Review by Ofisil

"War Reigns"

Warcraft 3: The Reign Of Chaos is an RTS, (or RTS/RPG as some like to call it), developed and released by the legendary Blizzard Entertainment. After the Starcraft phenomenon most gamers expected something similar and after a long wait the company brought us Warcraft 3 and went a bit further by creating a simple but quite addictive mixture of Real Time Strategy along with some RPG elements and a marvelously narrated plot. What we have here is a masterpiece. Let me explain why…

Story: 9/10
Presentation: 10/10

As the eternal conflict between Orcs and Humans still goes on, a mysterious prophet appears and speaks about the flame that will come to consume this world. He visits both humans and orcs in order to advise them to leave their land and travel west to an ancient place named Kalimdor in order to fight their common enemy. The plot of Warcraft is not something extremely original, actually it is just a simple fantasy story. What makes it so good is the way it is presented. After completing a campaign level you'll surely want to keep on playing in order to find out what will happen next. I personally played from the start to the end without leaving my seat! Although simple, the story of Warcraft is actually very good. Each level gives a bit more detail about the story and the mythology of the Warcraft world like in Starcraft. Finally, we have excellent characters that fit very good to the story, plot twits, (betrayals, strange alliances etc.), new areas and races and many, many more…

Gameplay: 10/10
Replay Value: 10/10

In W3 along with normal units you can control a special unit that is more powerful and gains experience in order to make level advancements like in almost every RPG. You can learn special abilities or make existing ones more powerful. Abilities consist of auras that affect the stats of you and your surrounding friendly or enemy units, summoning, offensive or defensive skills, scouting skills, negative or positive buffs, healing spells and many more. Heroes can also carry a small amount of items. When a hero dies he can be revived from a certain structure at the cost of resources. Beware that the game revolves around Hero units something that some pure RTS fans may not like at all. Apart from the Heroes we have the typical RTS mechanics. Build structures, create different units from different structures and then send them to battle. You gather gold and lumber, you can improve the stats of your units, (attack, defense, skills etc.), create defensive structures and so on.

Each race is very different from the rest something that affects the way you plan your strategy each time. Humans have the best defensive stats, healers and hard to bring down structures, Orcs have buildings that hurt melee attackers and generally are the best offensive race of the game. We also have 2 new races. The Undead, which specialize in raising the dead, life stealing and many more and my favorite race, the night elves, which can go down quite easily but their units and structures are so innovative that they make up for it. The races are quite balanced, not us balanced and innovative as the Starcraft ones but they are all very good. Don't expect to control a vast army of 1000 units here… 2 groups of 12 units is a common Warcraft 3 amount of warriors. That's because here units endure more hits than in most common strategy games out there and secondly because each unit has 1-3 special skills, (note: many auto-cast spells), so you'll have to control a small amount of heroes in order to switch between them quickly. If you have selected a group of different units then you can switch between each individual type of units very quick, (I personally loved this style), use their special skill, select your hero, cast a spell, select a different unit group etc. In a typical Warcraft 3 fight you have some units to scout, defend your base, or guard a certain spot while you use a main group of elite warriors that consist of 1-3 Heroes and 9 common units. You can make many kinds of unit mixtures, you can have 2 simple warriors, 2 stronger ones, 2 siege units, 2 magic units and a large flying beast, or 4 warriors, 4 magicians, 1 siege weapon, or… anyway you get the idea.

The main campaign seems like Starcraft. You begin with a certain race, finish its part and unlock a new race that continues the plot from where the previous race has ended. The first 1-3 stages of each race's campaign are like training levels and are a bit boring I guess, but all the rest are very good. Along with the main objective of each quest you can find additional mini-quests just like in a RPG. Apart from the common stages where the only thing you'll have to do is to destroy all enemy units, there are many levels with very original concepts. The only problem is that the main campaign is a bit easier than most strategy games out there. Of course we also have the Custom Game mode, which is the common Skirmish mode that every RTS game has. On its own it is quite simple I must say. Simple maps, a few Goldmines, Neutral Hostile units that help leveling up your Hero and of course your opponent-s! Left alone this mode isn't something special, what makes it special is the one, the only… THE WARCRAFT 3 EDITOR!!! One of the most powerful moding tools ever! You can create skirmish maps, (and with the expansion you can create campaigns too), customize almost everything and create your own units, create triggers, (difficult to master but very useful), and generally create everything you can thing of, for example some great map creators have made racing games or pacman games by using Warcraft units and objects! Take a look in the Net, years after Warcraft 3's release and it is still amongst modders favorites!

Graphics: 10/10
Design: 10/10

One of my favorite aspects in all of Blizzard games is the quality of its graphic design. What I mean is that Blizzard games where never famous for their superpower graphic engines, supreme realism and things that famous FPS games usually have. Warcraft 3 is one great example of what I mean. Everything looks great without being at the edge of technology. Very colorful, full of simple but wonderful terrain textures, weather effects, a great day-night cycle, Warcraft 3 looks great! All units follow the same formula, they look good without being very detailed. Each race has its own distinctive style and different interface look, for example the Night Elves buildings, units and interface are full of nature details like leafs and roots while the Orcs have a more shaman-like look. Blizzard has done a nice job by paying attention to detail almost in every portion of the game. Main menu, HUDs, Icons, Units, Levels, buttons, special effects, everything!!!

Sound: 10/10
Music: 8/10

Excellent sound quality and variety. Music themes give the right atmosphere to the game. There are different music themes for every race which all fit quite good. Nothing spectacular when speaking about the music portion of Warcraft, no Final Fantasy OST or anything, but the sound effects and the voice acting simply rock! A large amount of high quality voice acting that are perfect in every aspect and give character to each unit, (also if you click on a unit more than 3 times it makes some very funny comments, like in Starcraft). Finally all sound effects are great too, from simple ambient sounds to spell casting, explosions, etc.

[+]:
-Great plot that will make you keep on playing
-Hero units that level up, have skills and can use items
-4 wonderful races
-Great graphic quality and variety
-Excellent voice acting, especially for the Hero units
-Tons of Mods, due to its very powerful Editor

[-]:
-Not a pure RTS game
-Quite easy
-The first 1 chapter of the campaign

Also Play:
Age Of Mythology (PC)
Starcraft 1 & 2 (PC)
Z (PC)

Overall: 9.6/10

Judging not only by my score but also from most of the reviewers out there you can surely understand that we are talking about an excellent game. But what about the ones that hated the game, or at least not consider it a true classic? How can you be sure that you aren't one of those people? Well the answer is simple, if you are a fan of PURE RTS games, like the living legend named Starcraft, or games like Age Of Empires then there is a slight possibility that you won't find the Warcraft 3 experience very entertaining since it almost looks like an Action game rather than a RTS. If you don't mind a fast paced RTS/RPG mixture… welcome to the World Of Warcraft, (Not THAT one!!!).


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/17/07, Updated 05/14/10

Game Release: WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos (EU, 07/05/02)


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