Construct ALL the pylons!

November 10, 2015 was an exciting or painful day for gamers, depending on what their financial and time situation was like. Three huge releases: Fallout 4, Tomb Raider, and Legacy of the Void, all came out on the same day. Since I don’t have an Xbox One, and I decided I could wait on Fallout 4, I ended up with Starcraft II’s expansion: Legacy of the Void.

BEWARE SPOILERS FROM PREVIOUS EXPANSIONS (Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm). I will put Legacy of the Void spoilers under tags.

General gameplay tips (spoiler-free):

  1. Remember that you not only can set your difficulty before missions, but you can also adjust the game speed in the menu. This will help with some of the speed-related achievements.
  2. I’d occasionally have frame rate drops when waves would strike, so I had to turn down my settings a notch from what I usually run.
  3. Coop mode is a fun switch from multiplayer!
  4. Archon mode is surprisingly hard.

Legacy of the Void takes place following Heart of the Swarm. The prologue consists of a few chapters from Zeratul’s point of view, where he once again uncovers more pieces of the prophecy he has found. He takes this information to Artanis, young hierarch of the Protoss, and urges him not to fall for a trap laid waiting for him on the Protoss homeworld of Aiur. Artanis briefly hesitates since he trusts Zeratul’s words and wisdom, but as a leader he decides that he cannot stand in the way of the will of his people to finally reclaim their home now that they are inches from it.

The Protoss have dreamed of retaking their homeworld for a long time.
The Protoss have dreamed of retaking their homeworld for a long time.

Of course, that’s how things begin to go wrong. Zeratul’s prophecies are spot on, and Amon is there to execute his goals of corrupting the Protoss and building his hybrid army for the destruction of the whole universe.

“My life for Aiur!” – said every Protoss ever

In terms of campaign, not much has changed in terms of the mechanics of the game. You travel to a world, complete some missions, acquire some new units, and then move on to the next chapter in the story. Between missions you can talk to the people on your ship to get more pieces of the story and character development. As for unit upgrades, they removed the mutation quests that you had to do in Heart of the Swarm (Yay!). You can change the features of each of your units like you did in HotS, and the Spear of Adun also has some features that you can switch out between missions. I found that these additional skills would frequently save my bases (I always forget to leave a defensive unit behind).

As always, Blizzard’s production quality is top notch. After playing through this game, I realized how low my standards have dropped for big budget gaming. Legacy of the Void was entirely bug-free for my playthrough, and I believe they sent out a quick patch on day one when someone found a bug to abuse. The cinematics are excellent, the voice acting is superb, and overall the campaign will run 15 or more hours if you include all the scenes between missions. Also, the difficulty is heightened with the addition of a Brutal difficulty setting.

Artanis is a young badass leader.
Artanis is a young badass of a leader. He’s naive, but not in a bad way. He’s open to diversity and change. Great protagonist!

Most of the expansion focuses on the plight of the Protoss, but they do eventually come back around to the overarching plot of Starcraft II. Amon is a bigger enemy than anything the Terrans, Zerg, or Protoss have ever faced, and Zeratul’s prophecy predicted that Kerrigan would be the key player in defeating him. While they briefly cross paths in the main story, the epilogue is where the three races truly come together to rid the galaxy of this threat.

The epic showdown everyone has been waiting for, with all three races together!
The epic showdown everyone has been waiting for, with all three races together!

Blizzard wraps up the story well. A plotline that had started way back in Starcraft is finally over.

This is where I’m going to jump into spoilers. Highlight the gap below to read:

While I liked Artanis a lot, Zeratul will always be my favorite Protoss. His death in the earlier chapters is something that I’m going to remember for a long time. I understand that he had always been looking to give his life for something worthy ever since he slayed the Overmind and directly led to the destruction of Aiur. I’m sure that giving his life to protect Hierarch Artanis was essential to the salvation of his race and homeworld. But I’m still sad T_T. Damn you Blizzard for killing characters I like all the time! I’m still not over Nazgrim from Warcraft, either.

Recommendation:

If you’ve already played the other Starcraft II expansions, buying Legacy of the Void is a given. It’s the third expansion in the series and wraps up the story that the games before it set up. When they finally revealed the reason why Kerrigan was necessary for defeating Amon, it all made sense. I’m not particularly good at RTS games, so I only played through on Normal. If you’re a veteran of the games, my friends have said that Brutal difficulty is actually hard. Sometimes the bonus objectives are really difficult to pull off at the same time as the regular ones.

For Artanis!
I did mention that Artanis was a badass right? This scene of him with Zeratul narrating in the background was easily my favorite. So epic <3.

If you’re a fan of RTS games, I’m pretty sure you already play SCII. If you’re a fan of Blizzard games (like I was), this is a good time to buy all three games! Blizzard does this magical thing where it takes good game formulas, simplifies them for entry-level players, but still leaves enough complexity to encourage competitive gaming. I personally jumped in on the SCII train when they had a 50% off sale a few months back, so I was really looking forward to this third release :).

Should you wait? Usually I think waiting is a good thing, but Blizzard games tend to have a surge of players on release, and multiplayer is a pretty big component of their games. In this case, I would suggest jumping in while everyone is new to coop mode and archon mode. They add some new spice to the formula, and I suspect they will add more maps to coop mode in the future.

En taro Zeratul <3.
En taro Zeratul.
3 Things I liked: 3 Things I disliked:
  1. Story. Chris Metzen is magic.
  2. Coop mode is a ton of fun if you’ve got friends to play with. If you don’t, the matchmaking systems do a good job of getting you into games quickly.
  3. Variety in campaign missions. I thought they did a better job of mixing it up this time. Using old heroes once the groups got together was also cool.
  1. This is the end of the storyline :(.
  2. Multiplayer is still hard to get into as a newbie. They added skirmishes in WoW to help with the Arena problem, so I’m hoping they’ll come up with a solution for SCII.
  3. See spoiler.

Disclaimer: All images and Starcraft work belongs to Blizzard. I’m just sharing screenshots of their work!

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