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May 24, 2016

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine - Preview

We don’t usually run previews of DLC or expansions, but for Blood and Wine we’ll make an exception, not only for the size  and scope of the expansion but also due to the welcome tweaks it brings to the main campaign. The latest expansion sees Geralt travelling to Toussaint – kind of an analogue of France under King Luis XVI to complete a contract hunting a beast that has been killing, dismembering then displaying the corpses of knights. The Knights of Toussaint aren’t too keen on the idea of allying themselves with an uncouth outsider, and a Witcher no less, but when a monster comes calling there is nobody better to have in your corner.
Here Be Monsters
Promising around 30 hours of content, from what we’ve seen so far, Blood and Wine will offer a refreshingly different feel. Toussaint itself has been spared the ravages of war, so the general tone feels lighter, even though you’re tracking a savage beast. The countryside is beautiful and bounteous, not made up of the battlefields, swamps and dangerous forests that seem to make up the bulk of The Wild Hunt. The en gine has also been tweaked with new vegetation, making it look even better than it was before. Unfortunately the new vegetation is limited to Toussaint for the simple reason that the geometry of the main game is too big to have the new vegetation (grass especially) fit without having to manually place every patch in the game.

In addition to new grass textures and other graphics tweaks, Blood and Wine also brings a few new features to the table, including a new mutations scheme and a much, much improved inventory that allows players to easily find what they’re looking for over a number of tabs. Armour can now be customised and dyed allowing players to tailor the look of Geralt. During the adventure, Geralt is also rewarded with property, giving him a home that can be renovated to add crafting tables so there is no need to travel to multiple different places to fix arms and armour or create alchemical tools. All of these new features are unlocked once the expansion is started and are then brought back into the main game so you can finish Wild Hunt with the new features if you haven’t completed the campaign already.

In the two or so hours we played, only one battle involved human enemies, and that was during the prelude before travelling the Toussaint. After that battle in fairly short order Geralt faced three boss level monsters, a giant, a Bruxa and an enormous stone creature in an arena. While we’re sure that humans will definitely pose a threat to the Witcher at some stage of his mission, it looks as though Blood and Wine might see Geralt go back to what he does best – hunt monsters and avoid the affairs
of Kings.


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