After 8 years, the Starcraft story has concluded with Legacy of the Void. I’ve finished it (just) and here are some (spoiler-free) thoughts.
I’ve played an awful lot of Starcraft over the years. I played Starcraft and Broodwar single-player; played a lot of it on LAN; tried it briefly online (two swift games where I was totally useless while everyone screamed at me in German); got very excited when Starcraft 2 game out and played loads of it online (people still sometimes screamed at me, but I wasn’t useless).
Legacy of the Void concludes the story with a campaign (mostly) focused on the Protoss the way Wings of Liberty was about the Terrans and Heart of the Swarm centred on Kerrigan and The Swarm. I’ve not looked forward to the story part as much as the others; I’ve always been a Zerg player so I looked forward to HOTS the most (and with WoL I was just pleased we were getting more Starcraft at all). The Protoss with their communal ‘greater good’ mentality, caste system and magic space-tech always struck me as vain-glorious space-hippies.
Plus they can just mass Void-Rays and win.
The campaign follows a similar pattern to the previous two; you progress the story and as you do you unlock optional changes to your army. Additionally there’s another path for configuration; your ship, The Spear of Adun. This replaces the customisation of Kerrigan in Heart of the Swarm as the Protoss aren’t centred on one major figure and instead progress as a collective (space hippies).
This means you get an optional set of 4-6 extra weapons to use from orbit in each mission which are always cool. Lots of giant space lasers, robots from orbit, time-stops or whatever else you want. There are a handful of missions where you can’t use it but it’s a tiny number.
The story itself was more entertaining than I thought too. I found myself warming to the Protoss, especially when they showed touches of humour. They were still pretty po-faced but Kerrigan wasn’t exactly a bundle of laughs either. Of course, the Zerg campaign had one character that made everything else worthwhile.
The actual gameplay is more Starcraft. Most times you had to build a base, get an army and go kill something / defend something while ‘bad people’ threw curve-balls your way. Blizzard mixed up the exact mechanics pretty thoroughly and you always had a new toy to try out on each level. Though on Hard difficulty I normally won by massing Void-Rays or cheesing with Dark Templars (so it was a pretty good training simulation for playing Protoss online too. What do you mean, I’m bitter?). It was a fairly decent challenge as I couldn’t just sleep-walk it but it wasn’t a meat-grinder either. There are tonnes of difficulty options, achievements and optional bits and bobs to ensure plenty of re-play too.
The story wraps up well and seems to deal well with some of the outstanding plot-threads. It was a satisfying end to the story and lots of old favourites crop up for a walk-on or two. Bad guys get duffed up and the “one boy and his zerg” romance continues too.
Finally there’s a post-campaign epilogue which gives each of the three races a moment in the sun to fully finish their various stories, which was awesome as while I’m sure lots of people are looking forward to the Protoss campaign itself this to me was more the finishing of an 8-year epic.
And it certainly finished it in style 😉
Do you like RTS games? Do you like Starcraft? Pretty much anyone that does is going to get this. If you’re new, it does a good job easing you in and delivering a cool story (there’s a nice ‘story so far’ bit for newbies). It’s a highly polished version of one of the best RTS games ever.