Review by FutbolStiver
"A phenomenal game set in a phenomenal world."
Warcraft III takes Blizzard's Warcraft universe and the entire RTS genre to the next level. This game is possibly the best strategy game ever created, in my opinion, and will provide endless entertainment. Blizzard has done it again.
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos is a brilliant game, and Blizzard has outdone themselves again. Blizzard is a veteran of the RTS field, with their previous two Warcraft titles and their blockbuster Starcraft title giving them the background required to create a game of this caliber. The gameplay is above their previous standards, with new dynamics being introduced such as expendable heroes who have experience and equipment, and old dynamics being kept, such as a twin to the Zerg's creep. The game offers four playable races including the classic Orcs and Humans, and bringing the Undead and the Night Elves into the game world. Each race has its own strengths and weaknesses, an improvement that now seems standard, but remember that in Warcraft II, the two armies were practically the same. The gameplay has shifted somewhat, as now the focus is more on having small groups of units that are specialized in countering certain defense types, as opposed to spamming hundreds of units on your enemies. There is an upkeep feature that will decrease the amount of gold you can receive from mines as the number of units you control increases. This means that instead of sending huge armies into battle, you frequently find yourself using small raiding parties led by a hero unit. The Heroes are probably the biggest step, gameplay wise, as they resemble RPG characters. They gain experience from kills and gain levels which increase their stats and grant them extra abilities. They can also be equipped with 6 different items. They can also be revived for a fee when killed. The diversity of races allows for unique gaming experiences. The multiplayer is also strong and Blizzard has their excellent Battle.net service to back it up.
Now, this may be where some people are divided. Blizzard has chosen stylistic graphics over realism. What this means, is that many unit appear blocky, but as a whole, the world looks excellent. The vibrant colors, and detailed landscapes are at times breathtaking in their magnificence, but they are not very taxing on your computer either, so lower end computers should have no problem running this game. The units are scaled so that a goblin will look tiny in comparison to the Biggest Panda Ever (in game joke). Not much more can be said without seeing examples, so I encourage you to check out some screen shots of the game, or better yet, videos. The game, for me, had amazing graphics.
Not much to be said here, just that Blizzard has done it again with their orchestral score that provides appropriate mood to the game. The music is great and complements the stylistic environment perfectly. The voiceovers are also great and provide the great comical responses when clicked repeatedly. I enjoyed the soundtrack, and I guess a lot of other people did too, because Blizzard has released the mp3's of the in game music and you can download them off of Blizzard's website.
The story is somewhat epic in nature, but there is also great character development around the hero characters. There are some minor plot twists, but the real success around the story is the way you empathize with the characters. I even read the Warcraft novels centered around this game because of my appreciation for the story. Moreso than the story contained within this one game, the Warcraft universe has a detailed and rich storyline and history, and the game manual comes with a huge backstory and history section. I am a huge fan of this world. I have heard that many of the characters in this game reappear in World of Warcraft, and there is even a place in WoW that replays ghostly sounds of a battle from this game. If you play WoW, or want to in the future, I suggest you play this game first to get you on track with some of the history. Blizzard always goes the extra mile to make their games great, and there are many secrets in the levels, and two levels of difficulty, with two separate credits reels. The replay value is very high, as in addition to there being two modes of difficulty, there are tons of custom maps for you to hone you skills on. The world editor is great, just like the one packaged with Starcraft, and will allow you to do practically anything with the game. Multiplayer is very rewarding, and there are many leagues that you can participate in, in addition to Blizzard's own ladder system on Battle.net. Some people may not like the RPG elements introduced into the game, but i think it adds a great new dynamic to the somewhat repetitive RTS genre. If you want a pure and simple chess game RTS, then maybe this isn;t for you, but I don;t see how anyone could object to this game after giving it a fair chance.
This game is incredible, and I suggest you buy not just this one, but get the Battle Chest so you can play the expansion too. I'll write a review of Frozen Throne when I beat it. If you are still skeptical, download and play the demo. It'll blow you away.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/13/06
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