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StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void hands-on: End of the world (as we know it)

Hayden Dingman | Nov. 12, 2014
The epic three-part story of StarCraft II comes to a close with Legacy of the Void.

While the previous two games, Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm, featured the Terrans and Zerg respectively, Legacy of the Void features the Protoss, an alien race in decline.

Blizzard's rhetoric surrounding this game is all sorts of ominous. This is the end of a trilogy, so hearing that numerous character storylines will be wrapped up isn't a surprise. It's the way they say it though--I'd expect a Game of Thrones situation here in the third chapter, with some of these character's endings being a bit more final than others.

It could be the end of the entire Protoss race--the stage is certainly set for their demise. Disconnecting from the Khala has left the Protoss lost and vulnerable, and Zeratul already foresaw the demise of the Protoss (and Artanis) at a last stand sometime in the future.

Against that sort of apocalyptic background, what I played was rather tame. Artanis needed to recover a device from series favorite Jim Raynor, but when we arrived to pick it up we found a space station under attack. If its orbital stabilizers weren't repaired immediately, the station would crash into the planet below and annihilate millions of people.

I was given a single base and a handful of troops, then tasked with capturing five points on a map. Yeah, this is still a real-time strategy game.

It was interesting hearing Blizzard talk about its other new game Overwatch at BlizzCon this year--Chris Metzen in particular was out there saying how it brought new energy to the company, how it made the company feel like it did twenty years ago, et cetera. That sort of talk makes me wonder if Blizzard is just sick of making real-time strategy games. It wouldn't be too surprising, considering its other properties are an MMORPG, an action RPG, a collectible card game, and now a shooter.

There's undeniably a sort of "been there, done that" with real-time strategy games. There are only so many scenarios, really--capture points, hold out against overwhelming odds, take a small group of troops through a map without a base to support you. That's been true of every real-time strategy game for twenty years now. The set dressing changes, the circumstances and the units change, but it's the same old levels again.

It seems like even Blizzard is maybe tired of that structure. They have this grand, apocalyptic space opera constrained by the trappings of the same StarCraft mechanics. I almost wouldn't be surprised if, after StarCraft II concludes, Blizzard takes a while off from real-time strategy games--sorry, WarCraft 4 hopefuls.

That's not to say StarCraft II is bad in any way. This is still the most polished real-time strategy game on the market, no contest. It's fast, and there's still the thrill of building an army and seeing it sweep through your enemy's fortifications like a red tide of destruction.

 

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