A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Complete Edition is a re-release of the original The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on the Nintendo Switch. The game is a sophisticated and lengthy fantasy role-playing game (RPG) designed for mature audiences. The hero, a monster hunter named Geralt, travels an open world, getting involved in high-level political and military disputes while also taking on jobs for peasants in need. He's a relatively good guy, but he clearly enjoys his work, which sees him dispatching thousands of animals, monsters, and humans using a mix of swords and magic. Combat involves blood and gore, with enemies that grunt and flail as they become wounded and die. Off the battlefield, Geralt frequently indulges in both booze and women, getting drunk and taking prostitutes to bed in brothels, where players see naked breasts and buttocks and hear sensual moaning. Spoken dialogue includes plenty of profanity, including the words "f--k" and "c--t."
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What's it about?
THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT - COMPLETE EDITION for Switch is essentially the same version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt that launched for other platforms in 2016 with some tweaks, limitations, and additions. Players once again take on the role of Geralt, a traveling monster hunter who freely roams a richly detailed fantasy world filled with towns, cities, ruins, countryside, and oceans. He helps whoever needs him (which usually means hunting local monsters for a fee), but he also has personal matters to attend to and often becomes embroiled in local political and military disputes. Play is broken up between action-oriented third-person combat using swords and magic, lengthy conversations with other characters in towns and taverns, and side activities such as collecting and crafting new weapons and gear and playing a card game called Gwent. This version of the game, as its name suggests, contains virtually every last scrap of content made available for the original game since its launch, including some 16 DLC packs and a pair of sizable expansions that introduce new characters, locations, and quests that players can dive into straight away without finishing the main story (you'll begin them with an appropriately leveled and geared Geralt). The Switch version also allows for handheld play, making it the first portable edition of the game.
Is it any good?
The Switch version of this modern classic isn't necessarily the best way to experience CD Projekt Red's inimitable RPG, but it comes with some perks that are hard to ignore. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Complete Edition is graphically inferior to the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC versions, which is to be expected, given Nintendo's less powerful hardware. Details are diminished, and the frame rate struggles to be stable in busy areas. But while all of these problems are very noticeable when playing on a high-definition TV, they are much less obvious playing in handheld mode. The smaller size and lower resolution of Nintendo's screen means that lost visual details aren't as readily apparent. If you plan to play this masterpiece on Switch, best stick to playing away from your 4K TV. Note, too, that if you intend to download this game from the Nintendo store rather than purchase a physical copy in a store, you may need to also purchase a memory card since the installation file is larger than the Switch's onboard storage.
But players unworried by these -- not inconsequential -- problems can confidently jump into this otherwise impressive port. Being able to play this sweeping, action-packed, and narratively complex game filled with memorable characters and places while on the go is a real treat. The combat mechanics have aged well, and the storytelling and character development still sit at the pinnacle of the genre. Even more exciting is that all of the downloadable content -- both paid and free -- that was released for the original game is bundled with the Switch version. The two expansions are so huge and satisfying that returning players who didn't buy and play them in the original game would likely get their money's worth if that's all they played this time around. Mature players interested in experiencing one of the best role-playing games ever made in portable form are in for a real treat with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Complete Edition.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in the media. Is the impact of the violence in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Complete Edition mitigated by the fact that the hero fights on the side of justice and righteousness? Even though he eliminates a lot of enemies in bloody, gory ways? How do motives affect how you view violence in games and movies? Would the game be the same if the violence wasn't as realistic?
Under what circumstances is it appropriate and acceptable to hunt an animal? Under what circumstances is it unacceptable?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: CD PROJEKT RED
- Release date: October 14, 2019
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Alcohol
- Last updated: July 21, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.