StarCraft II – Heart of the Swarm
By Samson Lancaster – MyrddinCROW
Greetings gamers! This will be my first article and it will be focused on the Campaign of the latest SC2 expansion Heart of The Swarm (HoTS). So bear with me since I’m a noob at this. Let’s get messy with some zerg swarms!
First a little about myself in relevance to the expansion HoTS. Starcraft has always been my favorite RTS since SC2 came out I have been playing the campaigns on Brutal. Wings of Liberty was truly Brutal, I burnt out 1.5 graphics cards beating the last mission ‘All-in’ on Brutal. Also note on multiplayer, my highest ladder was Platinum though this is not as relevant to this article I want to let you know where I am coming from. This will be a sort of casual random player’s review of the HoTS campaign.
Story & Cinematics
The story-line was very engaging and it was hard to not just play the campaign through in one sitting. I ‘d have to tear myself away from HoTS to get back to my real-life. The cinematics as always with Blizzard, were stunning, breath taking even. The new Queen of Blades model is well super HoT, I’m sure all gamers agree! In addition to Kerrigan’s new badass and sexy look, Tricia Helfer delivers amazing voice acting, and the overall graphics were simply flawless.
Bells & Whistles
I purchased the digi-deluxe edition and I loved all the extra bells and whistles, especially the bladewings for my Diablo III toons. I must admit I am a sucker for extra portraits and decals, I like to look good whilst beating my enemies to a pulp, but who doesn’t? However, I’’ll admit it did seem a bit pricey for an expansion, but I felt I got my money’s worth.
Let’s get to what we are all here for, how did it play? Like WoL I started HoTS on Brutal, and I was worried I would be in for a serious thrashing. Boy was I thrown for a loop, I felt like I was flying through the campaign on a fluffy cloud or perhaps a squishy Zerg. Don’t get me wrong it was super fun to play as the Queen of Blades. But Kerrigan as a unit on the battle field is unstoppable if you have even the slightest micro skill. In addition to her extremely powerful abilities, her passive skills can make building an army a cake walk. And even some of the unit mutations are ridiculous; I’ll bet a lot of Zerg players wish they had them in multi-play.
Let’s start with the build I used for Kerrigan. I found the most fun and over powered skills to be summon banelings and summon Leviathan. With banelings I had the jumping mutation, which makes banelings so much more effective. I also used the “shorter cool down” passive so I could easily summon 10 banelings and have plenty of time to jump them into the enemy’s base and melt face. The Leviathan was a massive air tank with its own abilities. I don’t have to tell you the Dominion knows they are screwed when they see the Queen, 10 banelings and a Leviathan coming their way. I could literally take out bases with just the Queen her banelings and the Leviathan. That being said, the missions where Kerrigan is otherwise occupied and not useable as a hero unit were a bit more difficult. When the Queen was indisposed I was forced to mass my armies and push forward. However, the Queen’s passive that doubles the amount of drones makes it so easy to get your resources up and crush your enemies. I’ll admit on these levels where Kerrigan is not usable I did have to reloaded a few times. And what is more fun than raptorlings I would imagine pinching a Ghost with them and having him say “Clever Girl” before they rip his guts out. Jumping zerglings are so useful when you combine them with the zergling re-spawn passive, infinite raptorlings! And Ultra’s that resurrect… FTW!
Overall as far as the experience I was expecting, I was a bit disappointed in the difficulty. I loved this expansion and had a lot of fun being the Queen of Blades and mutating my minions to spawn a swarm of big scary and squishy bugs. But it totally felt too easy on Brutal, I even swept all 3 achievements in some of the missions without even trying. The last mission felt a bit anti-climactic and nowhere near as Epic as “All In”. Also in each level I felt I could take my time, like there was no rush to take out Mengsk, no sense of urgency. I do however thank Blizzard for not frying more of my video cards this time around. All in all, I wouldn’t say I feel cheated just not very accomplished. And if I didn’t get my money’s worth with the campaign, the revival of multi-player was certainly worth it.