Finally, after five years, the storyline of StarCraft II has ended; seventeen if you count the entire saga thus far. If you’ve played one of the game’s campaigns before, you know what to expect – an interesting mix of RTS and RPG mechanics that have been Blizzard’s tentative step forward for the RTS genre as a whole. To be blunt, there are no real surprises here, and if StarCraft II hasn’t convinced you by now, this final expansion will do nothing to persuade you.
That should be enough information for a lot of people, but for those who are interested in a little more than that, read on.
A warning though: so far, this reviewer has only played through about two thirds of the single player campaign, but what is there is more than enough to constitute a first impressions.
To begin, the story itself is interesting, although perhaps not as emotionally poignant as hoped for by Blizzard Entertainment. This is due to the fact that it is somewhat hard to relate to the Protoss. The Terrans themselves are human, with James Raynor a character that is incredibly easy to grow attached to and cheer for. Who doesn’t like an underdog? The Zerg campaign was fascinating, with Kerrigan providing an anchor for players during the course of her storyline, giving players a reason to care as they helped the Dominion and the Koprulu Sector prepare themselves for the real fight to come. The Protoss campaign is the culmination of all this, and for the most part it does hit the mark.
The story is compelling, and even now it is tempting to hop back in for just one more mission as the finale draws ever closer. Regarding the missions, they are (with a few notable exceptions) somewhat disappointing. They are creative at times as they gently guide the player into utilizing all of the units in the Protoss’s repertoire, but they feel a little stale after Heart of the Swarm. That isn’t to say it’s bad, but it’s just not as mechanically fun to play.
The storyline itself is well written and executed, although with the dash of cheese that Blizzard always seems to inject into their titles. Without going into spoilers, so far Legacy of the Void’s campaign is quite good, and there is potential for greatness, if of a limited sort. As mentioned earlier though, poignancy is a factor. It is difficult for one to relate to something that doesn’t look or sound like a human, but Blizzard has done their best to make their goals and desires relatable. Talking to those aboard your ship between missions helps to fill in a lot of gaps and makes the Protoss easier to follow and root for as one listens to the discussion and debates that take place aboard their ship.
Sound is something that Blizzard has always done well, and their track record only continues with Legacy of the Void. In fact, there really isn’t much of anything that can be criticized for the sound design – everything sounds impeccable, from the squick squick sounds of the Zealots swinging their blades to the reverberating echo of the Protoss speech, nothing sounds out of place. The graphics for Legacy of the Void share a sense of quality– whether it be the levels themselves ranging from snowfall, alien worlds that are shattered or commanded to be destroyed, or the exceptionally smooth animations of all the units in the game, Legacy of the Void looks good, if not great on ultra-settings. There are some things of course that look a little funny – a few videos look low-res and the antialiasing could be better, but the game engine’s graphical prowess is quite acceptable for a 2015 title.
Only the single player campaign has been played thus far, but from the looks of the multiplayer interface it is clear that Blizzard has finally sorted out the UI for Battle.net 2.0. It’s just easy to use – finding and matching into games has never been easier. It took them five years, but it can now be said that StarCraft II’s online features are truly an improvement over the original Battle.net’s online suite.
Overall, if you enjoy StarCraft there is no real reason to not pick this up for the single player alone. Come back soon for the full review, covering multiplayer and everything else the game has to offer.
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