Monday, March 18, 2013

Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm

In the week since it's release, I have seen surprisingly little from my friends about the new Zerg expansion to Starcraft 2, the Kerrigan-focused Heart of the Swarm. Probably because they're all so busy playing it. If you know any Starcraft franchise fans, you know that they're probably knee-deep in empty Coke cans whenever the newest game comes out - especially when this one has been so long in the making.

This new installment in the well-beloved series revolves around Sarah Kerrigan, freshly rescued from being the Queen of Blades by our well-known and lovable hero Jim Raynor. She wakes up alone in a cell under the scrutiny of Valerian Mengsk. They want to make sure she won't return to the Swarm. That she really has become human again.

First, let me just say that this game is beautiful. We've come to expect this from Blizzard - and games in general now - but still, it is definitely worth noting that this game is gorgeous to look at. I wish they made animated films that looked as wonderful as this. Dramas, action-thrillers, westerns - anything could look good with the animation they use in this game's cut-scenes.

What I also very much like is it creates more characters within the Zerg swarm, such as those on board Kerrigan's ship. Abathur, for example, who is the resident Swarm editor. He is terrifying and robotic and familiar and wonderful from his dialogue to the voice acting to the model.
And not to mention the veritable bevvy of named Hive Queens that Kerrigan meets.

What's even more interesting, is that by having these characters, it humanizes the Zerg somewhat, which I suppose was the point - especially in Kerrigan's "re-education" of a certain Hive Queen.

One thing that I fear is that the game will be all too short and perhaps even a little bit too easy, but then again I haven't reached the final missions yet, being too distracted with that time-consuming and money-providing endeavour called "work". 

The price was also right for this game, set at a nice $44 (AUD) which marks it as an expansion in the same vein as the old Brood War. If you liked Wings of Liberty, you'll like this. The only bad part so far, is they haven't fixed the whole "we don't do LAN anymore" thing. And also, the annoying thing that buying the game in hard copy doesn't mean you get to install the game from the disc, it just has the downloader on there so you don't have to download it. It still installs the game by downloading it from online. You've been warned.


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