Was it worth the few months delay of the Blood and Wine expansion? Absolutely!
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’s 2nd and final expansion called “Blood and Wine” released about 2 weeks ago and to make my review more reliable and serious, I had to play through the new story and region a couple times.
Now, it is time to tell you my verdict.
This DLC is amazing. Go buy it. End of review.
Ok, the silly joke is now behind us. Let’s move on to the serious stuff.
Incredible, deep, interesting, dufferent. When you hear for the first time that the plot is revolving around vampires, you might think “Pfft, old, boring and overexploited already”. A true Witcher lore fan might also think.. Hmm… Regis?!
Whatever you think, my advice is to clear your mind before you begin the quests (over 90, as advertised by CDPR themselves). The dialogues and events reveal an incredible adventure which simple words cannot explain. You have to see or play it. Vampires in Andrzej Sapkowski’s unverse are quite different and in Blood and Wine you will be often dealing with the unique and incredible higher vampires – sophisiticated and intelligent creatures that will surprise you pretty much every 10-15 minutes, depending on what part of the story you are exploring at the moment.
The quests are structured very nicely and with great consecutiveness. The plot is not over stretched, though it will force you to dive into crazy details and long conversations at least few times. None of these, however, will seem out of place even for a moment.
There are a few different scenarios for the ending and they depend on the choices Geralt will make. The expansion only briefly mentions characters from the original game and pretty much none of them appear in Toussaint. Well, there is a surprise to prove what I just said wrong, but I will not spoil it for you. I’ll just add that to some extend Blood and Wine is connected to the events of the original game and I strongly recommend you to finish it before starting the expansion. However, if you so desire, you can jump right into Toussaint.
Before moving on to Gameplay, I’d like to share one more thing. Don’t consider the side missions and treasures waste of time. In many of them you will discover interesting details about events of things from the main plot. A quick example is that one monster Geralt has to defeat in the arena. Later on, if you follow the Beauclair river to the north, on the shores you will find a shipwreck that is the result of this same monster being transported all the way from Nilfgaard. Why is it a shipwreck? Because the monster got loose. The rest is… details which I will not spoil for you.
The gameplay is very much the same as in the original Wild Hunt and Hearts of Stone. Like with the first expansion, CD Projekt Red have added a new system for upgrading and improving Geralt’s combat skills. Blood and Wine introduces the Mutations. They will be unlocked after you complete a side quest. It pops shortly after you go to Toussaint and is very hard to miss, since the starting cutscene is triggered automatically as you travel past a specific area in Beauclair, which is on the way to your next main quest. The Mutations System is designed more with New Game + in mind as it is very greedy and to fully unlock all slots, requires a lot of skill points and mutagens. The 2nd is easy to farm in Skellige, but the 1st one is impossible without starting NG+.
Along with the ~10-12 new levels worth of missions, the developers have included a ton of new gear to loot and craft, best of which are, of course, the 5 Witcher sets. All old 4 sets get an upgrade to Grandmaster and a 5th one is introduced – The School of the Manticore. All of the Witcher armor sets now have set bonuses too. Not to mention that there are other non Witcher armor sets worth collecting too. If not for usage, at least to bedisplayed in the vineyard.
- All Grandmaster Witcher Sets │ WITCHER 3 Blood and Wine Armor
- WITCHER 3 Blood and Wine ► My Favorite Combat Build and Mutations
Let’s not forget to mention the new dye system and the Geralt’s own vineyard, which he receives as a reward.
In terms of animations and graphical improvements, we’ve also seen quite a lot of changes and interesting innovatoins. The color scheme of the new region Toussaint is much more vibrant and despite the developers claiming it’s only restricted to the new area, I have the feeling that the whole game has changed. For me personally, it’s for good.
I am by no means a pro in this area, but what I know for sure is that to make the new giant map feel unique and different, there is over 2 hours of brand new music recorded for Blood and Wine. The voiceover has the same outstanding quality as in the original game. This expansion contains more than twice lines of dialogues (over 14000) than Hearts of Stone did (around 6000).
THE BAD THINGS
Ugh… Seriously? I have to think of something bad to say about this DLC? Does its length count? It’s only (!) 30 hours. Wait, what? 30 hours of solid gameplay and tons of innovations for ~$20? Who the hell is in charge of pricing CDPR’s games and DLCs. Other companies would claim this to be The Witcher 4 and they would charge easily a full retail.
Ok, I got one or two bad things to mention. The redesigned Witcher armor sets. Most of them, especially the highest tiers (Mastercrafted) saw a color scheme change and some of them even have different appearance now. However, that’s easy to fix thanks to the new dye system for Witcher gear.
For experienced veterans of the Witcher 3 Wild Hunt, even Death March seems too easy. Don’t get me wrong. The highest tier is still very punishing and restricting, but veteran players have long ago learned how to deal with this and they have mastered the combat mechanics. With the latest patch 1.21 CDPR added a new option in the menu called “Enemies Upscale” which attempts to bring the mobs you fight up to your level, if they are lower. However, I witnessed what I believe is a bug quite a few times – among a group of bandits that are upscaled to my level, there would be that odd 1 or 2 of them who are level 1 or 2 and die from 1 slash with the sword. I cannot tell if it’s a bug or intended, but it’s is a little frustrating. (Update: yes, it was and CDPR fixed it in Patch 1.22 along with many other bugs)
I give up trying to think of another bad bulletpoint for the Witcher 3 Blood and Wine DLC.
Not that I review games often or at all… I’ve only played a handfull of titles on my channel and have never even done a review for my main game, Star Wars the Old Republic. However, I have done a review of the Witcher 3 Wild Hunt and now I make my 2nd ever one, it’s again about the same game.
If you are wondering whether this DLC is worth your time and money, wonder no more. I strongly advice you to go purchase it right away.
And as an end to this rather long review, I choose something special. Something that literally made me fall of my chair from laughing so hard. But, it’s a secret. So, please, don’t tell anyone I have revealed it to you!
THE BIG BAD WOLD SPEAKS WITH A STRONG FRENCH ACCENT!!!
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