StarCraft 2’s final chapter is upon is with Legacy of the Void. After the first two chapters focused almost entirely on Kerrigan – first on de-zergifying her and then on re-zergifying her – Legacy of the Void takes a different direction and focuses on a race that isn’t Kerrigan: The Protoss! But, all jokes aside, I have been waiting a long time for this so I am very glad to be writing this now.
This review is going to focus on the Co-Op Missions and the Campaigns – both the core and the epilogue – as I am not really interested in the competitive side, save as a spectator.
Bluntly speaking, Legacy of the Void features the best campaign StarCraft has ever seen. Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm were solid, but they really felt a little too small in scope. StarCraft – to me – has always had this great way of making a grand story seem personal. Going back to the original StarCraft, there were little things happening that made the incredibly vast story being told feel personal without sacrificing that epic scale. You always felt inconsequential, yet somehow pivotal, to everything. Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm lacked a bit of that scope. Legacy of the Void has managed to bring it back, and at the same time make my favourite alien race seem somehow… relatable.
I’ve always loved the Protoss. This noble, advanced race of telepathic entities always fascinated me with their elegant buildings and incredible heroes. So having an entire long campaign exploring their society, their culture, their history, and their factions is amazing. And Artanis is a great character to spearhead it. It’s a pity they didn’t bring some of the characters and story concepts from the books into it – I was really hoping to see Jake Ramsey – but overall the story and characters were fantastic.
With Wings, you had mercenaries and research upgrades. In Swarm, it was evolution and adaptation. Neither of those would work for the most advanced race in the galaxy. So Blizzard took an interesting route and made your choices for upgrades all about your capital ship, the Spear of Adun, and your unit choices about diplomacy. Depending on which factions you’ve dealt with and which missions you’ve completed, you’ll get options for each unit to behave in a different way. They even brought back the dragoon! It was a great mix of classic units, StarCraft 2 units, and crazy new ones… and it made for a very dynamic game that catered to many playstyles.
Sadly, this was not the same for the epilogue. In the epilogue campaign, the story went into territory that reminded me of nothing so much as Dragonball Z. We ended up with overpowered heroes and a big nuke-battle which led into an ending that was basically just ‘happily ever after, the end’. More importantly, they scrapped the element of choice. Each mission, rather than letting you pick your own choices from among the myriad of options presented by the previous campaigns, they assign the units to you. It not only doesn’t do a good job of representing the way the other campaigns actually were, but it really felt awkward. It took a lot of the fun out of what were otherwise interesting missions. The epilogue was a bit of a let down considering just how good the main campaign was, but it wasn’t bad overall.
Additionally, Blizzard has finally added a Co-operative game mode to StarCraft 2 – accessible even without the expansion – that I’ve become mildly addicted to. You get to play as one of a selection of notable StarCraft 2 characters, each with a distinct selection of units, and tackle various missions together with an ally. And as you complete missions, the character will level up and you’ll get access to additional upgrades, abilities, and units. It’s a great idea, the only real problem is they released it too small in scope. There are only 5 missions and they play fundamentally the same. I was hoping for a few different styles of missions with different base layouts and paradigms. I also think it is unfortunate that you don’t get to control some special unit regardless of who you play. The Zerg heroes you get to control, and Swann gives you a controllable giant laser which is awesome. But I want to control Vorazun, Artanis, or Raynor as well.
Overall though, the co-op missions have the potential to keep me addicted for quite a long time, especially if they support the mode well.