I’m not going to lie, this review is just another excuse for me to play the Witcher 3 until early morning and feel okay about it.
You need to be level 30 before you can play the DLC slightly annoying for those of us that didn’t reach level 25 before finishing the main story line. However you can start a new game at level 30 with the right gear and a few potions and some decoctions, a nice little feature.
But if you’re like me and you’d rather keep your original save of all your no doubt
questionable moral choices than start a new adventure you’ll want to clear every map of all its question marks OR repeatedly kill the same monsters over and over again. Just meditate to reset their spawn.
This review is NOT spoiler free so continue reading at the risk of ruining it for yourself. Skip to the next load of large text in red to bypass the spoilers.
I’m going to start off by saying that i am an idiot. I started playing the new content ridiculously under leveled (again) which made the introduction to the new quest line a little ragey.
Before starting the main quest by speaking to the contract issuer I thought it would be best to check out the side mission that gives you an opportunity to get better gear and runes!
I arrive at the remote location to find a foreign trader in a large tent surround by goods. He’s a nice guy and after just a small conversation i already like him, even though i had to pay 5000 gold just to get him back up and running since he lost all his shit in a shipwreck. (possibly caused by me). This down payment is an investment that I hope to have a major pay off, The trader then tells me he needs a large amount of jade, so i grab a pickaxe from nearby and head off in search of treasure.
But before i can leave i’m challenged to a horse race! Pretty easy win and i get a very nice bit of horsey armor as the prize. I’m liking this guy even more!
Right so back to getting that jade. Have you ever noticed the lack of spiders in the Witcher 3? I have. Out of all the monsters you battle spiders seem like an obvious choice, more so than most of the foes you face. Why am i mentioning this now? Because i just got abused by 6 spiders the size of a fucking horse, that’s why. 10 levels above me and from outta no where. I turned off my xbox.
5 Hours later.
Just finished the main quest line and all the contracts you can possibly aquire from the original game content aaannd i’m level 35. Time to continue on with the new quests. Fucking spiders.
Instead of continuing the jade hunt i decided to checkout the contract that starts the main bulk of the story, I end up a manor house that’s been taken over by a bunch of bandits. They don’t attack on site though which is a nice change. Geralt starts asking around for the contract issuer and the bandits partying in front of a hearth start playing with him, each one in turn admitting to being the contract issuer. I feel a little outta my depth here, the tone has definitely changed for me.
Normally when Gerlat (well, the player) interacts with a NPC they spot your cat eyes and two swords and shit themselves. Spill all the information they have and then run away. It’s the Witcher reputation. But These lowly bandits are actually messing with me, when i drop out of the small cut scene i jump straight into the menu to prep myself for a fight. Just encase.
I finally meet the main man, Olgierd von Everec (fuck this guy) He’s ginger and looks very piratey, you walk in on him staring at a nude statue and he beings to monologue about it. I decide Gerlat couldn’t give one flying fuck about statues and push him for information on the contract. Turns out Olgierd was also messing with me and smashes the statue, then asks if i want a drink. Naturally i say yes and the details of the contract are revealed.
I’m off to Oxenfurt to kill the frog prince! Yeah that’s right. I love the fairy tale based quests. As Standard you start looking in the sewers and who do you find? A old female friend (I’ve forgotten her name) and i proceed to pick the dialog options that are mostly likely to get me laid. What? Thats how everyone plays it.
Turns out the frog has been poisoning water all around the city and as the army’s medic its her job to cure it. Hence why she’s down here and why you find lots of body parts on the way to the frogs liar.
Alright fine. It’s a toad whatever. The things massive and puts up a pretty good fight.But in a classic Witcher twist it turns our it is actually a prince from a foreign land and you just killed him. The people tasked with finding and lifting the curse on the prince find you passed out and covered in poison slime next to their prince with most of his guts hanging out. Great.
You wake up on a ship and guess what? Your being taken back to their home land to be hanged drawn and quartered. I smell a set up! There is a man in the cell next you but he’s not really of much importance. All hope of escape seems lost until he shows up.
Remember the guy at the start of the original game that tells you he saw Yen? In the first village? Master mirror? Well turns out he’s some kind of magic man and offers you a deal. He gets you out of this situation but then you owe him a debt. With no other choice you agree and he burns a sign onto your face and then summons a storm that crashes the ship. Fucker.
You come too on a beach, your still tied up and being dragged along the ground by guards. Gerlats performs some badass moves and your free! You can now run to freedom or in my case kill every last one of them. That mage was a hard fight!
You meet magic mirror man at a nearby village and he explains whats going on and what he wants. In a short amount of time i go from hating the trickster to actually liking him. Back to the manor we go, no matter what happens i plan on killing everyone of them for setting me up.
On arrival I find the manor house is burning down and I’m instantly given an opportunity to cause trouble by stopping someone from being beheaded. Olgierd steps in and i challenge him. Dudes going down.
Oh I was in over my head. Turns out this guy can teleport like Ciri and block basically every move i throw at him. I was right to be wary when i first got to the the manor! Eventually i beat him, cutting off that ginger pricks head annnnnnnd he’s immortal. (snapping it back like nearly headless Nick in Harry Potter) We go back to talking and the magic mirror man appears and says he needs me to perform three tasks for this immortal ass hole. Why do i keep calling him that aside from setting me up with the frog toad prince? Because he knows how to cheat the system.
Task 1 – Give his dead brother a party to cheer him up.
Task 2 – literally bring him a house.
Task 3 – left in the dark until 1 and 2 are done. Like it’s possible.
Basically by giving task that can’t be accomplished he never needs to pay his debt afterwards because he hasnt received everything he’s asked for.
Decided to check on Shani (that’s the new girl working as a medic) and ask for help with the task of giving the dead brother a party. You have to wait while she finishes making a cure for the toad water thing and you get questioned by a few soldiers that are waiting with you. Mostly about Shani, how hot she is, would you bang her ect ect pretty funny conversation. Setting the tone on what is to come.
She knows where the brother is buried and agrees to meet you there, on arrival she asks you out on a date, to join her at a friends wedding. Pretty handy since you need to take the dead brother to a party…..
Entering the crypt you kill a few wraiths then look around, i opt in for some light grave robbing that ended up in a god dam spider ambush. This time though i abuse them, love fire magic.
Once that was done Geralt performs a small ritual that awakens all the ghosts of the Everec name. They get angry and attack you. Standard. Once they’ve been dealt with the game introduces to you Vlodimir, the dead brother. I like him much more than the living one, you get talking and unfortunately end up agreeing to let him posses you. One of the funnest conversations i have in game though, he also mentions how good looking Shani is….can see where this is going.
I wont be detailing any more about the new story line from here on.
End of spoilers
I didn’t think this game could get any better but it did. Wedding crashers, singing guards that take their jobs too seriously, harry potter references, comedy everywhere!
If like me you completed the main missions before doing the expansion you’ll get some beautiful back stories that wrap up the loneliness you felt once all the main missions had been completed.
Not to mention a certain montage with twists and turns you’d only get in a cheesy spy movie. You’ll learn that a lot of the new quests play on words and i really like that, it reminds me of the Darren Shan books and they were brilliant!
Speaking of which, Magic mirror man seems to be based upon Dez tiny (destiny get it?) from the Darren Shan books. You’ll understand once you watch a certain scene involving a wooden spoon.
The boss fights have been turned up to 11 and you’ll need plenty of skill and high level equipment to beat them, even on the lowest difficulty settings. Oxenfurt gets more use out of it too, don’t know about you but i felt it was lacking in content especially in comparison to Novigrad. But now it’s almost on par as is the surrounding areas.
The introduction of new characters and old is executed perfectly as was the way each one ends. However the ending is a little underwhelming, a choice i perceived to be morally correct ends up being a little bit of a let down. Where as a choice i wouldn’t have picked were it not for reloading ends much much better.
I really really want to mention it all but doing so would spoil everything for you, Heart of stone gets a 10/10.
I’ve never spent as much time deciding on what to do and say in a conversation as much as i have in this game.