Game Review : StarCraft II – Heart of the Swarm

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Finally, the long awaited expansion for StarCraft II arrived. The story continues after where Wings of Liberty ended.

Does the game deliver?

I’ll keep it short – the story was enjoyable but the mission is far less challenging compared to Wings of Liberty. Generally, not difficult to win if you spam the right type of units and position them correctly. I feel that far less micro-management is required.

On the other hand, the Mastery Challenges in Hard Mode can be really difficult. Some of them seemed bugged, for example “Destroy 4 Gorgon Battlecruisers within 120 seconds in the “Fire in the Sky” mission on Hard difficulty.” – I destroyed 2 cruisers in less than 2 minutes but the 3rd one doesn’t even appear after more than 120 seconds. No idea man, no idea.

Technology Upgrades

In Wings of Liberty, you have a number of technology upgrades as you accumulate points rewarded from completing the bonus objectives. It applies in HoTS (abbreviated title of the game) but the upgrade is for Kerrigan.

So unlike WoL, many of the upgrades here are limited to Kerrigan. Those are active powers, so they’re generally useless when she’s out of energy or happen to be not at the scene of combat.

Upgrades are also available to the units, in 2 ways. Below is the evolution pit. You may choose 1 of the 3 variations for each unit type. They can be altered any time before starting a mission.

Besides that, there’s also the EVOLUTION MISSIONS in which you test out new strains for most of the combat units. You will then be presented with 2 choice of strains, NOT CHANGEABLE. I found out the hard way that my flying locust variant of Swarm Host wasn’t as useful as I thought. Still, at least you get to try the units in action before decided, which is a plus point.

Other Matters

The game looks like what it was in WoL, at least in my book. However the BattleCruiser does look much nicer. Check out this video.

Blizzard also made Arcade games part of HoTS, just like in WoL. The interface looks better.

One of my favorite arcade game is Aeon of Storms. I believe some of you may have played Aeon of Strife. What is this you ask? It’s the StarCraft version of DoTA.

Achievements – GONE!!

OK well, not gone but more like not recorded. I was some 5 missions away from completing the campaign when Battle.Net went into maintenance mode. I thought the game would log my progress but it didn’t. 🙁 I finished the game with many achievements that I am unable to gain without restarting the whole game. For example, I had level 70 Kerrigan but the system doesn’t acknowledge that. I could replay missions and score those achievements but other achievements like communicating with various characters on the Leviathan (bridge in WoL) are not possible anymore.

Some Similarity

Interesting though, the game now has level bosses for certain missions and one of them is Zurvan.

Doesn’t Zurvan remind you of Diablo III’s Belial?


It’s a great game as it is, albeit those of you who are looking for a challenge like WoL might be a bit disappointed.

Arcade mode is really fun, and I’m spending quite a bit of time on it.

I completed the game in normal mode in about 12 hours or so, speeding through but listening to every single conversation, stopped for dinner, stopped for drinks, replayed a few missions (in the earlier, shorter games) for achievement purpose, plus taking a bit of time mousing over various icons to decide on upgrades and such. I do get carried away from time to time, massing up zerg army more than I actually have to. LOL. 😛

Good game, definitely worth the price.

Here’s an awesome TvP match to end this article.

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