Customer Review

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great expansion that continues the great story of SCII with better graphics and more fluid gameplay, 13 Mar 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm (PC/Mac DVD) (DVD-ROM)
HOTS is the second installment of Starcraft II that focuses on the Zerg story as opposed to the Terran story in SCII. Without dwelling on it for too long, the installation of the game seemed a bit strange, with it seeming to install both from the DVD and as a download simultaneously for me. I have read on other forums that for some people, it downloads the game in its entirety and completely bypassed the DVD altogether, which makes you wonder why they didn't just release it as a digit download only. Anyway, regardless of how you get it on to your hard drive, it's certainly worth the wait.

The 1 player Zerg story is every bit as good as the original. In a nutshell, the story begins at the end of SC2 - Sarah Kerrigan aka Queen of Blades has been captured and continues to enjoy wearing her orange Zerg contact lenses from time to time. The woman is also in desperate need of anti-psychotic medication to treat those anger outbursts that usually results in a burst of psychic energy followed by pain and death of those around her. Emperor Minsk is still that evil dude running the show and Jim Raynor continues to look in desperate need of a shower. Needless to say Kerrigan doesn't stay locked up for long, and the game plays out like a Rentokil nightmare as you build and increase the strength of the Zerg swarm. Kerrigan is playable as a "hero" unit that stronger during the game as you upgrade her abilities. In the 1 player missions, she can be "killed" but is quickly respawned from the hatchery so no lasting damage there. In addition, you can improve Zerg units during the course of the game, increasing speed of units, increase health etc. One thing that impressed me is that the graphics looked better, and the game feels smoother, yet the specs required to play the game are the same as SC2.

There are a variety of new units for multiplayer for the different races. I won't go into detail on those here, there are plenty of other places online that describe it better than I could. Needless to say this will undoubtedly make the game more strategic than it already is.

The only potential criticism is that those familiar with playing as Zerg from SC2 will likely find many of the early missions tedious as these act more as a tutorial on playing with that race. Actually that suited me, because I never got to grips massively with them in SC2 so I found it pretty useful. If you are a pro with Zerg, just enjoy the really good graphics! I previously wrote that an additional criticism was the fact that you needed a constant internet connection to play the game (as stated on the box as a minimum game requirement). As a gentleman helpfully highlighted in the comments, this is not true. You don't need a constant internet connection to play the one player campaign, but any achievements you get will not be saved to your Starcraft account.

Although I've read criticisms about the price considering this is an "expansion", I actually think the game is reasonably priced given the length of the one player story and the additional multiplayer units. It's clear a lot of work went into this game. I should also note that a previous review have said they had problems connecting to Blizzard's servers. I have had no such issues so I would put that down to the first day rush of people logging on. Is it acceptable? Not really. Was it likely they would have problems? After the shambolic Diablo 3 launch by Blizzard it seemed highly likely. Whatever the issues it seems to be sorted now though.

Overall, if you were fan of SC2 and found the story engaging this is a fantastic expansion that is just as gripping as SC2. There are plenty of cinematic cut scenes that look sensational, as well as the smaller cut scenes that help the story along. The improved graphics and smoothness of the gameplay are also impressive. For those of you more interested in the multiplayer side of things, the new units for the factions do spice things up. I look forward to the final expansion with the Protoss called Legacy of the Void. Game director Dustin Browder has said "we will certainly do our best to reduce the time between expansions" so I expect this final installment will be released around 2025. Until then, I would say any fan of SCII should add this expansion. Great fun.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Mar 2013 08:20:38 GMT
Great review! Nicely written.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2013 19:00:20 GMT
L. Hubbard says:
Thank you sir and hope you're enjoying the game :-)

Posted on 14 Mar 2013 00:15:03 GMT
great well written review but with the constant internet connection for the campaign there is actually an offline mode, so if you load the game up without an internet connection you can play in offline mode. the achievements that you gain do no go towards your battle.net account though due to it being offline. i think you can also do skirmishes against AI but i cannot say for this at this moment in time

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Mar 2013 01:05:42 GMT
L. Hubbard says:
Ahhh didn't realise that. I know it said on the box a constant internet connection is required and I've never seen the offline mode probably because I've always had an internet connection when playing. I assumed it wouldn't be possible. Many thanks for correcting me on this, I will update the review. Thanks Mr Trail!

Posted on 14 Mar 2013 13:17:05 GMT
S. F. Tope says:
Six new units and a six hour campaign which might as well just be you dragging kerrigan around by herself is hard to justify in terms of price.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Mar 2013 14:50:29 GMT
L. Hubbard says:
I'd say it is good value for money. It is an expansion, and therefore it isn't a huge surprise it doesn't have the same number of missions as Wings of Liberty. The game will be shorter if you play it on the easier difficulties and the faster speed settings. I do think the campaign has good replay value on the harder difficulties. I said in the review that for people who are experienced Zerg players may well find some of the missions tedious, and this means the time it takes to get through the campaign will be shorter if you can rattle through them quickly. The use of Karrigan as a hero unit is somewhat controversial and it does change the dynamic of the game compared to WOL. Some people will like it, other's won't (and I suspect this group may be in the majority). I personally thought it was good but perhaps that's just me. Some people will find it overpriced and overhyped, but I thought the package as a whole was worth the price and still think it deserves a 5* rating.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Mar 2013 17:00:30 GMT
Just completed it in hard took me about 10 hours. I would say it was no less challenging than WoL campaign was, except this time I was more familiar with the game and layout. There are in fact 27 missions if you count the evolution missions, I actually didn't really like them very much but they are still there. I would say the later missions were pretty challenging and I had to reload a few times, I wasn't keen on the whole 'if a hero dies dw they are back soon' mechanic but I guess I could always reload and enforce the rule on myself.

Oh and there are more than six new units, its only 6 new units in MP but then that is how it should be so as to not completely screw the balance (and was same amount as Broodwar had incidently). The singleplayer has many new units and heros in it.

Posted on 15 Mar 2013 15:56:31 GMT
Mr D.K Lind says:
Well written, comprehensive and interesting review. Thanks a lot!

Thumbs up from me.

Posted on 12 May 2013 16:41:02 BDT
Jacob K says:
Fab review buddy :)
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L. Hubbard
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Location: Cardiff

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