The Witcher 3 on Switch: a close-up look at a mobile miracle

What The Witcher 3 achieved four years ago remains an incredible feat. It's the best example of world building I've seen this generation - from the idyllic White Orchard, to the bustle of Novigrad, it's crammed with detail. And yet, somehow developers Saber Interactive and CD Projekt RED are genuinely delivering something I thought impossible. A Switch conversion now exists - a Complete Edition that crams every DLC and upgrade into a 32GB install. It's honestly the most technically ambitious game I've tested on the system since it launched. However, it also highlights - sometimes brutally - the limitations of porting a triple-A experience to a chipset designed primarily for mobile gaming.

This may well be a no-brainer, but if you're looking for the big TV experience, other, better options are clearly out there. Even factoring out the enhanced consoles, the pristine 1080p of the PlayStation 4 version delivers a whole new level of clarity compared to the very blurry Switch version - and that's before we factor in the visual cutbacks required to get the game running. But it does run, and reasonably well to boot - but the bottom line is that the inherent level of compromise required across the board makes this Witcher 3 conversion far more suited to mobile play.

Somehow squeezing The Witcher 3 into a 32GB footprint is a masterful exercise in compression, but it's easy to see where many of the cuts were made. It begins with the compressed video files, which drop from 1080p to 720p. Again, it's no problem for the portable experience, but the lack of clarity - and compression artefacts - don't really hold up on a living room screen. In-game image quality takes some adjusting to as well: 720p is the highest we've seen the game render at while docked, dropping to 960x540 in our tests at lowest, seen while panning past the city in Toussaint.

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