REVIEW / The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Hearts of Stone Expansion (PS4)

 

On October 13 of this year, CD Projekt Red released the much anticipated expansion to its wildly popular game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.  Entitled Hearts of Stone, this new DLC lets you step back into the shoes of everyone’s favorite monster slayer, Geralt of Rivia, on a job to defeat a ruthless bandit captain.  This captain, Olgierd von Everec, is rumored to possess the power of immortality and may prove to be Geralt’s toughest challenge yet.

 

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Timing in at around 10 full hours, you will be swept back into the world of The Witcher 3 to have new adventures while meeting new characters on your way to defeating new powerful monsters.  All of the features of the main game are here giving you the same level of character interaction possibilities like unique romances as well as performing tasks to strengthen the bonds between you and your allies.  Hearts of Stone sports a brand new storyline that is heavily influenced by the choices that you make in the game.

 

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If you are worried that you will only be able to play this expansion if you have completely finished the main game, do not fret.  When you start Hearts of Stone, the expansion will give you the option to start a new game from the very beginning so that you can play the game as if the new content initially accompanied the game at release.  If you haven’t finished the main game, however, you can start a Hearts of Stone Only game where the main storyline quests of the main game are totally disabled allowing you to play just the new content.  In this mode, Geralt is automatically leveled up to 32 so that you can hang with the other creatures that you will face at the beginning of the expansion.  You are also given 46 Ability Points which you then need to use to upgrade Geralt’s abilities in the style of fighter that complements your play-style.

 

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I started a Hearts of Stone Only game because I wanted to experience what it would be like to focus only on the content of this expansion without the distraction of the main game content.  I found it very challenging jumping in at level 32 when facing some of the expansions early bosses and felt somewhat under-powered as far as the skills and abilities that I had access to.  To allow you the freedom to grind and build up Geralt to a suitable level, you still have access to all of the main games side-quests and other various activities.  This makes the expansion content feel like it has been seamlessly woven into the world of The Witcher 3 allowing you to enjoy the new DLC as if it was a stand alone game.

 

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Other than the fact that I had a rough time in the beginning, the remainder of my time playing Hearts of Stone was very fun.   The folks over at CD Projekt Red did a great job of providing more content for a main game that already boasts more that 200+ hours to totally complete.  This new expansion can be downloaded from the PlayStation Store for $9.99 which works out to be about a dollar an hour for this 10 hour DLC.  Not bad as far as expansions go considering the excellent quality of the new content and the very engaging and entertaining storyline.

 

 

 

 

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