The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine Expansion Review
Arguably one of the best RPGs (Role Playing Games) of the last decade, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has made its mark on the gaming industry since its release in May of 2015. The game’s developers, CD Projekt RED (CDPR) have won countless awards for the title and continue to impress. The latest, and final, expansion to the award winning game titled Blood and Wine is a stunning conclusion to the main protagonist, Geralt of Rivia’s story.
As many Witcher fans are aware, Geralt is a monster hunter. His mutations allow him to hunt and slay a large variety of wicked creatures, for a price. In Blood and Wine Geralt receives a contract that will take him on an adventure unlike any he has endured before.
The setting takes place a few years after the events of the base game in the vividly colorful country of Toussaint. Unlike the gloomy countrysides of Velen or the snow capped mountains in Skellige, Toussaint is a rich and vibrant country, untouched by war and known for its vineyards and wine exports. Geralt receives a contract offered by Duchess Anna Henrietta, the ruler of Toussaint. Two knights of Toussaint have been murdered and the Duchess has asked for Geralt’s help in finding and slaying the monster responsible.
Soon after Geralt’s arrival, a third knight is murdered. Geralt must find the connection between the the three victims before more lives are taken. Old friends and new join the cause as a “who dunnit?” story unfolds.
Without giving too much away, I will say that this chapter of Geralt’s story heavily focuses on the vampire lore that Witcher creator, Andrzej Sapkowski envisioned. His unique and mesmerizing take on vampires is beautiful and poetic. Blood and Wine captures that flawlessly.
As with the base game, decision making plays a huge role in Blood and Wine. Many lives are at stake and it’s up to Geralt (you) to make the right decisions.
Nothing really changes in the mechanics of the gameplay, although CD Projekt RED did a major overhaul of the in game menus. One of my biggest complaints about the game was that the font size in menus and subtitles were very small even on a 55″ TV. Now, Thanks to CDPR’s love for what the fans’ input, the font size has been enlarged. Aside from the font size, new sub-categories have been added into the inventory menus. Gear is divided into two categories; Weapons and Armor. It may not seem like a big issue, but if you’re a loot hoarder like I am, it makes things much easier. Also added into the sub-categories slots specifically for your monster oils, bombs, and even a slot designated for Geralt’s trusty steed, Roach’s gear.
Of course, among the new content is more Witcher contracts. As soon as the people of Toussaint get wind of Geralt’s arrival, numerous new contracts become available. This leads to hours of hunting, tracking, and slaying of monsters. Some will feel familiar, while others will take you by surprise.
One of the added features to Blood and Wine is Corvo Bianco, a home and vineyard given to Geralt as a down payment for accepting the Duchess’ contract. The home and property can be upgraded inside and out. It’s a very expensive venture to upgrade the villa, but rewarding when completed. You can add herb gardens for easy potions, armor racks and weapon displays to show off that awesome Witcher School armor and weapons that are now obsolete.
One of the greatest elements of the new expansion is that due to the vibrant colours and light settings, you never feel an immediate sense of danger, which in turn allows for you to roam Toussaint freely and almost care free. You may think that it takes away from key elements of what makes the Witcher games so exciting, but you get to see a different, human side of Geralt.
No game is perfect. There are flaws no matter how much love and support goes into a game. To me, what makes those flaws more acceptable is how the developers react to the complaints. CDPR has gone above and beyond to try to tackle quest breaking glitches, character mechanics, and even weather glitches.
The one thing that has spanned Witcher 3 and both expansions is Roach, Geralt’s horse. Roach’s mechanics are so frustrating, but Witcher fans have embraced the flawed mechanics and have made several memes citing the unpredictable actions of the equestrian companion. In CDPR’s upcoming Gwent title, based off of the popular in game trading card game, Roach has his own card in which he is pictured standing on the roof of a barn.
Throughout my playthrough of Blood and Wine, I didn’t notice any other mechanics issues or glitches.
Blood and Wine was, in my opinion, good enough and long enough to have been a stand alone entry into the series. Toussaint has a very large playable map, the story is engaging and really lets you immerse yourself in the outcome. The main quest line easily spans 10-15 hours of gameplay and the side quests offer at least another 10-15 hours. There are several different ways in which the story can end giving the entry high replayability. The story feels somewhat different than what we are used to, but fits nicely into the lore. If you’re a fan of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I highly recommend you get the expansions as well.
Blood and Wine closes out the story beautifully and can leave you feeling hopeful for future titles from CD Projekt RED. It ends on a note that will leave you with a need to start from the beginning and experience it all over again.
Jon McAnally376 Posts
Hailing from the armpit of California, this most radical of nerds loves video games, comics, and collectibles (not dolls). Prepare to feast your eyes on the magical wonder that is his editorials.