On March 13, CD Projekt released the second big patch (opens in new tab) for The Witcher 3’s somewhat-beleaguered next-gen update. “Among various fixes, it also improves the overall stability and performance of the game,” the patch notes begin, burying the lede. A little further down, you can find The Whopper:
“Restored horizon-based ambient occlusion. Players who had previously turned Ambient Occlusion off will need to do so again. You can find it in Options → Video → Graphics.” We’re saved. They fixed the grass shadows.
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The next-gen, 4.0 version of The Witcher 3 has been a confounding thing. The new quests, gear, and zoomed-in camera especially are game-changers, but its implementation of DX12 graphical features is sloppy at best. Turn ray tracing on, and the eight-year-old game brings everything but the mighty RTX 40-series GPUs to their knees.
Loading into update 4.02, that much hasn’t changed. Unless you’ve got a brand new GPU that accepts plutonium fuel rods, a stable 60 fps probably just isn’t in the cards with RT enabled. I did notice a more evenly-spread utilization of all my CPU cores, matching the patch notes and addressing a major issue noted by Digital Foundry (opens in new tab), for what it’s worth. After some initial stuttering, possibly due to the shader cache getting wiped and needing to compile, my performance has been stable.
A much more welcome change for the everyman gamer is the…