Witcher 3 Next-Gen: You Play Big Games ALL WRONG

Witcher 3 Next-Gen: You Play Big Games ALL WRONG

Ever powered through a really long game like The Witcher 3 or GTA over the span of just a week or two – only to have it feel like some strange, rushed fever dream? Well, I don’t just recommend playing some larger games over the span of a few years instead, I’m going to tell you about one major perk that’s becoming more and more real in the current age of gaming.

It took me a while to realise that there was a trend with how I play a lot of open-world games, and I can’t decide if its straight-up weird, or one of the best things I actually do.

Some people love to sink 100 hours or more into a game, while others cherish titles that deliver shorter experiences that fit into their crammed schedules. My situation has fluctuated a lot over the years, and while I can easily sink 50-100 hours into the right kind of game here and there, I find that I myself have realised that I lean towards games that can give me a full round-trip in like 8-12 hours so that I can enjoy the experience and then move on.

Elden Ring, an open world game similar but not similar to Witcher 3

Elden Ring was a rare case of an open-world game that sucked me in and didn’t let go for 200 hours

So, do you actually take years to finish a game or are you exaggerating?

I really do. Maybe the first game I remember doing this with, was Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on Playstation 2. At the time, I was a PC gamer and didn’t play console games all that much, but had inherited a PS2 from my brother. A new GTA is always a big event, and I was very excited, so I saved up some extra money (it was priced much higher than the normal RRP for games – GTA tax, hey), dusted off the PS2 and jumped in with both feet.

After many hours of joy, happiness and hot coffee (not really), I either lost interest for a bit or moved on to something else. I don’t just automatically get sucked in by big games, I’m happy to let some go after a while. If they’re really fun and good, they purchase some real-estate in the back of my mind and constantly pester me with moments of regret for not finishing them. At some point around a year and something later, I finally return – donning the controller and a mission to try and remember what the buttons were.

Going back to GTA was a blast! I got deep into the joy of the game again, and eventually finished it.

If you take mods into account, then games just get better and better to go back to. So why not leave some meat behind on the bones?

I’ll be back

What has eventually happened with some games, is that I play it in what I think of as… “pockets” of hours, at a time.

The Witcher 3 is massive, and took me over 120 hours to complete despite eventually giving up on side quests and question marks so that I could finally see the end. I played the Witcher 3 over maybe 4 sessions of between 20 and 40 hours over the course of a year and a half. What also made it easier is that the Witcher puts all the button controls on screen to help you remember what to press.

I played Skyrim for about 50 hours the first time I attacked it, only to then not play it again for what must have been 2 or even 3 years. What got me back was when I moved back to PC gaming for a spell and found a way to transfer for my Xbox 360 save to my PC so that I could keep playing with extra graphics and some cool mods (this was before all the re-releases).

Looking back to The Witcher 3 once more; Returning to Geralt’s journey ultimately ended up feeling like I had played 3 to 4 seasons of a TV show, spread over a few years and leading up to spectacular finale at the end.

The world of The Witcher 3 has a lot to offer those who spend time in it

By returning to the game over a few years, the long, exhausting journey undertaken Geralt aligned with my own perception of time passing, delivering a satisfying sense of accomplishment when the main campaign concluded, and provided a surreal feeling that I had gotten return on this large investment.

Witcher 3 wasn’t just a bang-for-buck video game experience. I was almost able to look back on the journey and smile at the memories of those moments I shared with Ciri or Vesemir over 2 years ago.

I dropped another 20-30 hours into Skyrim on the PC and even toyed around with it a little on Switch – the real bummer her being the lack of cross platform saves. It’s worth noting that I started playing the Witcher 3’s Blood & Wine DLC too, which was a long time ago and haven’t finished it yet – and this points towards one of the greatest perks of playing large games this way.

It’s getting even better now, thanks to cross-platform saves.

The Perk

These days… as time goes on, a lot of these games only get better. While some games go from good to great, Open-world games are often notorious for launching with a host of issues and bugs – one of the most egregious examples of late is obviously Cyberpunk 2077, while Witcher 3 was no polished gem at launch either and Bethesda games like Fallout and Skyrim are almost a masterclass (of failure) in launching games stacked with bugs.

The Xbox One version of Cyberpunk 2077 I started at launch (running on my Series X) and the one that I finished a year and a half later running as an actual Xbox Series X title were two notably different games. The Witcher 3 even got a decent post-launch overhaul of some of its gameplay long before the next-gen update, which ranged from better character movement to updated interfaces and menus, Forza Horizon 5 even got updates that overhaul the physics system and make it better.

OF COURSE, with the release of The Witcher 3 on next-gen platforms this week, the point I’m making is sitting bright and beautiful right now. I’m heading back into the world of The Witcher once more, with the main game behind me, I still have a bunch of Blood and Wine to play, the whole of Hearts of Stone as well as heap of side missions and contracts to do from the main campaign – and now I get to play all that in a better way than ever before.

To mention it once more, the main driving force here is cross-platform saves. I started the Witcher 3 on PS4, finished it on PS4 Pro and will now be able to migrate my saves over to the Xbox Series X and continue playing there. Now THAT’S magical.

So, this approach of playing large games in chunks might not work for you maybe you like jumping in with both feet and immersing yourself to the fullest until you’re ready to never see the game again – but it sure does work for me. With the Witcher 3 next-gen coming out now, it’s almost like I’m walking into a mini-sequel – and my body is ready.