The Zerg are back with a vengeance. Literally, of course.
randallsilver wrote this review on .
WARNING: there will be some minor gameplay and story spoilers in my review. Only read on if you're okay with that. It's nothing much, but I felt you should know anyways.
The game starts with the now more-or-less human Kerrigan being checked by everyone, finding out how human she really is, and if she still has control over the zerg. As you probably guessed, something goes horribly wrong, and Kerrigan sets up shop once again as the Queen of Blades. Because of what happened in the last mission of Wings of Liberty, however, her control is far from perfect, and the Swarm has divided into several broods.
It's up to you to guide Kerrigan through the missions and get her control of the Swarm back, so she can finally take revenge on Arcturus Mengsk. The entire story revolves about her revenge, and her getting stronger to get back at Mengsk. After finding out the truth about the Overmind in WoL, I expected another big surprise in HotS, but there was none. The story itself is also nothing special and a bit predictable.
The gameplay hasn't changed, except for some minor things. For example, your drones now automatically start harvesting when you start a game. Handy. There's also a possibility to gather your entire army in one click, wherever they are.
In almost every mission, Kerrigan is there as well, taking charge of the many battlefields. She gets stronger with every succesful mission, gaining strenght and stronger powers.
The zerg are evolving as well, quite literally. Every unit has three options available, minor evolutions. They are not permanent and can be changed to better suit your needs. One special zerg, Abathur (who is very cool) has the ability to permanently evolve some units as well. These will be presented in special evolution missions, where you can test the two options out. These options, however, ARE permanent, so choose wisely.
The story, as mentioned before, is a bit of a downside here. It's really nothing more than Kerrigan going to great trouble to get the entire Swarm back together under her control. The end justifies the means: killing Mengsk. Although the characters are cool, with good dialogue, it's the only thing worth mentioning, story-wise. You get a few answers to your questions, but I hope the Protoss campaign is a bit more impressive. Unfortunately, knowing Blizzard, we'll have to wait 3 more years again...
Is the campaign bad? Not at all. It's a bit one-track, but it still is fun. I will mention, however, that a lot of the missions are time- based. I'm a patient player: I build up a base, good defences, and attack when I'm confident I can clear the entire map. That strategy does not work well here. Usually, you have some kind of time restraint and have to hurry to accomplish your goals. I don't like that, but it does keep the adrenalin flowing. The boss battles are fun too, if a bit easy.
So then we end with my classification: "great multiplayer." After finishing Wings of Liberty, I didn't play much anymore. Imagine my surprise when I saw all those new arcade games! There are many, MANY different games you can play on the Starcraft server. Tugs of war, tower defences, survival games, and so on. It's great fun to get together with other players and survive the onslaught in "Night of the Dead", or try to put your skills to use in Starjeweled, to name but two.
The only downside here is the sheer arrogance of some players when you're not as good as they are. Just because they play the same game 20 times a day doesn't give them the right to call you a "f*****g noob" when it's your first time. Since I have something called a "life", I don't think people should put up with that. It's not a big nuisance, however, as I also found players more than willing to share their knowledge. If you're lucky, you can get a room with those players, and that can make your evening.
All in all, the game didn't quite meet my expectations. Don't get me wrong: it's still fun, but I think they didn't put much into the campaign. The only real surprise was the evolution missions. It's obvious the game is more focussed on multiplayer. Which is fine, the games there are really fun, but I'd wish the storytelling in the campaign was a bit better. Still, I'm glad I played it, and so will you.