Game Review: Starcraft II: Heart Of The Swarm

A new series in which I review games that came out years ago.  I rarely play video games anymore.  So when I do, it’s guaranteed to be a game that I can get for cheap.  Which also means that it’s going to be years old.  Thus, “Heart of the Swarm”.

As I precursor to playing “Heart of the Swarm”, I also replayed the excellent “Wings of Liberty” human campaign that came out even more years ago.  Story wise, I think I liked “Wings of Liberty” better, though both have an entertaining storyline.  My biggest problem with the “Heart of the Swarm” storyline was Kerrigan’s voice acting.  It came off as kind of one-dimensional to me, which is normally fine, but here we have a woman going through a pretty big transformation and driven by hatred but still mostly talks in the same steady voice without a hint of inflection.  A small point, but bothersome to me.

The gameplay for “Heart of the Swarm” is solid, but incredibly easy.  I played through the entire thing on normal difficulty in a weekend with each mission taking on average well under 20 minutes.  Never once did I feel like there was a danger of me failing.  The Zerg is incredibly unbalanced in its favor.  The game introduces this concept of evolution for each of the zerg units which I think is the unbalancing factor.  You mean I can choose to make zerglings both able to respawn and able to jump up cliffs?  Yes please!  You don’t need any strategy at all.  Just build a bunch of zerglings with a bit of air support and go.  And it should be noted that I am NOT a terribly good player.  As an example of how easy the game is, I replayed the final mission in order to score me some extra Kerrigan achievements and I decided to play it with only Kerrigan and zerglings.  I completed all objectives in 25 minutes.  With no air support under my control.  That’s kind of ridiculous and what made me decide to write about the game.

Another problem with the game is the achievements.  In “Wings of Liberty”, many of the main gameplay achievements are actual achievements as opposed to getting them all just for playing the game.  “Heart of the Swarm” tends towards the latter.  First off, you can play on normal mode and get all of them.  “Wings of Liberty” had some hard mode achievements thrown in.  That’s fine and all, want to make the achievements more accessible to more casual gamers, but I was able to get a vast majority of the achievements without much effort at all.  The handful of achievements that I didn’t get in the first run through were ones that you really needed to know what they were first in order to get them.

All in all, despite my complaints, the game is pretty awesome.  I don’t think I will ever tire of watching a zergling rush in action.  It’s so pretty.  One thing that I will say about “Heart of the Swarm” that I didn’t experience when playing “Wings of Liberty”, I finally have an itch to play multiplayer.  I’m not sure I want to go down that rabbit hole.