The Witcher III-The Wild Hunt is a massive game, beautiful, with a truly captivating story of love, death and betrayal. It is, in fact, one of the best games I have played on PS4 so far.
But, actually, even though I loved the main game, I loved the DLCs “Hearts of Stone” and “Blood and Wine” even better.
You see, I have read all the books, but played neither The Witcher nor The Witcher 2. The Witcher III -The Wild Hunt was my first time dabbling into that universe.
And a universe it is. Beware of spoilers.
Shall old aquaintance…
The Witcher III is full of references to the books. If, like me, this was your first Witcher-game, you’ll have no clue who certain characters are, including Ciri. Thankfully, CD Projekt Red introduced a few new ones. Like in “A Night to Remember”, one of the first trailers for The Witcher III-The Wild Hunt.
It featured a female vampire, very powerful, if one is to believe Geralt’s reluctance in taking on the contract on her. In the beginning of the trailer we encounter her singing a lullaby, and her features as well as her accent are very distincive.
So imagine my surprise when she reappeared in the “Blood and Wine”-DLC, a Higher Vampire called Orianna. Geralt and Orianna part with a promise of his, namely that he’ll come for her one day. The trailer thus depicts that encounter and so we have come full circle.
I truly loved that.
Yet, in another way, it is quite fitting that the Duchy of Toussaint should become the playground for the last of Geralt’s adventures. For this was the last stop before the fatal encounter with the Sorcerer Vilgefortz as according to the books, and before his resurrection.
Plus, “Blood and Wine” features one of the most intruiging characters of the The Witcher-saga, namely Emiel Regis Rohellec Terzieff-Godefroy, Regis for short, a Higher Vampire who became one of Geralt’s closest friends and allies during the last leg of his journey to rescuing his ward and surrogate daughter, Ciri. Regis died a horrible death, according to the books, and I was so happy at seeing him again!
Well… Actually, everything else that happened during my playthough, I did for him. Because he is a true friend.
Hearts of Stone vs Blood and Wine
There’s a thunderstorm raging above the city right now, and while I find the cool wind soothing, the lightning and thunder are somewhat frightening. They fit this review very well, though.
“Hearts of Stone” was the first DLC for The Witcher III and I found it very engaging indeed. Whereas the main game offered a vast world full of intruiging contracts that I found myself veritably lost in, right up to the Point of no Return in Skellige, rescuing Ciri, the DLC featured a storyline that really kept me going. Finding out more about Olgierd van Everec, his family, the evil Master Mirror, it was all so beautifully done! I only ever wanted to play the main mission! And, of course I rescued Olgierd in the end! Geralt is the good guy, after all.
“Bood and Wine” features an equally strong storyline. With Geralt having to chase down a vampire in Beauclair, with the aid of his old friend Regis, no less, I actually took the time to play through both endings. The one where true love dies and the one where it, well, doesn’t, sort of. The second was the more horrible one, believe me. There may be a third one, but I am still working on that.
Suffice to say I adore Regis and would do anything for him. Contrary to Dandelion. Though for the life of me I don’t know why. It is, as ever, all about choices, and that is exactly what I love about this game.
“Blood and Wine” is a complex DLC and there are various decisions Geralt can make that influence its outcome. One scene, though, one that will come to pass no matter what, is the battle of Dun Thyne, where Geralt is fighting alongside two vampires at once, namely Regis and Dettlaf, aka The Beast of Beauclair. I admit, if I ever imagined myself in a similar situation, that would be the way to go.
Still, there were few mission – be it the main game or the DLCs – that, emotionally speaking, were as intense as the “Scenes of a marriage”-scenes during “Hearts of Stone”. Uncovering the love story of Iris and Olgierd was just heartbreaking. But, the most frightening mission so far was convincing the Unseen Elder of helping Geralt and Regis defeat Dettlaf. Defying gravity? That was just sooo cool!
The Witcher III – TheWild Hunt is outstanding, no doubt about that. Yet if I had to choose between the DLCs, “Blood and Wine” would win the day, if only because it features actual characters and locations from the books.