Back in 2010, the world got its first taste of a brand new, modern StarCraft. Wings of Liberty was the first part of the trilogy, and it ushered in a new era of Blizzard’s RTS . It took almost three years for the next piece of the puzzle to come out. In 2013, Heart of the Swarm expanded on Wings of Liberty, and pushed the story forward all the while growing the multiplayer roster with new units for each faction. Now, a few more years later, we finally have the last component of the saga, Legacy of the Void, which essentially does the same.
Legacy of the Void puts players in the shoes of the Protoss Hierarch, Artanis, just as he sets out to reclaim the fallen planet, Aiur. There is far more at stake however than just the Protoss homeworld.
As those of you who have played the previous games should know, Amon is coming, and hot damn does he have one hell of an agenda. Let me run it by you quickly: step one – obliterate everything in the universe. Shit.
My life for Aiur!
As you’d imagine, there’s a lot that needs to be done in order to take the evil Amon down. It doesn’t take Artanis long to realise this, which is why he sets about reclaiming the Spear of Adun, an ancient arkship, to aid him in this long, difficult battle.
The Spear of Adun is where you’ll find yourself roaming between missions. For those who couldn’t be bothered with fleshing out the narrative, they can head straight to the bridge, and embark on the next mission immediately. They’d honestly be missing out though, because there’s a lot of juicy exposition to be found in the depths of the giant hull. The Protoss are an interesting race, more so than the Terran and Zerg in my opinion, so it was fascinating to find out more about their various factions and general history.
It’s not just talking you’ll do on the Spear of Adun either. Beyond serving as a staging ground for missions, or a place of general conversation, it also serves as an invaluable tool on the battlefield. The arkship comes equipped with many abilities, more of which are unlocked and made available as the campaign presses forward.
These include anything from harvesting gas automatically from vespene geysers (eliminating the need for probes which normally perform that menial task), to firing a giant beam of doom to the planet’s surface, all the way from orbit. That in particular, is ridiculously satisfying. There is nothing quite like the smell of freshly roasted Zerg in the morning!
Powering all of the ship’s abilities is a material called Solarite. This is acquired after each mission by default. Side objectives often pop up on the battlefield however, and if fulfilled, will reward the player with even more of the rare stuff. It’s worth undertaking these additional tasks, as it allows more, complicated ship subsystems to be online, giving the player some flexibility during missions. Should I opt for that ability that lets me drop in a pylon on the battlefield with extra units, or should I make use of that handy ability that stops time temporarily? With enough solarite, I can do both, and even more.
Other customisation in Legacy of the Void comes from the decisions a player makes with regards to each unit faction. The various options of these too, become more numerous as the campaign progresses, and they can also be changed between missions to suit whatever situation lies ahead.
For example, the standard zealot comes in three flavours (as do all the other available units). The Aiur zealot has a brief spin attack that does damage in an AOE. The centurion is capable of charging through friendly units, and stunning groups of enemies for a small amount of time. The last kind, the sentinel zealot, when defeated, will rebuild itself, and be ready for battle once more.
Now keep in mind that these are the options available to the zealot, the most basic of the Protoss army units. The possibilities expand and vary for the others, and it’s a ton of fun messing around with different combinations to see what works best. My favourite choice by far though proved to be a void ray that came equipped with a new chained attack. The attack bounces off the primary unit, and onto surrounding enemies (though for less damage). The result with a large group of the flying unit is magical. Red beams arc between both units and buildings, and it’s beautiful to behold.
With regards to story, I’m happy to say that Legacy of the Void does tie up all loose ends quite nicely. It’s an ending that not everybody may like, but I did personally.
For those who are only hopping onto the StarCraft II boat now, I would highly recommend playing the previous two titles first, as the story of Legacy of the Void will probably go way over your head. Thankfully, there is a recap cinematic that can be watched, but it touches on the overall story that happened before this last expansion very, very lightly. Otherwise, if you’re a fan and up to speed, and eager to see the conclusion of this saga, there is a lot of joy to be found in Legacy of the Void.
When the credits rolled, I couldn’t help feeling a little sad. I felt like I had just reached the end of a very juicy book or great movie, and it got me down thinking that I would not get to see my favourite characters again for a very long time (if ever). That to me is enough of a sign that the Legacy of the Void campaign is spectacular, and well worth the ride. It’s not short either mind you, taking around 12 hours to complete.
Our lives for Aiur!
Beyond the excellent campaign lies the real meat of this expansion, which will suck up dozens, if not hundreds of hours of those who fall into its addictive trap. Multiplayer in Legacy of the Void is better than ever, and comes packed with a plethora of options that will appeal to everybody.
Standard Multiplayer (I’m competitive)
Of course the competitive side of StarCraft II is included, and it comes with a bunch of optimisations. For starters, the opening number of worker units has been ramped up, meaning there is less time spent worrying about getting an economy going. What this does is open up the game for decision-making, a lot earlier. Bouts are also little shorter – depending on how much turtling happens of course.
To mix the metagame up even further, there are new units for each faction, as well as rejiggered abilities and such for existing ones. I would dive into all of them in detail here, but all you need to know is that the Zerg finally have lurkers once more. The burrowed, spine-spitting chaps are back in business!
As happy as I am to have the buggers back, it also means I will experience a certain amount of rage when I go up against them without detection. Truth is, competitive StarCraft is hard to truly master, and I suck at it. Thankfully, I don’t have to go solo (which I seldom choose to do anyways) and can still team up with friends for some 2 v 2 through to 4 v 4 action.
Archon Mode (I’m competitive, so is my friend!)
New to Legacy of the Void is the Archon Mode. Basically, it’s a 2 v 2 game mode, where the two players on each team control a single army in a typical game of StarCraft II.
Archon Mode will either be hit or miss for players depending on the pairings. Proficient players may find it irritating to play with somebody who isn’t as good as they are. On the other hand, finding somebody of equal skill can be highly enjoyable, and opens up extra options for competitive play. For example, one player could focus on attacking the front of an enemy base while the other worries about dropping at the back, or a player could focus on keeping the economy and unit production high, while the other focuses on everything offense.
I played some games with Alessandro, and though I am a better StarCraft player than he is (humble brag!) we still had a ton of fun. If anything, I found Archon Mode to be a nice, easy way to teach him a thing or two. Again though, not everybody will feel this way – some will much prefer to play with somebody on their level of skill.
Co-op Missions (screw competitive! But I still want to play with a friend)
This is probably the easiest, least stressful way to enjoy StarCraft II with a friend. If you enjoyed the campaign of any of the previous games, then this mode is really right up your alley. As the name implies, co-op missions are a PvE affair, where two people set out to fulfil certain map objectives. The twist however, is that each gets to choose one of six commanders, which determines what their capabilities are.
Raynor for example, comes equipped with a focus on infantry units. He can build the standard MMM (marines, marauders, medics), and a lot faster than the other commanders can. He can also call the Hyperion in for some additional firepower if need be. Kerrigan on the other hand, has a standard choice of units (though limited), but she is controllable on the battlefield too. Using her along with her army is very much what players experienced in Heart of the Swarm, and it’s a lot of fun.
The incentive to keep playing comes from a progression system. Depending on what map and difficulty is chosen, players earn experience, which goes on to unlock additional abilities for each commander. This game mode in itself will suck up a lot of time, and I look forward to seeing additional maps and commanders added in future.
So as you can see, there really is something for everybody to do in Legacy of the Void. If you’re in it for the campaign alone, I can assure you, it’s great, and well worth the time. If you’re in it for the multiplayer, well, kiss your loved ones goodbye – there is a lot to do and enjoy, for both pro players and casuals alike.
Last Updated: November 19, 2015