Tag Archives: Protoss

Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void – Gameplay Over Story

 “Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void” is the perfect point of gameplay over story, which is a shame because this is a story that is trying to do a lot. The game it is most similar too is probably “Mass Effect 3” with Moebius Corp as Cerberus and Hybrids and Void entities as Reapers with an ending that isn’t really set up all that well and putting drama and rule of cool over character choices that actually make sense. The gameplay is top notch, like “Mass Effect 3” too. The one thing that puts it above “Mass Effect 3” for me though is that the character choices do make some level of sense in the end (the exception being the Epilogue) and that is where Blizzard showed themselves to be better storytellers than EA/Bioware in this instance. I’ll get into what I mean deeper into the review.

The story picks up where we left off with Amon coming into the Universe. We first follow Zeratul who witnesses his rebirth and escapes to warn Executor Artanis who is about to begin the retaking of Aiur with the Golden Fleet. Things soon go awry when Amon takes control of the Khala forcing Artanis on the run as he must unite different Protoss factions against Amon’s forces and the Golden Fleet, Amon now controls.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The Universe – I love the universe of “Starcraft” and the main campaign does such an amazing job exploring it and giving so many more layers to the Protoss as a people. We meet more factions, see just how powerful Amon is and how insidious his influence is as well as see how difficult it is for a people to change as this is the game that at the core is about the Protoss changing as a species as the only way to defeat Amon is to make an Alliance between the remaining protoss factions and defeat Amon’s armies as well as making sure he never enters into the physical realm from void.

The Transformation of the Protoss – The main arc of this game storywise is the Transformation of the Protoss. In this we see how the challenges to the Caste System and the Khala which began in the first game with the Dark Templar rejoining their Aiur breathren against the Zerg, and continues even further with a Preserver who advises Artanis and reacts negativly to all the Alliances he forms with the Nerazim (Protoss Sith Lords basically, Purifiers – AI Protoss and the Dark Templar). He constantly challenges her assumptions and shows it was the old ways that lead to the Overmind defeating them in the first place and that her holding onto the Khala is causing Amon to possess and destroy her. It is a great arc and we see them come together as one in the final fight against Amon before he can gain a body.

The Hero’s Journey of Artanis – The main journey is that of Artanis as he steps up to the mantel of leadership and must face his insecurities and guilt, as when Amon possess him he kills Zeratul before Zeratul can free him, and this is after Zeratul warned him that Aiur had already fallen to Amon and that he was going into a trap. He carries this forward and does everything can can to broker peace among the Protoss factions and within himself and new allies challenge him to become a better leader and introduce him to new perspectives that he integrates through the course of the story.

John De Lancie’s Alarak – Alarak is part of Tal’darim, the enemy Protoss introduced in “Wings of Liberty” who worship Amon and are apocalyptic in their aims. They are essentially Protoss Sith as their philosophy is based on dominance and strength and they care for nothing but the individual. Alarak is a shining example of this as he only joins with Artanis when he realizes that Amon will destroy them when his intentions are revealed so he goes to take control of the Tal’darim and bring the war to Amon. He is a hilarious character who has so much sass. Anyone he talks to, he shuts down and in the end he goes his own way as well, refusing to rebuild on Aiur and rejoin his people. He’s a punk who is powerful and fun and really shows just how diverse the Protoss are in mindset.

The Protoss Factions – There are the Purifiers who are A.I. who gained sentience and rebelled and must trust their organic counterparts again (and one hold Fenix’s memories), the Dark Templar lead by Voruzan (who really should have gotten more development in this game), the Preserver of the Spear of Adun who holds onto the old ways and history, a Phase-Smith who becomes a hero and Templar rising in his caste and Alarak, the sassy Tal’darim who is in an Alliance of convenience with our heroes. I loved clicking them and getting their perspectives in the different scenes. Each showed just how layered and complex the Protoss are a species.

Unit Choices in Battle – As you recruit different factions you can choose what units you can bring into battle. Tal’darim have damage based unit types, Aiur Protoss are about shields, Purifiers are strong units and the Dark Templar are the infiltrators. Depending on the mission different units will serve you better. This was a lot of fun and gave a different dynamic to how to go about completing missions.

Mission Variety – This game has the best mission variety out of all the different Starcraft IIs. Whether it was defending resources and moving to different gather points on a moving metal disk, stopping a base from crashing into the Dominion homeworld and having to repair and defend it, a countdown to prevent Amon from getting his body and countless others. All of them were a lot of fun and felt epic in scale.

Co-op Missions – Co-op campaigns are what kept me coming back after finishing the main campaign. In Co-op games you choose a hero and level them up as you face off against Amon’s forces. Kerrigan was the first I leveled up fully as you use her abilities that strengthen her and the unit composition of her army. Since release there have been many more released with my favorite new character being Dehaka who leads a pack of Primal Zerg. The fact that each commander is different keeps the game interesting since I haven’t really done multiplayer. I seriously recommend Co-op. It is the best example of how great the gameplay got in “Legacy of the Void.”

The Cons: Rule of Cool – One of the annoying things about this game was how often it went to “Rule of Cool,” like “Mass Effect 3” did on countless occasions when ever Cerberus was involved. The best example of this are the times that Artanis goes in alone. He is leading his entire species and he refuses to let anyone come with him. I get the Protoss are honor bound but the entire Universe is at stake. This is how the Rule of Cool can become the Rule of Stupid. To create a cool looking fight characters will do stupid things to bring about impossible battles and due to plot armor will win. I hate that type of garbage storytelling and a few of the cutscenes were just that.

The Epilogue – The epilogue is a lot of fun to play, you get to play with the Protoss, Terran and Zerg armies. First with the Protoss as you fight Narud in the Void, second the Terran as you defend Kerrigan turning into a Xel’Naga and finally as the the Zerg and Kerrigan where you break down Amon’s defenses so that Kerrigan can kill him. It is gameplay over story as there is one missing Xel’Naga who was trapped for some reason and turns Kerrigan into a Xel’Naga / God. It is so silly. The only things I liked about it was the combat and the fact that Kerrigan saw it as a way to atone for her sins as the Queen of Blades. This is the only way it worked, and I did like the afterword that Zagara as the Overqueen leading the new Swarm. Still was mostly stupid, the fight against Amon should have been the main mission given how dangerous he is. Making it an epilogue made the story that they set up in Wings of Liberty feel rushed and poorly thought out.

“Legacy of the Void,” for all of the flaws it has is well worth your time. Gameplaywise it is the best of the Trilogy and storywise has the main flaws that littered the entire Trilogy with rushed setups and failure to have payoffs. They did kill off Zeratul which for me puts it above “Wings of Liberty” in story though. This story did take risks, and the overall theme of uniting the Protoss in the main campaign was fantastic. In the end I’d rate it slightly below “Heart of the Swarm” but above “Wings of Liberty.” The Epilogue hurts the final score the most as does Rule of Cool but it is still a game that I can’t help but recommend. I haven’t played the Nova DLC but if I do that will be a future review. For now, Blizzard had a good end to their series, even if it failed to reach greatness in the final chapter/Epilogue.

Final Score: 9.3 / 10

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Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty – A Bit of Revolution and about Time

  “Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty” was a game I’d been waiting for, for a long time. It was the original “Starcraft” series that got me into RTS games and also was a huge influence on my love of science fiction stories. I still remember playing through the game for the first time at my friend’s place in college on his computer as I saw just how awesome the campaign was, I’d been waiting for this game for a long time. Years later after a second playthrough, I still really enjoy this game, but the flaws are much more apparent as well as what it misses that “Brood War” and the original “Starcraft” brought to story. I’ll do an overall comparison after reviewing all the games of “Starcraft II.”

The story picks up with war beginning again as Raynor’s Raiders seek to overthrow Mengsk and stop Kerrigan’s Swarm. This involves putting news of Mengsk’s betrayal out to the world while taking on Zerg and Dominion forces and seeking Xel’Naga artifacts for the Mobius Foundation as they may be the key to taking out Kerrigan’s Swarm.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: Gameplay – The gameplay is a lot of fun. There is a great variety of strategy to each of the campaigns and how you use your hero units and troops. You can outlast and go all out with a large fully upgraded force, or push forward with any level of balanced forces. It’s extremely enjoyable and there is a reason that even after years of not playing this game I couldn’t put it down once I started playing it again.

Mission Variety – There is a great amount of mission variety, from a prison breakout where you defend a giant Odin piloted by Jim’s friend Tychus, a choice to do a ground based hero mission on Char or Air Assault against Kerrigan’s Swarm and some racing against the clock where you save civilians before Kerrigan destroys you. You also have a huge Prophecy side quest with Zeratul discovering Kerrigan’s role and the what the oncoming destruction will be and how to stop it. These are small hero driven missions.

The Soundtrack – The soundtrack is wonderful and captures the old west feel of the Terran as well as the tension of war, the threat of the Swarm of the mystery of the Protoss. It has a lot of salutes to the original soundtrack while still remaining to be it’s own thing.

The Universe – The Universe is the same wonderful one from past games except that it gives us more characters and reestablishes there has been some stability after the “Brood War” as the Dominion is now one of the core powers once more and the Swarm is a large threat while the Protoss as a power are scattered. I love this Universe and it was wonderful to jump into it agai as Jim Raynor, even if some of the characters really annoyed me and felt cheap compared to the characters of games past. You get flavors of the Universe in news reports from the Dominion Channel and witness one corrupt news anchor fall apart as another with integrity rises, mirroring Jim Raynor’s own journey through the campaign.

The Complex Rogues – The complex rogues are the best part of this game…whether it is Zeratul as the Dark Wizard seeking to keep back the end, even if it means saving Kerrigan, the woman has meant nothing but destruction for his people, Tychus as the Merc who believes in Jim but also wants to be free so will kill Kerrigan if given the chance and of course Gabriel Tosh, the rogue spectre seeking to overthrow Mengsk who also helps you through Zeratul’s visions. These are easily the best characters in the game with Jim as the rogue trying to do the right thing in the difficult situations he is put in. Hell Valerian Mengsk (Emperor Mengsk’s son) is even complex in his own way as he wants to find a way to fix infestation and in doing so be a better savior to his humanity than his father ever was. These characters drove the story and made me click them for conversations when you are the Battle Cruiser “Hyperion.”

Okay: Prophecy and Destiny – I don’t really like the idea of prophecy and destiny as all powerful beings like the Xel’Naga would have been destroyed if they could have seen the future. It also ends up giving plot armor to all of Kerrigan’s actions in “Brood War” and this game does not deal with the monster she currently is, instead we get mopey lovesick Raynor, which really hurt the storytelling as he gets a love interest out of it and it hurts Kerrigan’s agency in her actions.

The Cons: The One-Dimensional Characters – There are a few of these, with the worst offenders being the nerd stereotype Egon and the love interest scientist Ariel Hanson. They only function as plot devices to tell Raynor things and I never saw them as complete characters. Matt Horner is also this to some degree as he is the noble revolutionary, and we never get why. This was the disadvantage that comes with a large cast and so many characters really should have been developed that weren’t. This is the weakest of the the “Starcraft II” games because of this.

“Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty” and is a great game I’d recommend. The gameplay and mission variety are absolutely wonderful and the complex rogues are a lot of fun to follow, even though I hate how prophecy turns some of them into some a certain level of plot device. If you haven’t played this game already and are a fan of RTS games, I highly recommend it. As a fan of the Starcraft Franchise, they would have had to really mess this up for me to hate it, but even as someone who was away from the game for years it is still a solidly great game worth time. It took long enough to make and if you have, it’s about damn time to play.

Final Score: 9 / 10 Solidly great.

Original “Dawn of War” Franchise Reviews

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    It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed games, the last one being gone home…as I’m still suck in the “Starcraft: Brood War” campaign reviews on the Zerg Campaign. I don’t feel comfortable reviewing the campaign or a game until I’ve finished the campaign and got to try out the other features. For “Dawn of War” this will be easy, minus the “Winter Assault” campaign of the 2nd game which I remember being rather difficult.

      I’ve read some of the “Space Wolf Omnibus” as well as some of the Codexes on the different factions, so the world has always been rather interesting to since college, as my introduction to this universe was through “Starcraft” who took inspiration from this game.

    This is a franchise that inspired “Starcraft” as the Zerg are inspired by the Tyranids, the Protoss by the Eldar and the Humans have space marines in both worlds and tend to have governments that end up being based in nobility or tyranny, and of course having no elected leaders. Where the emphasis on Starcraft was on politics though, Warhammer 40K has more so been on magic and survival as the different factions rarely if ever worked together due to them representing the worst of humanity so often (fear, zealotry, etc.). 40K is also more fun in a lot of ways as the Orks, love to fight for the sake of fighting.

   In each of these reviews I’ll go into gameplay, what faction I enjoyed the most and how I thought the story campaign was executed. These will be the deciding factors on what score each of them get, and when I get a better computer I plan to do this for the “Dawn of War 2” franchise as well.

Starcraft: Brood War Campaign Reviews – Episode 5 – Terran Campaign – The Conquest of the U.E.D. and the Legacy of Stukov

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We continue the “Starcraft: Brood War” Campaign Reviews with Episode 5, the Terran Campaign. This campaign ties directly to “Brood War’s” opening cinematic where we see Vice Admiral Stukov and Admiral DuGalle studying the Zerg as their troops fight below. Eventually they leave the battle and the story kicks off.

The story begins with Stukov ordering you to take out the capital Boralis on the planet of Braxis for the U.E.D. (United Earth Directorate). It is here you meet Lieutenant Duran, a man who says he is resisting Dominion rule and can show you a back entrance. He helps and you are victorious. The two reasons the U.E.D. came to this sector is to conquer rogue elements like Emperor Mengsk and pacify the Overmind so the Zerg will no longer be a threat to humanity.

The next mission involves you capturing Mengsk’s Battlecruisers in the Dylarian Shipyards so he will lose his ability to fight and you’ll gain a larger fleet. Next you learn of the Psi Disruptor the Confederacy had been trying to build on Tarsonis and that there might still be a functioning one. Stukov once to keep it since it seems to work at disrupting the Zerg but Duran wants it destroyed so Mengsk doesn’t get it. DuGalle eventually goes with Duran even with Duran acting insubordinate and disrespectful in the conversation. Once you arrive on the planet you take out the surrounding zerg forces and ghosts arrive to take control of the Psi Disruptor of Stukov forcing Duran to leave.

The next missions involve the assault on the capital world of the dominion, Korhal. You choose to destroy Mengsk’s ability to create nukes or battle cruisers (I went to destroy nukes since ghosts are really annoying) and after you assault his command center directly in the next mission. It is here Raynor arrives with a protoss fleet to rescue him which involves you giving chase to Aiur, but before you can capture Mengsk Duran allows the Zerg to overrun his position forcing Stukov to take matters into his own hands.

The penultimate mission is pretty powerful as Stukov has taken control of the Psi Disruptor and DuGalle orders Duran to kill his friend. Once he shoots Stukov, Stukov tells you that he believes Duran is infested and to finish his work on keeping the Psi Disruptor alive. Regretting his actions DuGalle does just that.

The final mission is pacifying the infant Overmind and destroying the surrounding Cerebrates who can no longer reincarnate since the Overmind is not fully functional and is still in it’s infant stages. Once you pacify it Duran arrives with Kerrigan and speaking fully in an infested voice (at different points in missions you can here the infestation, this time it is fully apparent) and Kerrigan says that they will meet again soon and that Stukov was twice the man DuGalle would ever be. She retreats and the cinematic begins.

The Cinematic is similar to the last propaganda speech by Mengsk except this time it’s the U.E.D. who lie and say Stukov died against the assault on the Overmind on Char and that losses were minimal but that Stukov died a hero. The corny voice makes it surreal, which is a shame as the opening cinematic which is U.E.D.centric is so personal.

Brood War Terran Campaign

Here is the assessment of the Campaign:

The Pros: The story – This was my favorite of the Terran Campaigns, which says a lot given the rise and corruption of Mengsk is a fascinating story. What sets this apart though is the personal relationship between DuGalle and Stukov and their interactions with the people we’ve met before such as Mengsk, Duke and Kerrigan. The story also shows humanity victorious in a way that is still ironic like Mengsk’s victory, but more powerful too as humanity managed to pacify the Overmind.

The Gameplay – The gameplay had a good learning curve and every new unit you receive (medic, Valkyrie) you use in the mission and the rest of the campaign. The missions can be challenging too, especially the missions involving the war on Korhal and the final mission against the Overmind. For this reason every victory feels like it means something.

The U.E.D. – The United Earth Directorate is an awesome new element in “Brood War” and adds depth to the story as Earth has been paying attention to the Zerg and Protoss threats and the rise of Emperor Mengsk and fall of the Confederacy. Their intentions are good though they are just as empire driven as Mengsk was, the difference is Ego though. The U.E.D. is run by a council and not a dictatorship.

The Dominion – Mengsk’s faction is a worthy enemy, and facing him and General Duke after playing their rise in the “Original Starcraft” is pretty powerful. We also see how their connections go a long way since even though the Dominion falls…General Duke and Mengsk are still out their with Raynor and the Protoss. Leaving things open for the next episode and campaign.

The characters

Admiral DuGalle – This is a well meaning military man who is like the gruff Grandfather. He tries to mentor Duran throughout the mission briefings and he has no patience for arrogance as he says that Mengsk won’t have a chance to fight back as he will be publicly executed. Only time he loses his cool in the campaign is when Duran kills his friend he realizes he was used. This adds depth to his character too as the rest of the missions he is living with regret and willing to go to any lengths to finish the mission for Stukov.

Emperor Mengsk – You only interact with him briefly, but he promises retribution before he realizes that he is going to be executed (until Raynor arrives to rescue him).

General Duke – Learns from Stukov the U.E.D. is here on orders from Earth to pacify the sector. This surprises him at first and you can tell he is out of his element, until he finally attacks with his Battlecruiser fleet.

Lieutenant Duran – This character is not all he appears to be, which is the theme he follows over his entire arc in the Starcraft Universe. His introduction is great as he gives you reason to trust him and he is meant to mirror Raynor joining with Mengsk’s Son’s of Korhal against the Confederacy. We see his isn’t Raynor as his final agenda is unknown but that he can play the game masterfully.

Vice Admiral Stukov – This guy is one of my favorite characters in the Starcraft Universe, and I’m glad they found a way to do more with him post-death in “Heart of the Swarm.” In this game though we see  that Stukov is a patriot who sees the big picture and cares deeply for his friend and comrade DuGalle. He realizes they’ve been used by Duran so tries to counter it and he nearly captures Mengsk but only doesn’t because of Duran’s betrayal. He is probably the most competent human character besides Jim Raynor. For now, R.I.P. Stukov. You are one of the best things about Starcraft.

Okay: Final Cinematic – The final cinematic is cheesy and a little annoying. It’s propaganda so it makes sense…but Mengsk’s propaganda felt powerful. I’d hope DuGalle’s could be comparable for his enslavement of the Overmind and defeat of the Dominion.

This is one of my favorite campaigns in “Starcraft” as a whole, and especially “Brood War,” Stukov is a character worth rooting for and the complexity of human politics and outcome of the U.E.D.’s arc in this campaign is fascinating. There aren’t any dud characters and you get an appreciation for the enemies you helped rise to power in the Original Starcraft Campaign and the new heroes of this campaign. I highly recommend this campaign and for what it is worth it does stand well on it’s own…even if Episode 1 of the “Original Starcraft” does add more depth to the enemies you face.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10

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Starcraft: Brood War Campaign Reviews – Episode 4 – The Protoss Campaign – The Survivors’ Story

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We begin the “Starcraft: Brood War Campaign Reviews” with the Protoss campaign and right where we left off at the end of “Starcraft.” The Overmind has been destroyed but the Zerg are running  rampant across Aiur.

The story begins with Judicator Aldaris wanting to stand and fight against the Zerg, but Zeratul offers an alternative as the Protoss Conclave was destroyed fighting the zerg. His alternative is to escape with the Protoss to the Dark Templar homeworld of Shakuras being lead by Zeratul and the new Executor Artanis. Fenix and Raynor defend the Warp Gate on Aiur side for them to make their escape. Once there they find the Zerg followed them through the Warp Gate. From here they find the Dark Templar they are brought to the Dark Templar Matriarch Raszagal. She works with them to wipe out the Zerg and says she forgives but will not forget what the Conclave did in persecuting her people.

From her they learn they can use a Xel’Naga Temple to destroy the Zerg on Shakuras but they need two Crystals, the Uraj and Khalis to do so. They destroy the Cerebrates guarding the Temple and Kerrigan arrives warning of a new Overmind. When the Matriarch chooses to listen to her Judicator Aldaris leaves and Artanis, Zeratul and the Templar work with Kerrigan with getting the Crystals from the United Earth Directorate (one of the new Terran threats that has arrived) and Daggoth’s Swarm and the Infant Overmind who are using one of the Crystals to help the new Overmind incubate. After getting the Crystals they return to Shakuras.

At Shakuras they learn that Aldaris has rebelled and go to take him out, but right before Zeratul and Artanis do Kerrigan kills him before he can reveal something about the Matriarch in how they have all been manipulated by Kerrigan. Kerrigan is thrown off Shakuras but promises she’ll meet them again soon.

Last is the final assault and Raszagal is acting crazy, saying all non-Protoss will be destroyed who are threats against them. Zeratul calls her on it and she calms down before the final assault and protecting the Temple from the Zerg before it activates and destroys the Zerg threat on Shakuras.

Brood War Protoss Mission Brief

Here is the assessment of the campaign:

The Pros: The Gameplay – The Gameplay is even better than before this time around, though the original missions flowed better in regards to Episode 3 of the Protoss Campaign in the “Original Starcraft.” The addition of the Dark Templar as a playable unit is fantastic though and they make the campaign even more fun as they are extremely deadly and create Dark Archons who can mind control units.

The Cinematics – The cinematics are better than the Original as well, though there are less of them. The only one we see is when Artanis and Zeratul activate the Xel’Naga Temple to destroy the Zerg that are surrounding them. It is a great scene and reminiscent of Tassadar’s Sacrifice.

The Characters

Zeratul – Zeratul is the best part of the mission still, he’s complicated and has a deep devotion to his Matriarch even if he questions her. He is also leading the Protoss from Aiur who were trying to capture and kill him in the last game. He is very much a big picture kind of character still, but not perfect as he gets used by Kerrigan to destroy some of her rival Cerebrates.

Judicator Aldaris – Aldaris is there as the warning sign, he knows what Kerrigan’s up to from the beginning but because of his pride doesn’t tell the others. This costs him his life in the end as Kerrigan kills him, but he leaves a legacy of things to come as he was the only Protoss not in Kerrigan’s pocket. He dies a hero in the end.

Fenix and Raynor – These two are best buddies and Zerg Hunters. There interactions are fun to watch as they risk all so the Protoss can escape to Shakuras, I do wish we could have seen more of them. Fenix was one of my favorite from the original game.

Kerrigan – She is a great threat in this. She manipulates everyone and there are hints she has further designs as she tells Zeratul she will see him again soon. She also is shown to have some sort of influence of the Matriarch Raszagal of the Dark Templar. We get the beginning of her plans in this mission as the end of the “Original Starcraft” had warned us about.

Okay/Good: The Ending – The Protoss are finally safe, except for the fact that Kerrigan said she would see them later. One Zerg threat dealt with, another still remains and has the upper hand…

Okay: Executor Artanis – Way too idealistic. Guy wants to be Tassadar but doesn’t have much of a character. I hope he gets development in “Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void” right now he is neutral, not much is known about him or his motivations except his idealism. Tassadar was for more interesting as he had to make choices and was an outsider among his people. Artanis is just a standard idealistic Protoss.

Matriarch Raszagal – We never know why she forgives Kerrigan but can’t forgive the Conclave as both were killing her people. This was a major plot hole and it hurts her character. She is still okay as she is the eldest of the Dark Templar and her friendship with Zeratul feels real. The problem is not knowing how deep Kerrigan’s manipulations are on her which limits her character and character development.

This is a fun campaign but not as good as the Original. The politics don’t feel as real and Aldaris just disappears before he is an enemy, Raszagal’s motivations aren’t fully explored and Artanis is a flat character. It was still fun, but the last Protoss Campaign was better. This was good though, even with those story problems.

Final Score: 8 / 10

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Starcraft: Brood War Campaign Reviews

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After finishing up the “Original Starcraft Campaign Reviews” I decided it was time to move on those of the expansion. They, like the original will be posted sporadically as this is for fun and a chance to review one of my favorite games…while at the same time seeing if the story holds up.

Blizzard has always been very good at expansions, “The Frozen Throne” of “Warcraft III” was better than the original “Warcraft III” in my opinion, and I remembered “Brood War” being better than the original Starcraft. Whether that is still the case now remains to be seen in both cases.

The characters of “Brood War” like the “Original Starcraft” are pretty amazing and part of what pulled me into the story, beyond the fun gameplay and civilizations. Blizzard has always done politics and mythology well.

After I complete the “Brood War Reviews” I’ll be doing a compare and contrast with the Original and giving them both a final score in finding which one is better. Reviewing videogames can be quite fun, especially when the storytellers are those at Blizzard. Thanks for joining me for the next adventure. Here goes the “Starcraft: Brood War Campaign Reviews.”

The Original Starcraft Campaign Reviews – Episode 2 – The Zerg Campaign – Destiny of the Overmind

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“My children, the hour of our victory is at hand. For upon this world of Aiur shall we incorporate the strongest known species into our fold. Then shall we be the greatest of creation’s children. We shall be… Perfect.” -The Overmind

We continue the Original Starcraft Campaign Reviews with Episode 2, the Zerg Campaign. This campaign is masterful at showing you the zerg perspective and the creepy destructiveness that defines their species.

The story picks up where the last one left off as the Overmind has created you a Cerebrate (living brain larva) to control a brood and protect the chrysalis which holds a special weapon that will be the future of the Zerg.

The first few missions involve you getting the chrysalis out of Tarsonis while other Cerebrates like Zsaz and Daggoth show you the ropes and give you help in your quest. Eventually you have to defend the chrysalis until it hatches, revealing Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades of the Zerg. With her, you then destroy Raynor’s base as she tells him to never challenge her or the Zerg again.

From here you are helping Kerrigan develop as an agent of the storm as she has psionic abilities she still must unlock so you invade a terran science vessel to get the information. it is here that Zsaz fears Kerrigan being the death of the Zerg as he sees her as too strong willed and she tells him nothing will stand in her way.

Next you are challenged by Tassadar and the Dark Templar on Char. Kerrigan goes to face him and destroys the Dark Templar on the planet only to discover it was a ruse by Tassadar in order to kill a cerebrate. After the Overmind is in mourning and it is up to you as Kerrigan to destroy Zsaz’s brood after which you hunt down the Dark Templar and run into Zeratul who is in charge of the Dark Templar you are hunting.

Next is the invasion of Aiur as Zeratul’s killing of the Cerebrate gave the Overmind a glimpse into his mind as to the location of Aiur and the knowledge of their shared heritage as creations of the Xel’Naga. It is than you begin the invasion and establish a foothold to get the crystal that is needed to summon the Overmind to Aiur. After is the final battle in which the Overmind is summoned over the first Xel’Naga Temple on Aiur that you destroy in the mission. It is here the Overmind tells you his goal that now the Zerg will be perfect as they were made to be “Perfect Essence” and Protoss were “Perfect Form” and that now that Aiur belongs to the Zerg, the Zerg can absorb the perfection of form making them unstoppable.

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Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Gameplay – The gameplay is fantastic with the Zerg and helps you understand the strategy of how to play them. The Zerg win by creating lots of units at once and overwhelming force, since most of their units are the weakest in the game. In the campaign you experience how to best use this and most of your enemies have large bases and usually start out higher on the tech. tree than you do.

The Cinematics – The Zerg Cinematics are great, you see Kerrigan’s destruction of the science vessel, what she witnesses inside the Chrysalis, the Zerg attacking Aiur and the Overmind appearing on Aiur. In each of these it has the haunting, creepy feel to it that defines the Zerg as a species so welle.e

Kerrigan the Queen of Blades – Kerrigan as a Zerg is one of the best antagonists in any video game or science fiction story. She was made a Zerg against her will and is now infested to the point that she only knows destruction, though at the same time she independent enough that the Cerebrates and Overmind cannot stop her from doing what she wants. She is their perfect agent, free willed and dangerous enough to wipe out any threat that comes their way. A fair amount of the missions are taking care of her chrysalis, but once she is awake she is a lot of fun to play as to watch her conquer in the name of the Swarm. She is the Overmind’s Dragon in Episode 2.

Zsaz – The Cerebrates don’t really have free will as we know it as everything they do is for their father the Overmind, but Zsaz is the only one who calls out and sees the dangers of Kerrigan’s independence. He sees the dangers of her humanity which makes him an interesting character.

Daggoth – The largest of the cerebrates, Daggoth is the one who is the closest one to a second in command. He is the one who has Kerrigan destroy Zsaz’s brood when the Overmind is out of commission from his depression and it is he who helps defend the Chrysalis sending you his special Hunter Killers.

Tassadar – Tassadar is the Gandalf of this campaign. He sends an illusion to trick Kerrigan and sees how her anger is leading to her destruction. He is wise and smart and the first real example we have of the protoss. He is the one who first hurts the Overmind too, since he is the one who is distracting Kerrigan so the Cerebrate Zsaz can be killed. To quote him, “So long as you continue to be so predictable, O Queen, I need not face you at all. You are your own worst enemy. ”

The Overmind – The Overmind is fascinating. He is one of the earliest creations of the Xel’Naga and seeks to destroy what they left behind to become greater. It is his seeking of perfection, and also revenge that leads him to attacking Aiur so that he can have perfection of essence and form. This creature is fascinating and I like that he is triumphant in his campaign as he is a much bigger threat than Mengsk ever was and sees the big picture. He is the one who tells us of the Zerg and Protoss creation by the Xel’Naga and thought of creating Kerrigan as the Queen of Blades.

Okay: Zeratul – We see him briefly at the end of the Campaign when Kerrigan is hunting down the Dark Templar. He has his famous “Though we strike at you from the shadows, do not think that we lack the courage to stand in the light,” during the fight. Tassadar is given a bit more characterization though as he interacts with you in a few instances. Zeratul only does so once.

This campaign is awesome, and more difficult than the Terran Campaign, as it assumes you know the basics. The characters in this are really cool, which is interesting when you are giving character trates to giant brain larva (the Cerebrates) and an all knowing, consuming brain (The Overmind) but Blizzards writers and art team made it work. This campaign is better than the Terran Campaign of Episode 1 and I definitely recommend it.

Final Score for this campaign is 9.3 / 10. Would have been higher if Zeratul had got more moments and more characterization of the Cerebrates.

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