that showcase RT reflections so superbly in Cyberpunk.
Though there are not any RT reflections on the console, the 30fps mode has sufficient GPU headroom to allow closely reworked Display House Reflections (SSR), offering increased decision reflections that additionally exist on a wider vary of surfaces, from puddles in Novigrad to armor’s steel ingredient.
Should you desire the responsiveness of 60fps, Efficiency mode is a good choice obtainable for PS5 and Sequence X. No matter mode, you may nonetheless profit from the enhancements to foliage and 4K textures – so the one side misplaced right here is the ray tracing capabilities. And whereas the One X already had an (admittedly unstable) 60fps model, till now PlayStation customers have been restricted to 30fps even on the PS5, as a consequence of a reliance on the PS4 Professional code, making this a extra revealing improve.
Efficiency regarded good in our assessments, with solely a handful of dips beneath 60fps evident within the photos offered, though Novigrad’s metropolis heart appeared to drop frames extra closely to the attention. This space has traditionally been probably the most difficult a part of the sport by way of efficiency – and the idea of our Witcher GPU benchmarks on PC – so will probably be fascinating to see how the brand new consoles and graphics playing cards deal with the next-gen model.
Curiously, I am advised that PC is getting a brand new graphics preset for a lot of settings, known as Extremely Plus, which permits for even longer draw distances and denser grass, which might make The Witcher 3 a candidate for our GPU check suite nicely into 2023.
Along with the graphical upgrades, there are numerous different adjustments and quality-of-life enhancements: new climate circumstances, higher-detailed in-game self-shadows, a brand new digicam, a brand new sign-throwing system, map filters, sooner herb looting, and content material associated to the Witcher TV present. It is also price mentioning that the last-gen variations of the sport on PS4, Xbox One and Change are additionally set to get the adjustments in stay high quality (minus the brand new digicam, as a consequence of its efficiency affect) and TV content material, which is a pleasant transfer .
Nevertheless, all that is only a style of what’s to come back. From what we have seen up to now, the PS5 and Sequence X ship nearly an identical supply of the next-gen replace, however we’re trying ahead to testing the Sequence S model, which wasn’t obtainable throughout our session. We all know there are 60fps efficiency and 30fps high quality modes on the little white console, with the latter mode providing the next decision however no RT.
The following-gen replace is actually shaping as much as be some of the complete free-to-play upgrades in current reminiscence. It is also the final time CDPR expects to make use of the Witcher engine, with the studio transferring to Unreal Engine 5 for future releases. So it is a historic launch in some ways – and a becoming finish to a sport that continues to be arguably CDPR’s finest work.
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