In 2499 in the Koprulu sector, a ferocious collective race known as the Zerg arrives to massacre the exiled human colonies while a highly advanced race, the Protoss, intervenes to exterminate the Zerg.
Years after the fall of the Orcish Horde to the human Alliance of Lordaeron, the remaining humans and orcs find themselves facing a common enemy: the demons of the Burning Legion and their armies of undead monsters.
Nicholas S. Carpenter
Twenty years after the events of Diablo II, Deckard Cain and his niece Leah are in Tristram Cathedral when a mysterious star falling from the sky strikes the Cathedral, creating a deep crater into which Deckard Cain disappears.
Nicholas S. Carpenter
After the Humans discover that the rift which allows the Orcs passage into their world still exists, they must now venture beyond the Dark Portal into Orcish lands to put an end to the threat of yet another invasion.
Four years have passed since the mortal races stood together against the might of the Burning Legion. Peace is fading. The lands of the world of Azeroth have once again become host to a World of Warcraft.
Michele Marie Arko,
Tracy W. Bush,
The Black Soulstone essence is screaming for vengeance and release. Before the artifact can be sealed away forever, Malthael, the Angel of Death manifests in the mortal realms with a deadly new purpose. And so begins the end of all things.
Mary Elizabeth McGlynn
Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm is first expansion for Starcraft 2. Base game was masterfully executed, and this one improves upon that when possible, making it even better in some areas.
Story: The Story of this expansion unfolds two major plots. One of the plots involves Kerrigan's fight against Mengsk, and the other plot is about the Zerg. Mengsk's story is pretty straight forward but the entire game is not just about him. The game is also centered around the Zerg race. We didn't know much about them before. Here we learn more about them, which is second big plot in the game and it is way more interesting than the other one. Zerg feel less like dirty insects in this game and more like Dinosaurs. Overall, Story is quite enjoyable and features great characters too (old and new) but it's not as charming as WOL however.
Design: Now that's the part where this game really shines. While story may not be as good as Wings of Liberty, Design is hugely improved over the base game. HOTS takes mission variety to the next level. In one mission, you'll find yourself in the middle of a boss battle with handful of units, few moments later in the next mission, you'll be destroying Terran buildings with your army, while avoiding nuclear explosions and so on. There are 27 missions in the game (20 main and 7 evolution missions) that take you to different parts of the galaxy.
There are a lot of beautiful environments here. My favorite missions take place on Planet Zerus. Those missions are easily the best missions I've played since The Suicide Mission in Mass Effect 2. The game is over 12 hours long and you are given a choice to complete the game in any order you want. Matchmaking for Multiplayer is also improved along with Skirmishes, level editor and tutorials.
Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm introduces 7 new units and User Interface is redesigned. New UI for menus look much better. Gameplay UI now encourages players to use shortcuts. Controls are even more improved. They are responsive and path finding is close to perfect. One thing that disappointed me a little bit was, every single fully acted cutscene in the game is pre rendered. WOL mostly had real time cutscenes but it's understandable. Some of the stuff shown in these pre rendered cutscenes must not have been possible to render in real time.
Just like WOL, after every mission you come back to your Base and there you can click on different characters or environments to interact with them. Clicking on a character, triggers real time conversation, which gives you more information about the story and the character. You can also replay missions or re-watch cutscenes by clicking on archives.
Gameplay: Just like traditional RTS, you'll be building Command Center (Hive Cluster for Zerg) to gather resources. You create Drones through Hive to collect resources for you (Minerals and Vespene gas). These resources allow you to create different buildings around your command center which allows you to create different types of units. Keep in mind that, you can only create Zerg buildings on creep. Every time when you create a structure at the end of a creep, it generates more creep. There are some units that can be moved around and used to create more Zerg friendly surface, like 'Spawn Creep Tumor'. Some Structures in the base allow you to upgrade your units. Keep in mind that you'll have to upgrade them in every mission and you can upgrade them up to level 3. There are also some upgrades that remain permanent.
There are 7 special units in the game, each have 3 different abilities (Pick one anytime before mission). By playing main missions in the game, you also unlock evolution mission for each of these units. In these evolution missions, you test two different types of each unit. Both of these types have their own abilities (apart from the ones mentioned above), you can test these abilities during the evolution mission and at the end of the mission, you are given a choice to pick one (permanent evolution).
In Heart of the Swarm, in most missions, Kerrigan herself is there among her troops to fight enemies and she makes a lot of difference, due to her abilities. Players can unlock new set of Kerrigan's abilities by leveling up. You level up by completing quests in the game. Kerrigan's abilities aren't permanent and can be changed anytime. You can select her abilities while visiting the Kerrigan's chamber inside Leviathan. Leviathan, also allows selection of different missions and you can select any mission you want to complete first. Gameplay wise, Heart of the Swarm is a lot more fast paced than Wings of Liberty. It takes less time to create massive army and launch a devastating attack on your enemies. It's Excellent.
Presentation: HOTS looks stunning. The game's visuals are upgraded over WOL and it also features new graphics option called "Extreme". The art of the game is even better than the base game. Physics, Particle effects, Animations, Weather effects, Foliage, World detail and so on, everything looks stunning. And as usual, production values are through the roof.
Great Voice Acting brings characters to life. Soundtracks in the game are beautiful and sound effects are great as well. And as mentioned above, all the cutscenes in the game are pre rendered. Intro and Outro of the game are really jaw dropping. Long Story short: Top Notch Presentation.
Verdict: Almost every other feature apart from the story is better here than the base game. Heart of the Swarm is another Masterpiece from Blizzard.
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