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REVIEW / The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine (PS4)

 

If you have finished the main content in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and have already tackled all of the content in the first expansion, Hearts of Stone, then there is one last adventure that will allow you to enjoy 30 fresh hours of new content.  Blood and Wine is the second and final piece of story based DLC for TW3:WH that will see you facing new monsters and trying to solve a very intricate and engrossing murder mystery.

 

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Let me be clear here, you don’t have to have finished the main game or the previous expansion pack to enjoy the new expansion pack.  BAW is a stand alone story and just like in HOS, you can begin this new expansion from your main game save, start a new game+ with just the story content from the expansion but with your current level and items or you can start a new game mode which will provide you with a clean build of Geralt with un-allocated skill points.  However you choose to jump into this final adventure, you are in for a thrilling romp in a brand new region of TW3 world filled with new quests, new weapons and most importantly, new beasts to slaughter.

 

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This gargantuan fellow just said something unpleasant about your mother and a herd of sheep. You gunna let that stand?

 

For this review, I chose the option to start the game with a clean build of Geralt so that I could evaluate the expansion on its own merits.  When you start a new game, you begin with a Geralt that is a level 35 in addition to a healthy supply of un-allocated skill points, equipment and various items.  Enemies are leveled such that they will provide a sufficient challenge but not be so difficult that you can’t proceed.  After poking around in the menu and adding runes, equipment and potions, I headed out to begin my new adventure.  You initiate the new content by accepting a request for your services by Duchess Anna Henrietta of Toussaint and then make the short trip to meet her.

 

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While the Duchess Anna Henrietta of Toussaint is royalty, you soon find out that she is not afraid of getting her hands dirty.

 

Accepting this quest will obviously have you pitted against vicious enemies that only the Witcher could possibly face down.  To accomplish your task, you will need to acquire your share of more than 30 new weapons in which to ply your craft when you will invariably face-off with more than 20 new vicious and terrible monsters.  In the HOS expansion, I found that as I got deeper into the expansion, the enemies ramped up in difficulty a lot faster than I did, which caused some intense moments of myself almost crushing my controller with my bare hands.  However, in BAW, the boss fights were much more manageable and allowed for a more enjoyable experience.  Mind you, these fights were not easy and I had to use Geralt’s skills and my available items in order to progress past them as opposed to the monsters just being ridiculously hard to defeat regardless of Geralt’s skills at the time or the types of equipment that was available to use.

 

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Geralt may be the worlds greatest detective of his time. Better not let a certain gentleman who dresses as a bat hear you say that, however.

 

I don’t want to spoil all that this new expansion has to offer because what fun would it be for you to go into it knowing everything before hand; I want to save something for you to discover on your own.  However, there is one cool new addition to gameplay that I think is important to talk about here: Mutations.  This new feature allows for 12 additional game-changing abilities that you can upgrade Geralt with by taking advantage of new research mechanics.  Best to be experienced in the New Game + mode, mutations can allow you to boost your signs so that they can land critical hits and cause the enemy to explode or instead of dying from taking too much damage, you can gain damage immunity and can be healed back to maximum vitality automatically.  YouTuber Apex of War has a cool video that gives a great overview of how this new system works.

 

 

Just to make sure you are clear on what the Blood and Wine expansion contains; there are 90 new quests with over 40 new points of interest that will take you on average over 30 hours to complete.  For the asking price of $24.99, that is what you would expect to get in a new standalone game at more than twice that price.  BAW contains 14,000 lines of dialogue (HOS had 6,000 lines) in addition to more than 100 individual pieces of armor, of which are cool new witcher sets as well.  Also, just to top off all of the awesome new content, the New Game+ maximum level has been increased to 100.  This is a fitting farewell to Geralt for this latest outing from CD Project Red so until the next adventure, grab this one while you can.

 

 

 

This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.

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