The Netflix series The Witcher is officially available to stream today, and adapts Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s book series with plenty of style and flair. It is not the first adaptation of his work, however, with the game developer CD Projekt Red having previously made a trilogy of video games based on the franchise. These are among the best role-playing games of all time, with deep and emotional storytelling, engaging questlines, and memorable characters.
If you have never played a Witcher game, where is the best place to start, and what console should you play it on? We’re here to help you make the choice.
If you are looking to play a Witcher game in preparation for The Witcher on Netflix – or after you’ve watched the first season – we recommend you play The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. The latest game in the series is one of the best role-playing games ever made, and you’ll recognize several of the characters in the game, including title character Geralt as well as Triss, Ciri, and Yennefer. Ciri has a very large role in this game, and she features heavily in the Neflix series, though the characters aren’t exactly as they appear or act in the games.
It might seem strange to start with the third game in the series, but CD Projekt Red’s games are not direct adaptations of the books. In fact, they take place after the books. The show should provide extra context for the characters who, in the game, will seem older and more experienced. Also, The Witcher 3 is the only Witcher game developed for the current console generation, so it looks far more appealing than its predecessors.
The Witcher 3 is currently available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. All four versions are enjoyable, but there are differences.
If you have a capable gaming PC or the Xbox One X, that’s where you should play The Witcher 3. These devices will give you the best game performance and the highest-quality visuals. You can also purchase versions of these games with all downloadable content already included regardless of which system you select, letting you play through additional stories and become more immersed in its unique fantasy world. Alternatively, The Witcher 3 is now part of Xbox Game Pass. Subscribers will be able to play The Witcher 3 at no additional charge.
Sony’s PlayStation 4 is also a great place to enjoy The Witcher 3. While there’s no equivalent to the Xbox Game Pass offer, the overall experience is extremely similar. If a PlayStation 4 is all you have (which is likely, given its popularity) then don’t hesitate to buy a copy of the game. The Witcher 3 Complete Edition, which includes all the DLC, is frequently available for $20.
If you only have a Nintendo Switch, you can certainly enjoy the entire game on the console without worrying about performance taking too much of a hit. It’s also the best way to play The Witcher 3 on a portable device. Graphics quality is far behind the PC, Xbox, and PS4 versions, however, and the Switch version’s more recent release date means a higher price. We recommend the other versions unless you think portable play is a must-have.
CD Projekt Red has two other Witcher games, of course; The Witcher and The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings. Those games are fine role-playing titles for their day, but they’re significantly older, released in 2009 and 2011 respectively. Their aging look and less refined gameplay makes them a tough introduction. Stick with The Witcher 3 and go back for them if you just can’t get enough of the franchise.
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