The Witcher 3: Blood & Wine.

It is with a bit of a tear in my eye that I begin my last hunt with Geralt. A character I have spent over three hundred hours with over the course of the last 12 months. As we know though all good things must come to an end and Blood and Wine is that end, the crowning chapter in a storied life that has been The Witcher.

It has taken a little bit of time for me to get this review together due to one simple little reason, I didn't want to finish it. I didn't want to believe that one of the greatest stories I have known in recent times was done, so I simply have not let it finish. More on that later.

Blood and Wine is set in the beautiful, vibrant almost fairytale land of Tousaint.  You have been summoned to do what you do best, find and stop a dark and terrible beast that has been leaving a bloody trail of dignitaries bodies, each killed and left in a certain way.

CD Projekt Red again prove why they were deservedly developer of the year in 2015 with a true expansion to your gaming experience.

The story telling in Blood and Wine sets a new precedent for games within this genre. Core gameplay elements remain the same but there is now some interesting choices to be made. You learn very early on that the beast you are hunting is not like you have hunted before. They are a sentient, thinking entity and seem to be capable of making complex decisions. You have the choice how you approach your quest to rid Tousaint of this enemy. Do you go in sword flailing or do you use reason and your wits to get to a peaceful resolution. It is in your hands.

One thing you will notice straight away is Tousaint has a completely different feel to the rest of the Witcher 3. The Wild Hunt that had ravaged the lands to the North never made it to Tousaint so it has been left untouched. The rolling hills littered with vinyards, the dress of the locals, the gallant knights in their shining suits of armour, are all heavily influenced by French culture. It is definitely a much more vibrant and uplifting feel. People are friendlier and all but gone are the sour and negative vibes that you would normally find.

Blood and Wine assumes that you have played the Witcher, and have proven yourself on the battle field. In short, hold your breath and jump in. You are in for a treat. Boss monsters are plentiful and each has a little trick to bring them down. Be it a weak spot, blindness or a simple timing thing, if you don't work out what is needed, you'll be trying it again. It definitely keeps you on your toes. Wander too far from the beaten track and new monsters and beasts are waiting for you.

Again the countryside is littered with side quests to keep you going. Each with its own story. From freeing a woman of a curse that has ravaged her for 100 years to finding the testicles that were stolen off a sacred statue, there is many to keep you entertained.

A small but insignificant spoiler for you all. You get your own vineyard. As payment for your services you are gifted your very own villa in the country side. Alas it is run down and does take a bit of coin to do it up. Luckily, I had such coin and spent nearly all of it on the renovations. Worth it I hear you ask, yes. Yes it was. I now have a nice little piece of real estate that I can wander around. Gardens I can gather ingredients from and best of all, somewhere to mount my Witcher armour I have collected. Yes I have spent way too much time doing this and I will spend much more as you can decorate the inside of the house.

There have been some subtle changes to the mutagens menu, layout of the inventory and you now have the ability to sort items how you prefer them to be.
The Grand Master level for Witcher armour is now available bumping your attributes up even higher and the added  ability to colour your Witcher armour using dyes found throughout the land is a nice added bonus.

To date I'll be honest, I have not finished the main narrative of Blood and Wine. Only because I don't want too. Unfortunately due to time restraints I don't get the chance to spend a lot of time gaming. Then one of these gems comes along and I am afraid if I finish straight away, I won't jump back in to experience all the region of Tousaint has for me. I have come close to the end, but for now, I'll be toiling away and helping out the locals.

Blood and Wine is now available for PS4, XBOne & PC and well worth the approx $27.00 it is going for.
If you have been wondering if you should get it, I would have to say this is one title where the price of the season pass is worth the content you are receiving. A throw back to a true expansion for a game worthy of it.

Remember to head on over to CD Project Red & Bandai Namco and show them some love.

Pat (Snoogan512)

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