Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Best Strategy

                There is little to say about the strategy games of this year. There were very few titles and even fewer worth mentioning. Aside from the annual Total War release there are a few notable titles. This year Eugene Systems put aside the RTT series Wargame returning to their RTS roots after a break of 10 years. Act of Aggression is a spiritual successor to Act of War following on its legacy while improving it but not in a very impressive manner. The quality of the campaign is questionable and the multiplayer is missing the feeling of micro/macro management strategies.
                Other indie developers have tried with some pretty decent titles including Grey Goo, Satellite Reign, Hard West and Mordheim: City of the Damned. But clearly the most notable strategy of the year was StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, the standalone expansion that brings the series to an end.
                Legacy of the Void story shows the protoss race lead by Artanis standing against the Dark Amon corruption in a fight for the galaxy’s future in a lengthy campaign filled with mechanically interesting missions and disappointment. For a game that marks the end of an era putting an end to a story that spans over one and a half decades, Legacy of the Void singleplayer was torn between the high quality content and the average narrative. The story was cheesy, clichéd and generally not captivating.  The game made up for some of those flaws with the great production value and the interesting missions that Blizzard’s strategy games always had. Still, the ending wasn’t something worthy of such a legendary saga. But StarCraft is StarCraft after all, the game made e-sport a real thing and for all the bad things that can be seen in the singleplayer there is a lot of goodness to be experienced in the multiplayer.
                Blizzard’s main focus with the release of StarCraft II has been the e-sport scene and Legacy of the Void continues on what its predecessors did by improving and revitalizing the game for its competitive multiplayer component. The fast gameplay revolving on a lot of micro and macro management is a beauty either if you watch the game or play it.
                The problem with the StarCraft titles has always been the abrupt learning curve and for the players that didn’t manage to adapt to the game’s complex gameplay there was little to do in StarCraft II after the campaign. Blizzard has tried to address this issue by adding a Co-op mode which expands the singleplayer with a progressive and friendlier multiplayer environment.
                At the end of the day, StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void isn't the finale this series deserved, but the great gameplay combined with high production value make it the best strategy of this year.


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