Review by Canadian Guy

"Time to chill"

One the first of July 2002, Blizzard released the third installment in their critically acclaimed Warcraft series. The game followed the story of the usual two: the Alliance (Humans, Dwarves and Elves)and the Horde (the Orcs); and included two new factions: the Scourge (the Undead) and the Sentinels (Night Elves). Now, one year later (day for day!) the expansion to Warcraft III, The Frozen Throne, was released.

The story picks up a couple of months after the climax of Archimonde's defeat at the hand of the Night Elves. Kalimdor is ravaged, the Orcs are building their own nation on Kalimdor along side the rest of the Lordaeron expedition. Meanwhile on the other side of the ocean Arthas is ruling Lordaeron with an iron fist and spreading death and decay wherever he can. Like in Starcraft and Warcraft III you play through the single player with every race rather than picking one and sticking with them. You'll play with Night Elves, then with the Blood Elves and finish with the Undead. Now anyone who knows Warcraft will think two things ''where are the Orcs'' and ''what about the Alliance?''. The Orcs have a campaign but it doesn't revolve around the main plot, their just building their own country, and that's what the campaign is about. And who are these ''Blood Elves''? Well this is one thing I enjoy Blizzard, they'll come up with something totally ''un-orthodox'' any time. After the events in Warcraft III which resulted in th total destruction of the Elves country Quel'Thalas, the Elves went ballistic and started becoming more chaotic and violent (this is what I meant by ''un-orthodox'', Elves are usually the opposite). You'll play with them and try to find a new home for these new Elves rather than play with the whole Alliance.

The game adds one new hero for each race, so four new heroes! The Warden for the Night Elves, the Shadow Hunter for the Orcs, the Crypt Lord for the Undead and the Blood Mage for the Alliance. But that's not all (thankfully), we also get two new units for each side. The Night Elves get the Mountain Giant and the Faerie Dragon; the Orcs get the Troll Batrider and the Spirit Walker; the Undead get the Obsidian Statue and the Destroyer (evolved Obsidian Statue) and finally the Alliance gets the Spell Breaker and the Dragonhawk Rider (who could be seen during the invasion of Quel'Thalas in the Undead campaign in Warcraft III). These new units try to balance the four races: the Mountain Giant is the massive unit the Night Elves badly needed, the Spell Breaker makes mass-casters useless (no need to worry about bloodlust with these guys!) and so on... Almost anyone who played Warcraft III will notice that Blizzard tried to make magic-users less effective in large groups and make them what they're supposed to be: support units.

The gameplay has also been improved, and boats are back!! Each race has two kinds of boats: transport and battleship. And the Orcs brought back the Ogre Juggernaut! I couldn't have been happier to see those things once again! Upkeep has also been modified (this should make some people very happy): low upkeep happens much later on and high upkeep is activated only when you're ten food units away from the max (which is now 100 I believe). Blizzard also have included mercenary heroes who can be recruited at the Tavern the new heroes are: Naga Sea Witch, Padaren Brewmaster (!), Beastmaster, Dark Ranger and Pit Lord (Manoroth was one of these guys). These heroes have their own set of abilities and underestimating them will be your downfall (it was for me anyway!). Defense structures are available earlier on and are built faster in order to prevent heroe rushes (cheap tactic used by a lot of people on Battle Net). Battle Net has been improved, but I won't go into that because I'm not a fan of online gaming. Lastly there are five new tile-sets, and they all look VERY good. On a last note some of minor graphics effect have been updated: the Ancient Protector throws boulders now and smoke effects when you pick up runes and books look really smooth and nice. Ah yes, I forgot to talk about these runes. you'll run into them a lot in the single player campaign: when you pick them up they'll have various effects ranging from health/man recovery to increased speed.

In conclusion this add-on is great, adds new elements and makes Warcraft III even better. Add to that the fact that the game is relatively cheap (I paid 45 Canadian dollars for it) and you've got a must-have for any fan of Warcraft III and good RTS!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/08/03, Updated 07/08/03

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