the witcher 3 blood and wine review
Geralt’s story is at an end. Like the old French tale of Hermitage, Geralt is granted a vineyard by a Queen and also spends the rest of his days there in retirement. Growing wine and sleeping in his own bed, for once. It’s the perfect ending for our hero. Throughout the entirety of the Witcher series””going back all the way to the first game””Geralt has been the consistent taker of shit from the very people he’s paid to defend. His life, quite literally, depends on curing the misery of afflicted villages and people, but they do nothing but spit in his face whenever he passes by. Most of the time out of religious bigotry, but most of they swear in his direction just because they can. There’s one exception, however: when the White Wolf enters Toussaint he isn’t assaulted with a variety of mistreatment. No. Instead, he’s celebrated. The people afflicted thank him, they praise him, shit, they even love him! Geralt is finally getting the recognition he deserves.
Blood and Wine is the second and final expansion for CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3 (easily one of the greatest games ever made). The devs stated that the expansion features some 20+ hours of fully featured new content into the game, but I was able to squeeze out about 30-35 by the time I wrapped everything up. That’s the length of some full feature games, mind you. It also takes place in an entirely new area: Toussaint. Which is roughly the size of the original game’s Novigrad and Velen portions of the world combined. For those of you who haven’t played Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, that’s about the size of”¦yeah know, just play the damn game, will yeah? You’re missing out on a masterpiece.
Whereas The Wild Hunt featured landscapes scarred by the passing tides of war; leaving nothing but destruction, misery, and ruin in its wake. Blood and Wine’s Toussaint is having a bit of a renaissance. The world is inhabited by vibrant colors, knights that speak in verse, and drunken noblemen and women who only consume the finest of wines. It’s a direct contradiction to Geralt’s (how should we put it?) laconic nature. There are often times, the fist fighting side quest comes to mind, where the citizens of Toussaint would rather spar with words and wit rather than with fists. Still, it’s there are characters that you’ll end up falling in love with over the course of the main story, and some surprising return appearance from previous Witcher games and Sapkowski’s novels. Fans of the franchise are sure to get a kick out of the featured cast, but I can see how it would fly over the heads of those who are not in the know about Geralt’s adventures. There’s the in-game biographies for those who are truly curious, but I recommend picking up a copy of The Last Wish (the first novel in the series). They’re great reads.
The CD Projekt Red guys and gals have added some new mechanics into the Witcher 3 threshold, as well. Mutations are a new way to invest your ability points upon leveling up giving you extra perks and unlocking a few more talent squares for you to activate more abilities with. The catch, however, is that you’ll generally need to invest more than one ability point to unlock a single mutation ability and also invest in a greater green, red, or blue mutagen. It’s a good balance as the nature of these new abilities tend to break the game in a way. Some, like the new Aard mutation ability, are way too powerful to be in the game and often end up ruining your experience with this new expansion. I actually reset by abilities at one point just so I can rework a lot of how my build was to make the game a bit harder for me. You see, I invested in an ability that reworked Aard that when the sign was activated it would freeze all nearby enemies. Then, with a few swift swings of the silver sword, all my enemies were dead. You can see how that takes all the fun out of the game. I tend to think the Witcher games are a lot of fun when it comes to the preparation of monster fights: reading your bestiary, determining what oils to coat your sword with, and what signs are most effective against certain monsters.
There’s also some new armor you can go ahead and craft. The previously unnamed wearables from the first game have made a return in Blood and Wine and have now been dubbed the Manticore armor set, a new Grandmaster tier of armor for Geralt. Previous Witcher school gear can also be upgraded to the new Grandmaster tier and they looking fucking slick as hell. The feline school gets a sweet hooded look, the Ursine school gets bear fur pauldrons, and the Griffin school gets a fancy Zelda looking armor set. You can also now dye armor different hues you’ll find throughout Toussaint in the form of dye. You can try your best to make Geralt look as ridiculous as the people he is surrounded by in the duchy like I tried to do with my all pink Grandmaster Cat School armor, but all the colors are rather in good taste I’m saddened to report. Hey, that’s what the modders of the world are for. Get at it guys.
This really was the perfect expansion, CD Projekt Red has thanked their community for making the Witcher 3 such a success, marking its closing of the doors on development of this series. If Geralt looking into the camera, smiling, and seemingly breaking the 4th wall wasn’t enough of a clue that our times with Geralt is over then the epilog scenes will. It’s not a farewell to the Witcher series. The heads of the studio said they are going to return to this world just not with Geralt as the lead protagonist and it probably won’t be until five more years. I said it last year and I’ll say it this year: CD Projekt Red has dethroned Rockstar games as the king of the open world game, and with their most recent ventures into the DLC realm has slain every competition there is. I not just a consumer friendly way, but in a fiscal way, as well. They’re a new standard bearer for the industry. I’m not one for pre-ordering, but I feel confident in saying that when their next title, Cyberpunk 2077 is finally released you should go ahead and get it on your platform of choice. To E3, my friends. Let’s go out there and find out more.