This…is gonna hurt. So much, that I am asking folks to please remember: This is the talk down thread.
First, its more of The Witcher 3. With all the good - and the bad - that entails.
If you’re familiar with the excellent writing and the emphasis on small stakes, personal stories and characters that was Hearts of Stone…throw all that out the window. Along with anything even remotely resembling pacing.
Blood and Wine takes place in Toussaint. A land troubled by inexplicable, terrifying murders of high profile figures that must be solved…urgently. So urgently that as soon as you’re done treasure hunting, running about scavenging lost Witcher gear and taking down a dozen more side contracts…you need to get right on that.
Yeah, its like that. Again. Because (open world) games…games never change.
Its like they didnt learn a damned thing from the absolutely travesties of pacing that were Bethesda or Arkham games, or even their own nonsense main quest. They just go and make all the same storytelling mistakes all over again. While there are moments where the writing really shines, there are far, far fewer of them here than in the main game. And beside Blood and Wine, Hearts of Stone would win literary awards.
All of which culminates in one of the worst, most gimmicky, most ridiculous, fourth wall shattering, do-you-even-QA-bro travesties of a boss fight I have ever had the misfortune of participating in. It makes the final boss of DXHR look reasonable by comparison and Capra Demon shines like a paragon of good, fair, reasonable design when you compare it directly to this.
Of course, once its over, you get to make some obscure choices which decide the fate of characters who can piss right off anyway that are extremely and arbitrarily limited by earlier decisions which mostly had nothing to do with those characters or anything else, and one of which involves having found or not found a completely hidden, utterly unmentioned item in one of the cheesiest pieces of a main quest I have ever had the misfortune of experiencing.
To be bluntly honest about it, this being whatever thread, Blood and Wine was pretty good in terms of the play experience. As long as you avoided its main quest like the utter rubbish it was. It made some call backs to The Last Wish short story collection (including blatant, disgusting utter rip offs its better stories on at least one occasion). But for the most part, Blood and Wine isnt very good.
Game play wise its just more Witcher 3. And if by some miracle you have not had enough of that by now, you’re a better person than I. Writing wise, its pretty subpar, ranging from hokey to fan fiction to cringe-worthy rip off but never really getting better than any of these. The characters - Geralt’s old friend aside - are cringe-worthy parodies of sunshine and rainbows fairy tales, in the tired vain of “we’re going to parody something ridiculous…by putting it in our game and making you listen to it over and over again and calling it a parody anyway because it worked for Far Cry 3.”
CDP has a long way to go before they start making good open world games. They made literally every mistake that has ever been made in the genre. Like they didnt even bother to LOOK at good and bad examples of past games. Just leapt right in and started on inventing the wheel. Again. And it shows.
Level-locked loot. Level locked side quests. Icons all over the map. Terrible - and I mean really unacceptably bad - story pacing. Too many time wasting back and forth treks to artificially extend play time. The Witcher 3 is rife with amateur level game design mistakes - and all of them are showcased in Blood and Wine, witch, a few enjoyable or genuinely humorous moments aside, is a microcosm of the frequent and enormous mistakes that plague this otherwise master-crafted game.