StarCraft II has been a worthy successor to one of the best RTS franchises in gaming, that much is assured at this point. How well does Legacy of The Void uphold that tradition? Let’s find out shall we?
Given that the expansion is the final piece to StarCraft II’s story, it carries with it a certain narrative gravitas that works well. The characteristic campiness and cheese present in the previous campaigns is alive and well in Legacy of The Void, although it has been muted somewhat.
The story follows the Protoss trying to reclaim their homeworld Aiur and their struggle against Amon, a being of enormous power that is trying to ‘cleanse’ the universe of all life. Yes, it isn’t exactly the most original of stories, but that’s Blizzard Entertainment in a nutshell: polishing well-worn concepts until they gleam.
Considered in totality, the campaign is a success, but is not without it’s flaws. The beginning and ending are forgone conclusions at this point, but the journey is what matters. StarCraft II: Legacy of The Void has a surprisingly good story and strong script, assuming that you actually pay enough attention to what the characters are saying and what happens between missions.
As is to be expected in games where the campaign can take a back seat in terms of gameplay, some of the missions in this expansion do tend to run together with similar maps and objectives being thrown at the player. They aren’t terrible, just tend to get a bit dull around the middle of the campaign.
The multiplayer includes several new modes, and the variety of play styles within new and old modes is sure to keep veteran players on their toes. Battle.net 2.0 is superior to the original Battle.net which hosted the older StarCraft, WarCraft, and Diablo titles. Everything is easily found with a minimal amount of effort in a slick and easy to understand interface, and the online scene itself hasn’t been as active as it has been recently for a long time. If there has ever been a time to jump in to figure out what all the fuss is about, it’s now.
The first new mode is Allied Commanders, where two people select six commanders to then complete the objectives in the six provided maps – with more on the way. The missions themselves have regular objectives, but the way the maps are laid out and played lends a different perspective to the whole affair. For example, one map has players trying to destroy trains that randomly appear across three separate tracks as they travel throughout the map. The player’s job is to then destroy these trains before they escape, while also repelling infrequent Zerg incursions.
The second new mode for Legacy of the Void is Archon mode, an intriguing two on two mode where teams manage a single base apiece. There isn’t much substance here though. As expected in team games, the stronger players will end up shouldering most of the heavy lifting while the other member(s) will be left with base maintenance and defense.
Gameplay wise, there doesn’t seem to be much innovation on the RTS formula in StarCraft II: Legacy of The Void. Overall, the gameplay mechanics work well together despite the lack of new substantive elements. If you’ve been playing the series for it’s near two decade lifespan, there isn’t much to surprise you with here, and this is a good thing. Blizzard clearly didn’t want new mechanics or modes that were too much of a deviation to spoil the experience.
The graphical and sound elements are just as great as they were when we compiled our initial first impressions. There is little to critique here as almost everything is top notch. Some aliasing and z-fighting was noticed, but was extremely infrequent. Other than that, effects and textures look great and add to the varied map environments and their immersion. The soundtrack conveys intense emotional moments just as well as somber moments. And the effects that happen during combat or other player actions are a great compliment to the on-screen action. Besides the few quibbles mentioned above, Legacy of the Void is a more then acceptable looking title. If one has a PC that allows them to crank up their graphics settings, there is very little to complain about on that front.