What Trash the Heart of the Swarm Campaign Was

starcraft_swarm_campaign_reviewBlizzCon 2015 got me pumped for a Blizzard Entertainment product. Shocking, right? I mean, it’s not like it’s ever done that before. However, it’s normally a World of Warcraft expansion. Not this go around. The celebratory event was only days ahead of the impending launch to the conclusion to StarCraft II. Sadly, I hadn’t finished the Heart of the Swarm campaign yet. Ahead of Legacy of the Void’s launch I vowed to wrap that campaign before revisiting Zeratul and the rest of my favorite interstellar telepaths. There’s was one major hurdle to overcome.

The reason I hadn’t finished the Zerg campaign was because it’s terrible. Wings of Liberty spoilers ahead (do I even need to warn you of that years after release?).

The HotS story is incredibly shallow. There’s absolutely no defending that. Having just been saved by Raynor in Wings of Liberty, an effort that saw him kill his long-time friend and put the lives of his crew and the momentum of his revolution in jeopardy, Kerrigan thanks him by immediately leaving him for dead so she could pursue her childish desire to kill Arcturus Mengsk. The singular vision to kill the Dominion leader is played out in the following 27 missions. Hours of boredom, tacky dialog and Mary Sue characters bring no interest to the story. The one saving grace is the discovery of Primal Zerg, a pre-hivemind collection of beasts that instantly capture the abilities of those they kill. Think Highlander space bugs. Oh, and the fallen xel’naga that created the zerg and may be reborn. Whatever. Get Mengsk.

I’d rather that singular vision gone into creating a cool smartphone or something.

Wings of Liberty sported far more interesting campaign options, dialog, cinematics and character development. Sure, the opening part of the trilogy missed the mark on making choices actually matter, but everything about the campaign proved more interesting. Everything. Even that singular gaffe was at least interesting if poorly executed. Swarm introduced the Evolution Missions, a pointless distraction even more shallow than the campaign it was a part of. These missions were the eyedrop in the puddle of Heart of the Swarm relative to the ocean of Wings of Liberty.

Here’s to hoping that Legacy of the Void campaign trumps the first game I’ve beaten in 2016 a hundred times over. Otherwise, it’ll be a long 12 years with a bad taste in my mouth before StarCraft III. I guess there is always Nova Covert Ops, the beginning of StarCraft’s microtransactions.

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