Best Expansion 2016: The Witcher 3 Blood and Wine

This is our favourite expansion of the year, chosen by PC Gamer staff through voting and debate. We'll be posting an award a day leading to Christmas, along with personal picks from the PCG team. Keep up with all the awards so far here. 

Andy Kelly: Bringing world-weary Geralt to Toussaint, a vividly colourful fairytale land of pompous knights, merriment, and chivalry was an inspired idea. He couldn't be more out of place in this strange new country, but that's one of the great things about the lengthy, substantial Blood and Wine. It's wildly different from anywhere in the main game, and you feel as much like a stranger as the witcher does while you investigate a series of mysterious murders. If this was a standalone game, I'd buy it.

Tom Senior: The Witcher 3's best stories are about local quarrels between vivid characters. Free of the need to tell as grandiose tale of interdimensional knights and the end of the world, Blood and Wine is 20-or-so hours of no-filler Witcher goodness. There’s a gung-ho duchess, honorable but incompetent knights and a clutch of byronic vampires to enjoy amid the astonishing fairytale backdrop of Toussaint itself. The glowing white spires of Toussaint’s castle are visible from almost everywhere in this land, but the designers still carve out a few dark niches so they can tell a sinister ghost story or two. Creatures such as the spotted wight provide these memorable one-off encounters, while your ongoing camaraderie with Regis provides the slowburn drama that keeps the story interesting. Look out for some good twists, too.

Tim Clark: In terms of sheer value it didn’t get much better than Blood and Wine this year, which as Andy notes comfortably bears comparison with plenty of full-priced games. This was less a conventional piece of DLC than it was a valedictory tour by one of the most popular characters on PC. As such, it was impossible to play Blood & Wine, for all its fun quests and colorful characters, without feeling the tugging undercurrent of melancholy. But as farewells go, they don’t get much better than this sun-drenched murder mystery about a lovestruck vampire, star-crossed aristocratic sisters, and a talking horse. As with just about everything, The Witcher 3 stuck its last landing perfectly.

For more praise of The Witcher 3's final expansion, check out our Blood and Wine review.