Let’s wrap it up.
The real-time strategy genre is not what it used to be. The gamers that used to flock to RTS games for their competitive fix now seem more interested in the abundance of MOBA games that have appeared in recent years. There are still plenty of fans of the StarCraft games around, but the launch of StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void just didn’t carry the same hype that it did five years ago when the StarCraft 2 series began.
In that five years, StarCraft fans have stepped into the boots of Raynor and controlled the Terran forces in the first game, StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty. Then, in Heart of the Swarm – the first StarCraft 2 standalone expansion, players took control of the creepy alien Zerg with the inimitable Kerrigan. To wrap up the StarCraft 2 trilogy, players can now enjoy the second standalone expansion, Legacy of the Void, alongside the technologically advanced Protoss and their leader Artanis. Even with the prospect of DLC down the line, this campaign is set to finish the story and tie up all of the loose ends in an epic, sci-fi tale that manages to pack in pretty much every famous sci-fi scene you could possibly think of.
The story, which consists of a selection of varied missions, will see the Protoss fighting to reclaim their home world, having to team up with both the Terran and Zerg, and ultimately having to overcome an ultimate evil that threatens to destroy the galaxy. There is an artifact involved and a prophecy to play out, as you may well expect. While it may not break any new ground when it comes to sci-fi stories, the Legacy of the Void tale is done with the usual level of Blizzard polish and is damn enjoyable to play through.
Being a standalone expansion, Legacy of the Void is as good a place to begin the StarCraft 2 journey for newcomers as any of the three games. Legacy of the Void concentrates on the Protoss race, and as such introduces both new players and those who have never played with the Protoss to this technologically advanced race. The units and powers that they wield are slowly introduced, something which may drag on a little for veterans of the Protoss in the previous multiplayer games. However, despite the fact that the story may be somewhat confusing for newcomers, Legacy of the Void is a very accessible introduction, while still successfully wrapping the trilogy up with great effect.
The gameplay itself hasn’t really changed much since the first StarCraft 2 game, at least not in the single player mode, and anyone with any experience of real-time strategy will be able to quickly grasp the basics. What is new to Legacy of the Void, and offering something quite different, are the co-op missions.
The co-op missions bring a calmer, less invested way to play the game. Here, players have a choice of six different characters, and team up with a friend to take on the AI opponent across a small variety of different maps. Each character brings something different to the battle, be it units or abilities, and can be leveled up as they gain experience. It is a great mode that requires less time investment than the campaign, and less frustration than multiplayer, but does feel very limited at the moment due to the relative lack of missions. I am sure this mode will be built upon as time passes though.
The there is the multiplayer, the place where dreams of StarCraft 2 domination are crushed beneath the heavy boots of the veteran players. While it still holds true that multiplayer StarCraft 2 is no place for the casual StarCraft player, it has to be said that the games matchmaking does a good job of not completely burying the player in matches against the huge number of expert players out there. some knowledge of the game is still required to compete, but those with just a little skill will be able to still get some favourable outcomes.
And of course, Blizzard like to mix things up and keep the multiplayer fresh with some new units. This time around, we have two new units for each of the races. The stars of Legacy of the Void, the Protoss, get Adepts and Disruptors, while the Terrans get the Cyclone vehicle and the Liberator. Finally, the Zerg can now employ the evil Lurker and the equally evil Ravager. The introduction of new units is to make players change up their strategies and their approach to the game. How successfully these units will do this, we will have to wait and see. But in my mind, anything new is always worth having.
As the final game in a five year old trilogy, StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void remains very familiar and doesn’t drastically shake things up. It wraps up the story well, and the new co-op missions are brilliant despite needing more. It is too early to tell how decisive the new units will be in multiplayer, but they are welcomed nonetheless. When it comes to the RTS genre, StarCraft has always been the level to aspire to for developers, and this latest standalone expansion is more of the same. StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void is an easy recommendation for fans of the genre, and an essential purchase for the StarCraft fans.