For a good eight years, the Crysis series has been the king in releasing PC games with the most graphic demanding games, whilst the GTA5 graphics has also put many graphics cards through a challenge more recently as one of the most graphic demanding game ever. It seems like we have a new challenger to the throne! From developer’s CD PROJEKT RED is today’s most visually stunning and most graphic demanding game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
When The Witcher 3 was first teased during E3 2013, many critics were sceptical because of how beautiful the Witcher 3 E3 graphics were. It seemed too good to be true. Now that The Witcher 3 has officially released, many were proven right. Unfortunately, The Witcher 3 doesn’t look as flashy as its trailer in 2013. Although the PC graphics didn’t quite measure up to how it was first presented, CD PROJEKT RED did not disappoint their audience in terms of it still being one of the most graphic demanding games.
After launching in Spring 2015, The Witcher 3 graphic optimization was complete for the PS4 and Xbox One, resulting in minor graphics downgrades on the PC. CD PROJEKT RED quickly reacted and released a patch to improve The Witcher 3 graphics for the PC. From then on, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt gradually became one of the most graphically demanding games.
Additionally, because The Witcher 3’s demanding graphics have an eye for detail, it’s been developed with Nvidia’s HairWorks feature. When enabled, any hair or fur details will stand out, making visuals richer to the eye. Expect to run this most graphic demanding game on graphics card such as the Nvidia 980 Ti.
On Low settings, The Witcher 3 graphics have sharper edges, fewer details and have plain lighting compared to the Ultra graphics settings. As for medium, small particles and details can be seen (e.g. Geralt’s pants clearly has patterns on them), some objects will be clearer (e.g. The wooden planks he is standing on) and the edges have become smooth. When set to High, details become finer, lighting and edge-smoothing are improved and additional objects are added to the environment. Last but certainly not the least, on Ultra settings the lighting drastically improved, more shadows are added to environments and objects, and details become even clearer.
As much as its beautiful graphics goes, The Witcher 3 is a very graphically demanding game for PC users. In fact, to run 30fps on medium setting, you’d need at least Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 or Radeon HD 7850.
Moreover, with the HairWorks feature included, performance becomes slower. And as it turns out, enabling HairWorks can cause average fps to drop to 20%. For those using Radeon GPUs can expect lower performance when HairWorks is enabled since Nvidia does not share the code for their HairWorks technology.
CD PROJEKT RED’s Marcin Momot has confirmed this:
Many of you have asked us if AMD Radeon GPUs would be able to run Nvidia’s HairWorks technology — the answer is yes! However, unsatisfactory performance may be experienced as the code of this feature cannot be optimized for AMD products. Radeon users are encouraged to disable Nvidia HairWorks if the performance is below expectations.
To run Witcher 3 on High settings, it is recommended that you have a GeForce GTX 770 or Radeon R9 280X graphics card, Intel Core i7 processor and, at least, 40gb free disk space (I guess nowadays we all pretty much have that). With these specs, you can enjoy an average framerate of 30 fps. For high-end PC gamers wanting to set the bar higher with Ultra settings, you can get the same framerate with GeForce GTX 960 or Radeon R9 290. If you want to run your graphics on Ultra settings, the ideal PC configuration will cost around $600-700 (not including monitor(s) or any peripherals. This, of course, includes the GPU, processor, motherboard, memory, storage, power supply and PC casing. In total, depending on your set-up, you would be looking at between $800 and $1000 depending on your PC configuration excluding any awesome gaming headsets or gaming keyboards.