I'll divide this review into two parts - for the expansion, and for the special edition.
Expansion - There isn't really much to say about this beyond 'Get this if you enjoyed Wings of Liberty'. The storyline is a cracking pulp sci-fi tale which carries on the story set rolling by Wings of Liberty. I will say I'm no Zerg player - I think they're a great RTS opponent but I'm not keen on playing them, but the way blizzard took to depicting how the Swarm works in the campaign is intriguing. Much like how you had both R&D and Purchased Upgrades from Wings of Liberty, here you have Evolutions and Mutations. The missions themselves are orientated towards the Zerg's forte of Swarm Everything NAO, but even so, they're varied, and a lot of fun. To be honest the story is a lot more straightforward than WoL - there isn't many plot twists or many threads appearing at once like in WoL, and it more confirms ideas set down in WoL rather than actually building new concepts, but overall, it's a brilliant second chapter. Practically the only major issue I had with it is that you don't get the Corruptor in the campaign, for no good reason.
Special Edition - Typical Blizzard Glitz. It's similar to the WoL special edition in that there's a *lot* of content. Besides the game, we're talking mouse pad, art book, generous Making Of Featurette on both DVD and BluRay and the rather awesome soundtrack all wrapped up in a similar high-quality heavyweight box. IMHO, perfect for a die-hard SC2 fan.
Here's hoping they do something similar for the next expansion, Legacy of the Void.
definitly a real masterpiece and a a adictive one at that...! i got it in and was really happy with all the extra stuff in the like that artbook which is absolutely awesome and filled with the most bughtifull pictures and concept art for this masterpiece of a game and the game itself...? well just let us say that the reason why i am making a this product review is due to the adictive nature of this game...!
i planned on installing it and play just one level to see if it works and ended up sacrificing a full night of sleep and playing out have the game in just the first night after i got it finding out that it was time to get up officialy end make my self ready for the day reaaly fast due to this game...!
as such..? on adivice whe buying this game....? get a day or maybe even more off when buying it!! believe me...there day's well spend!!!
When it comes to the story of Starcraft 2 I have long been waiting for a game that Blizzard made that finally gave me that nostalgic Warcraft 3 buzz, this, was it. Diablo 3 failed, even wings of liberty only half-succeeded but truly Heart of the Swarm actually did bring me into the buzz I felt for blizzard games once more. I am only really reviewing it for its storyline, while others might point out other features, the plot was a really good continuation of the original Starcraft, Broodwar and SC2 combined, in a way that really wraps up the story of Kerrigans fall and rise to redemption.
So is the bitch queen of the universe honestly redeemed? Its an open question, considering the way the plot entails her story you can see her struggle is a difficult one, her loyalty to her lover, against her hatred of Mengsk puts her in a very difficult and intriguing position.
I felt a nostalgic love for this game in the same way I loved Warcraft 3 the frozen throne, it had the right atmosphere and pacing and for once, I didn't feel disappointment with it like I have so many of blizzards latest titles.
If blizzard keeps this kind of writing up I might yet rekindle my interest in their future products, but for anyone that loved Warcraft 3, this is the first game since it that I honestly felt satisfied with.
yeah, forget about the toss. this game's fun, the campaign has some real cool new features to offer and i have never enjoyed playing zerg so much than now. :) since this is the collectors edition, i should probably comment on the additional stuff, so here we go: the artbook is amazing, the pictures are great, the overall optic is lovely made with nice details. the soundtrack, well, what do you expect from a good game? of course, good music, and it is indeed. I didn't make it to watch the DVD but i certainly am looking forward to it. Last but not least, the mouse pad is lovely, I do enjoy the view of zerg attacking marines. :D
I came late into playing Starcraft 2 after several years and still playing World of Warcraft.
I just finished the first Starcraft 2 game so bought this expansion collectors edition, nice box and contents including art book and mouse mat. You get a pet that apears in WOW as a nice little bonus.
Starcraft 2 i have to say is one of the best games I've played in a long time from start to finished it is so polished and a pleasure to play with an interesting back story and missions. There is also multiplayer and leagues but I need to practice more before I venture with my troops on there.
If you like this sort of game just get them you wont be disapointed.
I have been playing Starcraft since it first came out when i was a kid. The zerg were, by far my favourite team to play as. So naturally when i saw this was being released i couldn't help but get it! When it arrived, i was just overwhelmed by how awesome the box looked (I know its just a box) but it just stood out and really got me so excited! As i opened the box, it was like christmas... I love the soundtrack and the PC mat, Also you get a behind the scenes DVD which was great to watch and obviously the game itself. Overall i would recommend this to ANYONE who loves the Starcraft games, and any new players who wish to play a really thrilling game, with an unbeleivable story... And the best BOX in the world. Collectors addition all the way, arrived quickly and perfect condition. 5****************
When rating this product i have taken the whole package into account: -The game, HotS, is great, the campaign is excellent, but you can read reviews of that elsewhere, this is all about the collectors edition.
-Art book - Stunning, the book is of extreme quality, hardback and great colours. The art is also great, some of the scenes are beautiful and really complement the game, there will never be any game capable of rendering what a human hand can draw and imagine!
-OST - Again, great. Didn't pay too much attention to it during gameplay but listening to it now its amazing, very epic, reminds me a little of the TRON soundtrack, or The Island. Love it. Comes is in a card holder, i.e. the cd is on a plastic tray but boxing is card that opens up. Nice info on the box.
-Mousepad - Bog standard mousepad with a scene from one of the cutscenes, nice but nothing out of ordinary.
-"Making of" DVD, havent seen it yet. Will update if i do.
-The whole box/casing and housing for everything, pretty nice.
Overall, at writting this is £55, twice the cost of just the game, for the hardback art book and Soundtrack it is worth it in my opinion. Seems to be the price sweetspot as i would not pay over £60 for it.
Note: Haven't said anyhting about the online pets and skins as that seems a bit gimmecky to me, but if you like that sort of stuff its just more added value for you!
My only con is that the game dvd comes in a slim box, which is pretty aweful comapared to the standard version box, which is awesome!
FINAL WORD: The artwork book, OST and cool box make it worth the extra cash. All other things are added value
Short version - This game is undeniably awesome. Not only has it kept some vital elements from Wings of Liberty, but its added more features and changeable add-ons to the single player experience. This is a definite must to have in your Starcraft collection. Still playing as I type this. A large amount of fun to have creating your ideal swarm to combat the enemy. New units, new experience, and the ability to use Kerrigan to turn the tide of battle with her powers, makes this a must have game. There are more cinematic videos then WoL, however the story line is a little cliche.
Longer version - Much like WoL, you will have to go through each mission to obtain new units and gain experience. However, a change from WoL is that when earning a new unit, it gives you the choice of upgrading that particular unit by giving it (for example) better defense or better offence. In WoL, it was choose A or choose B and that choice is permanent. But with HotS, it gives you the choice to choose A or B for each mission. So if you failed at a particular mission and wanted more attack power then defense, the ability to change is now available to you. Little changes also make a big difference, especially when it comes to gathering resources. Up until now you would have to count the amount of drones you'd have against each mineral deposit. 3 drones for each deposit would give maximum efficiency. Now, hovering above your Zerg lair shows how many workers you have against how many you should have to gain an efficient collection of resources. Something that can vitally give you a vast army in a short amount of time. Like before, HotS gives you the ability to use 'Hero' units. But up until now, players would not use these hero units for fear of getting them destroyed and having to start all over again. This is now a thing of the past. Not only is Kerrigan powerful to be sent into the battlefield, I have used her in almost every single battle to win. She is a considerably powerful unit that can turn the side of battle well into your favour. Also, as you gain further experience points by doing side missions, it gives Kerrigan more powerful abilities like creating Overlords in an instant, destroying massive units with a single blast or creating a Leviathan to wipe out a particular base. There are also a few missions where you only have Kerrigan and a few units to use to get your objective which gives it a nice steady pace besides being attacked from wave after wave of enemies. A bought the Collector's edition because I had already bought the Collectors for WoL. If given the choice I would have chosen the standard edition. The art book and CD is nice to have, but a mouse-pad is not as great as a dog-tag usb stick. Also, since Im not a player of WoW i won't be using the download for the extra avatar add-ons, so this is kind of wasted on me.
More boss battles then before which is a plus, however there were a few down points to the game. Much of the missions felt the same as WoL, get to A before your enemy gets there whilst harvesting raw material B to finish the mission. What I have noticed is that I finished this game much faster then I did with WoL because most missions were timed. Getting to accomplish a particular objective within a time frame made me finish most missions under 15 minutes which didn't give me enough time to get a good work out with my growing army, explore which new units work best with others. The 'Evolution Missions', missions that upgrade zerg units with either Type A zerg or Type B, weren't that difficult and didn't feel like proper missions, but easy tests to complete to see how'd each different type of zerg would do in battle. In saying that, there are 27 missions in HotS compared to WoL's 26, but with WoL you get to play as Zeratul and take a few missions as the Protoss. In HotS, all of it is as the Zerg and most of the time you'll be against the Terrans.
Overall, a very good game to own. But a little warning, if you haven't played WoL for a while (like me), before installing HotS, be prepared to download a 7Gb patch update
I won't say too much on the game itself as I'm guessing anyone considering the Collector's Edition already knows how awesome Starcraft II is. What I will say is that the campaign was thoroughly enjoyable.
As for the CE, it had the usual soundtrack, behind the scenes footage and artwork which was all good. But what disappointed me was the toy. In the WOL CE we got a USB drive shaped like a dog tag, for Diablo III, there was a USB drive in a skull (ok, maybe too many flash drives given out) but what do we get with this CE?
A mousepad. I wasn't impressed.
Having said that, however, I'm a huge fan of the game and there's no way I wasn't getting the CE.
A strategy game like no other, StarCraft 2 expansion improves upon an already powerful engine by introducing an even higher skill cap. Though its hard to recommend this game to those who don't think they will be able to dedicate a good amount of time to it.