I found it hard to like this DLC at first, but it’s definitely got some hard hits right through my soul at certain moments.
This is the first one I chose to pursue and the game recommends you don’t attempt to start its content until you are at least level 30.
In this DLC you can venture out into the Northeastern part of Novigrad which also introduces a new approach to the usage of runes on your weapons and armor.
I scarcely remember any side quests in this DLC that I actually enjoyed. But, it did introduce some annoying enemies: Knights of the Flaming Rose, they spent more time blocking than fighting unless I used Aard!
Anyway, in this DLC’s story, it starts with Geralt receiving a contract from a noble man named Olgierd Von Everec to kill an unknown monster in the Oxenfurt sewers, which turns out to be a gross toad-like monster. I hate fighting enemies that can attack with long tongues, because they always have a potential to devour you.
What becomes a simple contract, becomes more complicated when Geralt discovers the monster was actually a cursed prince. Taking The Frog Prince to whole new darker level!
But there is more to it than just this, Geralt is saved from execution by a powerful being known as Gaunter O’Dimm who now tells Geralt that he must fulfill three wishes that Olgeird desires in order to free himself from his pact.
This guy is nuts, like he stops time at one point just so he can speak with Geralt without being interrupted too!
The three wishes involved stealing the house of a rival family, and that heist had a lot of planning, allowing Olgeird’s deceased brother to have the time of his life (this one was hilarious as he possessed Geralt’s body), and a violet rose from his wife [Olgeird] Iris.
Taking Vlodimir to the wedding also allowed me to romance an old flame, Shani and her romance was super sweet. I gave her rowan flowers, kissed by the lake, and had sex on a boat. Alternatively you can give her alcohol instead and the romance can go where she’s drunk but my experience both her and Geralt were sober the entire time.
I wasn’t a fan of the house heist, but looking for the rose at the estate unveiled some disturbing facts about Olgeird. First, that Caretaker was creepy, and then the talking black cat and dog I liked. Iris had been dead for a long time and my favorite part is when they take you to the painted world in order to speak with Iris’s spirit.
However, this afterlife is full of painful memories where you see Olgeird and Iris’s marriage slowly deteriorate. Iris seemed like such a lovely woman who enjoyed painting and nature. When she finally decided to divorce him once she realized he was not the same person anymore, he prevented her from leaving and little is known about how she died. Did she starve herself, drink poison?
Anyway, when I finally spoke to her, I learned that Olgeird made a pact with Gaunter to regain everything he lost. Many of the wishes he made were always double-sided, when Gaunter gave him immortality, it also made him lose empathy as well, hence the term heart of stone. I felt so bad for Iris that all I wanted was for her to rest in peace, so I chose to obtain the rose from her, but the game tries to make me regret that because then she’s now in nothingness, but she’d be at peace right? No more painful memories to relive.
Finally you had to choose to either hand over Olgeird’s soul to Gaunter or solve his riddle to set not only yourself, but Olgeird free as well. I spent my entire time playing this game making choices that resulted in good things, so this time around I decided I wanted to see what happened if I did something bad so I picked the former.
In conclusion, this DLC was okay, but I tell you these are hard to review because there are so many different outcomes. I should have said goodbye to Shani at least!