The Witcher 3 on Nintendo Switch review: "How much are you willing to compromise?" (2023)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

A well-functioning port of a brilliant game with an unexpected identity crisis. Given the availability of other platforms, the visual compromise makes this technical marvel a difficult sell to first-timers and veterans.


  • +

    A mind-boggling technical achievement

  • +

    The controls translate perfectly

  • +

    Portable The Witcher 3!


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Even with the leaks and rumours that led up to the official announcement, many people (myself included) couldn’t foresee a future where The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt would be available in its entirety on the Nintendo Switch. On a technical level, it seems inconceivable. Yet, by some force of nature, CD Projekt Red’s immense RPG has arrived on Nintendo’s portable powerhouse, with all of the DLC attached. To whoever at Saber Interactive exchanged their mortal soul with the devil to get this thing up and running… I’m not a religious man but you’re forever in my prayers.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours basking in the glory of The Witcher 3 on my PC, and even then my par-for-the-course graphics card struggled to deliver the visual experience at its true potential, which is why when my 30-something gigabyte download of the Switch port finished, my skepticism gland started to flare. Is the level of compromise too much to bear on this underpowered platform, and crucially, is that enough to put me off of spending many more hours soaking in the unparalleled adventure that CD Projekt Red blessed us with in early 2015?

A wolf in sheep’s clothing

(Video) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Nintendo Switch Review - Is It Worth It?

To the latter part of that question, the answer is a firm no. The same sense of wonder returned and I quite comfortably found my groove in Roach’s hooves as I lapped up every last quest in White Orchard, flitting between points of interest and marvelling at Geralt’s sword-spinning combative flair. The controls translate carefully to the contours of the handheld Switch. Casting spells and navigating the inventory doesn’t feel at all alien and will come naturally to anyone who has played the game with a controller. It would have been nice to see Saber do something smart with the motion controls or HD rumble capabilities of the Switch, but honestly, given the courage necessary to even get this behemoth to function on a tablet-sized console, I can certainly forgive the lack of bells and whistles.

It is, all things considered, a fully functioning port of The Witcher 3, and you can play the entire game through without running into any serious issues. This is enough of an achievement in itself, but when it comes to textures and vistas you need to seriously measure your expectations. Environment textures, foliage, clothes and unimportant furniture have been shunted back a generation or two to make this port work, and the results can make for a muddy, illegible experience, especially in a busy hamlet or market.

The Witcher 3 on Nintendo Switch review: "How much are you willing to compromise?" (1)

Performance-wise, the game hovers in spots but provides a mostly very stable 20-30 FPS in handheld mode at 540p, which given the hardware is remarkable. Docking the Switch ups the resolution to 720p and increases the FPS by some small margin, but the trade-off is the physical closeness to the action, which on a big screen turns it into The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Cataracts Edition. In all seriousness, the joy here is found in the portable potential of this enormous world. If you’re going to dock it, you might as well turn your PC on.

As far as loading The Witcher 3’s gigantic maps and creating the unique seamless feeling of moving through the world, there’s barely any stuttering or pop-in in the Switch port as you travel. Yet it does drop the ball in other areas to accommodate the underpowered platform. It’s clear from early on that bias has been given to make the character models of the main cast stand out.

The Witcher 3 on Nintendo Switch review: "How much are you willing to compromise?" (2)

Geralt’s chainmail and Yennefer’s luscious locks glint and glisten in cutscenes, and there are some complimentary rendering techniques in play, with ambient occlusion basking key moments in a much-appreciated (yet sometimes over-exposed) glow. Unfortunately, this is a double-edged silver sword, as it only exaggerates how clunky some of the other textures look when Geralt inevitably makes small talk in the middle of nowhere with a random peasant whose brother was *rolls dice*... gored by a Chort?

(Video) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt | Nintendo Switch OLED gameplay

Battery life is another consideration. I was averaging around 2 and a half hours of play on my release day purchase Nintendo Switch, which is great if you’re on a transpennine train, but not so impressive if you’re trying to witch your way through a long-haul flight. It feels as intense if not more hot and loud than Breath of The Wild, so power banks at the ready!

Which witch is which?

The Witcher 3 on Nintendo Switch review: "How much are you willing to compromise?" (3)

The tough part about recommending this port is that it doesn’t match CD Projekt Red’s true vision for the vibrant world they weaved. As a newcomer to the game everybody has been talking about, The Witcher 3 on Switch is fundamentally not the way you should first experience it. I urge you to seek the game out on another platform if you have the means, if only to fall in love with Geralt and his arrhythmia-inducing DiCaprio bangs (Loose, not so long till I die) in uninhibited HD or even 4K.

Yet, paradoxically, if your sole console is a Nintendo Switch and you’re eager to parse the fuss, I simply cannot let you get away with not experiencing this modern masterpiece. The Witcher 3 on Switch – if you blind yourself to the visual compromise – still has a gigantic heart at its core and an adventure that you can lose hundreds of joyous hours to, the unique selling point being that you can summon noonwraiths and romance witches whilst you wait for the bus home from work.

To speak to the final demographic of potential buyers, the Velen veterans: it’s going to depend entirely on how much you can separate the eye-popping visual experience of The Witcher 3 from the sticky systems and narrative that complement it. If you’re in a different place in your life where you do most of your gaming on your Switch and have had years of distance from Wild Hunt, I can see the appeal.

But do understand that the Switch port is going to be an inherently underwhelming thing to look at. If it’s still quick and easy for you to press a few buttons and return to your old saves, the only advantage here is the portability, with every other facet constituting a downgrade. Given the game’s cinematic spectacle, it’s on you as to whether you can deal with being yanked from the ambience by the jagged vertices of a log pile in the background of a random cutscene. If you simply don’t care about how it looks but would like to play The Witcher 3 on the move, then this impossible port provides everything you need.

More info

Genre"Action RPG"
DescriptionThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a dark fantasy RPG being developed by CD Projekt.
Platform"Xbox One","PS4","PC"
US censor rating"Mature","Mature","Mature"
UK censor rating"","",""
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)


Jordan Oloman

Freelance writer

Jordan Oloman has hundreds of bylines across outlets like GamesRadar+, PC Gamer, USA Today, The Guardian, The Verge, The Washington Post, and more. Jordan is an experienced freelance writer who can not only dive deep into the biggest video games out there but explore the way they intersect with culture too. Jordan can also be found working behind-the-scenes here at Future Plc, contributing to the organization and execution of the Future Games Show.

(Video) Witcher 3 SWITCH - Before You Buy

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(Video) So I Played The Witcher 3 On Nintendo Switch...


How much do choices matter in Witcher 3? ›

Choices do matter in this game. Even decisions regarding whether or not to kill certain monster can come back to bite Geralt later in during a quest where some monsters have gathered to hold him and other witchers accountable for their actions.

How long can you play Witcher 3 on switch? ›

When focusing on the main objectives, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is about 51½ Hours in length. If you're a gamer that strives to see all aspects of the game, you are likely to spend around 173 Hours to obtain 100% completion.

What choices should I make at the beginning of Witcher 3? ›

The best beginner build in The Witcher 3
  • Muscle Memory: Increases fast attack damage.
  • Precise Blows: Increases chance of landing a critical attack with fast attacks and the damage they cause.
  • Whirl: Holding fast attack allows you to perform a continuous spinning attack.
  • Crippling Strikes: Fast attacks now cause bleeding.
Mar 6, 2020

Is The Witcher 3 worth playing on switch? ›

While it doesn't look as good as the game does on other systems -- or likely will when it gets its next-gen upgrade -- The Witcher 3's Switch port is more than a reasonable way to experience one of the best open-world games out there, particularly for those with no other way to play Geralt's adventure.

Do your decisions matter in The Witcher? ›

There are a number of pivotal moments when he has options in how you respond to things she's done. The player can also influence her decisions. These choices can result in one of three fates/endings for the game — she becomes a Witcher, she becomes empress of Nilfgaaard, or she dies.

Are more choices always better than fewer? ›

Dr. Vishton offers the counterintuitive tip that you should, whenever possible, reduce the number of options you have to a relatively small number—ideally around six. Across a variety of studies, when the choices are limited to six or fewer, human decision-making seems to function more optimally.

Is The Witcher 3 fully open world? ›

Though the critically acclaimed The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is open world, the first two entries in The Witcher series are not. Instead, the first two games in the franchise featured large open zones players could explore.

Is The Witcher on Switch open world? ›

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition

Witcher 3 is regarded as one of the best open-world games, period. In fact, the game won over 250 Game Of The Year awards at the time of its launch.

What is the best character build in Witcher 3? ›

The Witcher 3 best builds
  • Euphoria build (arguably the most powerful; emphasises alchemy and swordplay)
  • Full Combat build (emphasises pure physical damage; a glass cannon build)
  • Versatile Tank build - (a mixture of leanings with an emphasis on survivability)
Dec 20, 2022

What I Wish I Knew Before starting Witcher 3? ›

We've got it all covered here in a big overview of all the basics you need to get started fast.
  1. Alchemy is important to survival and combat. ...
  2. When using Roach, stick to the roads to travel further faster. ...
  3. Invest in the Quen sign for protection. ...
  4. 4 The Axii signs great for combat and getting answers.
Dec 14, 2022

Is Witcher 3 worth buying 2022? ›

The game's positive reception and lasting legacy are very well deserved, and with a new next-gen update, fans can return to the game with it looking better than ever. On top of a few pieces of new content, the free next-gen update helps make Witcher 3 so beautiful that it is worth returning to for fans.

Is Witcher 3 better than Skyrim? ›

Though similar, Skyrim and The Witcher 3 are very different experiences, and players will feel differently about the games depending on their preferences and playstyles. However, The Witcher 3 has enough superior mechanics that the game is a smoother and more rewarding experience for most players.

Is Witcher 3 still good in 2022? ›

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has surpassed God of War Ragnarok to become the second highest-rated PS5 game of 2022. The next-gen version of The Witcher 3 was released on December 14 for PS5 and Xbox Series X, and it came with a significant list of improvements over the previous generation version.

What is the best choice in Witcher 3 now or never? ›

If you want the best outcome, you need to attack the enemies quickly and stop them from killing the couple. Either or both of Anisse and Berthold can die if you're not careful. You then need to use Axii on whoever (if anyone) lives.

Should you take bribes in The Witcher? ›

The Chaplain will offer to "buy" your silence on the matter for 65 crowns and some experience for finishing the quest. However, if you fancy your chances in a 1 v 3 fight, you can refuse the bribe and take out the Chaplain and his goons, and loot the chaplain for a whopping 200 crowns!

What not to do in Witcher 3? ›

12 Mistakes Everyone Makes In Their First Playthrough Of The...
  1. 1 Not Buying All Three Decoy Cards.
  2. 2 Skipping Gwent. ...
  3. 3 Trying To Play Both Sides. ...
  4. 4 Not Saving Enough. ...
  5. 5 Farming The Cows In White Orchard. ...
  6. 6 Making The Wrong Choices. ...
  7. 7 Upgrading Or Crafting The Wrong Equipment. ...
  8. 8 Taking On Quests Too Early. ...
Aug 11, 2021

Which is better option or choice? ›

A choice is important, since it gives us a sense of freedom, whereas options are the limited alternative provided to us as a medium to make that decision.

Why are three choices the best? ›

It polarizes the decision. And since no one wants to be wrong, adults will spend more time thinking through the options. Giving someone THREE options automatically flips some sort of switch in most brains to make it ok to consider all three options. People will make a decision faster and with less angst.

How many choices is too many? ›

So how many choices are too many? What is the optimal number of alternatives for effective decision making? According to a study in the journal, Natural Human Behavior, researchers at Caltech determined that “somewhere between 8 to 15” is the optimal number of choices.

Do choices have consequences in The Witcher 3? ›

Some of these missions may be more important than you think, and the choices you make during your adventure in The Witcher 3 can drastically change the state of the game world by the time you reach the story's end. This choices and consequences guide covers what happens at some of the game's biggest moments.

What is the best choice in Witcher 3? ›

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — 8 Choices That Ensure The Best Ending
  • Take Ciri To Velen Instead Of Seeing Emhyr In Blood On The Battlefield. ...
  • Don't Press The Matter On Where To Go In Blood Of The Battlefield. ...
  • Refuse Emhry's Payment For Ciri (If Choosing To See Emhyr) ...
  • Ensure Nilfgaard Loses The War (If Choosing To See Emhyr)
Sep 25, 2022

What choices affect Witcher 3? ›

The following choices from The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings have some effect on the events of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
  • Killing or sparing Aryan La Valette.
  • Siding with either Vernon Roche or Iorveth.
  • Saving Triss in Loc Muinne, or saving Anaïs (if on Roche's path), or helping lift Saskia's spell (if on Iorveth's path)

Should you take bribes in the Witcher? ›

The Chaplain will offer to "buy" your silence on the matter for 65 crowns and some experience for finishing the quest. However, if you fancy your chances in a 1 v 3 fight, you can refuse the bribe and take out the Chaplain and his goons, and loot the chaplain for a whopping 200 crowns!

What is the best choice for return to Crookback Bog? ›

The correct choice is the Hollyhock bloom doll and picking this one will lift the curse and Anna will become human again.

Is it better to choose Triss or Yen? ›

One of the best things about choosing Yennefer over Triss in The Witcher 3 could also perhaps be one of the worst: Her and Geralt's complicated past. This makes Yennefer an integral part of the story and gives her more substantial in-game interaction and romance content.

Should I use Triss or Yennefer? ›

Answer: This question really has no definite answer as it is merely subjective. However, the author of the book series that the games and TV is based on has written that Geralt ultimately ends up with Yennefer; for this reason, one could say that Yennefer is the best considering an ending with her can be called cannon.

What is the strongest weapon in Witcher 3? ›

Aerondight. Most veteran players of the Witcher 3 consider Aerondight the Holy Grail of silver swords. Of course, players should note that this weapon can only be obtainable through the Blood and Wine DLC.

Who is the best romance option in Witcher 3? ›

Overall, the fanbase's love for Yennefer and the intricacies of her story with Geralt make her the best romance option available. The Witcher 3 was released on May 19th, 2015, and is available for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, And Nintendo Switch.

How many endings does Witcher 3 have? ›

The Witcher 3 has 36 different endings. This does not mean that there are almost 40 ending cutscenes, and it instead refers to the number of variations there can be in the game world at the story's end.

How long to beat Witcher 3? ›

When focusing on the main objectives, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Game of the Year Edition is about 55½ Hours in length. If you're a gamer that strives to see all aspects of the game, you are likely to spend around 189 Hours to obtain 100% completion.

What happens if you pick Yennefer? ›

If you decide that Yennefer is more your type, then you'll both retire together far away from the hustle and bustle of your previous lives.


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