Review by Fraghappy

"A huge step up from Warcraft II"

Blizzard, the company who truly has mastered real-time strategy games, continues their epic Warcraft saga with the third installment. With features including two new races, a new hero system, and revamped graphics, this game is certainly a big step up from its predecessor. Warcraft III seems to strongly emphasize the differences between each race. Previous players will remember the Orcs and Humans, and this game adds the Night Elves and Undead. All of the races are fairly balanced, but have distinct advantages and disadvantages. For instance, Undead are particulary adept at harvesting materials, while the Humans have the best set of Heroes.

The story begins as Arthas, the King of Lorderan’s son, and Uther, leader of the Paladins, are out to stop a plague that has been going around lately, spreading through the grain that the villagers eat. While they set out to see what is behind all of the recent sickness, Thrall, the Orc Warchief, is contacted by a mysterious prophet who says that he must bring he and his people across the sea to the ancient lands of Kalimdor, home of the Night Elves. This is just the beginning, as the world of Warcraft III is about to be overtaken by the undead, by the force later known as the Undead Scoruge. Will the beings of the planet be able to stop this menace? That is up to you, as you go through over 30 missions to decide the fate of the Humans, Orcs, and now, the Night Elves.

If you are not up for stories, or you want to take a little break from the missions, you can create a custom game, where you can play as any race, on any map, against any computer players in a Melee Game. In these games, there are no rules, and it is simple all-out battle. The AI script tends to be a bit smarter in these battles though, so watch out.

The graphics of this game are a huge step up from Warcraft II, and still manage to run very smoothly. You can zoom in on units and see the excruciating amount of detail on each sprite. Most of the scenery in the various maps are amazing, and are realistic to the point where you feel like you are sucked into the game. Overall, the graphics really surprised me, especially after the oversimplified graphics from Warcraft II.

The sound and music matches the graphics in realism. There are tons of “Ambient Sounds,” such as the tweets of birds, the hoots of owls, wind, rain, etc. Along with that, every unit type has a very diverse array of quotes that they say. Click on them over and over to get some that they won’t say normally, quite a few of which are hilarious, such as the Rifleman’s ''Guns don't kill people. I DO! HAHA!'' The music of the game doesn’t really stand out much, as it is faded gently into the background, but it is very well written, and fits in with the atmosphere of the game.

The gameplay simply cannot be beaten. The controls are very easy to pick up on, the only disadvantage being that you can only control 12 units at once. The “grouping” system is therefore the most efficient way of controlling large armies all at once. The new game system also makes it easier to control several types of units with different “extra abilities” much easier. The unit AI’s have also become somewhat better, so they won’t end up getting themselves killed if you leave them alone for a bit…

One amazing feature of Warcraft III is the Map Editor. I can say, without a doubt, it is the single best map editor I have ever used. Other games like Ages of Empires have decent editors, but there are often glitches, and you can’t do a lot of things that they pull off in the game. The Warcraft III Map Editor makes making beautiful maps, carefully timed events, and more all very easily. You can create new units and buildings and change anything imaginable about them. There is a complex trigger system that allows you to create awesome cinematic scenes, perhaps just as good as the ones in the story missions. The Map Editor also contains tons of other features including teams, advanced camera manipulation, and other stuff. I’ll leave it to you to check out the rest…

To sum things up, there is no reason to rent Warcraft III if you want to play it, go ahead and buy it. Completing all 30 missions takes time, and then there is infinite replay value with the various Melee combinations, and finally the map editor. There is no way you could fit much of this at all into a rental period. This real-time strategy has consumed numerous hours of my life, all of which I enjoyed greatly. Therefore, I believe that Warcraft III is an well-done game that every serious gamer should check out.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/24/03, Updated 03/24/03


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