By Sam Coles:
Hearts of Stone was an interesting and entertaining experience as it could juggle between serious moments to silly and funny moments better than the base game. If you’re familiar with German and Eastern European plays and poems then you’ll see that this game has a striking resemblance to a couple of pieces.
The story starts off simple enough Geralt is hired to do standard Witcher stuff by killing a giant toad which is a prince but you can’t kiss this toad to turn him back Geralt must dispose of him with his silver sword. Geralt then faints when the toad jumps over him when he slices his stomach over his head because all the mucus and venom lands on Geralt. It’s not long until Geralt is captured because it turns out you killed an actual prince and you’re being transported on a boat to the chopping block. One lonely night on the voyage a familiar face shows up he calls himself the merchant of mirrors and if you remember he is the man who tells you about Yennifer back in White Orchard as the start of the game.
The merchant of mirror’s or Gaunter O’Dimm gives Geralt a task as repayment for saving him from capture and that is to collect a debt from the man who sent him to kill toad prince and that man is named Olgierd Von Everec. You must fulfil three outlandish tasks for him after that it will fulfil the contract.
The game’s basic premise is a loose interpretation of the German legend called Faust where a bored scholar summons the devil and makes a deal, but it’s based more on the Polish version called Pan Twardowski . In Pan Twardowski the a Doctor makes a deal with the devil like in Faust but he tries to out whit the devil’s contract that he will only give up the clause if he visits Rome, but the devil out smarts him by meeting him in a bar called Rome. So basically Olgierd does the same by striking a deal for immortality with the same impossible three tasks or as he thinks they are.
Faust is not the only piece of classic writing that it retells, there is a quest where Olgierd tells you to show his older a brother a good time, but there is one problem he’s dead so you must go to the Von Everec tomb and resurrect his ghost. When you resurrect him he’s ready to go to a wedding, but there is one problem he can’t touch anything because being a ghost it just passes through him, so he possess Geralt. This quest is loosely based on an early 20th century Polish play called the wedding where spirits attend a wedding.
Hearts of Stone is an excellent expansion because of its retelling of Pan Twardowski as it’s both intriguing and entertaining, I would highly recommend getting this expansion for the main quest alone and it’s not expensive so it’s a bargin.