StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – First Impressions

Having gone back and finished up the Wings of Liberty campaign, I was finally clear to move on to Heart of the Swarm. Like with BioShock Infinite, I shall write down some of my initial thoughts after playing the first 2 missions really quickly. Some spoilers ahead, so be warned.

Kerrigan really is back

She still has the feels for Jim

She still has the feels for Jim

It’s weird to see Kerrigan be all…human again. She doesn’t remember anything from when she was the Queen of Blades, but she remembers Mengsk’s betrayal and immediately wants to take revenge. So, this game is from the beginning set up to be a revenge story. They could have titled it “Kill Arcturus”. I couldn’t quite fathom how Blizzard would progress the story. After all, the Queen of Blades was quite the villain, so being able to turn this character around and bring out her human side would require a lot of skill. It’s good that Jim Raynor’s in there, so in the cut scenes she can play off of him and we get to see a bit of emotion, just to make clear that this really is Sarah Kerrigan returned. One has to admire Blizzard’s ability to turn the tables and present the story and world from the perspective of really any main character in the game’s world. They did it in WarCraft 3 before and don’t seem to have lost their touch.

Also, she’s got zerg-y hair strands that look like dreadlocks. Cool.

Mission design is reminiscent of WarCraft 3

I really liked those campaign start screens

I really liked those campaign start screens

WarCraft 3‘s campaign was the best RTS single player experience I ever had and I fondly remember to this day the joy of directing Thrall’s rallying of his people, or the fall of Arthas in Northrend. I really dig Blizzard’s RTS campaigns and Wings of Liberty grew on me a lot during my playthrough. Heart of the Swarm now looks to continue the tradition of The Frozen Throne and like that expansion, is more character driven which is mirrored in the mission design. Kerrigan is now an on-screen playable hero unit, just like the heroes in WarCraft 3. I love that because those dungeon crawl style missions were the best ones. One really gets the impression that without base building aspects, the mission designers at Blizzard let their creativity flow and that’s when you get the best ideas and variety. Already I can see influences from DotA to 90’s era action arcade games. With the added freedom that an expansion grants compared to the core game, this promises to be a wonderful campaign.

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