Seems as though it were yesterday when StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was released in 2010, and the popularity of the famous RTS (Real Time Strategy) franchise grew bigger than ever, despite some changes that upset fans of the original classic. One of these changes was learning that the game would be broken into three separate titles that focused on each of the playable factions. Three years later in 2013, Heart of Swarm was released and brought along some much welcomed changes to the series and to RTS titles as a whole. At long last we’ve reached the final entry with StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, which proves good things do indeed come to those who wait, and will have those who play giving their life for Aiur in no time.
Featuring a campaign that spans 19 missions (there’s also some bonus prologue missions you can play), you take control of the newly made leader of the Protoss named Artanis, who wants nothing but to lead the last of his race in taking back their Zerg-infested homeworld of Aiur, and to rid the universe of the evil entity Amon who has been manipulating events throughout the game series. Along the way, you’ll find and recruit allies such as Karax who maintains and improves your ship, the Spear of Adun, along with Matriarch Vorazun, leader of the Dark Templar, Jim Raynor, Kerrigan and more.
You’ll need all of their help as you make your way through the campaign mode, which is filled with some of the best and exciting missions of this series. Whether it’s protecting allies from swarms of oncoming enemies, or holding out until a plan unfolds, you’ll have a blast strategizing your way through them. It also helps that there are some newer units in your arsenal, which you can change/upgrade like you could in Heart of the Swarm, adding another layer of fun and thought into the strategy here. Carrier unit not working out for you? You can switch it to a mothership or a more mobile flying unit instead. I also liked the fact you can use the newly added Solarite bonus resource to enhance your ship abilities, such as calling down airstrikes or shielding your units, and increasing your resources at the start of missions.
But let’s talk about what really draws people to StarCraft, it’s deep multiplayer. Fans will be happy to know that not only the modes they’re used to are back, but there’s also some new additions as well. There’s cooperative multiplayer where people can fight against AI controlled enemies as they lead their forces behind a selected hero, such as Kerrigan, Raynor, Artanis, etc. Each hero has a set of special abilities which they can unlock via a progression system as you play. Co-op missions are another welcome feature that uses random objectives and missions you can take on with a friend.
One of the most interesting new things is Archon Mode, where two people control one base. This is pretty handy for a seasoned player to show a newcomer the ropes, and makes for some cool tactics such as one player working on the resources and units while the other leads them into battle. There’s also plenty of online matches going on with occasional tournaments that will keep multiplayer fanatics busy for hours on end.
While they’re running on a five year-old engine, the graphics and animation here are the best of the series. This is also reinforced by the “ultra” and “extreme” graphical settings in the options, which makes everything look and play like butter, given your PC is fairly recent with a modest video card. The music and sound effects are still spot on as in the previous entries, placing you in the middle of the action while keeping you there until you exit the game.
It took a long five years, but Blizzard really did save the best for last with StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. It takes everything from the original game along with the previous two entries of StarCraft II, and builds upon them to bring us one of the best RTS titles out there. Fans no doubt have already picked this one up, but if you’re new to the franchise or RTS games, you’ll be glad to know you get all three of the SC2 entries when you pick up this one. Just be ready to give up your social life, because it’ll belong to Aiur before the day is over.