The Witcher 3’s saga ends with Blood and Wine, the second and last paid DLC expansion for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Is it as good as Hearts of Stone, the first expansion? It definitely is.
CD Projekt Red is a developer that keeps its word. When The Witcher 3 came out, they immediately unfolded their DLC plans and said that people who’d buy the season pass would receive two massive addons in addition to a selection of smaller DLC content. Hearts of Stone showed CD Projekt Red’s commitment to excellence already, because that expansion alone was better than the vast majority of full priced action RPG games out there. They’re doing the same thing now with Blood and Wine.
Blood and Wine takes place in a previously unexplored and remote area of land called Toussaint, which looks like a fantasy version of the wine regions of France. The story campaign is once again very long, clocking in at over 15 hours – and that’s if you rush past a lot of the content, which you shouldn’t. Instead, you should take things easy, just like Geralt can do inside the luxury of his own vineyard. The vineyard is his home for this campaign, and is implied to be a retirement gift after his previous efforts.
It’s not time for Geralt to hang up his sword just yet though, since trouble has come to Toussaint. Central to the story is a mystery that revolves around a creature that leaves a trail of murders in its wake – and it’s your job to figure out what’s happening and intercept before the creature strikes again.
Next to the main quest, there are also plenty of new side quests, gear, monsters and characters to discover. The combat system was also tweaked ever so slightly for Blood and Wine, with the addition of mutations – a way to merge spells and abilities together in order to create something brand new. It doesn’t change the combat system much, but it gives you the opportunity to play around a little with the spells at your disposal.
Blood and Wine is fairly standalone in that it features an area, quest and set of characters that doesn’t overlap much with the main game. It is however highly recommended to play through the main game (and perhaps Hearts of Stone) first for two reasons. First off, you’ll want to have a character that’s leveled up enough to be able to survive the challenges of Blood of Wine, which are geared to the experience Witcher 3 player. Secondly, CD Projekt Red has really designed this expansion to be Geralt of Rivia’s sendoff – as definite as can be foreseen at this point. Luckily, it’s a worthy one, a must-buy for Witcher 3 fans and yet another reason for others to start exploring Geralt’s world.