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Review: Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void

by onDecember 2, 2015
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Patience is a virtue for fans of Starcraft. Five years after the release of Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, Blizzard is finally closing their RTS trilogy with Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void, an expansion based on the Protoss race and their mission to reconquer Aiur. A captivating singleplayer campaign, a redefined multiplayers, and more is on the menu of this intergalactic RTS expansion game.

In the past, Protoss technology could do nothing against the Zerg invasion of the planet Aiur. Now exiled and becoming nomadic by nature, the Protoss want to reconquer their home planet. But a much darker threat is looming on the horizon: Amon, the Black God, a powerful entity who wants nothing less than total domination of the galaxy. It is with heroes like Zeratul and Artanis, but also some characters like Karax Rohanna that we fight evil and regain the respect and honor of the Protoss race across the Milky Way.

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The singleplayer campaign leaves within the same auspicious layout of the previous two chapters (Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm): staging is very extensive and we never feel like each mission is the same. Our objectives are clear and varied, such as the protection of an important basis for the Protoss survival or recover vessels and artifacts. The missions combine both macro and micro-management and an approach that is more a comeback to the Wings of Liberty roots than Heart of the Swarm, which is something a lot of players might appreciate. Not surprising, this campaign also acts as a tutorial for the multiplayer mode, since you discover the newly created units one by one in the mission, learning to take advantage of their specific features. But make no mistake, the history of Legacy of the Void is really rich and linked to the previous chapters, as well as the final conclusion of the entire trilogy and the fate of Jim Raynor, Sarah Kerrigan, Artanis and other key characters.

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The campaign also illustrates how the Arkship Spear of Adun is a key element of Protos technology, which act as both a central and support hub before and during missions (such as orbital attacks, sending pylons, etc). This hub also give you the chance to change each Protos unit in two variants with impressive capabilities: Stalkers can become Dragoons like in the original Starcraft. Without revealing too much, this Protos advantage is that they really allow you to vary your army, so much that you find yourself perhaps redo an assignment by changing your units to see what is the best combination. Because yes, the changes are not final: you can switch from one to the other “factions” for each unit at each intermission and without any cost. In short, this campaign is particularly well done and full of surprises that offers a good thirty hours of play punctuated by a plethora of Blizzard cinematics.

Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void is also an amazing two-player cooperative campaign

Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void is also an amazing two-player cooperative campaign, against AI in specific missions. Each player plays a “commander”, and the duo must succeed goals that depend on the map you are playing on, whether it is base defense or attack an enemy convoy. By successfully completing the missions, you unlock new abilities for your commander, a welcome development for the long term interest of the co-op mode.

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Basically, as a duo, you will need a great sense of communication not to go chaos mode. Logic would be that a player focuses on the economy and basic construction while the second deals the skirmishes and defend off enemies with strategic “turret” placements. In the coop spirit, and with very good coordination, this can give simply impressive games. That said, the same mode can be used in a more “casual” way by two players not feeling able to manage everything, which often happens in such high demand concentration games.

Speaking of less regular players, and potentially newcommers, I think we can also say that they will be happy to know that the multiplayer will seem a little more open than usual with this Legacy of the Void. Sure, there’s a good chance you will always wear out dry if you do not play regularly, but the radical changes in the transition of 12 basis harvesters instead of the 6 usual to get started quickly in the production of units, will allow these players to have at least the impression of playing the game before biting the dust. Obviously, this change (with others) has a huge impact on the early part of a match. Besides making them more dynamic and less redundant, it changes all build orders and force players to review their strategy.

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But do not forget that Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void is also accompanied by new units in multiplayer which would be stupid to forget. A hefty two per race, helps players find new tactical ideas to surprise the opponent or defend effectively. Starting with the Protoss as the star of the extension is the Disruptor, a light mechanical unit capable of true carnage, thanks to its Nova Cleansing that can inflict 145 damage via a charged shot. It is accompanied by Adepts, particularly effective on the ground, leaving little chance for survival for same class units (Zergling, marines, zealots).

For the Terrans, the Liberator is an aerial unit attacking other flying targets effectively but also has a seat mode to do big damage to a single target on the ground. Terran also have the Cyclone, a kind of mobile mini-tank that can lock and shoot targets while moving. The latter with the practice, is especially effective against slow and melee units. However, the lack of power of its missile forces the player to go through mass production to be effective late game, which might not be the most viable strategy.

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As to the Zerg, the famous Lurkers known from Brood War, are able to burrow underground at very long distance and attack unsuspecting enemy units. Their incredible range even surpasses that of most defense buildings but they are high on production cost, relying on a lot of Vespene gas. Finally, the Ravager is an evolution of Roach that can spit a corrosive bile capable of destroying enemy buildings and even break Protoss force fields.

Obviously, I will not lie to you: It is difficult for me to predict what the impact of all these changes will do to professional player metagame, and If there is already a clear trend, regular Blizzard updates can change the game overnight. What is certain is that these new units are welcomed because they vary the three races and their strategies that could help the game rebuild a place in eSport where it is no longer master in recent years. Anyway, for a long awaited expansion, Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void is a great success.

Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void was reviewed using an PC retail copy of the game provided by Blizzard. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published

What we liked

• The captivating and comprehensive solo missions
• The always interesting Protoss lore
• The co-op mode is more than you think
• The Archon mode promises beautiful moments
• The move to 12 harvesters in multiplayer
• New units for each race

What is not fun

• Some missions are boring
• The lack of upgrade in the interface

Editor Rating
 
Concept
8.8

 
Graphics
8.5

 
Sound
9.0

 
Playability
8.8

 
Entertainment
9.1

 
Replay Value
9.3

Final Score
8.9


Our final verdict
 

Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void is the conclusion of a story started five years ago. The Protoss story of their reconquest of Aiur as well as their fight against Amon is a beautiful closure to a trilogy that had a lot to tell. With a great solo campaign, original and full of different modes, as well as a rebalanced multiplayer bringing more intense action, this stand-alone expansion seems to be the perfect apotheosis which could even grow some newcomers to embark on the adventure. In short, Blizzard did a great job, once again.

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