Review by skip
"Thaw out the toilet and start up Battle.Net!"
As did most people who owned the original WarCraft 3, I decided to buy the expansion pack, The Frozen Throne. It's big, it's bad and it's cold. Adding a new level of game play and continuing the story of WarCraft.
Blizzard can be commended on their cut scenes for this game. The detail is so good its scary. The people look real, The shadows just right, the water liquid-ish? Apart from the cut scenes, the game play graphics are very nice, better than most other RTSs. In full 3D, you can rotate and adjust the angle if you want, the land goes up and down, the water laps against the banks of the shore and you can even have little bits ice floating in the water on certain maps. The building, if build on a steep hill, will adjust to it and the building will extend to fill the gap between the base of the building and the start of the land, meaning the building is perfectly flat, very professional like.
As with WarCraft 3, The spell graphics are magnificent. You cast healing wave and you can see it jump from unit to unit. The only comment I have against any of the graphics is that the selection models, the face of the unit that speaks when you click on it, seem a bit rushed. Take the Bat Rider, he looks a little bland, with no muscular definition apart from the skin that goes over it, It looks like it needs to be fleshed out a bit. But that may just be me. Overall, a job well done.
The famous WarCraft unit quotes are back again. Click on a unit and it says something, click on it a few more times it will say something funny, ''My hoof and your ass have an appointment''. The music that comes with WarCraft is as battle-like as ever. A good example of Blizzards musical talent is the MP3 ''Earth, Storm and Fire'', which has become rather famous since Frozen thrones release. You can turn the volume off, but the game doesn’t sound the same. You'll miss the good ol' ''Work complete'' Sound from your peon and you'll feel odd looking at your Blood Mage move his mouth and not hear anything. However, there isn't anything new here, the new music is similar to the old and the new unit quotes aren't anything spectacular. For this, it gets a 9.
Here's where the game fell short for me. I cant say much for fear of spoiling it for you, but nothing spectacular happens. Some people die, some new people are seen some things are left hanging. I didn’t find the main campaign very useful, didn’t make much use of the new units and they don’t have any new concepts. However, despite the RPG format, the Orc campaign is an interesting addition and you'll kill a good 3 hours on it, the next chapters being available for download at some unknown point in the future.
Game play: 10/10
Here's what you’ve been waiting for, new units, new upgrades, new items, new models, new spells, new ultimates, new creeps, new buildings, new maps. Oooh, Blizzard did good. Lets go through it step bye step. Here are 3 big things you'll notice:
1: Neutral Heroes
The Neutral heroes can be bought at a tavern, all you need is a unit close bye, just a peon and you get yourself a new hero out instantly, that’s right, instant. The Neutral heroes can be bought at about 3/4 through the first day and have a range of abilities and ultimates. Also, if your hero dies, they can be revived for a higher price with no mana and half Hit Points. The Neutral heroes range from an alcoholic Panda to an angry, bow wielding, fish witch. However, these heroes also abide bye the tier rule. You cant have a Pandaren Brew Master if you already have a warden out. You need to upgrade your Tree of life first. So some rules still apply. Also, the Neutral heroes will require both gold and lumber if they are your second hero.
2: No more CasterCraft
If you played WarCraft 3 for long enough, you'd have noticed something known as CasterCraft. Basically making as many, fully upgraded, caster units for that race. You then attack. Quite generic and not very creative, blizzard have remedied this. Each race now has their 2 casters and an anti-caster unit. Each of the anti-caster units will have some way to combat magic using units. This means that a Human Spell Breaker can come along and STEAL your bloodlust and place it on one of their units. Scary eh? Well, be careful and mix your units. No more CasterCraft.
3: New Units; no more massing
Frozen Throne comes with about 2 or 3 new units for each race along with one new hero. These new units make mixing your units very important. You cant mass Lusted Tauren anymore, for fear of anti casters, and a human will have trouble with mass Gryphs, as they can be countered with a Troll bat rider nuking himself with a few berserkers doing their damage below. Every race has a counter now. You mass anything and your basically screwed.
If you don’t like multiplayer. You'll still love the Upgraded World editor. It DOES come with an, all be it restricted, spell editor. The new unit models will spawn a wonderful array of custom games. The Doodad editor has its uses. The doodad now has a brush size, no more placing tree bye tree and both the doodad and terrain editing tools have indicators to show where you will effect when you click that button. Enjoy.
Final Score: 9/10
The story isn't great, but if you buy the game for what it is, a game, you'll be pleasantly surprised. Battle.Net is a little dodgy at this point, but multiplayer is better than ever if you can complete a game. If you liked WarCraft 3, you'll love Frozen Throne.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/20/03, Updated 07/21/03
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