Review by VampireHunterD4
"Wow... Final Fantasy hits Real-Time Strategy. I'm waiting to be Impressed."
Welcome to my review of WarCraft III, one of the better games to come out for a while. Or at least, one of the better ones I’ve been able to play. WarCraft III has done probably the best job possible of combining RPG elements with Real-Time Strategy, creating a whole new type of gameplay previously only hinted at the forerunners of this game (I & II). Trust me though, this is not a biased review. In fact this would be unnecessary will the number of reviews their are, except they are all either fan boy-ism or nay-saying of the game. You won't find that here. On to the Cold, Hard Facts!
Blizzard is certainly living up to it's standards. With four campaigns and 32 missions, not including a tutorial/prologue with more info, The story of this game is up there with the greats of RTS (Various C&Cs, Starcraft) and easily beats the convoluted confusion you got out of the first two. It will drag you in and let have at you. The side-quests are also fun, and the Easter eggs prolific on each level are fun. (Wait till you meet Tichondrius the Polymorphic Sheep! Hehe.) Each level gives you a ton of things to do besides the main quest, and usually the main quest does not invoke too many problems in doing them. The story does, sadly, parallel Starcraft in various ways, but it is original on to itself, mostly. Enthralling to say the least, and well worth it's 10.
This sadly, is where WarCraft falls short of all hype, but not as short as many other reviewers that aren't constantly hyping the games place it. On to revealing the problems and pluses without spoiling the game.
The game is, as I stated in my main thing, really a mix of Final Fantasy and RTS. A great example would be the little known Sqauresoft RPG Bahamut Lagoon, but since no one has played it, I'll use Final Fantasy Tactics. No matter what, this game is very like a RPG where a lot of emphasis is placed on the personal you have, especially their abilities. You have Heroes which will become more powerful through combat and experienced gained, level up, and learn new spells, some extremely useful, some tepid in all respects.
First, the game is NOT like any other RTS except maybe WarCraft II, but even then it's not a fair comparison. If you go into this game thinking anything like Starcraft, C&C, anything else, even old WarCrafts, you will be beaten again, and again, and again, and never understand why your losing so badly. When going into this game, think more like an RPG. Hell, think it is an RPG. Because it is. Your Heroes is the main guys. Your base is the towns you visit. Your other units are helpers you can buy in many RPGs. You can, of course, only have a *very* limited amount of these by the way. More on that later. You then kill to win, and gain exp/gold. Though you still harvest all your gold and lumber too.
It's also uniquely different in that your food/unit cap is set at 90. No, not 90 units, 90 food/supply! Meaning that your largest possible army, minus the heroes, is 45 of the most basic units, which will win you nothing. Basic grunts, footmen ,etc. cost 2, a low level spell-caster 3, heavy units 4 or even 5 food. You will probably have less then 40 units at all times, more like twenty or thirty attack units, because we are forgetting about peons, your builders/harvesters. This places much greater emphasis on TACTICs then STRATEGY. Tactics like ''Enemy gryphons and my Headhunters or ranged attacker guys are a good combo for me.'' No longer a strategy of how best to crack his base defenses.
While I admire the depth Blizzard has gone to get rid of the Feeling from Starcraft of ''Get mass resources, build mass units, win.'' This has created a game of ''Micro-management, Hard-Core.'' This game has huge emphasis on Hotkey and troop management, along with spells. Each hero has four spells, and not many of them are passive aka always active, not requiring you cast it, four or five of you units have abilities like Ensnare, to bring down winged enemies so melee units can attack it on ground, which need to then be attacked, plus two or three spell casters with three spells, only one of which, if any, are auto-castable. Auto-cast is a great addition. You can choose a spell to be casted as much as possible by a unit if it's applicable. Which is great. Only problem is not many are Auto-castable. You must have all these units together to truly defeat any enemy with any skill, even the medium difficulty missions against the computer, and you must be able to cast use all these abilities effectively, at the same time.
This makes the game stop being strategy, because their is no strategies to develop like ''Pincer attack'' or ''Send my air units in here after making him think my main attack is here'' or anything, because it's useless, and impossible, to do that and attack effectively, at all, with your less then 30 units. It's more Tactics, like knowing which units to attack with what, which spells to use win, and what beats what. It's a million times more complex form of Rock, Paper, Scissors.'' and a real headache at times.
The good news is that this isn't that bad, even I enjoy it at times. It just gets knida old, and it hurts your head to the point where, unlike Starcraft or C&C, you can't play this all day long, or you risk a week-long migraine from the micromanagement. I loved the heroes, and the spells were cool, it's just that now the entire gameplay hinges on your ability to cast spells quickly and effectively, selecting different casters repeatedly and casting spells as often as you can, to do all. It's no longer effectively creating a base, creating an army, not two squads of units, and attacking the enemy properly. Now, an average game isn't decided in the first ten minutes of base building or resource gathering, like Starcraft or others, anymore. Now it's decided before you even play by the faster clicker.
The graphics, like all others by Blizzard, are great graphics for what they are. Cartoony and fun. How awesome are the graphics? Wait till you see fading hoof prints in snow, yet not lose a single FPS to slowdown! Blizzard isn't making a as real as possible game, and goes all the way with it. The units look funny, cool, and great. The cutscenes, in-game, are nice. (What's With C&C Generals, WCIII, and all these other games doing like 9/10ths of cutscenes in game now? The Engines aren't *that* Great. Anyone know?) And the real cinematics are the Awesomenest, Most L337, greatest things ever!!!!!
Music:4/10 & 10/10
'Two Scores?', I here you cry. Yes. 4/10 is in-game, 10/10 is cinematic/sounds. The in-game music is a joke, really faint, and if you turn it up, you turn it back down, because it's just not as moving as in other RTS's which are known, normally, for good mood music. On the other hand, the cinematics have the best music they could for them, and everyone has perfect music to go with it. I re-watch the cinematics twice a week for the music alone, and the L337-ness/awesomeness of them themselves. The in-game sounds, and voice acting, is great. The units make great acknowledgements, and the annoyed ones are even more awesome this time around. The swords clashing, the guns, everything sounds great. You even get different noises depending on what is being attacked! The swords sound different even on Different Buildings! (wood, stone, etc.)
Replayability: 1/10 or 10/10
Why the rating I gave? If you love micro-management or own at it, or loved Starcraft online, this is at least a 10/10. If you weren’t much for Starcraft online or hate the microing system/aren't that good at it, then you'll never want to connect to Battle.Net. This game will leave on just like Starcraft because of the versatility of editing maps, where you can make any kind, even Mario Party-esque, RPG, anything.
To rent/buy: Depends. If you like RPGs, or liked any RTS, get your hands on it, at least try. Probably buy. If you liked Starcraft or WCII, this is a must-have. Besides, it's pretty cheap now.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 08/22/03
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