‘The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine’ brings expansive journey to an emotional end

Downloadable content for video game brings fans back for one last engaging adventure

June 15, 2016

It has been over 1 year from the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’s initial release in 2015. Since then, they have release a series of free downloadable extra content and 1 full length paid downloadable content (DLC) that was released last October. Now, the final-- and quite possibly the largest-- paid DLC has been released: Blood and Wine.

The new story takes place in the land of Toussaint, an ancient and prosperous city, built in and around Elven ruins and surrounded by lush greenery and enriched vineyards. The land is massive, it introduces new temples and fortresses to explore, and a beautiful city to be immersed in.

The story follows one last adventure for the main character of the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Geralt of Rivia, as he is hired to investigate the murders of multiple noble knights. Geralt arrives at the start of a great festival and tournament, and partakes in certain events to further the trust of certain individuals to help his investigation. Geralt soon discovers a much deeper and darker secret that has been the groundwork for the murders, involving the motives of the killer and the victims themselves.

This new DLC truly feels like a final “hurrah” for Geralt, Geralt at one point meets an old friend named Regis, an ancient vampire who is filled with charm, intelligence, and generosity. This friend is weary from all the strife and troubles that fill this world, and Geralt shares this feeling. But Geralt has been appointed by the Duchess of Toussaint, Anna Henrietta, to put an end to the threat that looms over the peaceful city.

Toussaint offers a far different atmosphere compared to the other cities players explore in the base game of the Witcher. Typically, the lands Geralt explores are filled with despicable people, disgusted with Geralt’s very presence, and are corrupted with greed and violence. The only land that offers some refuge from all the misery and hatred was the Skellige Isles, a vast snowy land occupied by ruthless vikings and barbarians. These barbarians, ironically enough, had a respectable honor and courage about them that gave players a bit of a break from the murderous scoundrels and backstabbing thieves that filled the mainlands.

Toussaint is filled with proud and noble knights always looking to pledge their love and honor to their Duchess and the people of Toussaint. The whole of Toussaint mirrors a Italy-France kind of aesthetic and style, with valleys stretching with vineyards and tall colored buildings bordering canals and wide brick roads.

The monsters encountered in Blood and Wine range from pale wyverns to man-eating plants, but most notably is the more imminent and looming threat: vampires. Vampires are far more complicated and diverse in the Witcher universe compared to any other fiction. There are more beast-like and blood-hungry vampires such as Ekimmaras and Katakans, but there are also a class of vampire simply called Higher Vampires. Higher Vampires are fiercely intelligent, unimaginable powerful, can take the appearance of every day humans, and are virtually unkillable. They are for all intents and purposes, immortal, with the only way to truly kill one is for it to be slain by another of its kind. Other than that, they will continuously regenerate and grow stronger the more enraged they become.

Geralt’s friend, Regis, though a vampire, has fasted himself from any blood from any creature, for he was once an addict of blood, close to the point of attacking humans in the streets to suck them dry. He is now calm, collected, and respects human’s kinder natures and apt abilities for ingenuity. He assists Geralt in his investigations and proves a vital piece of the puzzle in the murders.

The story is superb, the characters are engaging, and the new land is beautiful and at times mesmerising in its immersiveness. The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine can bring players to the point of tears in its excellent writing. This is a fantastic and well deserved conclusion to Geralt’s long journey.

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