Review by sd

"Real-Time Strategy At It's Peak"

As a long-time fan of the illustrious Warcraft series, and a big fan of Blizzard games, I naturally picked up Blizzard's newest masterpiece, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. The Warcraft series in general has always featured an on-going war between the bloodthirsty Orcs and the peaceful Humans, with hours of gameplay both solo and online. Now, in Warcraft III, Blizzard introduces the Night Elf Sentinels, and the Undead Scourge. With these two additions to the Warcraft world, strategy for the game has leaped and bounded, and excelled almost everyone's expectations.

Story

Well, since this game does have many RPG elements, I decided to add in story to the review. The story takes place fifteen years after the events of Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, when the Human Alliance banished the Orcs into the dying world of Draenor and obliterated the Dark Portal. Now, in Warcraft III, the human Prince Arthas is trying to find out the cause of a recent uproar with the people of his kingdom. I won't go into anything further than this because of spoilers. Although this is a strategy game, the story is actually quite gripping, and with a little more depth, this could have very easily been turned into an RPG. One thing I felt excelled here was the character development not seen in Warcraft II. Starcraft was the tip of the iceberg on story, and Warcraft III was the iceberg.

Control

An element most often forgotten in reviews, but important for RTS games, because they cannot be enjoyable unless they have excellent and flawless control. Warcraft III is a perfect example of this. A new feature added was the ability to set a group of units to a hotkey during the game, so you can control an army of soldiers, not just a small group, and it makes it seem more realistic. Control otherwise is flawless as well, and makes it seem like you are in the game itself.

Gameplay

Ahh, the juice of RTS games, the core of strategy, and where the bulk of this review belongs to. Nothing in this game is more important than gameplay. In most games, (besides the campaigns) you begin with a Town Hall, Great Hall, Tree of Life, or Necropolis depending on your race, and five basic workers of your race. You go from there. Set them to build and expand your empire, have them mine gold to increase your wealth, or have them chop and harvest trees for building. The production of Farms is needed for food for your warriors. There are literally thousands of ways to carry out your build order and make your units and strategy. A new taste of strategy is the addition of Hero units, made at a special building. Each race has three heroes from which you can choose, and can produce one or both of the remaining heroes as you upgrade your structures. The Hero unit can carry up to six items in a mini inventory, these items can range from the Ankh of Reincarnation (auto-revival after death) to a Tome of Strength (duh, strength boost). Each enemy or neutral unit your Hero kills or takes part in killing receives experience, and when enough is gained, they grow a level. Each Hero has different Abilities they can learn when leveling up. These include summoning demons, transforming into one, using a hammer to smash your enemies, or even healing your units. Many times, the Hero you choose will decide the strategy you use in battle. After an amount of ''creeping'' and building has been done, it comes time to attack your opponent. In battle, units do battle for the single purpose of eradicating your opponent from the face if planet: completely. Once your opponent loses all of their units and buildings in battle, you are declared the victor. Gameplay is Warcraft's biggest attraction and no RTS should be left without it.

Online Play

Yes, with Warcraft III, you can log onto Battle.net and play online with people across the world. This isn't very difficult, because it's absolutely free, no extras for payin' extra. It's all totally free, and this is the reason many people buy WCIII, for the online play, even though the story excells as well

Graphics/Sounds

Though there isn't much music, aside from the simple background music, the sounds in WCIII excel. They are simply superb. From the sound of a building burning down, to the howling of wolves as it turns from day to night is all excellently done and quite interesting. The graphics are explained with one word: Stunning. These graphics compare with the likes of Final Fantasy and Xenosaga. That should give you an idea

Replay Value

Wow, is there replay value. ALL RTS games have replay value, but this one mainly is good for it's FREE online play, but also for the extra difficulty level for story mode with the secret ending if completed. A feature not seen in many RTS games.

Rent or Buy?

This is definitely a buy game. This is the peak of RTS gaming, with its only rival being Starcraft (also by Blizzard). However, if you've never played an RTS game before, borrow a copy from a friend and try it. For you long time RTS players, this one's another winner!


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/22/03, Updated 03/22/03


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