I want more!
This DLC was an entirely new game
ProjektCD knows how to listen to fans and improve their formula.
Heart of Stone gets into an almost campy redux of the old “Princess and the Toad” storyline. This isn’t really a bad thing. There’s a lot of great story crammed into the touted “10+ hours” of gameplay. Granted I’ve only managed a few hours, but what I’ve seen I love already.
The story starts off fairly strong, Geralt is called on a quest to kill a monster. Pretty standard Witching so far. But this particular client, the immortal Olgierd, leader of the “5th Element Fan Club” has a secret agenda. As the following video goes to show it lays out the plot fairly well. Though this guy should have been an annoying Leprechaun.
Heart of Stone is Not just an Expansion
Heart of Stone isn’t just an expansion, it’s a huge feature improvement on the core Witcher 3. The map now has a little yellow arrow pointing you to the waypoint, instead of scrolling through the massive world map in search of the quest location. Horse races have been considerably improved upon. Frame rates have gone up a little and overall the game is just a better experience. So far, world monsters also seem to have been scaled to my level, or perhaps it’s just the new locations to the North of the map. I’ve yet to explore older locales. As the following video shows, the improvements and a portion of the new gameplay.
The Best Monster Hunt
The Witcher has always been about hunting monsters, but the hunt has only been a small portion of the game. Geralt of Rivia, despite hating politics always finds himself intertwined in human matters. Despite the fact he is not supposed to get involved, he’s always dragged into the situations. This the problematic result of being really good at your job. Heart of Stone, yep, drags you back into semi-human politics, but it also may be the greatest Monster Hunt Geralt has ever partaken.
The first monster, a human turned giant toad was exceptionally done. From the environment, to the slime on the decayed corpses. It was enough to make one wretch. You can almost smell the fetid decay and feel the slime coating everything. While the battle itself was fairly easy, the setup leading into the battle was very well done. It mirrors the real world where you want to have a short fight after an extended time of research on your enemy and weaknesses. In this case it was alluded that the frog doesn’t like fire…
CDProject is a surprising company. They seem to listen and understand what we gamers want. The Witcher 2, despite being a fantastic and well written game, had a serious issue with combat and “new user” friendliness. So Witcher 3 completely fixed those issues. Then there were issues with horse races sucking, Geralt’s movements too stiff, the world map hard to find locations… They not only fixed it, but considerably improved upon it. EA on the other hand would add arm/chest hair and call it a major feature.
If you didn’t buy Heart of Stone, or have been waiting on it, now is the time. I will never suggest a purchase that I did not personally like or invest money in.
Also, Geralt has a really cute redheaded love interest in the works. I got a spot in my heart reserved for the red haired beauties of this world.