This is the first action on social media for 1,497 days and we can only hope that this means some lovely new information on the game is incoming soon. Needless to say, the internet is freaking out!
Cyberpunk 2077 is the next game from The Witcher 3 developers and will be an open-world, sandbox-style game set in a “corrupt and tech-advanced world.” The game’s stated goal is to give players the freedom to explore the locations of Night City on their own terms. CDPR has promised advanced RPG mechanics based on the pen-and-paper role-playing game upgraded to match the 2077 setting.
The final instalment of the Witcher is a big deal. After the superlative main game, the ton of free DLC, the competent and enjoyable Hearts of Stone expansion, the gaming community – even those not particularly enamoured by RPG’s – have to admit that CD Projekt Red’s magnum opus is a highly polished and prime example of open-world game design. With that in mind, it would be very easy to lose all that good will in one single stroke, by failing to provide a fitting finale for Geralt, or should the latest expansion, Blood & Wine, fail to impress. Such is the fickle nature of gamers; You are only as good as your last success.
Blood and Wine sees a new bounty notice placed, calling for the attention of Geralt of Rivia to aid the Duchy of Tuissant, (yes, that is pronounced with a French lilt), in hunting down and removing the “Beast of Beauclair”, which has been terrorising the city and killing prominent knights and aristocracy. Arriving in Tuissant you find a world which has been excluded from the Northern wars. With its acres of vinyards, grandiose architecture and open, pastel inbued villages and towns, Beauclair is a unique area with a distinct mediteranean vibe when compared to the dark, medieval British aesthetics of Velen.
One of the first encounters with the new enemies you face, is extremely reminiscent of the original teaser trailer, (a night to remember), where Geralt faced a foe that few witchers dare to engage. Much like the trailer, it also leaves you with a distinct respect for the power of these creatures and, for me at least, made me question my confidence in my combat proficiency. This was not for the only time either. Without the right preparation, timing, spells or potions you will quite frequenty be seeing “You are Dead”, even on the lower difficulty levels.
These overbearing enemies are thankfully the exception and not the rule, and alongside the regular denizens inhabiting the world, there are dozens of new variants and strains of enemies to be encountered and overcome in the Duchy of Tuissant. With an area approximately half the size of Velen, Tuissant brings a significant expansion to the game with a rich, vibrant and open-world to explore full of winding mountain paths, deep vales, derelict estates and crumbling ruins and crypts alongside the bustling towns and villages that make up the country’s focal points.
CD Projekt Red have delivered a compelling, expertly crafted story that is not only engaging, but has several twists along the way to veer the story off in a new direction. Of the several times this occurred; I would believe myself closing on the final credits only for the plot to take a logic, yet unexpected, twist and lead me further down a rabbit hole in the world of courtly intrigue and deception. As you progress through the main quest, there are several choices you can make that deviate further and further from your original path, and each of these endings can be played through should you wish. For the sake of clarity in this review, I thought it prudent to do precisely that, and there is plenty of content for this final expansion to feel justified.
These diversions would quite regularly be a simple side step on the main story arc, but more often than not would provide enough details and revelations to allow you to re-evaluate characters and their stated beliefs several times over. For me, a particular character who marked himself out as openly hostile from the outset stuck out as a primary suspect, and several times the writers presented situations which could easily have allowed you to continue to believe this to be the case, yet by the end you find this character not only to be one of the most interesting characters based on how much insight you receive into his background, but also turns out to be the most stalwart of Geralt’s supporters by the time the story’s final act rolls round.
This is primarily down to how extremely well-acted the characters are, with particular honour going to Mark Noble for his amazing work voicing Regis. As a long-time wanderer of the world, the weight of knowledge and conviction conveyed in the delivery he provides is superlative and there is a credibility in the way he interacts with Geralt that made me believe the revelations that he is a long time and close confidant of Geralts. This is particularly poignant given the fact that most of the DLC exposition is between these two characters and as such a focus on his dialogue was critical.
The world itself is spectacular to behold, and full of character. From the dusty goat tracks leading up to the highest peak, the crystal clear lakes that decorate the valleys, and the peasants picking and crushing grapes throughout the many vineyards. Everything pulls together to make the environment feel alive and reactive. Additional the character embued in the many denizens as well as the world, something CD Projekt Red do so well, make it all just feel so grounded. There is nothing that made me chuckle more, than a small side quest I stumbled upon late game to aid a pair of ghosts who had spent an obscene amount of time bickering over who should rightfully rest within a chosen crypt. Watching one of these bickering spectres flip off their unwanted neighbour when they finally knew they were going to escape the hell in which they had been trapped, is probably one of the, if not the, most amusing encounters I found during my time in Tuissant. It’s this charm that makes this DLC infinitely redeemable.
Once again, CD Projekt Red have stuffed the world to the gills. Dozens of complex and voiced side quests, several treasure hunts this time for Masterwork Witcher schematics to improve on those already upgraded sets, several bounties, countless landmarks, hidden treasure, crypts, graveyards; the list continues with easily 30+ hours of additional content to get your teeth into. This is not to mention that you also receive a customisable and upgradeable house and lands, much like the Hearthfire expansion to Skyrim, but more focus on the cosmetic rather than the actual construction.
As I said at the start, to me this was a big deal, and I thought it only justified that I dig as deeply and as widely as I possibly could to try to find the chink in the armour or the blemish on the skin of this expansion. Thankfully, in my own opinion, there was nothing to be found. The expansion is, for want of a better word, flawless. Its deep, involving, contains a metric ton of content for a relatively low price, all while maintaining the high level expected from a game with so many distinctions as this one.
All in all, if you are a fan of the core game, (and if you aren’t, why exactly are you reading a review of its DLC?), Blood and Wine is exactly the sort of content pack you would want. I cannot recommend this title enough, and I believe everyone that owns the Witcher 3 should pick this up and enjoy it as soon as possible. A must buy if ever I saw one.
Thanks to Xbox and CD Projekt Red for supporting TiX
Back in September we brought you the teaser for The Witcher 3’s incoming DLC, Hearts of Stone. It’s been nearly a month now and for those of you wondering where this might be, well, Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe might just have some good news for you.
Today, Bandai Namco have released the launch trailer for Hearts of Stone and you can see it at the foot of this very page.
This expansion to The Witcher 3 will cram in over 10 hours of new adventures, introducing new characters, powerful monsters, unique romance and a brand new storyline shaped by your very own choices.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Hearts of Stone DLC will launch on the 13th of October.
I remember looking on in jealous wonder last May as our Rich reviewed The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt. CD Projekt Red and Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe have certainly hit paydirt with this IP and they’re looking to expand the franchise further with the announcement of some new DLC.
The Hearts of Stone DLC will pack in over ten hours of fresh adventures, new characters, powerful monsters, unique romance and a brand new storyline, which will be shaped by gamer choices.
Become Geralt once more and experience the new Runewords system that significantly affects gameplay. Each Runeword will impact a different aspect of the in-game mechanics and will allow players to experiment with differing tactics and strategies.
Hearts of Stone will not just be available digitally, however. If you pop along to GAME in the UK at launch, you may well be able to get your sticky hands on a limited boxed edition, as a store exclusive. This boxed edition will contain a digital download code, two crafted physical decks of Gwent, with Monsters and Scoia’tael decks and a detailed manual to explain the rules of the card game.
You’ve not been forgotten if you own the digital Season Pass too, as the developers have launched a special initiative for you, that will enable you to purchase the cards separately. All information on this can be found here.
You will be able to get hold of The Witcher 3 Hearts of Stone DLC on the 13th of October on Xbox One.
Cd Projekt RED have released the 16th, and final, free DLC for their sprawling epic, Witcher III: Wild Hunt.
Marcin Iwiński, co-founder:
We’ve been releasing free DLCs since launch, and today’s release of New Game +, the 16th and last of them, marks a special moment for us and, I hope, for all Wild Hunt fans as well. They can now restart their adventure and see how the story turns out if they make different choices than on their first play-through. I’d like to extend my thanks to all the gamers who played our game and gave these DLCs a try. Nothing makes a developer happier than seeing gamers have fun with what they created.
The full list of DLC released since launch is:
Temerian Armor Set
Beard and Hairstyle Set
New Quest – ‘Contract: Missing Miners’
Alternative Look for Yennefer
Nilfgaardian Armor Set
Elite Crossbow Set
New Quest – ‘Fool’s Gold’
Ballad Heroes’ Neutral Gwent Card Set
New Quest – ‘Scavenger Hunt: Wolf School Gear’
Alternative Look for Triss
New Quest – ‘Contract: Skellige’s Most Wanted’
Skellige Armor Set
Alternative Look for Ciri
New Quest – ‘Where the Cat and Wolf Play…’
New Finisher Animations
NEW GAME +
These can be accessed via the Witcher III: Wild Hunt page, on the Xbox Live Store.
Make sure to check out Rich’s review of Witcher III: Wild Hunt.
It seems there are a few folk that are unhappy by this week’s offering – complaining about free things? – it confuses me too! CD Projekt RED are already teasing that next week’s DLC, and the last piece of content in their planned free DLC, will see them go out on a high!
CD Projekt RED continue to lead the way with an incredible free DLC program for their awesome Witcher 3.
This week, the DLC has a Skellige theme with some armour and a “Most Wanted” contract for you to hunt down. I must admit to being impressed by CD Projekt RED’s dedication and support for the DLC program, and rather than deliver just new cosmetics to the game, the new quests are rather exciting although let’s be honest – there’s already plenty of content in the game already!