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Is It Wort Getting: Starcraft 2 Heart of the Swarm, Review (No Spoilers)
If you even mention competitive gaming, one of the, if not the, first game that jumps into people's minds is Starcraft 2, now the brand new expansion, Heart of the swarm, has dropped today. The first thing you should know about Starcraft if you have never heard of the series before is that it is a real time strategy game, which is highly based on refined timing, scouting, and proper reactions, so if that sounds too serious to you, you might want to find another game. This article is going to provide you with the most important information for deciding weather or not Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, is worth getting.
While in stark contrast to many modern games, the campaign isn't as widely known for the Starcraft series as it is for others, but it is still a vital part of the series. (kinda minor spoilers that you probably already know) Heart of the Swarm follows Sarah Kerrigan, aka the Queen of Blades, after Jim Raynor saves her and reverts her back to human, but she still possess her incredible physic powers. After breaking out of Raynor's friendly facility, she decides to go out for vengeance and attack the leader of the corrupt Dominion, Arcturus Mengsk, by regaining control of the scattered Zerg swarm and fighting back. The major mechanic of Heart of the Swarm will be the evolution of Kerrigan's units. Much like how Wings of Liberty you could choose between a zerg and protoss tech tree, your zerg units will have two choices once they reach the evolutionary stage, and it will greatly increase their strength. For the sake of spoilers I woke reveal any more secrets, but keep in mind the campaign is a lot like Wings of Liberty where you have an initial base with the option of expansion, and most missions have a primary mission and optional secondary missions for you to complete. The most radical change is that Kerrigan will be on every mission and is an incredibly powerful caster, with her own upgrade chart.
To many people, mostly the MLG players, the multiplayer of Starcraft is much more important. The multiplayer is based on picking one of each of the three races; Terran protoss, and zerg, before each game, and trying to get your opponent to quit or you have to destroy every last one of their buildings. The multiplayer is a very competive and serious zone, with ladder anxiety (not wanted to play ranked games because you don't want your placement to drop), affecting the best of us. But in Heart of the Swarm, Blizzard has added in an unranked system that still matches you based on skill so you can have fun and be challenged, but not have to worry about losing your top eight spot. Heart of the swarm has very similar graphics, mechanics, and gameplay compared to Wings of Liberty, but with a few new changes. Destructible rocks are now placed on the map and allow the player to block themselves in. The Terran have be given the cheap and deadly widow mine that burrows underground and shoots a powerful missile every once and a while at enemies that get too close, as well as hellbats, which are armored flamethrowers, and a few spread out upgrades and balance changes (The battlecrusier is actually an option now). The protoss have received the mother ship core that can slow down time in a bubble, preform mass recall, and turn a nexus into a super cannon. They have also received the tempest which is a long range aerial sniper, and the oracle, which is a speedy energy based harassment unit. Finally the zerg have received the viper, a support unit that can blind as well as pull in other units, and the swarm host, which burrows underground and spawns an unlimited number of locust to attack the enemy. The way you can unlock portraits and decals has been changed so now you gain experience for both building structure and units as well as destroying your opponents.
Besides a new part of the campaign, an edited U.I, and new multiplayer units and maps, Heart of the Swarm sticks true to it's guns and doesn't stray far from Wings of liberty. As always the biggest turn off to many people is that you have to practice Starcraft, you won't get it by just playing a bunch of games. The best comparison that I can do is with chess, while you don't take turns in Starcraft, you do need to research, practice, read and react to be successful in both games. It's a safe bet to say if you were a fan of the first Starcraft or even a fan or serious strategy, Starcraft is for you, but if you like to relax and mess around all the time, Starcraft is probably not for you.
*Two other quick notes
1) Starcraft has one of the best editors I've used in a while, but do to my lack skill and lack of interest for most people, I left that out.
2) As a sports player, I hate jerks. that's why I happy to say that Starcraft has always had one of the best communities and a "glhf" or "ggwp" are common sights.