The Witcher 3: Blood & Wine DLC: Geralt goes out in style

Well, Geralt of Rivea, it’s been quite a ride.

Through three games on a variety of formats, the mutated monster hunter from developer CD Projekt Red has carved a name for himself as a hero and likeable character. Yes, a likeable character as well as a bit of a rogue.

CD Projekt Red have made no secret that this is the last adventure of Geralt of Rivea, and if this indeed the case, it’ll go down as one of the most satisfying and wonderful final appearances ever.

Pwooar, look at all those bright colours. And sunflowers. And Geralt. It's lovely!!

Pwooar, look at all those bright colours. And sunflowers. And Geralt. It’s lovely!!

Where The Witcher 3 was quite dark, both in colour and theme, Blood & Wine is bursting with colour, especially in the opening moments as Geralt rides into Toussaint, a region based on the south of France that is bursting with vibrant colour: Yellows, greens, blues – and that’s just in the armour worn by some of the region’s military. Geralt even gets his own vineyard to chill out in between slaying monsters and chasing beasts.

But make no mistake, this is a Witcher game as Geralt must use all his weapons skill and magic to defeat a foul beast that is terrorising Toussaint and leaving slaughtered corpses in its wake (essentially vampires). Here’s the trailer to give you an idea what to expect:

CD Projekt Red suggests players be at least level 34 to tackle Blood & Wine – and they’re right. It’s a challenge that will keep you on your toes but if you haven’t reached level 34, and you’re happy to discard the character you spent countless hours to craft and refine,  you can use a pre-created character that starts the game at level 34.

Like The Witcher 3, I opted to play Blood & Wine on PC using my ageing but still capable (it seems) nVidia Geforce GTX660Ti. It does an admirable job but I lock the frame rate at 30 and play at a resolution of 1080p. It seemed to be rock solid, with perhaps only the odd frame rate drop from time to time.

Blood & Wine opens, pretty much, with what is a fairly easy battle against an angry troll but it seems to wonderful taking place in a brightly coloured paddock, with blue sky ahead and sunflowers nearby. It almost seems un-Witcher like but things soon take a turn to familiar territory with all manner of foul creatures wanting to rip Geralt a new one.

As if was a while since I’d played The Witcher 3, it took a bit for me to get to grips with the controllers again but soon enough it all felt familiar. I liked that some of the boss fights were far removed from the original game, meaning things felt fresh.

Knights. With brightly coloured armour. And armoured horses. Huzzah!

Knights. With brightly coloured armour. And armoured horses. Huzzah!

There are new weapons, armour, equipment, mutations and even Gwent cards. There’s even the ability to dye pieces of armour to add a bit of individuality to Geralt’s armour (if it’s worn). If this is the final time we’ll see Geralt, I actually think I’m going to miss his dry wit and charm and with Blood & Wine then the developers have gone out all singing and all dancing, which is a great thing.

If you’re a fan of The Witcher and the deep world that CD Projekt Red have created, Blood & Wine is a no brainer. Really, it is. It’s a fitting send off to a magnificent world and a memorable character.  Hopefully, though, this isn’t the last we’ll see of Geralt of Rivea.

 

 

Time to revisit The Witcher 3, perhaps

It’s hard to believe that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt came out a year ago (my Gog.com account tells me I last played it a year ago). It was such an awesome game and the latest trailer and screens for the next DLC, Blood and Wine has me contemplating actually firing the game up again.

The_Witcher_3_Wild_Hunt_Blood_and_Wine_A_nice_day_for_a_walkThe_Witcher_3_Wild_Hunt_Blood_and_Wine_Sleep-tightOut on May 31, Blood and Wine (PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4) is, says CD Projekt Red’s game director Konrad Tomaszkiewicz, lead character Geralt’s final mission. With more than 90 new quests, and more than 30 hours of new adventuring, he says it’s something that he believes gamers will remember for a long time.

“There’s also a massive amount of features we’re giving gamers with this expansion like a dynamic Point of Interest system, a new Gwent deck, new endgame mutation mechanics, and even a place Geralt can call home …. And it’s all happening in a new region as big as No Man’s Land in the base game,” Tomaszkiewicz says.

The_Witcher_3_Wild_Hunt_Blood_and_Wine_Thanks_for_reaching_outI didn’t play the first DLC but I’m really keen on checking this out. From what’s been shown in screen shots & in the trailer, the game world looks a lot more vibrant and colourful, which is something that I like (I’m sure there are dark moments with horrific monsters but yeah, I’m liking the vibrancy here).

It looks like Blood & Wine will cost $20.47 (it’s currently 10% off). It’s something that I’ll seriously look at.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get to grips with The Witcher 3’s card game Gwent

I have to admit that Gwent, the optional card game that is rife around the world of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, confuses the hell out of me. Perhaps it’s because most card games in general confuse me but getting to grips with the game is crucial if you want to play it as you travel the game world.

If I’m honest, the in-game tutorial is not the best in helping you get to grips with the game so developer CD Projekt Red has provided a handy 12-minute video tutorial on how to up your Gwent skills and start winning.

Good luck.

 

Watch The Witcher 3 running on my Geforce 660Ti

OK, so I last night I used nVidia’s Shadowplay video capturing software to record just under 10 minutes of game play from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I just wanted to show you how the game looked on what is considered the minimum specced GPU for the game.

As I said yesterday, I’m running the game on what I  consider to be an ageing GPU: A Geforce GTX660Ti but it seems to handle the game OK.

Every thing is set to medium and I have locked the frame rate to 30FPS so I can ensure a consistent  experience. Things look nicer on medium settings than on low, especially the grass and other foliage. It’s just a pretty game, to be honest.

Sadly, I forgot to activate the FPS counter while I was playing so can’t see what the  frame rates were doing but everything seemed smooth and very much playable. There was no combat so I can’t see what happens during heavy combat but if I get the chance over the next day or so (work commitments dependent) I’ll record some more footage with the FPS counter running.

Any questions, post a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer. Thanks for watching.

Well, well, my Geforce GTX can make The Witcher 3 look good!

While my PS4 copy of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt hasn’t materialised yet (it was mailed out on May 15, apparently), I was lucky enough to get a PC code from the game’s distributor in Australasia (clearly my annoying him with emails worked).

I’m nowhere near a review yet – nor impressions – but I thought I’d post some screen shots taken using Fraps. My PC is has the CPU grunt – it’s running an Intel i7 – but only meets the minimum for GPU: An nVidia Geforce 660Ti.

I was expecting it to struggle but, frankly, it hasn’t, posting frame rates in the high 50s on low settings and the mid to high 40 frames per second on medium settings. Imagine what a more recent GPU will do!

In the meantime, feast on these images (low graphics settings) and I’ll post more impressions as the days follow.

TheWItcher3geralt TheWitcher3horseback Thewitcher3mountains

The Witcher 3: Monsters!

I’m excited about The Witcher 3. I’ve even pre-ordered the game from nzgameshop.com – that’s how excited I am for this.

May 19  can’t come soon enough but to help pass the time here’s another developer diary from CD Projekt Red.

This one’s about the monsters in the game and how the developer wants them to be as believable as possible (believable as monsters can be) and not be impossible things that can defy the laws of physics.

Enjoy.

Game of Throne’s Tywin Lannister is in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

British actor Charles Dance will be known to many people these days as the man who plays Tywin Lannister in the rather wonderful Game of Thrones TV series but he has branched out and lent his rather remarkable voice to CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Voicing Emhyr Var Emreis, the emperor of Nilfgaard and one of The Witcher 3’s most formidable characters, Dance admits that this is the first time he’s been involved in a video game and he found it “quite exciting, actually”.

In the latest hype blast on the game, Dance says that the rise in popularity of fantasy [as a genre] was quite extraordinary and was no longer the realm of “children’s entertainment … the whole thing now appeals to quite discerning adults”.

I’m seriously starting to regret cancelling my pre-order of the game’s collector’s edition now: The game is looking superb.

I think I’d better start saving some pennies so I can pick it up when it’s out next month.

The Witcher 3 Hype Blast continues: Gameplay footage incoming …

You’re probably sick to death of me going on about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (“Oi, stop going on about The Witcher 3,” you’re probably muttering), and you’d think I was paid by BandaiNamco Games given the amount of information I’m posting about it (I’m not, by the way, but I’m always open to the possibility of receiving mystery bags of cash in the post … joking) but a 35-minute game play video has been posted on The Witcher 3, and it’s left me kind of wishing I hadn’t watched it.

Not because the game looks like it won’t be any good – it looks as though it’s going to be an amazing experience – and not that I won’t enjoy it, but I can’t help but wonder whether I’ve learned a little more than I want to about things before I play the game.

Apparently the video is set several hours into the game, but part of me wonders whether just a little too much information about three witches called The Crones and the ashen-hair woman being sought by Geralt of Rivea is revealed in the video.

I’m sure, though, in a game as large as The Witcher 3 a 35-minute video is nothing, and, of course, things will change depending on the decisions you make, but I’ve decided that from tonight I’m likely going on a Witcher 3-free diet for the next few months until the game is out in February: I don’t want to spoil my enjoyment of what will no doubt be a strong contender for one of 2015’s best games.

Anyway, here’s the video: Let me know what you think in the comments section.

 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt hype blast

2D Boxshot Wizard v1.1

I’m excited about CD Projekt Red’s The WItcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Hell, I’m so looking forward to it that I’ve pre-ordered the PS4 Collector’s edition that has a 2kg, 10-inch polystone sculpture of hero Geralt of Rivea slaying a Griffen, one of the many beasts from the game. It’s the first collector’s edition of a game I’ve ever bought since I started gaming 300 years ago. I’ve no idea where I’m going to put the sculpture, though: I doubt my wife will let me put it on the coffee table in the lounge.

In anticipation of the game’s release, BandaiNamco Games have released a couple of new trailers which will no doubt send the hype level through the roof.

Watch them and tell me the game doesn’t look wonderful. Go on.

This first one has CD Projekt Red people talking about the game world:

While this one is a game play trailer, which features werewolves and a ghostly voice: 

One game trailer has me contemplating the CE edition – but it’s how much????

 

The latest trailer for The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt has me wishing it was 2015 now: That’s when CD Projekt Red’s third game featuring Geralt of Rivia is due.

I’ve posted the trailer on this post. Watch it and tell me you’re not impressed. Apparently it’s in-game footage. If that is the case, then the current generation starts with that game (what I call the current generation means Xbox One and PlayStation 4).

The new trailer is also the reason I’m seriously considering getting the Collector’s Edition, even though it’s $300 in New Zealand. Yes, $300 and I think EB Games is the exclusive retailer for it. To be fair, I’ve got $288 credit at EB Games so it’s not really going to cost me much overall, and I’ll likely get the PC version if I get it, but that’s an insane amount to be paying for collector’s edition.

If I didn’t have the EB Games credit I wouldn’t even be considering the CE edition and frankly, I can’t understand how the NZ version of the same package costs so much more than the Australian version: It’s $AU199 for the PC version  as opposed to $279 in New Zealand. How can EB Games in NZ seriously justify this pricing? It just seems unjustified. If only I could use my NZ EB Game credit on the EB Games AU site!!!

Perhaps someone at EB Games will read this and post a reply.

Pricing aside, if I do get the the CE edition it’s the figurine of Geralt battling a griffin (its in the image below) that has me interested.

CD Projekt’s Red’s head of studio Adam Badowski has this to say about the polystone collectible: “Behold, the Collector’s Edition of The Witcher–over two kilograms of the most badass monster slayer, ready to bring your desktop figure collection to a whole new level.” Here’s what’s in the CE edition: All the contents from the standard edition of the game – A giant, 33 x 24 x26cm (10”), 100% hand painted, Polystone figure of Geralt of Rivia battling a Griffin – An exquisite, collector-grade Witcher medallion – A one-of-a-kind SteelBook™ box – A two-hundred-page artbook, containing breathtaking art from the game – Huge outer and inner Collector’s Boxes you can store your Witcher merchandise in!

That's what I call a collector's edition: a polylstone figurine of Geralt of Rivea slaying a griffin is the centrepiece of The Witcher 3's collector's edition. I want it now.

That’s what I call a collector’s edition: a polylstone figurine of Geralt of Rivea slaying a griffin is the centrepiece of The Witcher 3’s collector’s edition. I want it now.

And if I don’t spring for the collector’s edition, I’ll look at getting a digital version straight from GOG.com. I got an email today telling me I could pre-order the game for $AU80.99 – and while it doesn’t come with a badass polystone figurine it comes with a tonne of extras. I’ll contemplate over the next few days.

I’ve played the previous two Witcher games and while not totally taken with the first, I enjoyed the second but didn’t finish it: I just couldn’t find the time. And I’ve actually just re-downloaded in on Steam in anticipation for The Witcher 3. The Wild Hunt.

It’s out on February next year. Finger’s crossed I can wait that long.