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Thread: Drake's LotV Review/Recap [SPOILERIFFIC]

  1. #1

    Default Drake's LotV Review/Recap [SPOILERIFFIC]

    Again, SPOILERS ABOUND, BOYS!

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    Characters

    Let's get this out of the way first: Alarak is the best thing to come from this game. He's such a bloodthirsty troll.

    "Oh Artanis, will you just kill something already, you're boring me."
    "You're a violent prick."
    "No shit, Sherlock."

    Something that felt different from the previous two campaigns; the conversations contributed to character. They didn't just swap exposition, they talked about their feelings about things that had happened. Also, there were idle conversations if you just wait in the rooms, which is a nice touch. Rohana was bland but she had a purpose, and she looked distinctly ancient with her style of clothing. Vorazun was okay, Karax was a cool guy. Fenix was mostly fanservice, but he had a purpose and an arc.

    And then Artanis. Artie was pretty well-characterized, I think. He doesn't see himself as the wise and mighty leader others thing he can be, but he can be, and he becomes that. I also liked how he kept reminding folks "this is gonna end the galaxy; now's the time to put aside the petty in-fighting and unite against Amon, or we're all gonna die."

    Stukov got his moment to flip off Duran at last, was cool that Matt's an Admiral now. Swann had one scene and made it fun and memorable. What do you think, Skippy?

    "I'm not sure if it's Skippy or Artie that offends me more."

    While you ponder it, Dickhead, tell me what you think of the characters.

    "I'm thinking I don't know where Urun and Kaldalis went. Killing off Mohander in a short story was a waste, but at least we addressed him."

    Join the club, I'm wondering where Jake Ramsay is.

    Amon... well, they gave him a bit more than "mwahaha, the galaxy will be mine!" Learning so much about the Xel'naga's way of creating life, you do understand where he's coming from. The Xel'naga's artificial cycle of rebirth is a defiance of the natural order. Life, itself, is defiance of the natural order. You of course want life to go on, but when it's the way of things, when left to their own design, to do things differently... hm.

    Units

    I love the variety of units. The problem with Heart of the Swarm's unit mechanics is that unit evolutions usually just made each unit do what they do better, and their upgrades were for the same, often inconsequential stat boosts.

    Here, each unit feels different. The three Immortal variants, for instance; you can take the pure durability route with hardened shield, give them Shadow Cannon for taking down prime targets, or give them the Vanguard for AoE. Sentries are supporters, but each variant has distinctly different abilities to make them different kinds of supporters. There's a lot of replayability here, I'm of course gonna replay for all achievements eventually, and I want to experiment with different unit compositions for fun. The downfall is that some units fell shoehorned in, like the Corsair shoved in as a Phoenix alt, or the three options didn't make sense, like the Carrier-Tempest-Mothership all filling the role of "heavy support flyer."

    Also, somewhere in a corner, the Scout pilot is hugging his knees crying "why does no one like me? why didn't I get to be in the campaign?"

    I also liked the lore for each unit explaining why you have it. Why are Dragoons suddenly back? Because they were on the Spear of Adun when we found it. Why are there Aiur Dark Templar? They only just came about after the planet's fall.

    Missions

    The missions were a mixed bag. On the one hand, a lot of them were truly epic, like the Shakuras temple defense: hold out for billions of Zerg to arrive before we blow this pop stand and kill them all now that they're here. The Tal'darim duel between Alarak and Ma'lash was boring for gameplay, but cool for concept. The destruction of the crystals on Aiur was cool if only to visit places we remember from the first game. The mission was also cool for all our characters taking the field to fight, save for Rohana but she's lame anyway.

    On the other hand, far too many missions seemed to be in the same mold: "destroy these three/four target structures / defend these three/four target structures". Yeah, there's a lot of missions like those throughout the trilogy, but here it seemed like almost every mission was that mold. The game needed more variety.

    I have mixed feelings on the Artanis-Kerrigan mission. On the one hand, it was cool to see them team up and it was fun. On the other hand it seems more like something you'd see in an RPG game, fighting through a temple killing guardians to unlock doors deeper within.

    One note I did like that I'll fit in somewhere: the devs clearly did not feel shackled to Artanis as the main character. We took control of Karax, Vorazun, and in the opening Aiur missions we had Zeratul. There was some cool story and gameplay integration at times, and it went well, like Zeratul calling out to Selendis and not getting an answer, and the Spear of Adun slowly being disabled during the last stand on Aiur.

    Also, said last stand was glorious. I loved how much of Artie's speech paraphrased In Utter Darkness, and it mirrored that mission, but instead of defending to the last man in a glorious final stand, they were defending their hope against Amon. And they were truly united as one people. The other three taking part seemed like the end of HotS, but done better. The penultimate mission also reminded me of the end of the original Starcraft, with all these units taking up assault positions around the Overmind. Also, a nice, sick little touch with Amon using the Overmind's carcass as his nesting ground.

    Story

    Ho boy... I do feel this is the Episode III in the sense of Star Wars: the best of the trilogy, they pulled it together for the finale. Story good? I dunno. Better than the first two games? Absolutely.

    Things happened that impacted characters, and we saw it impact them. Characters did things to advance the plot other than spout exposition and give you units at random. Everyone had their moment to be cool. There were lots of badass moments, there were some things I didn't see coming, and there was emotion. Sometimes the Protoss seem to take a lot in stride and then move on. But that's the point of the story. They are the Protoss: they will weather any storm, endure any hardship, to continue on. They are warriors, and no matter how much grief and anguish they suffer, they will not give up. If anything, they'll just fight harder next time. The story showed that well, and also showed their struggle to give up their old traditions to do so. The legacy of the Protoss was the theme here, their true legacy: they are Templar, the Firstborn. They never give up, and never stop fighting. More than any ritual or uniform or architectural designs, that is the true legacy of their people, and the one trait they all share.

    However, there is one big problem with the story...

    Kerrigan

    When she showed up on Ulnar was the first time I really began to dislike things. In the span of about thirty seconds, here were my thoughts:

    "What? The mural shows the corruption of the Khala and the destruction of Shakuras? The fuck is - KERRIGAN? Oh come on, there's foresight of what's gonna happen because you're smart, and then there's outright foreseeing the future! Who made that mural, how did the Xel'naga know Kerrigan would look like that? Wait, Kerrigan is here? The fuck did she come from? Did the Protoss not notice the zerg here? How did Kerrigan find out about this place? Oh fuck me, don't do this to me, Blizzard, the game was good up until now!"

    Really, Kerrigan's presence is entirely unneeded. Her arrival did not advance the plot in any way, you could just cut out Kerrigan from those missions and the story would not change. The only reason she's there is for the symbolicness of Essence and Form working together, but Amon has all three races and hybrid wandering the temple freely, so that doesn't work.

    Then...

    Epilogue

    Blizzard is so in love with Kerrigan, that they're determined to make her a hero even though the reason fans love her is because she used to be such a good villain. Kerrigan is so mellow in this game it's a real jarring shift from the end of HotS and Whispers of Oblivion. And the only reason she's that way is because Blizzard wants us to cheer when she ascends to be a Xel'naga. I wasn't. Amon whispers "she's unworthy of the power, how do you know you can trust her with it?" And I'm like "I know, but the story doesn't give me a choice." Wasn't the whole point of the Form/Essence thing that the two have to unite to become Xel'naga, so shouldn't Kerrigan need a Protoss to become one with? If she can take on the Xel'naga essence herself, why are the Protoss even here? Why have the protoss been demoted to supporting heroes in the climax of their own fucking game!?

    And then Kerrigan becomes The Phoenix. And she's naked, because. I found it hilarious this all-powerful Xel'naga was rather underwhelming, most of Xel'Kerrigan's (trademark) abilities were just buffed-up forms of her HotS powers. Remember the Odin? Holy crap did that thing leave an impression, one-shotting most units, doing splash damage, a bombardment to kill anything, 2500 HP, more than entire buildings. That's what Kerrigan should have been: 5000 HP, 50 armor, shrugging off attacks like they're bug bites and zapping five enemies at once with an AoE-100 damage normal attack. Instead, she just gained 10 more Kerrigan levels to reach Level 80, and is still easily killed by only slightly superior numbers. Also, she's a ground unit so she can't even pass over gaps in the ground. I guess the glowing wings and floating are just for show.

    Gameplay was okay for the epilogue. I cheered to see all three races present, and each mission fit each race's style: the protoss were the unrelenting deathball pushing ever forward, the terrans turtled in to endure the endless assault of enemies, and the zerg created the large mobile army to hunt down the enemy objectives moving around the map. It was cool. I loved Stukov getting closure on Duran, that was awesome. The final mission was disappointing, though, no grand epic battle against a giant hero unit that we need an army to take down? No 100,000 HP Amon unit marching across the map? Bah.

    The reveal that Tassadar's spirit was a ploy by a Xel'naga to get the Protoss to trust him is a huge saving throw on Blizzard's part, and successfully retcons the Overmind's controversial motivations. As far as we know now, the Overmind never had a grand vision of the future, and didn't groom Kerrigan specifically to overthrow the Xel'naga. Sure, that's what we've been told before, but who told us that? Zeratul, who got it from "Tassadar," who was just telling Zeratul what he needed to hear in order for him to do what Ouros wanted him to do. More likely Ouros saw Kerrigan was suitable to bear his essence and made up the vision to convince the heroes to let Kerrigan live so she could become his vessel to fight Amon. And of course, the much more obvious retcon that Tassadar is dead and no, we have not been talking to his Force Ghost, it was a trick.

    It's like you can see Blizzard going "we wrote ourselves into a corner with the Overmind and Tassadar crap, fortunately we can write in a trap door and escape to make it better." Okay, the temple on Ulnar still has Kerrigan's inage in it, but then, Ulnar is on the edge of the Void: maybe Ouros just made her visage on that stone to convince Artanis of her value. It's plausible.

    And then the ending... I didn't mind it. The Raynor thing was obviously left open to interpretation. Did he become a Xel'naga, did Kerrigan return to him and they went off alone together, did he just have a vision of her and left to go find her? Who knows. The ending also leaves it open for more games: the zerg are still out there are aren't on all-good terms with folks, the Protoss have an uneasy truce, the Terrans are doing well but Valerian won't live forever.


    As a whole: Legacy of the Swarm is a satisfying end to the trilogy for me. The gameplay is solid, though the mission structure tired at this point, the story is much improved, though still with problems, especially in the epilogue, and most of the plot threads and unanswered questions were addressed.
    Last edited by Drake Clawfang; 11-11-2015 at 01:14 AM.
    SC2 handle - "DrakeyC, code 929"

    I ARE A PROPHET! I've predicted three major aspects of SC2 correct, more or less.

    June 2007 - I predicted the Protoss campaign would give you new tech as you conducted diplomacy among tribes.

    Hidden Content:
    July 18th 2010 - I predicted Raynor would broadcast information of Mengsk's actions on Tarsonis to discredit him and incite rebellion.


    Hidden Content:
    June 16th 2010 I predicted the Voice in the Darkness was the commanding force behind the Hybrids. I'm calling it half-right.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Drake's LotV Review/Recap [SPOILERIFFIC]

    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Clawfang View Post
    Again, SPOILERS ABOUND, BOYS!
    ....And girl?

    Well, I'm going to withhold judgement until I see a full let's play, but I'll throw a comment or two out there.

    Hidden Content:
    I can pretty much guarantee you that the chick in the end was Nova. Think about it. She's a Kerri clone, and she's getting downloadable missions. Blizz is going to explain how she gets to that scene in the missions.

    They re-retconned a retcon? Now that's pro! It gives me hope that I can disregard SC2 lore at will.

    Let us not speak of the Kerrigan abomination. To think that her arc ended this way...that wasn't Kerrigan. That was a blood elf clone, I dunno.

    I gotta say, I'm more than appalled at the whole "Khala is bad" thing. While it makes sense in a way (after re-reading the original Starcraft manual, that is), it also narrows Protoss culture. BW was all about the attempt to unite the light and dark sides of the Protoss. I've been waiting for years for the Judicator and Khalai castes to get some development, and for that matter DTs and Templar aren't that deep either. Instead of enriching 'Toss culture, they've effectively cut off (har har) an interesting subsection of people who, when they bother appearing in novels and such, are always narrow-minded jerks, as though Judicator are specifically genetically culled to be the worst people ever. Aldaris was complex! Can't they have some complex Judicator?

    Tell me more of the Stukov stuff, please.


    "Seeing Fenix once more perplexes me. I feel sadness, when I should feel joy."
    - Artanis.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Drake's LotV Review/Recap [SPOILERIFFIC]

    Seems like you're saying the ending sucks mainly because it feels like "stuff is happening". I'm not surprised since that is what all Sc2's story amounts to really.

    Anyhoo, your review on the missions needs beefing up since you're focusing on how the story impacts the mission rather than how they play. I want to know how the variety of missions and mission gimmicks fare compared to WoL (because WoL was fun to play)? Are they more replayable than compared to HotS? How many build base and destroy enemy-type missions are there? Are they centred around a core unit or is their some flexibility in how a mission plays out?
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  4. #4

    Default Re: Drake's LotV Review/Recap [SPOILERIFFIC]

    Loved it, unlike the other 2 campaigns this didn't go through any sort of insufferable lull phases where you hate everyone in the game.

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    I actually like the idea of Kerrigan being human again, if that's what's being interpreted. Her story is probably finished but in future Starcraft games it would've been cool to see her fight the UED.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Drake's LotV Review/Recap [SPOILERIFFIC]

    Quote Originally Posted by NikoMyCousin View Post
    Loved it, unlike the other 2 campaigns this didn't go through any sort of insufferable lull phases where you hate everyone in the game.

    Hidden Content:

    I actually like the idea of Kerrigan being human again, if that's what's being interpreted. Her story is probably finished but in future Starcraft games it would've been cool to see her fight the UED.
    Returning her to humanity is acceptable only if she EARNS redemption. It's not supposed to be simply handed to her. Artanis's reaction towards her makes it seem like the Protoss completely forget all that happened in the BW, and that's total BS.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Drake's LotV Review/Recap [SPOILERIFFIC]

    Quote Originally Posted by ragnarok View Post
    Returning her to humanity is acceptable only if she EARNS redemption. It's not supposed to be simply handed to her. Artanis's reaction towards her makes it seem like the Protoss completely forget all that happened in the BW, and that's total BS.
    Kerrigan herself acknowledged that she has blood on her hands (it's why she agreed to the process even if it meant loosing the swarm and Jim).

    I think that the entire trilogy has been good ideas, bad execution.

    Raynor facing his past and regaining the fire he once had? Great.
    Kerrigan having to try and redeem herself or being conflicted between getting revenge and not becoming a monster? Great. Hell I'll say the overall idea (she slips back into evil when she has nothing left, is forced to face what she becomes and finally becomes a genuine hero) was fine. Kerrigan was pretty much a comic book villain in brood war that I couldn't get into so even at her worst in HOTS she was more interesting (since her actions are more "so obsessed with vengeance she doesn't care".) The problem is that it was schizophrenic.

    Amon got some degree of depth. He genuinely thinks that by breaking the infinite cycle he's ending conflict and suffering. The problem is that by condemning other races to oblivion he's just causing more suffering.

    I don't even mind the overmind retcon too much (since it clears up why the hell the overmind not only left Kerrigan behind after talking about how she would be "his ultimate weapon against the protoss" but did so even after the dark templar arrived on char"). Him getting around the Dark Voices commands could be him just finding a loophole in the commands (i.e finding a way to technically subvert and fulfill the command at the same time).

    In all honesty I say that the ending was good enough, though I would have just had the final battle occur as part of the main story

  7. #7

    Default Re: Drake's LotV Review/Recap [SPOILERIFFIC]

    Quote Originally Posted by DarthYam View Post
    Amon got some degree of depth. He genuinely thinks that by breaking the infinite cycle he's ending conflict and suffering. The problem is that by condemning other races to oblivion he's just causing more suffering.
    Why is the infinite cycle a bad thing again? As far as I know, the universe seemed to be doing fine until Amon caused the events of Starcraft. And isn't the creation of new Xel'Naga supposed to take many more millenia where the purity of essence and form are so supposed to naturally merge with mutual cooperation from both parties? Doesn't sound like the infinite cycle has that much conflict and suffering in comparison to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by DarthYam View Post
    I don't even mind the overmind retcon too much (since it clears up why the hell the overmind not only left Kerrigan behind after talking about how she would be "his ultimate weapon against the protoss" but did so even after the dark templar arrived on char"). Him getting around the Dark Voices commands could be him just finding a loophole in the commands (i.e finding a way to technically subvert and fulfill the command at the same time).
    Apparently, there is no Overmind retcon now since it was revealed that Ghost Tassadar in WoL was fake and that it was some Xel'Naga trick.

    The "plothole" you mention in Sc1 you've already resolved without even realising. Kerrigan was the ultimate weapon against the Protoss in that she was left to fight the only element of the Protoss that could actually harm the Zerg - the Dark Templar. The Overmind was not leaving Kerrigan behind on Char to protect or preserve her, it was leaving her in mortal danger against the greatest threat it had yet encountered and entrusted her to kill them so that they wouldn't follow it to Aiur, where there are no Dark Templar. It was actually a great tactical move, except it didn't foresee that Kerrigan would actually fail in her task of killing the Dark Templar and Tassadar on Char - ultimately leading to its demise.
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  8. #8

    Default Re: Drake's LotV Review/Recap [SPOILERIFFIC]

    All of the spoilers!

    Hidden Content:
    I thought it was necessary for Kerrigan to have a strong involvement, because HotS ended with her going off to fight Amon. Since the Protoss here were also going off to fight Amon, they had to run into each other— and so I was very confused when the main campaign ended with Amon being banished so easily without Kerrigan's help, and then they had the seemingly happy Protoss ending cinematic.

    So in that sense I thought the epilogue was very necessary.

    I also liked the design of the Xel'naga a lot. Their dead bodies in an ancient room in that one mission reminded me of the space jockey in the original Alien (not Prometheus), and I loved that they were really big. A good counter to the silly tendency of Aliens including the Protoss all being humanoid and pretty much a little bigger or a little smaller than humans, and much better than people's hybrid assumptions in fan art or whatever.

    Back to the Campaign, again being able to play missions out of order really weakens their writing at times, which is too bad. After the Aiur stuff, you can choose to go to Korhal to pick up the artifact or Shakuras to check in on the rest of the Protoss. And you can choose to go dick around on Korhal for a couple missions stave of Amon's forces, bond with Raynor a little, have some nice emotional moments about dead humans... And then when you do go to Shakuras you find out it's already overrun, and millions of Protoss have died. I know that Artanis respects humans more than a lot of Protoss do or did (Rohana's point of view), but this should have devastated him. He not only lost his templar forces to Amon, but by going and helping the terrans he left Shakuras undefended and countless, irreplaceable lives were lost. He mourns for Zeratul? Surely he knew others on Shakuras as well. A lot of Dark Templar evacuate, but obviously not all of them, and that's where all the Khalai civilians lived, who are so dead. He should be regretting the decision to not immediately return to evacuate Shakuras for the rest of the campaign.

    But of course, there's no super bitter defeatist regretful Artanis in future missions, because in someone else's playthrough he did return to Shakuras immediately! And Amon would still beat him there, and there would have been nothing he could have done, so it would be okay to feel less bad. And then he would still show up in time to save Korhal and hang out with Raynor.


    I have more to say about other parts of it, will return later today!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Drake's LotV Review/Recap [SPOILERIFFIC]

    Quote Originally Posted by Turalyon View Post
    Why is the infinite cycle a bad thing again? As far as I know, the universe seemed to be doing fine until Amon caused the events of Starcraft. And isn't the creation of new Xel'Naga supposed to take many more millenia where the purity of essence and form are so supposed to naturally merge with mutual cooperation from both parties? Doesn't sound like the infinite cycle has that much conflict and suffering in comparison to me.



    Apparently, there is no Overmind retcon now since it was revealed that Ghost Tassadar in WoL was fake and that it was some Xel'Naga trick.

    The "plothole" you mention in Sc1 you've already resolved without even realising. Kerrigan was the ultimate weapon against the Protoss in that she was left to fight the only element of the Protoss that could actually harm the Zerg - the Dark Templar. The Overmind was not leaving Kerrigan behind on Char to protect or preserve her, it was leaving her in mortal danger against the greatest threat it had yet encountered and entrusted her to kill them so that they wouldn't follow it to Aiur, where there are no Dark Templar. It was actually a great tactical move, except it didn't foresee that Kerrigan would actually fail in her task of killing the Dark Templar and Tassadar on Char - ultimately leading to its demise.
    1.) My point is that he thought he was doing a good thing. He wasn't doing it for the sake of mustache twirling villainy. Whether the infinite cycle was so bad or if Amon was deluding himself doesn't change that his underlying motives were based on relatively benevolent intentions (compared to Mengsk who just wanted power)

    2.) I'd be more willing to believe that if after it became apparent that the dark templar were on Aiur (given the civil war going on the overmind probably would have noticed, and definately by the time of shadow hunters) the Overmind still left her behind on Char. From a dramatic standpoint he goes on about how she will help him assimilate the protoss, yet after Aldaris saves Zeratul and Tassadar's bacon she vanishes from the story.
    Last edited by DarthYam; 11-11-2015 at 10:49 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Drake's LotV Review/Recap [SPOILERIFFIC]

    1) technically, that's a retcon. He was pretty mustache-y in HotS/WoL. That, and I don't get why mustache-y villains can't be fun. Maybe Amon's better not being one, but there are good ones out there. Like Shang Tsung, for example.

    2) I actually like how Kerri disappears from the story at that point. The storytelling in SC/BW was about everyone in the Sector, not merely a couple of MCs. Kerri herself is the Overmind's pet project, but not his entire objective. That and I don't remember him saying anything directly about her assimilating Protoss -- that end was more about just assimilating humanity in general, so once Kerrigan's genetics are uploaded into the swarm, they technically don't need her for that purpose anymore. It's probable the Overmind had other uses for her, or in general just wanted to play around with having a human servant with a degree of free will, and see what happened.


    "Seeing Fenix once more perplexes me. I feel sadness, when I should feel joy."
    - Artanis.

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