Review by Masamune Hunter

"Blizzard's latest title exceeds StarCraft in every way..."

Introduction

Blizzard has had a longstanding tradition of making exceptional RTSs (Real Time Strategy), including WarCraft 1, WarCraft 2, and probably the most successful, StarCraft.

WarCraft III - Reign of Chaos follows the same shell as the previous 'Craft games. You must gather resources and build both a base and an army to crush your enemies with. Unlike the previous games, however, Warcraft 3 adds the unique touch of the Hero system, effectively raising the sometimes vague level of strategy needed to win a match.

Story

While the main focus of Blizzard's latest title is (as with previous games) the online network, Battle.net, the game (again, like the others) comes with a Campaign Mode.

Starting as the Humans, you must play each race (Human, Undead, Night Elf, and Orc) through the story, which is surprisingly deep and interesting for the average RTS. While somewhat predictable, it surpasses its predecessors by a wide margin.
9/10

Visuals

WarCraft 3 is the first Blizzard RTS to truly be 3D. The graphics are vivid and detailed, though somewhat toned down to allow the game to run on as low as an 8MB graphics card. Effects like water and rain are done rather nicely, but don't compare to the latest games for the consoles.

However, this allows the game to run efficiently on a low level computer. If a computer is still not able to run the game, the graphics level can be lowered to help the FPS (frames per second) move smoother. Even at the lowest settings, though, the game still looks quite nice.

The character designs are very unique and creative, from the assassin-like Archer to the stitched together monster, the Abomination.

Though the game does not press the visual template in any way, the graphics are not dissapointing at all, and detract nothing from the gameplay even at low settings.
9/10

Gameplay

WarCraft 3 remains a traditional RTS at heart. Very few aspects are different, from the resource gathering to the base creation. Trees must be chopped down to gather lumber, and gold must be gathered from the depths of the many mines scattered throughout the maps.

However, one truly unique idea was added the the game, the Hero system. Each race has an Altar they can construct which can summon and resurrect Heros. Heros range from the strict magic-caster Archmage, to the powerful, brutish Tauren Cheiften. Like traditional RPGs, the Heros can gain levels by slaying creatures that are found guarding important sections of the maps. Each Hero has three basic spells or skills that can be leveled up, and one Ultimate spell that can literally turn the tides of a battle. A level 1 unit is hardly more that a powerful unit, but a level 10 can take on whole armies almost by themselves.

Because of the addition of the Heros, and the near perfection of the traditional Real Time Strategy aspects, I must give the Gameplay in WarCraft 3 a...
10/10

Replay Value

As with most online games, the replay value of WarCraft 3 is incredibly high. Having finished the story or not, you can go online to Blizzard's Battle.net and fight against humans or computers (or both).

Once on Battle.net, you can chose to enter any of the numerous chats available, or create your own if you wish. The ''Race'' chats (Orc Stronghold, Human Fortress, Undead Black Necropolis, Night Elf Tree of Life) provide a place for players to discuss strategy and tactics.

WarCraft 3 adds a few new tricks to the old B.Net's sleeve, however. New additions include the greatly evolved ladder system and the ''Arrange Teams'' option, which allows you to team up with friends and fight together against other groups of teammates. A record of your ladder wins and losses are recorded as your stats, and you even get a special avatar (a picture that is displayed by your name) if you specialize in one race.

Because of the new additions to Battle.net and the ease of all of the functions provided within that network, I must give the Replay Value a...
10/10

Other...

The system requirements for WarCraft 3 are (as all of the previous Blizzard RTSs) quite low. The requirements are...

Windows
400 MHz Pentium II or equivalent
128 MB of RAM
8 MB 3D video card with Direct 8.1 support (included)
700 MB Harddrive space
4x CD-ROM drive

Macintosh
400 MHz G3 processor
128 MB of RAM
16 MB ATI Technologies or nVidia chipset 3D video card
700 MB Harddrive space
4x CD-ROM drive

The recommended requirements are...

600 MHz processor
256 MB of RAM
32 MB video card

The online multiplayer only requires a dial up modem, and can run quite nicely even on a 28.8k as long as you have the recommended requirements. This is truly a computer friendly game.

Overall Score
10/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/15/02, Updated 07/15/02


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