As the much loved Witcher trilogy draws to a close, will this last morsel of content leave us with the taste of joy or sadness as we say goodbye?
The Blood and Wine DLC (Downloadable content) brings a new area to Geralt‘s world in the shape of Toussaint. Loosely based on French or Italian wine country, the populace is mainly a merry bunch. With plenty of time for the finer things in life, they offer Geralt a wealth of opportunity for new diversions.
Introducing a set of new characters, good and bad, Geralt is faced with some tough ethical decisions and challenging battles on his path through Toussaint. The voice acting and styling for the new characters once again proves CD Projekt Red are a king amongst game developers. With a real passion for their content and trade, much of their profits from the original game went back into the final piece of the story, an approach sadly rare amongst other triple-A developers out to make a quick and large buck.
Not only have the NPC’s been lovingly crafted with their own motives and story’s, but the game has gone through a complete overhaul. Niggles that were accepted before like over sensitive map navigation have been resolved, the menus have a new skin and are much more intuitive. Geralt‘s armour can be personalised and enhanced in much more depth. There are much more subtle changes to boot but it would fill a page to include them all.
The world is iconic enough to set itself apart from the other map areas, sun-drenched fields full of people and flowers contrast against the war-ravaged no man’s land of Temeria. The oppressive, religious and criminal controlled Novigrad seems a distant nightmare while roaming the streets of Beuclair. Full of tournaments, new Gwent decks and the odd quest to recover a statue’s stolen gentleman’s vegetables. The opportunity to do much more than killing is a refreshing change once in a while on the Witcher path.
The monster slaying, however, is even more satisfying than before. New hybrids with unique attack patterns and behaviours make every encounter a more carefully considered affair. Having completed the main game with all the side quests to boot, I have still found the new opponents cannot be taken lightly. Fortunately, this drives you to turn away and explore further afield until you find that special sword or armour to give you the edge. With plenty of amusing and intriguing side quests, there is no sense of grinding to completion, only a growing sense of sadness as each quest takes you closer to the journey’s end.
It is fantastic to discover modern classics, works of passion regardless of creative medium that can be appreciated for the love and skill that went into them. The Witcher will live on through its fan base and I am sure will be revisited one day to much delight. This DLC, Blood and Wine, stands alone in all its glory as the best added content I have come across in the last 10 years.
Author – Joe, Bath store