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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (451)

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God of War 4/5
Doom (2016) 3.5/5
Armada 3.5/5
Detroit: Become Human 4/5
Destiny 2 4/5
Horizon: Zero Dawn 4.5/5
Oxenfree 4/5
Murdered: Soul Suspect 3/5
Kirby Star Allies 3/5
Celeste 4.5/5
Dark Quest 2 3/5
Just Cause 3 3.5/5
Guacamelee! 2 4/5
The Incredible Adventur... 4/5
Rise of the Tomb Raider 4/5
Dead Rising 3 4/5
Layers of Fear 3.5/5
Prey 3/5
Zero-K 2/5
Tales from the Borderla... 4/5
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 4.5/5
Hammerwatch 3/5
AereA 1/5
Divinity: Original Sin 4.5/5
The Yawhg 4/5

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt   PC (Steam) 

DLC Done Right    4.5/5 stars

This review will cover JUST the DLC of Heart of Stone and Blood and Wine - for my impression of The Witcher 3, please see my original review (under the PS3 tag). In any case, I couldn't pass up Steam's great sale this excellent game and all the add-ons. And while I didn't have to play through the entire game twice, well, it was still worth it as I consider The Witcher 3 one of the premiere games of this generation. The DLC only serves to solidify my position as they both feel fully fleshed-out and not some cash-grad from the developers. This is how DLC should be done.

Presentation: The graphics are still good and while Hearts of Stone takes place in the main area and doesn't feature much too different, Blood and Wine takes you to Toussaint, wine country (with a French influence) - green and lively and much different from the war-torn main story. The look, the music, the people - everything feels fresh down here and was an excellent choice for the final DLC. And the characters - loved them, in both DLCs and they made them stand out. Likewise, the new enemies they introduced were varied and interesting (giant centipedes, jaguars, new undead and more). Overall, nothing to complain about in this department.

Story: Both stories were really good - Hearts of Stone introduces you to Gaunter O'Dimm aka Master Mirror - a man who can make your wishes come true, but at a steep price. Like the proverbial demon, jinn or monkey's paw, O'Dimm twists your words to suit his own twisted amusement. Thus Geralt finds himself saved from a certain death only to find himself having to fulfill O'Dimm's quest - he is tasked with granting three wished to the seemingly immortal Olgierd von Everec, who was once a noble lord but now leads a band of renegades. While those around him delight in hedonistic anarchy, Olgierd himself seems untouched by the people around him. And he doesn't make things easy - his first two tasks are showing Vlodomir, his brother, the time of his life (despite the fact he has been dead several years) and bringing him Maximilian Borsodi's house and finally, the rose he gave to his wife before she died. Getting through these three tasks is the main bulk of the DLC and three vastly different stories - as Vlodomir's Party is a fun aside as Geralt is possessed by the party-loving spirit while getting Borsodi's house is a Ocean's-like heist and getting the rose involves a haunted house and some puzzle-solving. You also get to meet back up with Shani (encountered in the first Witcher game), another potential love interest. O'Dimm is an interesting adversary - vastly powerful, but content to play with mortals, cruel and tricky, but still willing to abide by his own twisted rules. It's a great addition to the Witcher canon.

In Blood and Wine, Geralt travels south to the duchy of Toussant where people indulge in wine and revelry but are troubled by a string of recent, violent murders. Thus Geralt, summed by Duchess Anna Henrietta, finds himself on the case of Beast of Toussaint and it doesn't take long to learn the beast is a very powerful vampire, but luckily and old friend, and vampire himself, Regis, comes along to help. This isn't just a story of murder, it's about blackmail and revenge - and unlike Hearts of Stone, Toussaint is a fully-fledged world, about the size of Velen, with lots of side quests and such to discover easily adding 20 to 30 hours of gameplay. Toussaint is based on chivalry and honor, thus many quests involve vanquishing monsters but also helping knights, taking out bandits and more. There is also a memorable story set in a fantasy-world, twisted by time and weakened magic. All in all, both the main and side stories set in Blood and Wine are memorable, worthy of the main game.

Gameplay: Nothing has much changed from the core Witcher 3 experience, but they have added in new mutagens, armor and weapons - along with a bevy of new, and, to me, much better enemies. That being said, if there is one place that both DLCs fall flat it is in the boss enemies that seem way over-powered (even to seasoned veterans) with mechanics that seem to be designed to one-shot you (like Dark Souls-level annoying). A giant toad, multiple-man Olgierd and of course an elder vampire - I was cursing up a storm each time and even though I figured out some helpful things, it doesn't change the fact these battles felt a bit cheap.

Replayability: You can miss some things, but the main reason to go back is for a few different choices and just to experience the amazing story all over again.

Overall: If you played and enjoyed The Witcher 3, both of these extra stories are worthy of your time and effort and shouldn't be missed.

Presentation: 5/5 (both)
Story: HoS 4/5, BaW 5/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Replayability: 5/5
Overall (not an average): 4.5/5

 

 


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