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    StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

    Game » consists of 6 releases. Released Mar 12, 2013

    The second chapter in the StarCraft II trilogy, Heart of the Swarm is a science fiction-themed real-time strategy game for PC and Mac. Players take control of the vicious Zerg faction in an interstellar war against the hard-nosed Terrans and psionic Protoss.

    How zergy is this campaign?

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    veektarius

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    So in preparation for Legacy of the Void I finally bought Heart of the Swarm, having avoided doing so because my friends had gotten out of SC2 multiplayer and because I generally don't like the zerg all that much. Let's face it, no matter how much Blizzard tries to make Kerrigan into a tragic figure, I'm not going to identify with the creepy-crawlies. I was thinking that maybe the game would follow on the cooperative tone struck by Wings of Liberty, but five missions in and Kerrigan is out laying waste to helpless protoss already. Does the campaign change in tone from there? How soon? I'll probably beat it either way, but I'd rather not have unrealistic expectations.

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    NeoCalypso

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    It's 100% zergy and there is definitely no change in tone from what I can remember. She's out for revenge and she's not going to let anything stop her.

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    liquiddragon

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    i don't get people that don't like zerg...the story in heart of the swarm is terrible tho they do things by the end fans have wanted to see. also, you'll see stuff that's not just the regular zerg stuff, which to me felt kinda shoehorned in but it is different than what you're expecting.

    i complained about the story quality in wol but holy shit hots is about 4-5 steps below wol.

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    csl316

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    #4  Edited By csl316

    Playing it felt "zergy," but I never finished due to the godawful story (and my overheating laptop). Never been a Zerg player, but it was fun to mess with them because the missions felt different from WoL.

    With that being said, bring on Legacy.

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    MezZa

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    #5  Edited By MezZa

    The gameplay in the missions overall really feels "zergy" compared to wings of liberty. You're given the feeling that your army is very expendable and will have moments where you just overrun things with mass units. Morality wise, yeah, the zerg are still willing to do whatever they want. Kerrigan will attack protoss, terran, and rebel zerg to forward her goals if they get in her way. Just cause her goals aren't complete universal destruction anymore doesn't mean shes not ruthless anymore. If you're on the mission i think you are, shes not attacking protoss just to attack protoss. They know she's there, and if they manage to report to the golden armada then the protoss army will come in force and lay waste to her.

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    BisonHero

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    You basically massacre everyone. Kerrigan shows some random human moments, but it's still really at odds with how she ultimately wants to return to the form where she is capable of indiscriminately launching attacks that costs tens of thousands of Terran lives. It's a fun campaign to play, but I barely remembered it relative to Wings of Liberty. For story, they tried to make Kerrigan into a supervillain who has lost her army, so the characters in her "ship" are her lieutenants, and while Abathur has some solid writing (most of it is just his schtick where he doesn't understand anything but raw efficiency and natural selection) I don't remember most other character interactions, and her entire plotline is just "reassemble the Zerg swarm and become powerful again". Also, it retcons the fuck out of the Zerg origin, if you remember any of that from like, the Starcraft 1 manual.

    I think the Zerg campaigns have always been really weak. Original SC had a bland Zerg campaign, and Brood War's was better because of the Kerrigan focus but still kinda meh.

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    veektarius

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    OK, thanks. Expectations lowered.

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    Fredchuckdave

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    Great campaign.

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    deactivated-60dda8699e35a

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    The story is horrible. Easily the worst game story I've played that I can remember.

    The missions are really good though, so if you can ignore the story and focus only on the gameplay, then it's okay. I found the sequel to be significantly easier than the first one, so I recommend playing on Brutal.

    To answer your question though, Kerrigan is VERY unsympathetic throughout the entire campaign. They TRY to make her sympathetic, but it doesn't work at all. I hated her and wanted her to lose throughout the entire story.

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    justicejanitor

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    #10  Edited By justicejanitor

    The campaign itself is super fun but yeah, the story is pretty bad. It has a few redeeming qualities thought, like introducing Zagara and Abathur who are amazing characters in Heroes of the Storm.

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    Ben_H

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    The story isn't that great, and it is indeed very Zergy. But it's all worth it for Abathur.

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    Cowman

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    So in preparation for Legacy of the Void I finally bought Heart of the Swarm, having avoided doing so because my friends had gotten out of SC2 multiplayer and because I generally don't like the zerg all that much. Let's face it, no matter how much Blizzard tries to make Kerrigan into a tragic figure, I'm not going to identify with the creepy-crawlies. I was thinking that maybe the game would follow on the cooperative tone struck by Wings of Liberty, but five missions in and Kerrigan is out laying waste to helpless protoss already. Does the campaign change in tone from there? How soon? I'll probably beat it either way, but I'd rather not have unrealistic expectations.

    No Caption Provided

    But look at how cute the zerg are.

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    Mmmslash

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    @bisonhero: I liked the relationship between Kerrigan and her other Lieutenant, Zagara.

    It has this mentorship vibe, and as you progress through the story, you see Zagara grow from showing deference to showing aspirations of taking on Kerrigan's role. Then you get to see how a relationship evolves after you have to rub your dog's nose in the carpet.

    Generally speaking, though, I agree with you.

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    BladedEdge

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    People do seem to hate on the story in SC2 and yet for me, the single player and story are the only reasons I buy/play the games, on easy and with cheats typically no less.

    The First campaign with the Terran is extremely well done from a cinematic and story-driven experience. A wide variety in mission structure, style and over-all tone. Its Wing Commander, with Blizzard done cut-scenes instead of FMV (so high quality) and an RTS instead of a flight sim. Cheesy sci-fi, absolutely, but whatever its the culmination of a silly plot from 1998, it doesn't have to meet the quality standards of 2013-15.

    The zerg campaign is IMO better then the Terran. All the stuff from the terran campaign remains, cutscenes, variety. Only its better when it comes to mission structure. The whole thing plays out much less like a series of RTS battles with a lot more story driven objectives and such. Hero units and the like go a long way to making the game feel differnt, unique and a lot of fun. Like hey, if 'build a bunch of cheap things and over-run the base' isn't your thing, just play on easy, cheat, and enjoy the story (round about and silly though it may be)

    And..that's really all there is too this series. Like if your in it just for the multi-player, then single player stuff is not important. And if your in it for the story like me then um, well you gotta play it all to see it through yah? If the final expansion is at least as good as the first, or hopefully as good or better then the second I will be quite happy with the money spent on SC2, even without ever setting foot into multiplayer, and with the sad excuse for UMS maps they ended up having in the end (at least some time ago, might be a resurgance with the final campaign).

    So the tl;dr If your in it for the story, go for it. If not um..don't bother?

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    ghost_cat

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    ZERG BOI 4 L1F3. But really: it's fun, story is corny, and Zergs are cool.

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    zombie2011

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    I liked the game, I don't like Kerrigan though never have and the Zerg is the worst of the 3 species.

    Blizzard saving the best for last, Protoss is where it's at.

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    Belegorm

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    Starcraft's story ended with Brood War. Or at least it did for me.

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    BisonHero

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    @dudeglove: Yeah, pretty much that. I think the SC1 manual might go over which species they acquired first, but they basically keep assimilating different species, many from different planets. The Overmind controls them, always wanting to make the aggregate swarm as diverse as possible in terms of the mutations it could apply. Their powers were like, 100% genetically engineered by the Xel'Naga, but the Zerg became an unstoppable killing machine and wiped out their creators. I think the Zerg are generally pissed that the Protoss keep eluding them, who are also a Xel'Naga creation.

    Now, on top of the dumb primal Zerg on Zerus, we also find out the Zerg are basically Warcraft's Orcs, in that all along, APPARENTLY ACCORDING TO WINGS OF LIBERTY, the Overmind didn't WANT them to be this constantly improving mass organism bent on destruction. That was actually programmed in by SC2's barely present villain, Amon (because I guess we using Diablo character names now), some asshole rogue Xel'Naga. I guess without him enslaving the Overmind to make them assimilate the whole universe, the Overmind would've had the Zerg write poetry or something. Except oh wait, what else was a Lovecraftian mound of flesh ever going to command his minions to do other than devour everything? Their attempts to make the Zerg sympathetic are laughable. Also, instead of "let's assimilate Kerrigan because she's a psionic, she'd be a good champion", it turned into "the Overmind intentionally wanted her because she'd be able to take over the Swarm and 'free' them once the Overmind dies because she doesn't have the same programmed objectives from Amon," except A) that's a shitty Chosen One storyline, B) it was complete chance that the Zerg obtained her because Mengsk was a dick and left her to die, and C) she isn't really doing anything different from how the Overmind would do things.

    It's just dumb on so many levels.

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    Tennmuerti

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    @dudeglove: @bisonhero:None of that stuff is exclusionary of each other tho. Just because the Overmind want's to get rid of the control over him, he is simply doing it out of survival. It's an action it takes, one of them, it doesn't mean Overmind and Zerg overall don't want to be a constantly evolving organism killing and assimilating everything in their wake. These aren't mutually exclusive.

    Zerg did start out on a single planet, this is known even in SC1. They evolved and assimilated many species over time. But again these things go hand in hand. So yea you encounter some of the OG wild zerg when you go back to their origin planet, it seems fairly logical.

    Same goes for Overmind's use of Kerrigan. It assimilated Kerrigan because she is a strong psionic, why can it not use that opportunity to then try and use her as a means for Zerg to escape their control? In fact a strong psionic template seems like the only logical possibility to try and achieve that. Is it chance? Sure, but it's not like the Overmind only ever had 1 human subject to work with, and when one chance works out why not take it.

    Anyway people here like to shit on the HoTS story line a lot, I've personally never found anything particularly objectionable about it.

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    Tennmuerti

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    #21  Edited By Tennmuerti

    @veektarius: The last few missions are Zergier then ever, the campaign really does a good job of making it feel like a swarm.

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    theanticitizen

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    Screw all you Protoss players in this thread. Zerg's CLEARLY the best race(even if they're under powered right now :P)

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    Giantstalker

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    I stopped after WoL cause the only place I like Zerg is on the dangerous end of a Terran gun

    Might break down for Legacy of the Void though, since Protoss are pretty okay

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    Zirilius

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    @giantstalker: The campaign is really good and you'll be missing out on a lot of story by skipping the campaign.

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    Do_The_Manta_Ray

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    I'll echo the general sentiment here. Great gameplay, lackluster story. With one addendum, the ending is TERRIFIC. Well worth seeing through just for that. It's a hell of an RTS campaign, and I think you really ought to give it a good chance, especially considering we're still days away from MGS V, and OH, GOD! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?! HOW DO I PASS THESE HOURS?! Oh, hang on. Until Dawn is kinda' great. And look at that, new Pillars of Eternity Expansion was released. Yeah, yeah. Gaming, you're A-okay sometimes.

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    CheapPoison

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    I would have a hard time recommending it if it hasn't dropped somewhat in price. And seeing it is a blizzard property there is a good chance it didn't, that along with the fact that there are so many other excelent things out there.

    The whole thing is very zergy, they do a couple of cool things but they do a few things that are absolutely terrible. Kerrigan is still unrelatable, the story isn't great (and I would argue kind of throw away cause really not a lot happens. Most of your time is spend undoing stuff from the first game which feels cheap.)

    At this point i would wait. If the third game is excellent, I feel the second game start to be worth more as you might be interested in seeing the continuation of the story. There is also a slim chance that with the third game releasing there might be a bundle with all of them so you could get a better deal.

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