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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (2013) ★★★

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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (2013) ★★★

Review by Lowell-San
Published on April 22, 2016

Developed by: Blizzard Entertainment
Platform of Record: Personal Computer
Distribution: Optical Disc, Digital
Genre: Strategy (Real-Time)


Honestly, the most interesting part of Heart of the Swarm is the disconnect between the manpower, resources, and ideas in the singleplayer modes, and the utter stagnation of StarCraft as a multiplayer experience, which has been carefully crafted so that the losers who never had an athletic victory in their lives can pursue them in the digital.  And barring the conceptual overhauls that would be necessary to make StarCraft II multiplayer worth your time in this decade -- increased supply counts, more unit types, better pathing and formation mechanics, larger and more complex maps -- you're better off diverting your time and energy to the Supreme Commanders, the Planetary Annihilations, the Wargames, and whatever else is trailblazing the future of multiplayer RTS.

That leaves us to discuss the singleplayer campaign and the ongoing thematic genocide that is the shift from "THE ONLY ALLIES ARE ENEMIES" to "RAYNOR AND SARAH REALLY DO LOVE EACH OTHER LOL".  Apparently, a Disney reunion special deserves a Disney difficulty level, because this is one of the easiest campaigns in the history of the genre -- a hardcore game for hardcore RTS players, mind you -- and it's like Blizzard had the entire campaign ready to go, and at the last minute, threw a playable and unstoppable Sarah Kerrigan into every mission.  (Because if there's anything StarCraft players love, it's Warcraft III-style heroes.)  So anyone with a drop of RTS talent will blow through this, and then Sarah and Jim will make up, and I don't give a fuck about spoilers, because this game spoiled the StarCraft lore.

But it's not that Heart of the Swarm is a bad game as much as (like Wings of Liberty) it's a white-bread asymmetrical experience of the first order, and still lacks anything resembling the delicious atmosphere of its predecessor.  And if you were expecting the dramatic game-changer that defined Warcraft III's transition to The Frozen Throne, then tough shit.  What's here is here, what's here is LOLESPORTS, don't expect more than that, and enjoy your empty calories.

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Review by Lowell-San
Published on May 10, 2016

Developed by: Blizzard Entertainment
Platform of Record: Personal Computer
Distribution: Optical Disc, Digital
Genre: Strategy (Real-Time)

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