So I beat the single player missions of Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm. This time I put it away in less than a week, which is a personal best. I drew out Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty to take 2 weeks to complete because I wanted to savor the game more. I can't say which experience was better, but I am a bit biased to Heart of the Swarm. Not sure if its because it was a better single player experience or because I just played it.

tone & story

Tonally the two flow well together. Wings of Liberty single player might be a tighter game and overall a bit better experience but Heart of the Swarm takes it up a few notches. All said, I really appreciate the ambition of Heart of the Swarm and really fell over the more grand set pieces and story arcs. If you read my previous tear down of my progress at about 1/3rd of the way through the game I was a bit mixed on it. By the end I was sold entirely on the game and felt it really delivered a solid punch.

For reference here is my first writing about the game:

http://cheerfulghost.com/jdodson/posts/1086

I can say what I experienced to that point was an intended part of how they were telling the story. I think they wanted to grate on you a bit as to what was happening to Kerrigan and it totally worked for me. I will say that they open up her Character such that she really did have a character arc and it was VERY well done. Not to say it wasn't campy at points, but its pulp sci-fi, its going to have those elements.

gameplay

The single player missions are very good in Heart of the Swarm. Its hard to say how they stack up to Wing of Liberty, because Wings may have had nearly perfect scenarios. Heart of the Swarm is great, and the stronger points were that you felt like a total bad-ass. They also nailed the Swarm aspect of the Zerg and a few missions you get a ridiculous amount of Zerg to play with. Since the Zerg are my jam, yeah it really worked for me.

One of the final missions features a pretty cool set of conditions. You have to destroy a shield and hop back and forth between playing as a Hero sneaking around blowing up energy stations and Kerrigan building a base and attacking the Confederacy. Its a great game-play mechanic and worked very well.

My only minor gripe was that the game is easy. As I have poured over the Intarwebs, it seems most people agree on this point. It also was a bit more "handholdey" than I require after playing Starcraft for so many years as well.

final thoughts

Frankly I can't wait to start Wings of Liberty again and play Heart of the Swarm afterward. But, like my viewings of Star Wars, I stagger myself so it doesn't lose some of its magic. If Legacy of the Void is just as good then I imagine I will come back to play the campaigns again every so often. Some games I enjoy so much I come back to them and play them multiple times. Dungeon Siege, Link's Awakening, Final Fantasy IV, Doom 3 and now SC2. I can't wait for Legacy of the Void.

At some point I might write more of my thoughts in spoiler form, but for now I want to keep it relevant but accessible.


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