The term “expansion” in recent years has been very often the subject of criticism. With the implementation of online services increasingly complex and profitable, we have witnessed unarmed the advance of one of the biggest cancers modern gaming industry. From the past twenty years DLC, map pack, bonus content, skin and other downloadable content have allowed software companies to speculate beyond belief on their video games, castrating content from the product on the market and then selling them as add-ons prices variables.
Few software companies, over the years, have distinguished themselves for their professionalism and dedication to gamers, putting on the market real expansions able to extend, not least, the game experience.
Just think of Bethesda and the Shivering Isles of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, for years considered the real gauge on the front of expansions, or Rockstar Games and various additional content dedicated to GTA IV as The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, so long-lived expansions can be compared to games “stand-alone” real.
The arrival of The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine passed with flying colors in our pages allowed the beloved CD Projekt to plunge headlong into the world of the expansions. The first, of Stone Hearth, was a great start to the Polish home, thanks to an intense new storyline, able to entertain the gamer for over ten hours, with lots of side quests and new gameplay mechanics. The second and last expansion, Blood and Wine, was often labeled as the largest and most ambitious expansion ever, and we are extremely confident in the work of the team, we dive headlong between the lands of the Toussaint, thanks a review code kindly offered by the guys CD Projekt Red.
Whilst being chronologically after the end of the event Wild Hunt, The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine offers a storyline almost no links with the basic game campaign. The tight to references to the adventures of Geralt and Ciri engaged in battle with the Wild Hunt have enabled CD Projekt Red to create a kind of stand-alone adventure, playable even by those who, for some unimaginable reason, he never got to to complete the two previous storyline. A default character to level 34 will indeed be granted to those who were not provided with enough rescue “advanced”, to allow anyone to join the fray between the lands of Toussaint.
The plot of Blood and Wine takes place in one of the most beautiful provinces of Nilfgaardian Empire, Toussaint, land of wine, principles and virtues of chivalry, threatened by a terrible evil, a creature of bloodthirsty guilty of having caused the death of some important citizens of the region.
To prevent the region from sinking into chaos, the Duchess of Toussaint, Anna Henrietta, decides to hire the witcher Geralt of Rivia to hunt and destroy the beast from its peaceful lands.
Including surveys and meetings with old acquaintances, Geralt finds himself face to face with Detlaff, the “special” expansion antagonist, that will give intense moments to the performance of Blood and Wine. Meet again with pleasure the characters already known to readers of the books, which will play a very important role in the events of Toussaint.
Narratively speaking, this second expansion is unassailable: the guys CD Projekt Red is demonstrated once again the amazing storytellers, masters in creating cohesion between the right plot, setting and characters. In Blood and Wine, every quest you’re going to face in about 20-25 hours of expansion (between main and secondary missions) is evidence of the care given by the team to the fantasy universe created by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. So many endings, quests at forks and never banal dialogues manage to excel in every way the narration of Blood and Wine, making us participants of a real fully playable fantasy novel.
To play a key role in Blood and Wine is just the Toussaint, one of the most refined environments ever proposed for the series. Unlike the gray Velen and the icy archipelago Skellige, Toussaint is a region in warm colors, with dense vegetation and green hills on which lush grow the famous vineyards of the Duchy. Wine, castles, villages but also many points of interest, able to satisfy any gamer “completist” in search of new challenges after Wild Hunt.
But how not to mention Black Crow ? Upon arrival in Toussaint, as an advance by the Duchess Henrietta, we will receive a property to manage and care for, a vineyard to be exact. White Crow can be exploited by Geralt to use all the instruments witcher first available only in big cities. Thanks to a competent butler we can also enhance the seal at will, exterior and interior decorating, adding instruments, displays and much more.
In addition to a complete revision of the interface thanks to the last substantial patch available on all platforms Geralt can now rely on a new type of power-ups, with which we can get up to four additional slots for the witcher abilities. With the new mutagen management, you can obtain basic elements as was the case with the crafting of materials to obtain more powerful basic versions through new alchemical tables.
Good news reaches your weapons / armor in front, which close with a flourish the circle of the changes introduced in Blood and Wine. Besides the new screens related to the Grand Master upgrades (one for each of the five witcher schools), we run into complete sets of armor, if worn, will allow us to get in combat bonuses for each piece equipped. In Blood and Wine will for the first time the true colors for the armor, with which we can customize to our liking any piece of equipment worn by Geralt.
On the technical front, Blood and Wine verges dangerously excellence. The dedicated to expansion Witcher 3 can, in some way, to improve as the already great has been seen with the basic game: improvements to the rendering system make, with the same performance \ requirements, the much more detailed viewing distance and defined, also thanks to a greater gradient of the depth of field.
The 3D models of the new characters, Geralt excluded, are excellent: the new NPC introduced in Blood and Wine like Henrietta Duchess and Regis are incredibly cared for even if, as was the case with the basic game, a certain woodiness should report the Animations during intermissions video.
As mentioned above, the setting of Toussaint is undoubtedly the most organized among the three macro-areas proposed by CD Project Red for The Witcher 3. The architectures of Beauclair capital are stunning, from the castle to the various neighborhoods that extend from top to bottom.