Final chapter of Starcraft 2 trilogy is finally here, and it's time for me to review it. Since, we all know how its multiplayer and other aspects of the game work, I'll be mostly focusing on the campaign in this review.
Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void starts with the war between Protoss and the Zerg. Protoss gather around their Homeworld of Aiur, to retake it from the Zerg. While they are fighting each other, Amon forces arrive and start to slay everyone. One world falls after another, and no one seems to be capable of stopping them. The Protoss are also forced to retreat, and leave the system to fight another day.
Most of the cast from previous games return in one way or another, but there are some characters that do not appear at all. As much as I liked the story, I think it was a missed opportunity. Still, it's just a minor issue and may be we'll see more about these characters in upcoming mini-campaigns for Starcraft 2 that Blizzard teased with their Nova Covert Ops campaign announcement.
Legacy of the Void's story is a lot more darker than the first two games in the trilogy.. You can expect a lot of twists and turns in the game, especially towards first half of the game and during epilogue. The story is unpredictable, which was not the case with Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm. Like first two games, I expected it to be a straight forward but enjoyable story, due to great presentation and characterization, but was surprised to see things play out the way they did.
The game features likable characters. From main character Artanis to supporting cast and favorites from older games, all have great personalities. No one is boring or useless and all of them have some purpose in the story. Another thing that I liked about the story is that, almost every character gets the time to shine, both in story and gameplay. Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void is satisfying end to Starcraft saga. Everything is answered and nothing is left open for sequels. This is THE END of the saga that started over 17 years ago.
Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void is the longest game in the trilogy. It took me over 20 hours to finish the campaign (completed all side quests but one in second last mission). Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm took roughly 15 and 12 hours to finish respectively. The campaign is divided into 3 parts.
The prologue called 'Whispers of Oblivion' and Epilogue 'Into the Void' have 3 missions each, while the main story 'Legacy of the Void' has 19 missions. So, basically the game offers 25 missions (no evolution missions). As expect there is a lot of variety in these missions. All of them play differently in some way, and also support the narrative of the game during gameplay. The game really makes you feel like an incharge of an advance race. Where Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm, made you feel like cowboy in space and leader of countless dangerous animals, Legacy of the Void makes you feel like Space Samurai.
The number of Protoss is smaller than the Terrans and the Zerg but they are a lot more harder to take down, and they have superior technology and fighting skills. In other words, Protoss campaign reminded me of battle between Spartans and Persians. There was one mission, where I had to play as Terrans, and coming back from Protoss to Terrans, really reminded me, how much differently these races really play.
Gameplay UI remains the same but menu theme has been changed. Just like previous games in Starcraft 2 trilogy, the UI encourages you to use shortcuts. The controls are responsive as usual, and Path Finding is close to perfect. The game also features Co-op mode this time around, which is designed to encourage new comers to play the game online against others. Upto 2 players can play the game together. You can ask your friend to manage resources, while you command the army against your opponents. It's very useful for teaching new comers how to play when used properly.
Some new units in the game also require more micromanagement than the others. Some of the previous units have also been re-balanced to force people to manage them individually. This re-balancing changes the way, the game is played compared to previous iterations. Now instead of making a large army to launch an attack on opponent's base, the game encourages players to send some of the units early for hit and run tactics. So, action happens a lot faster than before, especially in multiplayer.
Formula is the same, that you expect from a traditional RTS. You gather resources, build your base, create an army and attack your enemy. The major change here is the campaign. It gives you the feeling of being incharge of an advanced race with superior technology and fighting skills. The game offers number of primary and secondary objectives in each mission. Completing these side missions reward you by giving you extra reinforcements during the mission or by giving you Solarites, crystals used to power different abilities of Protoss flagship, Spear of Adun.
Spear of Adun can have upto 4 Active abilities during gameplay and 2 Passive abilities. You can use them to help your units during mission. For example, you can call an air strike, warp pylon immediately anywhere on the battlefield, stop time for enemies and so on. And since, there are only limited number of Solarites in the game, sometimes you will have to make few compromises to choose that one ability that you want to activate. It's a very clever way of giving you control of great technology, while not making the game too easy.
Spear of Adun also act like your command center, where you choose your next mission, talk to other characters and upgrade your units. There are three versions of every unit. You unlock these versions as you go through the story. Each version has its own strengths and weaknesses, so you can choose the version that suits your play style. And just like previous games, some units can only attack ground units while others can only attack air units. There are also some units that can attack both. Using right units at the right time is the key to success.
There are also some missions, where you don't build your base or army. In these missions you take control of Heroes, and use their special abilities at the right time to defeat enemies. Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void is a well balanced game. Protoss warriors have great technology but the game still offers plenty of challenge, and rewards creativity.
On Ultra settings the game looks great. Character models are highly detailed and well animated. The voice acting is also top notch. Important scenes in the game are backed by great performances and orchestral soundtrack. Sound effects are also top of the line, as expected. The game is a lot more cinematic than the first two games. There are way more cutscenes than previous games in the series. Some cutscenes are real-time, while others are pre-rendered. Both of these real-time and pre-rendered cutscenes look great.
You visit number of different locations in the Starcraft universe, and all of them look unique and different from one another. Graphics also saw an improvement over Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm. During my 20+ hours of Campaign Walkthrough, I haven't experienced a single glitch or bug, let alone crash or other annoyances that are so common in modern games. It's good to see a polished product that works day one without patches, because developers took their time to finish the game, instead of releasing it unfinished for quick bucks.
Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void is a must own for every RTS and even non-RTS fans. The game is accessible for new comers and also offers plenty of challenge for those, who are looking for it. The game is a satisfying conclusion to an epic saga. Even if there is Starcraft 3 someday, I highly doubt we'll see these characters return in that game, and that's the saddest part. It's like being with a friend for a long time and then seeing him/her go away, never to return. It's beautiful and sad at the same time.
- Lot variety in missions
- Unpredictable storyline, full of interesting characters
- Great presentation
- Co-op mode
- Easy to learn but hard to master
- Some characters from first two games don't appear
- It's over :-(