Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm - Single Player Campaign Review

Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm was eagerly awaited, especially by gaming enthusiasts. But even they would not have fully enjoyed the purchase of the expansion without the single-player campaign. Fortunately, it was much easier to understand than the intricacies of the updated multiplayer.

But first, the client had to be launched.

As is customary nowadays with Blizzard game purchases, before actually getting into the game, I had to go through a quest. Being a naive fool who doesn’t read smart people, I thought that for the default European version, which cost me a whopping $34 at the time, the developers would at least allow me to install the European HotS key. But that was not the case. On the night of the release, I had to frantically buy a new Wings of Liberty key, register an account with zero statistics, and then play the updated SC2 from there.

As history showed, I made a mistake twice. After some time, the Blizzard guys apologized to Russian-speaking gamers, fixed the system, and left me without HotS on my main account and with an extra useless key for WoL.

And these people laugh at EA and SimCity.

Immersive Gameplay in Screenshot

After thinking that this peculiar reset of statistics will come back to haunt me later, I finally started the local single-player campaign.

News: Kerrigan was indeed cured, but not for long. After the second mission, our friend decides to recreate the swarm, and after the nth mission, she gains Unprecedented Power™. This will primarily manifest in the fact that the Queen of Blades will roam the maps as a hero from Warcraft 3 and, by the end of the campaign, single-handedly destroy entire bases.

I’ll let you in on a secret, you can complete all HotS missions by using just one combination of units – roaches and hydralisks. While WoL occasionally required you to build, let’s say, 15 Vikings because it might be the only way to take down an enemy battlecruiser, or to entrench tanks and hold the high ground, here it’s always the same – they rush us head-on, and if your hands work, you can always overwhelm the enemy with a supply cap and Kerrigan’s spellcasting in all directions.

It’s a pity, really, that it’s like this. For the sake of entertainment, they added all the new “standard” units to the campaign (meaning, the viper and swarm host), and even lurkers from Brood War, and they also gave plenty of perks to regular units. Our zerglings can now jump up hills like terran reapers, ultralisks have learned the art of reincarnation, banelings can split into two smaller banelings upon explosion, and so on. In total, each unit has three options for secondary upgrades and two branches of significant evolution.

But, alas, neither the vipers nor the lurkers were able to find a suitable place in the army. The only exception is the veteran infestors, which perform well in the final missions, permanently taking control of entire cruiser fleets. For the sake of sporting interest, I tried to include someone other than the aforementioned golden trio of roaches, hydras, and infestors in the army – no, it’s all fifth-sixth-seventh wheels.

Hots: Kerrigan in war

Blizzard long ago promised us that SC2 would be a trilogy, with episodes and all. But in reality, nothing like that happened: WoL was a game, and the rest were just add-ons. There are clearly fewer missions in HotS than in the original. Moreover, we have a whole bunch of “RPG missions” here, where we control one and a half units and walk/fly like terminators on the map.

The successfully crossed rabbit with a boa constrictor from Warcraft 3 don’t work together so well here. Maybe someone will enjoy running around killing bosses like dragons in “Skyrim”, but I’m just a completely hardened strategy fan, and it’s just not interesting when you know that the essence of the game is completely different.

Fortunately, somewhere halfway through the campaign, it starts to pick up, and the missions become more interesting. Moreover, by this time, you manage to get all the interesting units, mutate them as you see fit, have fun with them, and put them on the shelf. And the plot heats up.

Hots: Fortress of Vorfield

At the very beginning of HotS, everything is atmospheric and dynamic. There’s action all around, both Mengsks are up to something, Kerrigan has all sorts of dreams, and it seems like Raynor is also busy. After two missions, Raynor is taken out of action, and the Queen goes into hibernation until her second transformation, which happens somewhere after 60% of the campaign.

Watching the nursery conversations in the Zerg Leviathan’s cabin is honestly boring. The writers faced the difficult task of showing the inside of an insect swarm, and preferably making it somewhat impressive. They didn’t succeed. Ten thousand dialogues about “I serve the swarm” and “I am the swarm” are occasionally interrupted by amusing arguments between Kerrigan and the local biotechnologist Abathur, but other than that, there’s not much to watch or listen to in HotS.

The single-player campaign in HotS can be described as a “one-time thing”. If we consider the main mechanics of SC2 as a whole and give them a rating of 6 out of 10, then the first add-on would receive a maximum of 6.5. Half a point is for finding out what happens next with Raynor and his company.

And now, it’s time for the main course.

StarCraft 2
Co-op, Multiplayer, Strategy
Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard Entertainment
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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