Posts Tagged ‘The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone’

The Witcher 3 Is A Folklore RPG, Not A Fantasy RPG

The Witcher 3 is a wonderful game in a very literal sense. It is full of wonder, from the startling entities that stalk its darkest corners to the stories that echo through the ages, and even the alternately bleak and brilliant weather, which I enjoy on an almost metatextual level, appreciating the techniques that paint storms and rainfall onto the world. I could spend hours just watching the skybox transform. It’s also grounded in reality of a sort though and shot through with an understanding of folklore, superstition and historic belief systems.

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The Witcher Is Super Cheap For A Spell (Spell, Like A Witch Casts Spells)

You know how you’re always saying that you’ll get around to playing The Witcher games, but when they’re on sale and you’ve got a chance. Well, look, they’re all on sale at GOG, and you’ve got that spare afternoon coming up!

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How Do You Solve A Problem Like Geralt?

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites a developer to help him put their game up on blocks and take a wrench to hack out its best feature, just to see how it works. It’s about the sweat, grease and genius behind the little things that make games special.

Here’s a question: How do you solve a problem like Geralt? There he is, stern and stalwart, everyone’s favourite low fantasy drifter. A man of rank bogs, blasted no man’s lands and rugged islands. A man who isn’t much of a laugh, or awfully fun to have a drink with.

But what if you want to extend his world, and expose him to new adventures? That’s what last October’s expansion to The Witcher 3 [official site], Hearts of Stone, aimed to achieve, but it had to get Geralt doing things he’d never normally do. So how did CD Projekt manage to get him drunk and dancing at a wedding, robbing a bank, and appraising fine art? Their solution was deft.

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The Joy Of Expansions And Enhanced Editions

As the year draws toward its final frosty furlong, I’m slightly surprised that one of the games I’m most looking forward to playing is also one of my favourite games from 2014. It’s Divinity: Original Sin, a game that I adored when I played it last year and that I expect to lose myself in again when the Enhanced Edition comes out next week. It’s not the only RPG that I’ll have revisited this year – both Pillars of Eternity and The Witcher 3 sucked me in at release and then lost me for a while when I realised they were going to require weeks of attention, but I used their expansions as an excuse to pick up where I’d left off. Here are five reasons to love digital expansions.

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The Myth Behind The Monsters of The Witcher 3

The Northern Kingdoms of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [official site] is a realm ravaged by war, pestilence, and greed. And, try as he might, Geralt continually finds himself trapped between the political maneuverings of the Northern Kingdom’s most ambitious contenders. So it’s easy to forget that Geralt’s true calling in life is as a monster slayer. Lucky for him the Northern Kingdoms has no shortage of monsters.

While some of these beasts have enjoyed plenty of spotlight in other fiction, CD Projekt Red have dug deep into their own Eastern and Northern European ancestry to bring to life a mythology underrepresented in the echelons of generic fantasy creatures. We’re all familiar with dragons and vampires, but what about the lesser known beasts that bloody Geralt’s blade? The leshen, alps and botchlings? I’ve rounded up some of my favorite monsters from the Witcher series and the legends that inspired them so that we can contrast their depictions in the game, while getting a mythology lesson at the same time.

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The Witcher 3: Hearts Of Stone Expansion Now Out

The Witcher III: Hearts of Stone [official site], the game’s first major story expansion, is out now. Hearts of Stone adds a new 10-hour quest involving Geralt and The Wild Hunt’s Olgierd von Everec. According to our review, it “shows just about every other company how it’s done,” which is high praise from Richard Cobbett, a man who has played all games.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Oktoberquest

This month, it seems like just about every major RPG out there is getting a major update. Divinity: Original Sin. Wasteland 2. Guild Wars 2. Even Deus Ex! All we need is for someone to announce that they’ve secretly been upgrading Darklands on the sly and we’ll have the whole set. Here’s a quick look at what’s taking a level up on a PC near you.

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Wot I Think: The Witcher III: Hearts Of Stone

The Witcher III: Hearts Of Stone [official site] has a simple moral: be careful what you wish for, unless it’s more The Witcher III, obviously. Taking place after the main campaign, though not at all related to it, Hearts of Stone is a ten hour tale of ambition, of regret, of manipulation, cruelty and sorrow that gets to push aside fears of the incoming apocalypse in favour of focusing deep on the series’ love of finding compassion in the most cynical of situations. The worst I can say is that it’s ‘just’ more of The Witcher 3 to play, but rarely has that word more deserved its air-quotes.

Here’s Wot I Think, as if you haven’t already guessed.

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The Witcher 3: Hearts Of Stone Expansion Launch Trailer

The launch trailer for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Hearts of Stone [official site] expansion has been unveiled and, as you might expect, it looks very pretty. It’s out one week from today on October 13 and before I go any further, why not pop down below and take a look for yourself?

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The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone Introduces A Tonal Shift

“The quest you’ve chosen would take too long to solve in the time span you have,” remarks a slightly concerned PR representative. “Maybe try the other one when you get the opportunity?”

I take this as a good sign. The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone [official site] is the first ‘proper’ piece of DLC for CD Projekt RED’s already vast RPG, and comes after the release of umpteen freely available new clothes, minisodes and weapons. While Hearts of Stone isn’t concerned with adding new areas or mechanics, it’s a thrill to learn that it’s of a grander scale than I can reasonably see in the few hours I’ve been given to play it. In fact, the developers from Poland predict it’ll offer around ten-hours of new quests to play come release on October 13th.

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