The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine Game Poster Image
Violent, mature expansion has loads of bonus content.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Protecting a peaceful kingdom from a beast that's terrorizing it tempered by lots of violence, nudity, sex, alcohol.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You are professional monster slayer Geralt of Rivia, who explores Toussaint to unravel the horrifying secret behind a beast terrorizing a kingdom. While noble, you perform plenty of graphic violence to accomplish your mission.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn if you've played original, other expansion in series.

Violence

Lots of bloody, gory combat. You wield might, magic to defeat many human, animal, supernatural enemies. Non-interactive cut scenes also quite violent. Not unusual to see beheading, dismemberment, impalement.

Sex

Geralt can engage in sexual activity with prostitutes, female companions. These are brief sequences, but you can see breasts, buttocks, and though sexual act takes place offscreen, player can hear moans. 

Language

Frequent use of "f--k," "c--t," "s--t."

Consumerism

This is an expansion to main game but isn't mandatory for main story, can also be found bundled with original. The Witcher series is becoming a popular franchise, with merchandise, paraphernalia available for purchase.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Optional side quests include consuming large amounts of alcohol in a drinking game. Some characters are inebriated, including slurred words, off-balance movements, while others are passed out altogether.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine is an expansion pack to The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, a role-playing adventure game that contains a lot of adult visuals and themes. There's plenty of graphic combat and blood (and gory cut scene sequences, too), and players will be able to use both weaponry and magic to damage human, creature, and supernatural beasts in a variety of ways, including decapitations and impalements. There's also nudity and sexual sounds during encounters with prostitutes and female companions, as well as frequent use of strong profanity. Characters are seen drinking, participating in drinking games, or completely passed out from an abundance of alcohol consumption. While this expansion isn't required to explore the main story, it's available as a separate adventure and is being bundled with the original game and other expansion content.

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What's it about?

THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT - BLOOD AND WINE once again lets gamers slip into the boots of Geralt of Rivia, a professional monster slayer, who, on his final mission, explores Toussaint, a remote fairy tale-like kingdom untouched by war, but he soon discovers a horrifying secret that threatens the land. Sold as an expansion to The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, this final adventure in the role-playing game (RPG) series adds more than 30 hours between its more than 90 new quests and other additions. Through character interaction, third-person combat, and exploration, Geralt attempts to solve the mystery and survive the evil lurking behind every corner. Without giving too much away, the main storyline involves a pair of sisters and some vampires, but the assortment of side quests introduces many other characters and missions, many of which weave in plot elements from previous games. But you don't need to be familiar with past events to play this expansion.

Is it any good?

Delivering about 30 hours of new content as an expansion to the main game, this adventure goes above and beyond the call of duty with its depth and gameplay. If you liked The Witcher III: Wild Hunt and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: Hearts of Stone, you'll no doubt appreciate the quality and quantity of Geralt's final adventure. Along with a new story, plot twists, quests, and a huge new location (Toussaint is as big as No Man’s Land in the main game, by the way), this expansion adds extra features to the existing game. These features include a dynamic "Point of Interest" system, which lets you alter the scene based on decisions you make and actions you take (killing bandits in a castle hideout, for example, will affect the number of enemies in a surrounding camp), an interesting mutation character system (a color-coded strategy that requires ability points and mutagens), a new Gwent deck for the popular card game, and enhanced visuals and sounds to help make the game even more engaging.

But it's not just the new features -- or impressive length of the new quests -- that make this expansion so worthwhile. The entire package fuses a fun combat mechanic, RPG upgrades and customization, memorable characters and well-paced quests, smartly-written dialogue (with plenty of humor), scary elements to keep you on your toes, and absolutely stunning visuals and special effects that help lose you in this vast fantasy world. In other words, it's not merely the sum of its parts but an overall magical game that's well worth exploring from tip to tail, but for mature players only. Whether you've already purchased the main game or if you're new to this series but like RPGs, the Blood and Wine finale is a must-own adventure.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is there a way the developer CD Projekt Red could make Blood and Wine "Teen"-rated instead of "Mature"-rated, without taking away from the overall experience? Would it sell more because it was open to a larger audience?

  • Discuss sexuality in games. Should we supervise children playing games the same way we might when physical romance is depicted in live-action entertainment?

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