18th Oct2015

‘The Witcher 3 – Hearts of Stone DLC’ Review (PC)

by Paul Metcalf

The_Witcher_3-stone-DLC

While we’ve had plenty of free DLC for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt but Hearts of Stone and next year’s Blood and Wine expansion are the two big updates that people have been waiting for. Now we’ve got our hands on Hearts of Stone, we get to see just what story can be added to the game and whether it is worth paying for…

The answer is that a lot, and it takes it in surprising new paths!

With a storyline that feels very influenced on fairy tale we get to do battle with a huge toad and to help grant wishes to an immortal man (whether he likes it or not). While there are serious undertones to the story there is more of a light-hearted feel to the events taking place which are somewhat refreshing when it comes to the often too serious Geralt.

My favourite part of the Hearts of Stone story for example, is taking a ghost to a wedding so as to give him a night to remember. Seeing Geralt have fun, even though it isn’t really him per say is almost refreshing. The fact that this is the section of the game that includes the returning Shani just adds to the festivities. Even this reunion though comes tainted by sadness as we revisit the relationship the two have.

What is impressive about Hearts of Stone, is the fact that, yes, this may be an extension of the story but it is still very much entwined with the life of Geralt himself. While it could have been easy to just create a “monster of the week” type update for the game, CD Projekt Red have instead decided to create a tale that brings the focus back on Geralt and his actions, thankfully not getting too deep as to forget to have fun.

The content as a whole adds about ten hours to the game, and while focus may be on the story elements of the DLC there are plenty of side missions added to The Witcher 3 too. While most of the focus has been on the encounter with Olgierd Von Everic, for those who like to wander there is plenty to do. This is what makes Hearts of Stone well worth its money.

Hearts of Stone had something to prove for The Witcher 3, and that was if paid DLC was worth the cost. In the new content provided to us I’d say that CD Projekt Red have answered that well. For those worrying that the high level requirements of the game may hold them back from enjoying it, there is little to worry about. If you want to go straight into Hearts of Stone you can select to start a character set to the level requirements for you to enjoy the downloaded content straight away. This was one thing that concerned me, so it was good to see these problems were not an issue for players.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of the games of the year so far, and with Hearts of Stone this just confirms that fact even more. Taking Geralt’s story into a new direction with some dark fairy tale themes… we even get to take part in a heist was a nice move! Hearts of Stone adds enough to make it feel worth its price, and also makes us look forward to Blood and Wine even more. It also reminds us just how good The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt still is.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and the Hearts of Stone DLC are available on PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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