Legacy of the Void is Here and It’s Painfully Beautiful

A lifelong Starcraft fan, I was fully ensnared by the two original titles and to this day I remember the excitement I felt when Brood War came out. While I did get to play quite a bit of Wings of Liberty (the Terran-focused first part of Starcraft II), I sort of just fell off the bandwagon with Heart of the Swarm, on account of being too busy to dedicate more time to the game. Still, I loved everything Blizzard were doing with the series and the story-line and it is now safe to say that the franchise has reached its peak with the grand finale: the protoss-centered Legacy of the Void.
The game creators have indeed rolled out the works for this one: the title got a brand-new, superbly immersive user interface, new game modes (like Archon) have been added and new tile-sets were deployed as well. The timing of the launch (right in the wake of Blizzcon) couldn’t have been better either, and now that the first LOTV impressions have rolled in, it’s safe to say the expansion fully lived up to all expectations and more. The campaign probably broke the record for superbly rendered and choreographed cinematic cut-scenes which seem to melt into the game ever more seamlessly. The story is great but for all its glory, LOTV leaves a nostalgically bitter aftertaste in the mouths of true Starcraft fans, as it makes it painfully obvious that it is bidding goodbye to the familiar cast of characters forever. Indeed, everything in the game is geared towards tying up loose story-ends and seeing each character to the end of his/her road, slamming down the hammer of closure on everything we so loved about the Starcraft universe.
The expansion is a standalone one, meaning that one doesn’t need the previous installments to be able to play it, and indeed, the way the whole game is structured makes it reek of epilogue from the get-go. It starts up with a cinematic retrospective of what’s essentially been the story of Starcraft spanning the better part of 17 years, with cut-scenes from the very first Starcraft included, cut-scenes which so mesmerized us back in the days when they represented the cutting edge of Blizzard’s storytelling prowess and game-making mastery. Thanks to this intro-bit, everyone, even those who have never played Starcraft before, can start the LOTV campaign aware of the canon leading up to it all.
Story-wise, I obviously won’t spoil the game for you. If you want to see it all wrapped up, you’ll have to play it yourself, suffice to say though that I have personally found LOTV by far the most enthralling dip in Stacraft canon, with superbly formulated missions which balance strategy and action perfectly, punctuated by awe-inspiring cinematic sequences and a sense of nostalgia which grows ever more acute as the game makers almost vilely push everything towards a definitive conclusion.
This is it though: LOTV marks a point of closure in Starcraft history, but the universe remains. Blizzard are aiming to keep it alive through DLCs coming down the line, but future content will focus on other characters as Jim Raynor, Sarah Kerrigan and Zeratul slowly fade into RTS history…
Peter Wassenberg works for Gosugamers, the web’s to competitive gaming destination.