The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
want a happy ending, don't you?" This line is said to Geralt as he tries his
best to solve Blood and Wine's complex murders. As we know in the world of the
Witcher, a happy ending rarely happens. This isn't a fairytale, but the desire
to see Geralt rise above the worst circumstances and change things for the
better was still with me the whole way, especially since CD Projekt has billed
Blood and Wine as the last tale with Geralt at the center. The good news is CD
Projekt crafted a wonderful expansion for his sendoff that captures the series'
trademarks: unexpected twists, tough choices, and intense battles. With its
vast new area and involved plot, Blood and Wine feels like a full game; don't
expect a simple side story with a few set of quests scattered about. It feels
on par with the quality and creativity of Wild Hunt, and I loved it.
Wine takes place in a new and exciting region: Toussaint. It reminds me of
Tuscany with its architecture and vineyards. Wine is ever-present. It's almost
always a talking point, you find bottles scattered about, and your headquarters
is on a vineyard. While the citizens of Toussaint are proud of their craft,
they're not too joyous about a mysterious beast that's been murdering knights.
Geralt goes on the case to track down the monster and discovers that, as usual,
things are more complicated than they appear.
narrative is full of twists that I won't dare spoil. Let's just say it captures
betrayal at its finest, and my head was spinning about who to trust and what
impact my decisions would have in the long run. As in the past, your choices
affect the world around you. Sometimes they are as grand as a character living
or dying. Others are small, like whether someone appears at your headquarters
or gives you a discount.
Wine features an abundance of side quests, and they are extremely clever and
fun, rarely feeling like filler. One had me tracking down a culprit who
castrated a statue. Another was a commentary on the ridiculous bureaucracy at a
bank. You also encounter new places of interest as you explore, such as
vineyard infestations and knights errant in distress. These don't feel all that
different from previous points of interest, but do allow you some extra things
to do in the world for experience. I had one that put me on an interesting side
quest where statues came to life. You can romance someone, but it's poorly done
and feels forced. Geralt only spends a few moments with her, and his previous
interactions with her make it seem like he wasn't fond of her. Still, the
majority of the expansion is teeming with creativity, from side quests to
fairytale-inspired areas to the monster design.
more frequent and exciting than in the previous Hearts of Stone expansion. Not
much has changed with combat, but you do have a new mutation upgrade system
that gives you new abilities and bonuses in battle. These are extremely
powerful, and I found them worthwhile to spend the time unlocking. Once I got
the freeze upgrade for my telekinesis power, bosses went down much faster.
These abilities require hefty investment, since you need the right materials
and at least three skill points to unlock them. My only big gripe is toward the
end of the game it feels like wave after wave of enemies are hitting you
without much to break up the chaos. Some late bosses have ridiculously overpowered
attacks that can kill you with two consecutive hits, but these flaws are minor
compared to the excitement that comes from knocking out these vicious foes.
Blood and Wine is an example of an expansion
that takes advantage of providing top-notch new content. The whole expansion is
an adrenaline rush, reminding me of the intense pacing of Wild Hunt's final
act. It also has plenty nods to Geralt and his friends that longtime fans are
sure to enjoy. You never know when a past character may make an appearance or be
mentioned. The world has so much depth and excitement; Blood and Wine is a
great way to spend your last days as Geralt.
Like the previous expansion, Hearts of Stone, Blood and Wine is a standalone story. You can use your Witcher 3: Wild Hunt save, but it’s recommended you’re at least level 30, or you can choose to play with a new game mode that provides you with a Geralt of that level with unallocated skill points. Once you access the expansion through the main menu, a new quest appears with a marker guiding it to the quest board to select it. From there, you are transported to Toussaint.
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.