reviews\ Jul 5, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne - PC - Review


I cannot believe that is has been a year since War Craft III: Reign of Chaos came out. This was one of the best RTS games that came out last year. This year gamers are treated to an expansion pack to this game that gives a whole new life to it - just like every Blizzard expansion pack always does. WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne has a lot of live up to because the original game was, simply put, awesome. Blizzard has not only managed to bring back all of the innovation, graphics, sound, and the fun factor that the Reign of Chaos had, but it even ups the ante.

The story line happens shortly after the events of War Craft III: Reign of Chaos. It first starts off with Illidan, a demon hunter night elf who is trying to destroy the frozen throne to finish off the undead forever. While he is trying to do this he is being hunted down to be put back in jail or even put to death for his crimes. Shortly afterwards the human alliance gets involved, but it mostly involves the remains of the Elven race trying to survive in this new chaotic world with the undead trying to take it over. Then it switches to Arthas, the death knight, who is trying to race to the frozen north to protect his master. What is really strange is the Orc campaigns have nothing to do with the other three. It involves Thrall trying to establish a new nation for the previously Noble Orc race. This was an interesting call for the developers at Blizzard. Also the Orc campaign has a more RPG feel to it than the rest of the game.

The green-skinned Orcs were once a noble race, until they were corrupted by the Legion. The Orcs were brought from the world of Draenor to Azeroth to engage in war with the humans. Eventually the war was ended, and peace resided between the humans and Orcs. A young Orc warchief, named Thrall, was raised by the humans, and after several years eventually escaped. His desire is to free his people from the Legions grasp and become the noble people they once were so many centuries ago.

As in every other expansion, there are numerous new units that were added to flesh out the gameplay, and WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne is no different. Each race gets a new hero, units, and even a building or two. The new hero for the Night Elves is the Warden, who is cunning and she is an expert at entering and exiting a place with little to no harm incurred. She has many different abilities; the first is Fan of Knifes, which flings a fury of knives around her. Blink teleports the Warden a short distance. Shadow Strike is a poisoned dagger, which deals large damage at first, then little damage for a period of time. Her ultimate ability is Vengeance. This is a summoned creature that summons spirits for corpses to attack your enemies. The new units are the Mountain Giant, a huge mass of moving stone that can take a beating and keep on ticking, and Faerie Dragon, a new flying unit that is really quick. The Ancient of Wonders is a new building that allows any unit that has an inventory screen to purchase helpful items.

The Undead Hero is the Crypt Lord which are known for summoning insect creatures. Their abilities are impale, Spiked Carapace, Carrion Beetles, and Locus Swarm. When Crypt Lords strike the ground they will produce spikes come up impaling enemy ground units, this is his first ability. Spike Carapace encloses the Lord in layers of armor that protect him. Carrion Beetles are created from the corpse of dead, and an interesting point is that the beetles are a permanent addition to the army until they are killed. The ultimate is Locus Swarm which is a swarm of aggressive locusts that will bite and kill any nearby enemy units. Their two new units are the Obsidian Statue, a statue that regenerates health of units, and the Destroyer, the new flyer unit for the undead. New buildings are the Tomb of Relics, which allow players to buy new things for their inventory, and the Nerubian Tower, which is an upgrade to the Ziggurat.

The Blood Mage is the new hero for the humans who is best at controlling magic. The Blood Elves are still an apart of the Human alliance, but they have shunned the “pure” magic of ware and frost, for “demonic” fire and heat magic. Their abilities include Flame Strike which creates a pillar of fire that will hurt enemies and trees; banish turns a unit immune to enemy attacks but it will slow its movement; while siphon mana will allow him to steal mana from other units. Its ultimate is Phoenix, which is a flying unit that is engulfed in flames. When a Phoenix dies it lays an egg that will raise a new Phoenix. The new units are Spell Breaker, which is an Elven warrior that disrupts magic, and the Dragonhawk Rider, which is the humans' new flight unit. Arcane Vault is where players can get items for their inventory and the Arcane Towers which will attack land and air units.

The last race to get updates is the Orc’s, and they receive the Shadow Hunter who is a mighty magician that practices voodoo curses. The best ability he offers is the mighty Healing wave, which cures all allies around him. Hex temporarily transforms enemy units into a random critter. Serpent Ward summons snake illusions that damages enemy units. His Big Bad Voodoo ultimate ability turns all friendly units invulnerable. Troll Batrider is a new light flying unit, and the Sprit Walkers are able to attack land and air units. The Voodoo Lounge allows players to purchase items for characters that have an inventory screen.

WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne is rated T for Teen, and requires WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos installed on your machine in order to play it.

Gameplay: 9.6
Just like the original, War Craft III: Frozen Throne has wonderful controls that are smooth and really intuitive. Plus the game adds a whole slew of new things for players to control, from units to heroes. The best thing about it is the story picks up right form where it left off in the original game, so players will get the opportunity to see the aftermath and what new evil is creeping into the world.

Another good thing about this game is that you will not get bored with a ton of repetition. Even though this is an RTS game, players will only be doing that about 50% of the time. Sometimes players will have to scout and find different objects, stop an army with nothing but two heroes and watchtowers, and various other things. This makes the game last a lot longer and it really shows.

Graphics: 9.5
Seeing as the game is an expansion pack, it uses the same graphics engine as the previous game did, and that is not a bad thing at all. The game still stands the test of time and is one of the best RTS games around. Also all of the FMVs that gamers will see are exceptionally done! Blizzard is one of the best companies at creating them, and it shows.

Sound: 9.5
The sounds still sound great! Blizzard even has new sounds and voice actors for all of the new characters. The new voice characterizations really flow with the rest of the game and fit perfectly. The game sounds really great on my sound card, and I know some of you have better sound systems on their PC than I do, so it is guaranteed to sound even better!

Difficulty: Medium
If you played Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, you will have no trouble picking up the basics of this game. It will have its challenges, but it will be nothing players cannot overcome with patience.

Concept: 9.4
Blizzard has added new heroes that really mesh well with the rest of the game, and it is hard for some developers to accomplish that. Plus the story is really enthralling! Another smash hit for Blizzard!

Multiplayer: 9.5
The game is a blast to play over, especially with Blizzard constantly monitoring to keep cheaters out of their servers, which makes for a better gaming environment for everyone. If you have the ability, playing over a LAN is also a blast.

Overall: 9.4
War Craft III: Frozen Throne is a must-have expansion for one of the best RTS of 2002! IF you have War Craft III: Reign of Chaos you must purchase this now. If you don’t have it, then purchase both the original game and this expansion pack. This game will take away time from your sleep schedule for a while, but it is worth it!

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