The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine
Blood and wine art.jpg
Developer(s)CD Projekt Red
Publisher(s)CD Projekt
Director(s)Konrad Tomaszkiewicz
Programmer(s)Grzegorz Mocarski
Writer(s)Marcin Blacha
Composer(s)
SeriesThe Witcher
EngineREDengine 3
Platform(s)
Release31 May 2016
Genre(s)Action role-playing
Mode(s)Single-player

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine is the second and final expansion pack for the 2015 video game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Developed by CD Projekt Red, Blood and Wine was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on 31 May 2016, later released for the Nintendo Switch on 15 October 2019, and PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions planning for release in 2021. The expansion follows Geralt of Rivia as he travels to Toussaint, a duchy untouched by the war taking place in the base game, as he hopes to track down a mysterious beast terrorizing the region. The expansion received widespread acclaim from critics, winning a number of awards.

Plot[edit]

Set after the events of the base game, Geralt is offered a contract by Duchess Anna Henrietta, the ruler of Toussaint, a vassal duchy under the Nilfgaardian Empire. Two knights of Toussaint had been murdered in strange circumstances, and Geralt is tasked with finding and killing the monster responsible.

Upon his arrival in Toussaint, Geralt investigates the murder of a third knight. With the help of Henrietta and Captain Damien de la Tour, Geralt discovers clues that suggest the knights were killed for violating the five virtues that all knights of Toussaint swear to uphold. They suspect a fourth knight may be in danger. Geralt and the duchess then race to find the knight. Geralt arrives just in time to see the Beast killing the fourth knight. Geralt chases the Beast, battling him in a warehouse. Before either can kill the other, Regis, a higher vampire, and friend of Geralt, intervenes and convinces the Beast to leave. Regis explains that the Beast is another higher vampire named Dettlaff. Regis tells Geralt that he is bonded to Dettlaff, by whom he is recovered, by vampire code.

Geralt joins forces with Regis to find out why Dettlaff is committing murders despite being indifferent towards human affairs, according to Regis. They brew a potion that enables Geralt to see certain visions of Dettlaff's memories. After following clues, they discover Dettlaff’s former lover Rhenawedd had been kidnapped, and the kidnappers were forcing Dettlaff to murder the knights. Regis stays behind to wait for Dettlaff to return, while Geralt reports to Henrietta and de la Tour. They follow clues from a wine stain from a piece of paper, left by the kidnappers, to the ducal winery, where the wine keeper admits to selling the wine to a mysterious buyer. Geralt then leads an ambush on the collection party, afterwards finding out the buyer is known as the Cintrian.

Geralt and Henrietta go undercover at a soirée where The Cintrian was due to attend. Geralt discovers an attempt by the Cintrian to steal a jewel that was foiled. The owner of the residence hosting the soirée, Orianna, admits to catching The Cintrian red-handed and struggling with him, throwing him out of a window and killing him. Henrietta identifies the jewel as a family heirloom, lost many years ago; Orianna reveals she bought it off a young woman. Geralt also recovers the knife The Cintrian used to attack Orianna, which Henrietta identifies as one belonging to the lord of a castle nearby. Geralt points out to Henrietta that the wine and jewel are both tied to the duchess intimately, leading to an attempt on her life, but Henrietta floats an alternative theory. She speculates that her long lost sister Syanna may be involved. Syanna had been exiled for supposedly being afflicted by the Curse of the Black Sun, a curse for girls born at the same time as a solar eclipse. Henrietta tasks Geralt to investigate the castle and find Syanna, if she is there and return her unharmed. Regis unexpectedly shows up with Dettlaff in tow, announcing their intent to assist Geralt with finding the blackmailer.

De la Tour's men assault the blackmailer's castle while Geralt sneaks in through the back, fighting his way to the keep. Halfway through, he is joined by Regis and Dettlaff, the latter of whom is eager to recover Rhenawedd. Inside, they find Rhenawedd, but no sign of another woman. Geralt deduces that Syanna and Rhenawedd are the same person, who faked her own kidnapping and was also behind the sale of the ducal wine and the attempted theft of the jewel. Feeling betrayed, Dettlaff leaves in a rage, threatening to destroy Beauclair, the capital city of Toussaint, unless Syanna agrees to meet him for an explanation within three days. Geralt explains to Henrietta that Syanna was behind it all, but the duchess refuses to believe it. Upon learning that Dettlaff is the Beast, she demands Geralt track him down and kill him, while also refusing to bow to Dettlaff's threat.

Geralt has no luck locating Dettlaff in the next three days. While he and Regis report to the duchess, lesser vampires begin attacking the city. Geralt and Regis have two choices: free Syanna so she can talk to Dettlaff, or find the Unseen Elder who can force Dettlaff to appear before Geralt. If Geralt chooses to free Syanna, he and Regis find de la Tour in the city and convince him to tell them where Syanna is imprisoned. Geralt and Regis make their way to the palace's playroom, where they find an enchanted fairy tale book where the sisters used to play together as children. Geralt enters the book's world, named the Land of a Thousand Fables, locates Syanna, and returns with her to the real world. While in the Land of a Thousand Fables, Geralt has the option to retrieve a ribbon for Syanna. While there, Syanna also explains to Geralt her reason for murdering the knights – they were the ones who exiled her under orders, some of whom who also abused her during the journey. If Geralt opts to find the Unseen Elder, he talks to Orianna, who offers to tell him the way if he slays a vampire targeting an orphanage under her patronage. Geralt and Regis will make their way to the Unseen Elder's lair, where after some difficulty, they persuade the Unseen Elder to recall Dettlaff.

At this point, several endings are possible. If Geralt opts to release Syanna from the fairy tale world, Geralt, Regis, and Syanna meet Dettlaff in Tesham Mutna. If Geralt retrieves the ribbon for Syanna, then it saves her from Dettlaff's killing blow. Then Geralt fights Dettlaff, with the help of Regis. Dettlaff subdues Regis before turning on Geralt, and the two fight. Geralt defeats Dettlaff after an exhausting battle. Regis reluctantly kills Dettlaff. Geralt will be awarded Toussaint's highest honor for slaying the Beast. Before he attends the ceremony, Geralt can choose to join Regis in uncovering the identity of Syanna's would-be fifth victim. Geralt and Regis follow clues and discover that the fifth victim was Henrietta. The duchess' death would have fulfilled the last virtue, compassion. Geralt can then choose to confront an incarcerated Syanna with the knowledge. Regardless, Geralt attends the award ceremony and stays by the duchess' side while she judges Syanna for her crimes. If Geralt chooses not to investigate into the fifth victim, or if he investigates it and then confronts Syanna in an admonishing manner, Syanna stabs Henrietta with a hairpin and is in turn shot by de la Tour's crossbow. With no living heirs to the dukedom, Toussaint falls into a state of chaos. If Geralt asks Syanna to consider forgiving her sister, which is only possible if Geralt read a governess' diary before entering the fairy tale world, the two sisters resolve their differences, and Toussaint celebrates.

A third ending results if Geralt did not retrieve the magical ribbon for Syanna in the fairy tale world. Dettlaff confronts Syanna and kills her. Geralt can choose to let him go or kill him with the help of Regis. Whichever his decision, Geralt is thrown into prison for failing to save Syanna. Geralt's friend Dandelion will then appear at the prison, telling Geralt that he convinced Henrietta to release him. Geralt then meets with Regis and can choose to look into the fifth victim. He uncovers that the fifth victim was to be the duchess herself, and goes to the ducal crypt where the duchess grieves, accompanied by Dandelion. The duchess refuses to believe Geralt and forbids him from seeing her ever again.

If Geralt opts for the Unseen Elder path, then the elder vampire would force Dettlaff to meet Geralt and Regis in Tesham Mutna. Dettlaff, enraged, attacks both of them, but Geralt and Regis gain the upper hand and kill him. The ending is the same as if Geralt had not looked into who was to be the fifth victim, with Syanna killing Anna and being killed in turn.

Geralt drinks with Regis, reflecting on their journey and the events they have witnessed and sometimes had a hand in. If Dettlaff was killed, Regis is attacked by vampires and labeled a traitor for helping defeat Dettlaff. Geralt then returns home to the vineyard estate that formed part of his payment to find a surprise visitor. Depending on the choices and endings from the base game, the visitor may be either Yennefer or Triss (if Geralt romanced either of them in the base game), Ciri (if Geralt romances neither) or Dandelion (if Geralt romances neither and Ciri does not survive the base game).

Gameplay[edit]

Gameplay of the expansion does not differ much from a base game apart from different setting and story, however there has been some additional features. First of all, all new system of mutations have been included alongside with mutagens needed to unlock the specific mutation. Players can now also dye their armor. The main new feature is Geralt's new home - Corvo Bianco Vineyard (which he received from Anna Henrietta as a partial payment for slaying the monster), which can be upgraded to a certain level. It is also worth noting that apart from standard bandit camps known from the base game, Geralt can now clear much bigger camps known as Hanse bases.

Release[edit]

On 7 April 2015, CD Projekt announced two expansion packs for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt—the first expansion being Hearts of Stone and the second being Blood and Wine.[1] Blood and Wine was released on 31 May 2016.[2] It was later released alongside Hearts of Stone in a complete edition for the Nintendo Switch on 15 October 2019.

Reception[edit]

Blood and Wine received "universal acclaim" from critics, according to review aggregator website, Metacritic.[3][4][5] Many reviewers praised the way CD Projekt Red ended the storyline of the character Geralt of Rivia and the size of the expansion, with some saying it could be a new project.[8][9] In a PC Gamer review by Tom Senior, he praised the developers for making such an in-depth expansion, and if they kept getting released, he'd still be playing The Witcher in 2020. Senior commended the farewell to the series.[10] The Escapist writer Steven Bogos states it is overall a good expansion but it's not the adventurous "save the world" storyline like the previous Witcher titles. He added that the farewell to Geralt of Rivia will leave a smile on your face.[11] Richard Cobbett for Rock, Paper, Shotgun claimed the game wasn't CD Projekt Red's best work. He said it had a good story but not as good as Hearts of Stone's.[12] On the contrary to Cobbett's review, Chris Carter for Destructoid believed Blood and Wine was better than Hearts of Stone due to the latter feeling like a "polished, elongated quest". He said Blood and Wine was expansive enough that it could be considered a new project.[9] "Blood and Wine is sometimes as thematically dark as its predecessors", Kevin VanOrd said in a GameSpot review, although when compared to other aspects of The Witcher 3, it is less grim.[13] Leif Johnson for IGN had initial doubts due to the slow start but started to "love it" within the first few hours of gameplay.[14] Shacknews writer Josh Hawkins noted they experienced a few problems and bugs in the expansion but there wasn't much he didn't like. He added onto this by saying it was, overall, a good addition to the series.[15] Similar to Hawkins, Mike Williams for USgamer said it was a good expansion overall and the farewell to Geralt of Rivia was a success.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Krupa, Daniel (7 April 2015). "2 "Massive" Expansions Announced for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  2. ^ Skrebels, Joe (10 May 2016). "Update: The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine DLC Gets an Official Release Date". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  6. ^ Stark, Chelsea (1 December 2016). "The Game Awards: Here's the full winners list". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  7. ^ "NAVGTR Awards (2016)". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers.
  8. ^ White, Sam (8 June 2016). "The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine is a gorgeous, generous and remarkable expansion – review". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  9. ^ a b Carter, Chris (31 May 2016). "Review: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine". Destructoid. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  10. ^ Senior, Tom (25 May 2016). "The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine review". PC Gamer. Future plc. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  11. ^ Bogos, Steven (3 June 2016). "The Witcher 3 – Blood And Wine Review – Geralt's Last Adventure". The Escapist. Defy Media. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  12. ^ Cobbett, Richard (25 May 2016). "Wot I Think: The Witcher 3: Blood And Wine". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  13. ^ VanOrd, Kevin. "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  14. ^ Johnson, Leif (25 May 2016). "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine Review". IGN. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  15. ^ Hawkins, Josh (25 May 2016). "The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine Review – The Land of Love and Wine Flows With Blood". Shacknews. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  16. ^ Williams, Mike (30 May 2016). "Witcher 3 Blood and Wine PC Review: The White Wolf Gets Some Sun". USgamer. Retrieved 17 June 2016.

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