Date Completed : 3/18/2013
There are only a few things more exciting in life than the release of a new Blizzard game. I’ve been playing Starcraft ( and Diablo ) on and off for 15 years now. No other game in my collection has been played so consistently for so long. My former roommates and I played the original Starcraft game regularly for over a decade until finally, Starcraft II : Wings of Liberty was released. My oldest boy was a bit over a year old at launch and he was able to participate in his first great video game unboxing. He even helped to christen the box by peeing on it during a potty training incident.
I have two boys now (almost 4 and 2 years old) and they both helped me to unbox StarCraft II : Heart of the Swarm. I’ve tried to explain the plot of the game to them but the older boy thinks that Sarah Kerrigan is a bit scary and the younger boy thinks she’s some sort of spider. Their lack of enthusiasm didn’t slow me down much. I was able to play through quite a bit of the game by distracting them with classic ’80s cartoons.
The game hasn’t changed a whole lot from previous incarnations of StarCraft. If you’ve ever played a real-time strategy game you’ll know what to expect. The big difference between StarCraft and other lesser RTS titles is the story. I had to rush through the game because co-workers have been discussing the plot for the last week. After playing through the game my wife actually feigned interest in the story and asked me how it ended. After completing the game I can say that the story is excellent and it clears up most of the loose ends from the previous title quite nicely. The between chapter videos were all as high quality as you’d expect Blizzard produced videos to be and all had jaw-dropping plot developments. I sent (and received) many text messages after finishing a chapter that consisted only of the text “OMG!!!”. StarCraft truly is the greatest space Opera of our time.
Most of the missions are variations on missions from the previous title. The big difference is that this game has a lot more hero missions where you control only Kerrigan and a small attack force. Kerrigan levels up as missions progress and gains new abilities. Some of her abilities are ridiculously powerful and I found myself trying to beat a lot of the missions without using any of the other units that were available. In another big twist Kerrigan is also available in most of the traditional missions. Effectively micro-managing Kerrigan’s abilities can completely changes the tides of war.
The game is a big buggy. There are achievements that weren’t properly awarded, sound that didn’t work right and random crashes. I plan on playing through the game again at some point but I think I’ll wait for a patch or two. If Diablo III is any model it’ll take about a year for the code base to stabilize. It’s probably best to avoid the game for awhile anyway. My kids stopped calling me ‘Daddy’ and instead refer to me as ‘That man in the back who plays StarCraft’. Plus my wife keeps giving me the evil eye (but to be honest, that could be for all sorts of things).
I think in many ways StarCraft II : Heart of the Swarm surpasses Wings of Liberty. The story was more enjoyable, the missions were super fun, and the Kerrigan hero unit was totally badass. I whole heartedly endorse this game.
- New Missions
- New Units
- More Story
- Awesome Cut-Scenes
- My younger boy forgot my name.
- My wife loves me a little less.
Genre: Real Time Strategy