follow us:

Latest News

The Order 1886 Story Trailer promises an epic showing
Ready at Dawn released a trailer for The Order 1886 that will leave you stunned.... [read more]
Borderlands is handsomely arriving on PS4 and Xbox One
Gearbox Software will bring their debut PS4/Xbox One title with the Borderlands: Handsome Collection. ... [read more]
PAX South Tour Guide Pt. 3 - Quick Tips
So far we’ve told you what to do in San Antonio as well as where to eat and drink while at PAX South. Now we have a few quick tips for those traveling to our great city. ... [read more]

Latest Articles

PAX South Tour Guide Pt. 3 - Quick Tips
So far we’ve told you what to do in San Antonio as well as where to eat and drink while at PAX South. Now we have a few quick tips for those traveling to our great city. ... [read more]
The OG Replay for Jan. 19
We're less than a week from PAX South and everyone here is excited. Not only is one of the biggest gaming events coming to our home city of San Antonio, but we're going to have our own panel. ... [read more]
PAX South Tour Guide Pt. 2 - Where the locals eat and drink
If there’s two things San Antonians know, it’s good food and drinks. Although the city is the Tex-Mex capital of the world, San Antonio offers a wide range of food from classic Mexican to Japanese. Dowtown San Antonio has it all, and to save you some time, we have a few ... [read more]

Latest Reviews

Driveclub Review
Originally announced at the PS4 reveal event in Feb. 2013, Driveclub was due for release as a PS4 launch title. Development misfortunes led to an 11 month delay and the game was finally released in the first week of Oct. 2014. The game faced major challenges at launch as the... [read more]
This War of Mine Review: A new angle on war games
11 bit studios made a name for themselves with the Anomaly series where they flipped the script on the tower defense formula. They flipped the script again with This War of Mine that doesn't put you in the shoes of soldiers fighting a war, but rather the people trying to sur... [read more]
The Evil Within Review
When Shinji Mikami and the team at Capcom developed Resident Evil, they changed gaming. There were scary games prior to that first RE game, but those games didn't have nearly the impact. With The Evil Within, Mikami hopes to change the industry once again by bringing back su... [read more]

Latest Videos

8-Bit Eric: Shiny the Firefly Review
8-Bit Eric takes a look at Shiny the Firefly on the Wii U. An indie game developed by Padaone games where you control a firefly on a rescue mission to protect its babies.... [read more]
8-Bit Eric: Ping 1.5+ Review
8-Bit Eric takes a look at the Wii U puzzle game Ping 1.5+ from Nami Tentou Mushi for the Wii U. ... [read more]
8-Bit Eric: Top 10 Wii U games of 2014
2014 has come and gone, and the Wii U had such a kick ass year with several big releases such as Mario Kart 8, Smash Bros Wii U, Shovel Knight and more. 8-Bit Eric counts down his top Wii U games of 2014.... [read more]
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Review
Posted on March 21, 2013 by Nickolai Niver

When StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was first released, it was a daring risk. Rather than following patterns set forth by Blizzard since their first Warcraft title that included separate campaigns for each playable race in each release, Blizzard had released StarCraft’s highly anticipated sequel with just one campaign.

The first of three installments, Wings of Liberty was being headed by the infantry soldiers of man. Players were going to have to wait a few years before they could play a Zerg or Protoss campaign. It was a bold step, but it has allowed Blizzard much creative freedom as each expansion focuses entirely on one race. As I said, it's a bold move.

With the release of my personal favorite race, the Zerg, I can only wonder: Will Kerrigan once again find her way into my heart? Or will Heart of the Swarm be forgotten in the void of other real-time strategy titles?

KEKEKEKEKE

Tightly Woven Controls - Perhaps this is partially due to the fact that StarCraft 2 is one of the most competitively played games right now, but the controls are solid. Commanding large squadrons of troops, all with their own unique abilities, is quite simple. Control groups, hotkeys, and simple combat controls make StarCraft 2 a title that does not inhibit players' skills with clunky controls. It's simple (mostly), and it works. What more could you want?

Simply Beautiful - Blizzard is one of those companies that can make an ultra-gorgeous game, and then make it playable for any computer. The lowest settings make it a game capable of being run on most low-end computers, while the highest settings display a gorgeous battlefield. Watching creep overrun the simple, pathetic Terran, and the confused Protoss as waves of zerglings rip through hope at 1,000 KPM (KeKe's Per Minute) can be simply breath taking.

If it was a CoD Game, It'd be a Sequel - Not counting the addition of the challenge missions, or the side missions, Heart of the Swarm is a 15 hour campaign. While that might not seem like much for the RPG gamers, for a mostly online title, a solid 15 hour campaign with unique features is pretty impressive (right Activision?). Each mission is different from the last, which is completely mind blowing when you consider that the entire premise of an RTS game is “go over there, and blow that guy up”. Because of this, each mission will sit fresh in your memory, and not become one giant blob of “Oh yeah, do you remember that one mission where Kerrigan blew that one guy up?” I'm not kidding, 20+ unique missions on an RTS is insane.

Evolve - Perhaps the most defining feature in the Zerg chapter is the ability to completely customize your army. Whether you're the kind of player who prefers strength in numbers, or the guy who values unique forces, Heart of the Swarm has something for you. The zerglings alone have the ability to create 3 of themselves instead of 2, or have the ability to jump skyward and reach places that would normally require an overlord drop. It's a bit sad that these unique army features aren't in the multiplayer, but I'm hoping that Blizzard intends to let all the single player upgrades be incorporated online once the Protoss campaign hits.

A Predictable, but Solid Story - Sometimes players don't want huge twists in stories. Sometimes they want to see what they've wanted to see for 15 years. Without spoiling the story, Heart of the Swarm does exactly what gamers want. The plot is a bit weak, but this is also the middle chapter in the StarCraft 2 story. There are not a whole lot of groundbreaking moves Blizzard could make; otherwise the Protoss wouldn't see any love. Rather than progress the overall plot in some meaningless way, Blizzard decided to make this chapter entirely dedicated to what players have been waiting 15 years to see, and that's respectable. I like the fact that Blizzard realized “Well, there's not a whole lot we can do here, so let's keep the fans happy while we wrap things up in the Protoss story”.


WE'RE BEING OVERRUN

Whine Fest 2013 - I'm a bit sad about the Zerg expansion. It's a great expansion, but the characters all suffer from stuffed-donkey-with-depression syndrome. Everyone plays the victim card as if it's how they pay for their groceries, and almost every conversation turns into one of the two participants being barked down by the other, or having more emotional baggage. If I wanted to see some emo character development, I’ll go watch some Twilight.

Race Against Time - I mentioned that all the missions are unique, and that's true to an extent. The issue with the missions is that the vast majority of them become a race against time. In one mission you'll be trying to keep ships from making it through a warp gate, and in another you'll be de-activating artifacts so that Kerrigan can overpower someone else. I appreciate that the missions are varied, but they all seem to come down to you against time.

Zergling Weak - It's a bit depressing see the Zergs take act 2 of the StarCraft II story. Terran's taking up of the beginning and Protoss' handling of the end puts Zerg in a bad spot. Sure gamers get to see what they've wanted to see for all these years, but at the end of the day they don't really see progress. They see an awesome fanfic that kills time between two campaigns. It's a bit unfair to be completely frustrated about this. If it wasn't Zerg, then Protoss would have the middle campaign. Not that that would be a bad idea. I'm pretty sure the Protoss don't do anything interesting in the first place.




 

StaCraft II:  Heart of the Swarm is a good second chapter for the series. It brought in a new campaign, new characters, and new ideas. It also provided a larger roster of units for the races to include in their strategies. It's a bit disappointing that the characters are as melodramatic as they are, but it's still a great game. It's not the best Blizzard could have done, but I'm more than happy with it.

 

Nickolai Niver - Staff Writer nic (@) original-gamer.com | all author's articles

What was your GOTY for 2014?

Shadow of Mordor
Bayonneta 2
Dragon Age Inquisition
Divinity: Original Sin
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Dark Souls II
Destiny
Hearthstone
Far Cry 4
Wolfenstein: The New Order
Shovel Knight
Alien: Isolation
Child of Light
Sunset Overdrive
This War of Mine
Monument Valley
Transistor
Super Smash Bros. Wii U
Mario Kart 8
Other (Let us know in the comments)
View Results - View Comments

Podcast


Time to start 2015


Resistance 2 Review

Starcraft II Review

Starcraft 2's first expansion Heart of the Swarm releases in March

Other Gaming News From The Web