Starcraft 2: Heart Of The Swarm Review
Starcraft 2: Heart Of The Swarm Intro
Kerrigan is back and she is out for blood in the new Starcraft 2 expansion, Heart of the Swarm, athough really, saying this is an expansion is a bit of an understatement. In the age of DLC for just about every high profile game, I appreciate that Blizzard takes its expansions so seriously and gives us so much for our money.
Starcraft 2: Heart of The Swarm Release Date & Platforms
The game is available now on PC and Mac platforms.
Starcraft 2: Heart Of The Swarm Gameplay, Story, Review
Now on to the review.
When first delving into Heart of the Swarm it becomes clear very quickly that this is Kerrigan’s game through and through. From the opening cinematic to the final boss battle, Heart of the Swarm is all about Kerrigan. She will be available to you to use in just about every mission and has quite a few neat new tricks up her sleeve.
The core gameplay of Heart of the Swarm hasn’t changed a whole lot from Wings of Liberty. It is still the same strategy gameplay that Blizzard has perfected over the years. Hotkeys seem to be taking center stage this time around and are easier than ever to set and utilize. I found myself mostly using my mouse to look around whilst I issued commands with my keyboard. Everything has worked well for me from day one and leaves me little to complain about when it comes to the interface and controls.
The campaign mode runs similar to Wings of Liberty. Between missions you are able to choose Kerrigan’s abilities, evolve units, and have conversations with creepy Zerg affiliations from all over the galaxy. One thing that Heart of the Swarm really improved this time around is character development. While the whole of the Starcraft 2 trilogy may be riddled with cliches, Blizzard is taking the right steps toward better storytelling. Heart of the Swarm actually gives us a character we can appreciate who isn’t wholly good or bad. This is a major step up considering how bloodthirsty Kerrigan was in Wings of Liberty. Without spoiling too much of the story, I will say that Kerrigan and others actually seem to struggle with moral and emotional challenges. Blizzard has never been the best at telling stories but Heart of the Swarm is a move in the right direction.
Despite the cliché storytelling, the rest of the game truly shines. Taking a similar route as Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm uses a varied set of missions for the main campaign. During my first play through no mission really felt exactly the same, although some felt very similar to missions in WoL. The first several missions are of course, veiled tutorials but since each mission truly serves the purpose of the story, I never minded going back and playing them on harder difficulties. No mission ever felt unbalanced or unfair. In fact, I would actually even complain the game is a tad on the easier side from WoL.
What really makes the game so interesting to me is its constant but varied use of the same “clock counting down” scenario. In one mission you attempt to spread Creep Tumors to different points on the map in order to destroy ships being released every few minutes. In another mission you are given about five minutes each to shut down enemy power supplies. Even though both these missions used a similar timed battle mechanic, both missions felt distinct and had different strategies. Both missions were also incredibly fun and often nerve wracking.
This awesome gameplay is coupled with beautifully rendered graphics and cut scenes. Units look distinct and everything looks wonderful. When it comes to the single player as a whole I have little to complain about, even with the 40 dollar price tag. Of course single player is merely part of the full game and it wouldn’t be Starcraft without multiplayer.
Starcraft 2: Heart Of the Swarm Multiplayer
Most people who play Starcraft know the real challenge lies with the multiplayer. Blizzard does an outstanding job of adding new units to the online multiplayer. The customizable options for games makes it so you can often times find opponents on a similar level. Sometimes, however, I would get online and get completely obliterated before I even had a chance. This shouldn’t discourage anyone. I have found the Starcraft community tends to be a pretty easy going crowd, especially if you are only playing 1v1.
The new units offer some interesting variety to the gameplay, although I must admit nothing added is monumental. I still found myself playing around with similar units as I did in WoL, though truth be told I haven’t finished diving all the way into the multiplayer. Each online battle is a lesson and after playing for a few hour you will see all your after game stats steadily begin to rise. Begin messing with hotkeys and custom layouts, the ability to grow better becomes almost infinite. Most of the time the 1v1 battles tend to be about speed. I personally have the most fun in larger games as they tend to last longer and require a bit more thought and long term planning. Whatever your preference may be, Heart of the Swarm is here to accommodate.
Starcraft 2: Heart Of The Swarm Summary
Small issues aside, Heart of the Swarm continues the success of the Starcraft series, offering new units, new campaigns and improvements in just about every area. Those who were weary of the idea that SC2 was being split into 3 parts, fear not. I can assure you right now with Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm being as good as they are, Legacy of the Void will be just as good if not the best of the trilogy.
Starcraft 2: Heart Of The Swarm Final Score
/ – 4.5/5 – If you loved Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm is a worthy, impressive sequel with merits and beauty all its own.