[Digital Foundry] The Witcher 3: PS5 vs Xbox Series X Hands-on - Ray Tracing + 60FPS Modes Tested

Draugoth

Gold Member

Ahead of its full patch roll-out on 14th December we had a chance to visit CD Projekt Red's offices to try the new PS5 and Xbox Series X release of The Witcher 3. Today, its new ray tracing modes are tested, and the 60FPS mode is put through its paces too - with plenty of details on the upcoming PC upgrade included. Tom explores the opening White Orchard segment of the game - with plenty more to show when it releases in full.



- RT is 30 FPS, Performance is 60 FPS. Performance is 60 FPS. RT feels choppy compared to Performance.
- All modes include HD textures, better vegetation, weather, shadows, backdrops.
- Both modes use FSR 2.1 and is a big upgrade over previous AA methods.
- DF did not get a chance to test Series S. But they were told it includes a 60 FPS performance and 30 FPS Quality mode.

- RT mode: RTGI and RTAO
- PC also gets RT Reflections and shadows (not on consoles)
- Enabling RT mode on consoles improves SSR quality on consoles (Perf mode uses legacy SSR )

- Perf mode: No drops beyond one off in opening areas, but Novigrad did show a few drops
- New assets for Foliage, 4K Textures, new weather states, self shadowing on Geralt etc. These are present in both modes, but Performance also benefits from them. It's not just last gen version running at 60 FPS.

- Plenty of QoL updates as well along with the visual enhancements.
- All QoL updates and new content will also be patched into PS4/XBO/Switch versions, minus the new camera system which is exclusive to PC and new gen.
 
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adamsapple

Or is it just one of Phil's balls in my throat?


- RT is 30 FPS, Performance is 60 FPS. Performance is 60 FPS. RT feels choppy compared to Performance.
- All modes include HD textures, better vegetation, weather, shadows, backdrops.
- Both modes use FSR 2.1 and is a big upgrade over previous AA methods.
- DF did not get a chance to test Series S. But they were told it includes a 60 FPS performance and 30 FPS Quality mode.
- CDPR have previously mentioned Series S will not get RT, so it will probably be a higher resolution 30 FPS Quality mode.

- RT mode: RTGI and RTAO
- PC also gets RT Reflections and shadows (not on consoles)
- Enabling RT mode on consoles improves SSR quality on consoles (Perf mode uses legacy SSR )

- Perf mode: No drops beyond one off in opening areas, but Novigrad did show a few drops
- New assets for Foliage, 4K Textures, new weather states, self shadowing on Geralt etc. These are present in both modes, but Performance also benefits from them. It's not just last gen version running at 60 FPS.

- Plenty of QoL updates as well along with the visual enhancements.
- All QoL updates and new content will also be patched into PS4/XBO/Switch versions, minus the new camera system which is exclusive to PC and new gen.
 
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LordOfChaos

Member
Any improvement to the laggy controls on console, even after Alt mode? Ended up loving the story and put over 100 hours in, but I didn't like the controls through to the end. I'm guessing 60fps will help with that but real time GI sounds like a big upgrade too.
 

oji-san

Member
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- RT is 30 FPS, Performance is 60 FPS. Performance is 60 FPS. RT feels choppy compared to Performance.
- All modes include HD textures, better vegetation, weather, shadows, backdrops.
- Both modes use FSR 2.1 and is a big upgrade over previous AA methods.
- DF did not get a chance to test Series S. But they were told it includes a 60 FPS performance and 30 FPS Quality mode.

- RT mode: RTGI and RTAO
- PC also gets RT Reflections and shadows (not on consoles)
- Enabling RT mode on consoles improves SSR quality on consoles (Perf mode uses legacy SSR )

- Perf mode: No drops beyond one off in opening areas, but Novigrad did show a few drops
- New assets for Foliage, 4K Textures, new weather states, self shadowing on Geralt etc. These are present in both modes, but Performance also benefits from them. It's not just last gen version running at 60 FPS.

- Plenty of QoL updates as well along with the visual enhancements.
- All QoL updates and new content will also be patched into PS4/XBO/Switch versions, minus the new camera system which is exclusive to PC and new gen.

Sounds really good, I will play the performance mode, 60fps with all the upgrades sounds delicious.
 

DeepEnigma

Gold Member
RT in Control also felt way worse than a regular 30fps mode, I wonder what's up with that
I think it comes down to frame syncing lag and motion blur. TLoU Remastered on the PS4 in 30 felt choppy as well compared to other games (and even compared to the PS3 version), and the shadow resolution upgrades were minimal so I played in 60.

But there are some 30fps games that don't chop like this at all.
 
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Stafford

Member
I can't watch right now, but what can we exactly expect from the raytracing here?

If visual fidelity is the same across both modes there's no reason to play in RT mode unless the raytracing truly makes a big difference. And 30fps is now more choppy than before? Because I always felt it was more than fine already on consoles, this 30fps feels way smoother than AC Valhalla for example in quality mode.
 
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BigbyTheSheriff

Gold Member
 

LordOfChaos

Member
I think it comes down to frame syncing lag and motion blur. TLoU Remastered on the PS4 in 30 felt choppy as well compared to other games (and even compared to the PS3 version), and the shadow resolution upgrades were minimal so I played in 60.

But there are some 30fps games that don't chop like this at all.

Yeah I think it felt like the lights were lagging behind the camera movements and it was disorienting
 


- RT is 30 FPS, Performance is 60 FPS. Performance is 60 FPS. RT feels choppy compared to Performance.
- All modes include HD textures, better vegetation, weather, shadows, backdrops.
- Both modes use FSR 2.1 and is a big upgrade over previous AA methods.
- DF did not get a chance to test Series S. But they were told it includes a 60 FPS performance and 30 FPS Quality mode.

- RT mode: RTGI and RTAO
- PC also gets RT Reflections and shadows (not on consoles)
- Enabling RT mode on consoles improves SSR quality on consoles (Perf mode uses legacy SSR )

- Perf mode: No drops beyond one off in opening areas, but Novigrad did show a few drops
- New assets for Foliage, 4K Textures, new weather states, self shadowing on Geralt etc. These are present in both modes, but Performance also benefits from them. It's not just last gen version running at 60 FPS.

- Plenty of QoL updates as well along with the visual enhancements.
- All QoL updates and new content will also be patched into PS4/XBO/Switch versions, minus the new camera system which is exclusive to PC and new gen.
I'd add that the Series S won't have a ray-tracing mode, just a 30 FPS Quality Mode with higher resolution, according to CDPR.

A "30 FPS Quality Mode" may imply that it's the same Quality Mode as Series X (with the RT), which it isn't.
 
This is shaping up to be an excellent update. I'm looking forward to it and playing the game again.

Weirdly, I'm most excited about the closer camera settings. That was my biggest pet peeve, and I had the close camera mod enabled every time I played it on my PC.
 

Stafford

Member
The RT difference is subtle but I notice it has a more realistic look than One X, I like that. But I don’t know if I will play in that mode much, it sounds like all the other visuals bells and whistles are for both modes. Making it almost a no brainer to go with performance mode.

I do notice one thing though, did they scale down the swaying foliage?
 
Honestly, what an amazing free patch for a 5 year old game. Can't wait to dive into this.

I do wish the RT mode had a 40fps option though.
 

rofif

Member
Soooo... seeing how crap releases are nowadays, I might just get Witcher for ps5 if they make new disc release of this.
But I have w3 on steam, so I will check upgrade there first. Its free
It just looks different. Not necessarily better
 
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MikeM

Member
Soooo... seeing how crap releases are nowadays, I might just get Witcher for ps5 if they make new disc release of this.
But I have w3 on steam, so I will check upgrade there first. Its free
It just looks different. Not necessarily better
Does PC have a 30fps lock option? If so, play it there my man. Curious to know if there will be pc stutter tho.

Celebrate In Love GIF by HBO Max
 

GHG

Member
Conflicted on where to play. Have it for both PC and PS5. Gonna have to test them both out

Crosssave so no harm in trying out both. It's what I'll be doing. Hope to have sorted a GPU update in time for this update.
 

BigbyTheSheriff

Gold Member
Conflicted on where to play. Have it for both PC and PS5. Gonna have to test them both out

Depends on your PC specs. Just remember that with this version you get 2 additional Ray Tracing options (for a total of 4) and Ultra+ settings (increased draw distance, foliage density, background character detail, new geometric details, better asset quality etc).
 

RoadHazard

Gold Member
Meh, please give me performance RT otherwise I don't really see much difference between this version and One X...


Input lag

That's not the full explanation. I also found Control to look VERY choppy at 30fps, couldn't stand it. Other games aren't nearly as bad. Probably something to do with motion blur.
 

Stafford

Member
It remains to be seen if visual fidelity truly is the same in both modes. No way will performance mode have the same resolution, but if overall there's not a big difference, except for raytracing.....then performance mode it is.

The foliage swaying though, I really hope they didn't touch that. This gave it something.....extra, I guess.
 

Stafford

Member
That's not the full explanation. I also found Control to look VERY choppy at 30fps, couldn't stand it. Other games aren't nearly as bad. Probably something to do with motion blur.

Control feels similar to AC Valhalla in quality mode, stuttery as hell.

Whereas Witcher 3 in resolution mode felt way, way smoother, just like RDR2.
 
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diffusionx

Member
I didn’t play Control on console, but the stuttery feeling in 30fps mode comes down to frame persistence, you get 30fps a second but they don’t come out consistently so it feels juttery and weird. It makes a big difference. Compare Demons Souls PS5 to, well, any From 30fps game to see it very clearly.

I would hope CDPR is aware of this and will deliver a good 30fps game.
 
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rofif

Member
Horse camera looks really bad.
If anything, should be on other shoulder since swords hilts are distracting.
 
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rofif

Member
And 30fps mode could use some motion blur. 30fps is terrible without good motion blur.... Calisto plays great at 30
 
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