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Hungry for the next Witcher game? Play the Blood & Wine DLC!
By Caiti Galwey
If you’ve got a Witcher shaped hole in your heart, the Blood and Wine DLC is the way to fill it.
After spending hours completing the main storyline of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and ending up with one of three endings, the option to travel south becomes available.
Toussaint, oh Toussaint
For those who are familiar with Toussaint from the Witcher books, it is described as no less than a fairytale. Her Royal Highness, Duchess Annarietta is depicted as the radiant ruler of an opulent land, covered in sprawling vineyards and glittering waters. If you’re tired of the dreariness of Velen or the turbulent Skellige Isle, Toussaint provides a wonderful change of pace.
Go from this…
Fairytale characters, palaces and knights, oh my! The DLC offers more than 20 hours of additional gameplay and countless side quests based on some of your favourite children’s stories. If you’re into the twisted side of popular fables (as in the Dark Parables series or The Wolf Among Us), then get ready to meet these warped versions of Goldilocks, the Big Bad Wolf, the Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, the Wicked Witch, and more.
If defeating the king of the Wild Hunt was as underwhelming for you as it was for me, the final boss fight in Blood and Wine is sure to get your heart pumping. Many players find they need multiple attempts, and others play it over and over again just for the cutscenes.
Blood and Wine introduces almost 30 brand new monsters into the game including Banshees, Barghests, Pixies, Protofleders, Bruxa, Scurvers, Spriggans, and more. Some of the most difficult beasts in the whole game can be found in Toussaint, providing you with the challenge the main quest might have lacked. Many are based on folklore.
The DLC’s secondary quest, Turn and Face the Strange, introduces twelve new mutagens which unlocks a panel allowing players to alter their active abilities. New mutations such as Deadly Counter and Bloodbath allow you to do more damage to enemies, whilst other mutations effect the power of signs potions.
How it compares with the Hearts of Stone DLC
In short, it doesn’t. Both stories are incredibly compelling. The Hearts of Stone DLC introduces a very compelling adversary and an intriguing plot, but the storyline is scattered across Velen and doesn’t add much to the existing landscape of the game. Being reunited with Shani is enjoyable (Shani and Geralt have quite the history) but beyond the nostalgia factor, the quests feel depthless. Compared with the challenges Blood and Wine introduces, as well as the deep moral quandaries posed to Geralt, Hearts of Stone doesn’t quite meet the same mark.
This is not to discount the fact that both DLC’s offer more than you would expect, especially nowadays when DLC’s are often associated with upgraded or unique gear. Both DLC’s feel more like expansions as the sheer quality of the additional content is priceless. Blood and Wine especially feels more like a follow-up game rather than mere additional content. If you haven’t already explored this land of fairytales, I highly recommend that you do.
Play The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch or Microsoft Windows
Batman Arkham Series: Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One.
By Coco Garner Davis
A series of four games (with various iOS additions and the like) released across 2009 to 2015 by Rocksteady and WB, this series was pretty pioneering in its establishment of the trend of free-flow combat. Paul Dini wrote the first two – so, if you loved Batman: The Animated Series, you’ll love these, and vice-versa. My personal faves are the second and the fourth – Arkham City and Arkham Knight – which host completely gripping storylines making them less combat-heavy and more like watching Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy for 60-odd hours. Pretty awesome.
One could say Batman is legally bound by his own enforced “moral code” (yes, that is very deliberately placed into quotes) and this is explored, questioned, and stretched across these games. The intersection of questions of justice, vigilantism, anarchy, and mortality tap into the philosophical questions posed historically across the Caped Crusader’s anthology. Of course, the quality of the game is helped immensely by the sheer brilliance in the voice acting – notably, Mark Hammil reprising his role as the Joker. The graphics and world design also surpass any and all expectations for a game released 11 years ago.
The first game, Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) follows Batman trying to prevent the Joker from destroying Gotham City after he takes control of the Asylum and those within (a delightful collection of past foes). Arkham City (2011) takes place a year later, after Professor Hugo Strange has enclosed an abandoned part of the city and turned it into a massive asylum. While slowly dying from an illness inflicted by the Joker (ofc), Batman must escape his incarceration and uncover Strange’s scheme ‘Protocol 10’. Look out for the Ra’s Al Ghul boss battle – it is epic.
Arkham Origins (2013) is a prequel to Arkham Asylum, and look, to be honest, you could probably skip this one, so I will too.
The series is then concluded with Arkham Knight (2015), positioned nine months after the events of Arkham City. The Scarecrow and the mysterious Arkham Knight have seized control of Gotham in a ploy to destroy Batman physically and mentally, once and for all…
0 A.D. – Available on PC
By Laura McKenzie
You’re at your parents’ house, the one you grew up in. A dessert of ice cream with Ice Magic hasn’t quite satisfied your taste for nostalgia. You wander up to the computer room. Your original family-computer died long ago and the replacement isn’t that shmick either. A CD- holder of old computer games sits on the desk, gathering dust.
You take out Age of The Empires, pop it in the CD port. Suspense builds as you wait ten minutes or so while various things load, only to have the computer break the hard news: the video game is not compatible with your ‘new’ computer. You cry. You mindlessly log into Facebook and see this post by FAME and read a bunch of reviews from people who call themselves ‘Ambassadors’. You think, hey these guys have some cool recommendations. You read this part and think- wow, Laura’s really described my current situation.
Don’t worry reader, I’ve gotchu. My recommendation is that you Google ‘0.A.D.’ or even better -> click right here, download that bad boy, and enjoy a FREE and easily accessible computer game that is very similar to Age of the Empires– so similar that your taste for nostalgia will be satisfied and you can continue going about your day. Finally! Some Ancient Warfare!! Don’t mention it.
Animal Crossing : New Horizons – Available on Nintendo Switch
By Caiti Galwey
What better way to escape cabin fever than to put your virtual self on a deserted island? Despite the irony behind its success, this game seems to be all that people talk about nowadays. Albeit, Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ almost cult-like popularity is not unfounded. The game turns the idea of isolation upside down, offering a wholesome island escape to all who are struggling in these difficult times. Animal Crossing gives players a fun alternative to the state of reality; staying indoors and visiting ‘virtual’ museums, shops and friends instead. Although popping over to your friend’s house is a big no right now, allowing strangers from across the Animal Crossing universe to visit your island (through a share code) is a big yes. And aside from a racoon named Tom Nook coming after you for his money, New Horizons encourages kindness and friendship, which is exactly what the world needs right now.