Review by Fuma
"Same candy in a different wrapper? Hardly."
If you're interested in The Frozen Throne, you are (most likely), familiar with Reign of Chaos. So I'll skip going into the basics of WCIII and get right to the savory, succulent new additions to the game.
Honestly, TFT is TONS more than I anticipated in a lot of ways. First, the new units. The new regular army units pretty much all have at least one ability. While I wasn't terribly impressed with some, certain others (Spellbreakers in particular) are exceptional. As with RoC, the real flair comes from the heroes. And TFT delivers. The Orc's Shadow Hunter helps add even more longevity to orc units, and can be a potential beast in team games (his ultimate adds invulnerability to surrounding units). The NE Warden has a super effective group attack skill (Fan of Knives), though it is a little depressing that for her ultimate summon to be truly effective, you must have dead units. The Crypt Lord is a tank. Good hp, and one of his skills increases his armor. A high level CL could easily reach 20+ without items. The Blood Mage's skills seem a bit odd, but useful nonetheless.
The neutral heroes also add a whole new element to the game. Not only are most of them very effective, they're really just a lot of fun to use. In most multiplayer situations you'll have 9 heroes to choose from, though you're still working with a three hero cap. Not all new TFT multiplayer maps have a Tavern to hire from, but it seems the majority do. Hopefully, the ability to customize your hero force as you desire will mean more variety in strategies you see online in the coming months. Either way, Brewmaster is crazy cool.
If you've managed to avoid spoilers, the campaign will be pretty entertaining, sort of. Some of the missions themselves are a bit bland, but the story is interesting.
There's also a good bit of variety. Not only do you have the usual raping and pillaging, but you've also got a hidden (though easy to find) tower defense mission and a mission that I could only describe as DotA-esque. You can expect to see most of the old characters to return in some capacity, too.
If you're still playing Reign of Chaos, you've probably experienced the new 1.10 patch changes. So you're also aware that the patch adds many of the new features TFT also has. So you've got an idea on how things work already.
Of course, there are also plenty of new easter eggs. Expect to find new unit quotes relating to things from Transformers to Diablo. Also keep an eye out for items like Wirt's Other Leg.
Also, there's a slight graphical overhaul of sorts, though it doesn't apply to the entire game. Expect a level of animation that's better than the regular gameplay but not as good as the cinematics to show up a couple of times.
If you like Reign of Chaos and don't have any huge problems with 1.10 (I wasn't totally thrilled about it Monday either), you should pick up TFT for sure. You've got 24 campaign missions plus a three part bonus campaign (parts two and three to be released by download from blizzard.com at some later date), so there's plenty to do. Even if you just play for multiplayer, the new heroes and units really add a lot more diversity than you may initially think.
If you haven't played WCIII before, and you're thinking of getting RoC and TFT now, you may want to go ahead and wait for the inevitable Battle Chest.
Either way, unless you absolutely hate Reign of Chaos, you should definitely pick up TFT at some point.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/02/03, Updated 07/02/03
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