There has been a lot of talk about the Xbox One version of The Witcher: 3 Wild Hunt due to the fact that it runs at “only” 900p, and doesn’t reach the magical 1920×1080 pixel count everyone wants.
I’m not here to tell you that sub-hd resolution is ideal, and I’m not blind nor I pretend you should be, so I’m definitely not going to try and persuade you that there’s no visible difference between 900p and 1080p.
There is a difference, and that’s undeniable. The Xbox One version of the game will look a bit worse than the PS4 version, and both will look worse than the PC version played on anything more than a toaster (yes, this is an exaggeration, but you know what I mean).
Fact is that, unless you have multiple platforms and you have to decide which version of the game to buy, this matters very little.
The reason for that is simple: Today I played the Xbox One version of the game, and it looks great. As a matter of fact, it’s probably the best looking open world game I’ve seen on consoles this generation. It also looks better than quite a lot of much more linear games.
Of course I haven’t seen the PS4 version yet, so this isn’t a comparison, but looking at the Xbox One version on its own, it’s hard not to be deeply impressed by just how good it looks.
Lighting is the true king of graphics, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s lighting was fantastic on the build I played. CD Projekt RED pulled out all the stops to light up the game in the most impressive and expressive way possible, from beautiful God rays to extremely solid shaders.
Whether you’re at night, during the day, in-between or inside a building lighted only by candles, everything is bathed in a spectacular light that will make you appreciate every little detail.
Environments are also absolutely stunning. The draw distance is majestic, letting you see mountain ranges, valleys and forests miles away. The area we were given to play was relatively small (it took me about 8 minutes on horseback to traverse it from north to south), but looking in the distance, I felt like I really wanted to climb those mountains and explore all that beautiful terrain.
Often games displaying spectacular open world environments are lacking in the portrayal of characters, especially non “hero” NPCs. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt does not fall in this trap.
Every character is a joy for the eyes, from Geralt of Rivia and his companions to the humblest Nilfgaardian soldier.
Skin shaders are especially impressive, giving us extremely detailed faces also made more impressive by fantastic character design and beautifully animated expressions.
Truth is that every NPC I talked to wasn’t just visually impressive, but he (or she) was interesting. Even random commoners had very strong and recognizable distinguishing features that made them completely unique. Some of those features were big and evident, while others were more subtle, and that’s a good indicator that the developer is pushing the envelope of detail.
Of course, there’s no graphics suite of any game with no flaws, and this is no exception. There is some visible aliasing here and there, but that’s pretty much par for course on consoles, especially with open world games.
Funnily, the build I played wasn’t even very recent. It was from January, and the developers on site were very talkative on how improved the latest build is in comparison, with better water, shadows and so forth.
Ultimately, the PS4 version is gonna look a bit better. From what the developers told me, it’s exactly the same thing with more pixels. The PC version is gonna look even better, but does the Xbox One version look any worse than fantastic in its own right? Oh hell no.
If you have an Xbox one and you’re worried that you might get something even remotely close to sub-par, worry no more. The game looks great.
I spent almost two hours with it, and my jaw was dropped every step of the way. If you’ll play on Microsoft’s console, I have no doubts that it’s gonna be the same for you. If your platform of choice is another, it’s gonna look even better than that. Everyone’s going to get served a real treat, at least for what graphics are concerned. What’s not to love?