Heart of the Swarm – Starcraft 2

My favourite (and easily most played) game of 2012 was Starcraft 2 and so I have been looking forward to the release of the first expansion Heart of the Swarm. This weekend at DG LAN 9 was when I was able to play through the campaign for the first time.

Gameplay – Heart of the Swarm vs Wings of Liberty


The core of the Starcraft 2 game hasn’t changed. It is still the awesome real time strategy (RTS) game which was launched three years ago. The same game which has brought massive esports coverage online to thousands of viewers watching their favourite players play with passion to win massive prizes. From a single player perspective what Heart of the Swarm brings is a new campaign and a new set of units for the solo challenges.

I have to say the Heart of the Swarm campaign is thoroughly enjoyable, there are similarities to Wings of Liberty but the storyline is distinctly different and some nice different ways to progress through army customisation. Once you have completed the campaign there are archives which allow quick access to the different missions, before which you can customise your army choice before playing a particular mission. This way you can pick out the right upgrades that you want prior to a specific mission to gain certain tactical advantages without needing to go through the entire campaign again. There are a lot of achievements which can be gained just playing the campaign on normal as well, meaning those who are still casual but like to get these will have their fill.

Also there are a series of new guide missions which make a good job of introducing players (or reminding those of us out of practice) how to play efficiently on a basic level. Which leads nicely into playing on the ladder in ranked or unranked matches.


There have been some simple adjustments to the multi player versus AI system, you can still play custom games with total control but co-operative has been replaced with “ranked” matching against AI. This basically means that when you, alone or with a friend, choose to play a match vs AI then you are pitched as if playing against players of a roughly similar skill level. This is a nice touch especially as the AI level is indicated and sometimes you are given specific race opponents. New units added mean that tactically the game is changing, along with tweaks to existing units abilities or power makes for a different tactical field and interesting new play styles.


If you have played Starcraft 2 then you will know what the quality is like, nicely polished and with plenty ambient details, but there are some nice new little additions to the in game graphics. For instance now when units are destroyed or killed they don’t just drop on the spot, larger explosions will actually throw their remains aside. Also the entire menu interface has been rebuilt with some nice changes to layout and cleaner overall design.


Whilst it is part of Blizzard’s high standard their cut scenes are brilliant extra to the game itself which I think are worth it in many ways. That and the fact they have introduced a number of new ways to acquire different portraits mean you can be more unique with your personal profile.

Replay value

Heart of the Swarm adds a whole new collection of achievements and the change to multi player means new ladder matches, a refresh to the game for those who enjoy playing online.

5 stars for Heart of the Swarm

There is no way this could be anything less than five stars from me. The single player campaign is thoroughly enjoyable plus there is a nice large variety of new multi player aspect which will make this expansion add just as much extra life into Starcraft 2 for me. See you on Battle.net!