White Orchard[1]

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been bathed in critical acclaim over the last week or so, but one question that continues to pop up around the web concerns the game's performance on the PlayStation 4. Various reviews from other publications state that there are noticeable frame rate issues, and that bugs and glitches rear their ugly heads on occasion. Of course, no one wants to play a title that doesn't run very well on the console of their choice – it's frustrating and equally upsetting to think that a product that you've paid for doesn't operate as well as it should. Fortunately, we've now spent hours upon hours in Geralt's shoes, exploring every nook and cranny of the open world map and slaying any beast that dared to cross our path. As a result, we'd like to think that we know how The Witcher 3 handles on Sony's new-gen console.

First, however, we should point out that this article is based on the game with its pre-launch patch installed. This update only recently released, meaning that it was only available to download after many of the aforementioned reviews were initially published. The patch notes mention that stability and performance issues have been addressed, and we would assume that means that some if not all of the technical problems alluded to in the reviews of other publications have been fixed or tweaked to some degree. This means that we've essentially been playing the same game that you may be buying next week.

White Orchard 1[1]

So, how does The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt run on PS4? Fortunately, the good news is that, in our experience, the game runs quite well. We've suffered no crashes, no particularly damning frame rate drops, and no significant bugs or glitches. Taking into account how massive the world is, how much stuff is crammed into it, and the fact that you can play for hours on end and not see a single loading screen, we dare even say that its technical performance is rather impressive.

That's not to say that it's perfect, though. We can tell you that there are indeed frame rate drops, and yes, they are quite prevalent. However, these drops are minor at best, and don't differ from the kind of performance loss that's common in open world titles like Grand Theft Auto V or Watch Dogs. When things get especially hectic, or you're roaming around a specifically detailed environment, the release does tend to drop a couple of frames. Those of you, who, like us, play video games almost all of the time, will no doubt notice the falls in performance – but if you're not someone who's playing games as consistently as we are, then we'd hazard a guess that you won't pay them much mind.

White Orchard 2[1]

As hinted, The Witcher 3 boasts an absolutely huge open world that's fully explorable, but the best part is that there are almost no loading screens. You can wander from one corner of the map to the other without encountering a pause – and that's quite an achievement. Most loading screens that you'll see only appear when you decide to fast travel or enter a specific interior. For example, the title's biggest city, Novigrad, is divided from the rest of the map by a load screen. We have come across a few instances where the game throws in a load screen as it transitions to a cutscene, but these have been few and far between, and last several seconds at most.

Bugs and glitches have fared similarly. We've seen Geralt's horse, Roach, clip into buildings and get stuck inside of them, and we've seen non-playable characters hover in mid-air for a few seconds, but it's safe to say that these occurrences are all but expected in open world titles these days, as disappointing as that is. Thankfully, we've encountered no game breaking bugs whatsoever.

White Orchard 3[1]

Moving onto how the release looks, the game's world is a sight to behold. The art direction is fantastic, and the developer has made full use of varying vibrant colours. The draw distance is impressive – you can gaze into the horizon and still pick out some of the smaller environmental details – but having said that, sharp eyed players are bound to spot some pop-in here and there. Foliage, shadows, and trees can spring into existence if you're moving at speed or swing the camera around quickly, but overall, the title hides its limitations fairly well – you'll likely only spot them if you're on the lookout for such things.

In conclusion, you really shouldn't worry too much about how The Witcher 3 runs on the PS4; in our experience, it performs as well as it needs to. That said, the fact that the game can't quite stick to its 30 frames-per-second target is somewhat disappointing, even if it hasn't impacted our enjoyment of Geralt's adventure thus far.

You can read our full and final thoughts on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in our review, which will be published before the game is released on the 19th May. Until then, have we put your mind at ease? Count the frames in the comments section below.