If you're looking for an excuse to return to The Witcher 3, it sounds like blood and wine might just be it.
CD Projekt Red's second and final expansion takes place in the colorful region of Toussaint.
A Duchy untouched by war, southeast of Tumeria the land of Engren.
For those of us who skipped out on Oxenford's geography class, all you need to know is it's a new region southeast of Novigrad and it kinda looks like a Mediterranean countryside.
This new region is roughly the size of No Man's Land or Novagrad and it's known for its wine, warm weather, and wealth.
So how will you be spending time in Tuscon?
Well the expansion adds 90 new quests, 100 new pieces of armor, some of which include Witcher sets.
More than 30 new weapons, a redesigned user interface, new mutations and a vineyard to relax in.
This should keep you busy for around 20 to 30 hours.
And in case you were interested, there is a new skeleton Quinn deck.
If you don't have the season pass you can get all this for 20 bucks when it launches.
But when does it launch?
CD project red hadn't given an exact date when they stopped by the office, but they sounded pretty confident that it would drop either in May or June.
From what I could tell during my three hour hands on preview, Blood and Wine takes place after the main story or right before some of the final quests in Wild Hunt.
Just like Hearts of Stone, if you haven't finished the main game or if you aren't at a high enough level, you will have the option to start a new adventure at the beginning of Blood and Wine.
Can't get used to the way you knights talk, especially how you switch back and forth between flowery and
Wow, it ain't normal.
My first steps in Two Salt brought back memories of being washed ashore in Skelega for the first time.
What's striking about this new region is that you won't stumble across bloody battlefields and people are ready to take up a side in the war.
In fact, a lot of the inhabitants seemed to have their head in the clouds ignoring what's really happening in the continent
And can you blame them?
Pouson's rolling green hills, colorful vegetation, and warm skies are a sight to see.
But it isn't just a pretty picture dotted with more question marks than exclamation points.
It felt like a new world, but it's been around way before it was created in the books Orwin Seedy Project read started designing it.
The characters have a different accent.
And armor and clothing looks nothing like what I saw in Temeria and the landscape was entirely new.
In fact, the developer that guided me through the preview said many of the assets used in Blood and Wine were created from scratch.
Just like the main game, it's this detail that pulled me right in.
You I do not know Sir, nor seem you a knight.
Yet, still, I'm profoundly grateful, nay, indebted to you for your succor.
This trophy, Sir, is yours.
But if the setting caught my interest, then it's the
Characters that demanded it.
A year later, the Richard Three's engine still holds up nicely, but it's worth nothing that I did play this on PC.
The facial animations are convincing, the voice acting is as good as you've come to expect, and the writing is still top notch.
Like Hearts of Stone, some of the best moments are when Geralt felt like a fish out of water.
For instance, in one quest, Geralt must crash a festival in order to track down a killer.
To find the killer, he needs to remove a ribbon from a horse dressed up as a unicorn, and find a golden fish in a lake.
Normally, you'd have to sneak up on the horse and actually fish for the golden fish.
But time is of the essence.
Using signs and his witcher senses, Geralt cheats his way to the end.
I couldn't help but grin as Geralt awkwardly tried to justify his behavior to piss off citizens.
Blood and wine is still dark and very gory, but this lighter tone lets the characters really shine.
But talking and sunbathing isn't all you'll be doing in blood and wine.
You're still a witcher, and that means you'll be slaying plenty of monsters.
In the three hours I played, I fought four bosses.
Some were pretty standard.
Sign, block, parry, attack.
But on in particular forced me to change up my play style.
Simple blocks and attacks were useless.
If you've played a Zelda game or two, you probably won't have much trouble figuring out this boss' weaknesses.
But the fight kept me on my toes and I was excited to see what they threw at me next.
Probably one of the biggest changes to the combat are the new mutations.
This adds another level to the progression system.
A new mutagen skill tree lets you unlock a dozen or so new skills, perks and abilities Only one of these powerful skills can be equipped at a time, but some appeared to have dramatic effects.
One skill that I got to see was a variation on [UNKNOWN] that increased its area of effect, and froze any enemies caught in the blast.
These new skills could allow for even more experimentation, and give even experienced players something new and worthwhile to grind for.
From what I played, Blood and Wine seems like an excellent send off to a series I've become so attached to.
But what about the characters?
My favorite part of the Witchers series has always been the characters and I was a little disappointed when I found out that Siri, Triss and Yen did not play much of a role in the last expansion.
I'm a little worried that we may not see some of our friends and allies that we've spent so much time with but this is CD Project Red we're talking about and letting down their fans isn't something they typically do.
I can't wait to see who will meet, what he will fight and where this adventure will take him.