Review by DarkBob

Reviewed: 07/03/03 | Updated: 07/03/03

Just when you thought Warcraft III couldn't get any better...

Most people interested in purchasing this expansion have probably already played/bought Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. If you were an RTS fan, you most likely enjoyed it. It was relatively well-balanced, fun, and introduced many new things into the RTS genre. Many people truly thought the game couldn't get any better. Well, those people were wrong. Blizzard has released Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, an expansion to an already marvelous game. It expands on the storyline, introduces new units and heroes, along with many other game dynamics.

Storyline: 8/10

This is really the only area where the game is lacking. It starts we left off in the original War III, like all the other Craft expansions have. However, it goes downhill a bit. The background story is relatively well done, but some of the events that take place seem almost like pointless filler in order to make the game longer, and often don't advance the plot. It gets worse as you progress, but in my opinion the story was still decent enough to make me want to keep playing. The ending was mediocre, they could have done better with it.

Difficulty: 10/10

This is kind of difficult to rate, as this game can be played both offline and online. Offline Blizzard gives you the option of playing a Normal campaign, or a Hard campaign. Normal is a breeze for the most part, but Hard will keep you on the edge of your seat most of the time. If you just want to play against a computer for fun, it can be set to Easy, Normal, or Hard. The computer is quite nasty on Hard, especially if you play against two or more. On Easy, the computer is...well...easy :). Now online is very interesting. Blizzard has set up a matchmaking system (the same one in the original War III) in order to pit you up against an opponent worthy of your skill level. As you defeat opponents, you gain Experience Points, and if you get enough, you ''Level Up.'' A level is just a general determination of your skill, and generally you will do battle with those of your skill level. Blizzard also rewards you with special icons for winning enough games with different races.

Gameplay: 10/10

Just wow. Warcraft III was awesome, and this is even better. It has the same hero system, where you can level up special units in order to make them stronger and learn new special skills. More heroes have been added, making a new range of playstyles available. Even better yet, there are special ''Neutral Heroes'' this time around. They can be hired at special buildings on some maps, and act just like normal heroes. There are numerous Neutral Heroes, including the Pandaran Brewmaster, who has quite a host of humorous skills :). In the old Warcraft III, heroes could purchase or find items in order to grant their heroes special abilities, stat bonuses, or other effects. In this expansion, you can purchase an upgrade that allows ALL units to carry items. (In most cases, a normal unit can carry two). This is really cool, and adds to the strategy element of the game. On the topic of items is perhaps one of the coolest additions to the game. This is the buildable shop that each race gets. You can construct it anywhere in your base, and it functions just like any other shop on the map for the most part. However as you upgrade your main structure (Town Hall, Tree of Life, etc) more items become accessable in this shop. Each race gets different items to compliment its abilites and bring new strategies to the game. Each race also recieves a new unit or two, adding to their diversity. Each unit is usually quite different from the rest of the units available to the race, and can prove for some interesting battles when used properly. They are usually difficult to manage, and are not reccomended for beginning users in my opinion. There are also a few new buildings scattered across the map, with the most interesting one being one that allows for the construction of transport and attack ships. Lastly, the max unit limit was increased a bit, so battles can happen on a larger scale now.

Graphics: 9/10

Not too shabby :). Some of the new units, especially Illidan, look really cool if you zoom in on them. This game keeps the same 3D Isometric perspective as the original, and doesn't expand on the actual graphics too much. The new units do tend to look a bit better than the old ones however, and the cinematics are stunning, like usual :).

Sound: 10/10

Yay! The sound is excellent in this game. Blizzard took the liberty of remixing the old music tracks for the races, and adding a few new ones. They are much more exciting now, and are much longer so you don't get bored listening to the same thing repeating over and over. The quality is very good, and definitely creates a mood for the game. The units talk when ordered or clicked on, like any other Craft game. They can often be very humorous, especially if you click on the same unit repeatedly. The new units have new voices too, of course. The campaign has voice dialog, so all the cut scenes and cinema screens really come to life. The voice actors are quite good, and the voices don't sound forced.

Replayability: 10/10

There are numerous maps to play on, each with different strategies required and set ups. Playing online doesn't ever seem to get old, as each time you play someone its a whole different experience. One of the major factors that contributes to the 10/10 scores in replayability is the Map Editor. For lack of a better description, this thing rules. It is considerably more customizeable than the old Map Editor. You can even go as far as editing AI, User Interface, and even the tilesets themselves. If you are patient, you can make tons of interesting maps, and put the players into some very fun scenarios. The map editor is very user friendly, and is good for both the beginner and the map designing guru. You won't get bored with this, I assure you :)

Buy or rent?
Well, you can't rent computer games many places. Even if you could, I would say BUY IT! There is no way you could do everything in this game in a mere rental period. If you are a fan of RTS, and liked Warcraft III, buy this. (Note: You must have the original Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos in order to use this expansion pack).

Overall Score: 10/10

This game owns, buy it. It is a very worthy addition to any RTS player's repetoir.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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