If you’re looking for an example of how to create meaningful downloadable content that doesn’t feel exploitative, you’d be hard pressed to find a better example than Hearts of Stone. From its love letters to longtime fans of the series to the outstanding character moments in its main quest, The Witcher 3‘s first piece of paid DLC adds yet another layer to what might be the most robust open world in gaming history.
So. Yay? Nay? Maybe? That depends on how much more The Witcher 3 you can take. If you're a fan, if you're keen for more content, if you're just not done with the world, the answer is: yes. Absolutely. Hearts of Stone probably won't do much but aggravate you if you had no appetite for the core game, but for others this is more of The Witcher 3 in all its imperfect glory.
A satisfying, self-contained adventure that plays to the series' strengths, but doesn't add anything novel outside of its storytelling.
Hearts of Stone proves you don't need to sacrifice character-building or world-building by constraining stories to this shorter model. And in doing so you get a more fluid, more modular world, free from the artificial urgency of “The World Is Ending.” You get Geralt, the person. Not just Geralt, the video game character, condemned by destiny.