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Last year, The Witcher 3 brought us
one of the most stunning and expansive RPG worlds,

with nuanced stories to tell
and an emphasis on choice and consequence.

The first expansion, Hearts of Stone
spins an unsettling tale of its own,

and now, roughly a year after the original release,
the second expansion, Blood & Wine,

takes us to an all new region
that truly feels like a different place.

The setup is fairly typical.
Geralt finds a summons from the Duchess of Toussaint,
who requires The Witcher's help to solve
a string of mysterious murders.

Even when you meet the knights
assigned to escort you to the south,

you get the clear impression that these guys
just aren't from around here,
as their shining armor and eloquent words

feel out of place among the grit and swearing.
Arriving in this new region gives a similar impression.
Far from the war-torn lands of the main game,
there's a strong sense that this is a land at peace, quiet and domesticated.
While wandering the lanes and vineyards,
you're far less likely to encounter bandits or monsters,

but that doesn't mean it's entirely safe,
as you learn soon after entering its borders.

It's surprising just how different the land itself feels.
Changes in foliage, a bright sun,
and even the sounds of birds and insects

all come together in a way that makes your surroundings feel hotter and more summery.
With the high rolling hills, brilliant skies,
and lush landscapes

there's a multitude of striking views
to stop you in your tracks,

begging you to take them in.
Vineyards are ripe with details
that could be so easily overlooked,

such as workers engaged in every step
of the wine-making process,

who you can then find partying around a bonfire
at night.

The city of Beauclair and its impressive fairy-tale palace
feature architecture unlike anything
found in the northern regions.

Streets zigzag down hillsides,
citizens enjoy the night life,

and there are murals around every corner.
Without war at their doorsteps, knights are more concerned with status, pageantry, and ceremony.
Artists of all kinds sell their wares,
and wine flows in parties among high society.

All of these details
along with a strong selection of new music

separates Blood & Wine from simply feeling
like more of the same.

It recaptures a sense of awe,
and with an area that feels as large as Velen,
we journeyed for 40 hours
before wrapping up the main quest,

and we still have so much more to go back and do.
The expansion's side quests
reflect this change in tone as well,

although in true Witcher fashion,
there's often much more beneath the surface.

One of the biggest quest lines involves Geralt participating in a tournament,
competing for glory
among elite knights dressed to the 9s.

Several quests involve artists, including a painter, sculptor, and a wildlife photographer.
There's an amusing back and forth as you attempt
to fill out the right paperwork at the bank,

and a lengthy investigation as you find yourself trying
to settle a feud between two competing wineries.

Even what could have been a simple Gwent tournament focused on the new Skellige deck
is bolstered by narrative and dissenting opinions.
As bright as the location and side quests may be,
there is a much darker side to Toussaint

that plays out primarily in the main story.
As you investigate to find out who or what
is brutally murdering distinguished knights,

you'll have run-ins with powerful vampires
and dig deep into the Witcher 3's

distinctly different threads of vampire lore.
You'll spend a fair bit of time in crypts and cemeteries
as well as other positively creepy locations.
The events don't evoke quite as much
personal attachment as the main game, but

the plot does a good job of turning the tables
to keep you guessing.

There are several great callbacks for fans of the books,
and some of the alternate quests near the end
are remarkably different,

enticing you to replay to see what could happen
if you made different choices.

Plus if you continue your save from the main game,
there's a solid payoff at the end.
As it is an expansion,
there aren't any radical mechanical changes,

although a patch that dropped alongside Blood & Wine includes a laundry list of significant revisions.
The inventory system
benefits from much better organization,

minor annoyances with navigating the map
have been resolved,

and there's an option to scale enemy difficulty
if you feel you're over-leveled.

One of the most beneficial changes though
is the ability to read books as soon as you pick them up,
eliminating the chore of opening the menu
to search for them among your belongings.

Specific to Blood & Wine is the new mutation system which helps to freshen up combat.
Mutations are essentially
another level of skills to unlock,

granting new abilities
such as adding a freezing effect to the Aard sign.

As you unlock more mutations,
you can also gain extra slots
for your traditional abilities,

allowing you to stack on more options to play with.
Plus there are a few unique weapons
that push you to fight a bit differently as well.
What also helps is that Toussaint is overflowing
with new creatures to fight,

in addition to the return of the boars and arachnomorphs introduced in Hearts of Stone.
Panthers prowl the foothills.
Giant centipedes and man-eating plants
erupt from the fields.

And then of course, there are the vampires such as alps and bruxae that never appeared in the main game.
These vixens are particularly difficult to fight,
darting erratically, turning invisible,

and teleporting away
when you go to strike the killing blow.

They are just as fierce and dangerous as you'd expect.
Wrapping up Blood & Wine are a few other perks.
Armor dyes give you the opportunity
to paint certain gear however you like,

and more significantly Geralt is awarded
with a full estate of his very own.

You'll get to own a vineyard and invest in remodeling it,
improving your house, grounds, and stables
as well as having places to display your favorite weapons, armor, and art.
Not only is it satisfying
to see the improvements happen, but

sleeping in your bed, grants you additional perks
based on your upgrades.

The expansion still isn't perfect of course as it has
some of the typical distractions of open world games

such as characters occasionally floating in the air
or two sets of dialogue playing on top of each other.

Thankfully these occurrences don't happen
often enough to sully the experience,

and more troublesome bugs
have been quickly patched out.

The Witcher 3: Blood & Wine
is an exceptional expansion

that reignites a sense of wonder even for players
who have put in hundreds of hours so far.

The breadth and variety of all that's included
stands stronger than many full-priced sequels.

As a twenty-dollar add-on, it's absolutely worthwhile.
コツ:単語をクリックしてすぐ意味を調べられます!

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The Witcher 3: Blood & Wine - Easy Allies Review

99 タグ追加 保存
wei 2018 年 12 月 2 日 に公開
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