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The Final Countdown: StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Screenshot - 1140104

Welcome to The Final Countdown, GameZone's newest series where we get hyped about games that are just around the corner! As the hours pass, we are counting down the reasons you should be excited (or worried) about upcoming major releases.

It’s been a few years since we waited outside our local game shop until midnight to pick up a copy of StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty; I certainly was there. Come on, that was StarCraft II, the long-awaited sequel to one of the grandfathers of the real-time strategy genre. Well, come March 12th, that sequel is getting a sequel -- well, expansion.

StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm will continue two years after Wings of Liberty. There will be more story, more units, more missions, more Zerg, and of course, more Kerrigan. How has she been fairing since Jim Raynor transformed her back to human? Personally, I think she’s a little fussy. We’ll have our answer soon.

Now onto some of the more exciting points in StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm.

There will be Wings of Liberty *SPOILERS* below. If you haven’t played it yet, you’ll probably want to stop here.

StarCraft II battle

7 New Units

In an expansion, you better have more units. It’s not only expected, it’s downright required. Players want some new bang for their bucks. New units form new strategies, and in an RTS, strategy is everything. Are you going to jump ship and play a faction more now that there is different flavor? Or are you going to stick to your guns and play with those you know and love? Choices, choices…

Unit Balancing

The second part of getting new units is balancing the old ones. An expansion server is the perfect time to cut the fat, boost something up, and let you work with a cleaner slate than you would in, say, a large patch. The synergy with new units has to match up with what’s already there to make sure the factions equal out in total power.

Story

When I beat WoL and watched that final scene with Raynor carrying the non-infested Kerrigan away, my jaw was left wide open. I NEEDED to know what happened next, yet I had to wait! I’m looking forward to the campaign story unwinding some more. For me, the Zerg are the most interesting part of the StarCraft world, so Heart of the Swarm's plot will be huge. While the Protoss campaign will be the official end to StarCraft 2, their stuff is always so 'out there.' The middle game has to set up the finale -- much like the original Star Wars trilogy.

Kerrigan

Kerrigan

Sure, I’m a fan boy, but come on -- it’s Kerrigan. The Queen of Blades has returned to her previously non-infested human self. In the trailers, she’s rocking a ghost suit and leading a Zerg brood. That alone is everything I’ve ever wanted out of this expansion. She’s been the focus of the plot for StarCraft for so long; it’s time to take it one step further and play as her. This time, it may even be the best of both worlds (Zerg/Terran). You know she’s going to be pissed at Raynor, and he’s going to follow her around like a love-sick pup, wrought with guilt for the entire game.

20 New Missions

Besides new units, you better get some new levels with an expansion. StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm will deliver on this front with 20 new levels for your enjoyment. I hope they continue to take a page from WoL and do those option levels for slightly different outcomes. While I’m a sucker for plot, gameplay is a close second, if not tied for first. If a story is good but the gameplay is derp, the experience is ruined. I have faith and look forward to these new missions.

So… can I play as Kerrigan yet? 

Ac
Andrew Clouther Human, historian, teacher, writer, reviewer, gamer, League of Pralay, Persona fanboy, and GameZone paragon - no super powers as of yet. Message me on the Twitters: @AndrewC_GZ
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