After the Poland based CD Projekt Red’s ‘The Witcher 3 : Wild Hunt’ exploded on to the global gaming scene and effortlessly had its name recorded amongst the greatest in the annals of gaming history, the developers announced two more expansions to their mammoth of a fantasy rpg , namely Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine!
Hearts of Stone was released later in 2015 and received equivalent to thunderous applause from the fans, which the devs must have become quite accustomed to by then, but with the release of the second and sadly the final expansion Blood and Wine on 31st of May, CDPR once again proved the reason behind their meteoric rise to superstardom in the open world fantasy genre while flying in the faces of such titans as BioWare and Bathesda.
With its 30 hours of gameplay , 40 points of interest, close to a hundred new quests , a brand new region the size of a small continent, 14,000 additional lines of dialogue, 30 new weapons and 12 new mutations to unlock, Blood and Wine is the most melodious swan song that was ever composed to bid adieu a character such as Geralt of Rivia.
Without a smidgeon of exaggeration this 20 dollars expansion (if you didn’t buy the seasons pass) provides more quality content than we find in most full retail games today…combined!
Toussaint, as Geralt himself is heard commenting on multiple occasions, is very much a fairyland from the old fables. A land that seems to embody the very spirit of the medieval romance observed from the rose tinted glasses of a dreamy eyed sophomore.
Toussaint’s verdant land glitters like an emerald in the sun, and within its expanse harbours acres of vineyards, number of castles, caves, vales and hills and dungeons and dragons…or draconids at least.
The Knights errant roam the land on their mighty steeds in their glittering armors, ever ready to seek fortune and glory in order to impress their ladies fair and speaking in the most chivalric and not a bit pompous flowery tongue. Naturally disaster struck.
When the Duchess Anna Henrietta of Toussaint most graciously requested Geralt’s aid to investigate murders most foul being committed by a serpent in her paradise, Geralt couldn’t refuse the offer and agreed.
It didn’t require a lot of effort on Geralt’s part to reach the conclusion that the murderer dubbed ‘The Beast of Toussaint’ was a Vampire, and not just any of the lesser half a dozen varieties but a Higher Vampire!
The creature most intelligent, powerful and resourceful of its species that most Witchers would simply refuse to take contract against. Guess who didn’t go with the ‘safe’ option?
As soon as Geralt starts investigating the murders of the Knights of the Duchess Court he is pulled into a world of blood thirsty creatures, sentient monsters, thugs, brutes, bandits and cutpurses…a world where fangs dripping with blood could belong to a victim and doe eyed damsels in distress would hide blackest of hearts!
In other words just another day on the job for Geralt.
As soon as you begin your journey into the heart of Toussaint you’d immediately notice the visual improvement that this expansion offers over the code of the entire base game. The wizards at CDPR delivered what the promised.
Not only that the visuals are amazingly beautiful and improved but the performance , incredibly, has improved significantly as well, though I have personally noticed delay in opening and navigating the inventory as compared to before. During my play through on PS4 the game crashed 3 times and sent me to an electronic form to send my complaint. A reload fixed the problem.
Blood and Wine is clearly a labour of love. From the very blade of grass to the superbly memorable characters, there could be no better way to say good bye. As Geralt’s best friend Regis said to him:
”We have witnessed-and, in fact, on several occasions incited-many great and weighty events. After all that toil, I believe we deserve a bit of a rest.”