Volume Number: 18 (2002)
Issue Number: 12
Column Tag: Reviews
by Michael R. Harvey
What is it with the folks at Blizzard Entertainment? First we had a of couple Warcraft games. Then Diablo, and StarCraft (another great real time strategy game). After that, Diablo 2, along with an expansion pack. Now they've gone and done it again!
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos is the latest in a stunning line up of games form Blizzard. This game continues the tradition of real time strategy games from them, much like Starcraft, and their earlier Warcraft titles. It's a simultaneous release with the PC version. In fact, the game has been released on a hybrid CD, so you can buy this game from anyplace that is carrying it, literally. I wouldn't be surprised if the corner liquor store had a few copies on the shelf. No waiting for the Mac version, or searching for the box containing the Mac software.
The game. What to say? It's fantastic. Blizzard is in the habit of outdoing themselves with every new release, and they've really done it this time. The cinematic cut scenes alone are worth the price of admission. Truly movie quality scenes that help set up and advance the story. The graphics in game are equally spectacular. Great attention to detail, and smooth movement during game play. Sound is likewise fantastic. Voices, music, ambient sounds, all incredible. As you play along, try click on individual characters or units. Every click will prompt them to say something. With each repeated click, the unit keeps blathering on, it's responses getting funnier and funnier. You'll hear references to Monty Python, Austin Powers, Dune, you might even catch a few characters quote lines from StarCraft.
On top of all that, there is actually a pile of really fun game play to go along with all the eye and ear candy. Warcraft III, like it's earlier chapters, is essentially a real time strategy game. Blizzard built on this, however, to give the game a deeper feel. They've added elements with hero characters, and an involved story line to make the game a little more than just and RTS where you harvest resources, build an army and kick the other guys butt. Each mission is tailored in such ways as to help advance the story. The hero characters are integral to completing the scenarios, and moving on to the next quest. Of course resource gathering and building are important elements as well. It really is more than the sum of it's parts.
Running through the main game is not all there is for single player action, though. You can use the Custom Game option to personalize scenarios, and set yourself up against numerous computer controlled opponents. There are a multitude of maps, and conditions you can assign to provide varied game play.
Network play is obviously as much a part of this release as it has been with Blizzards past releases. Battle.net is the main way to find other gamers to challenge. For Warcraft III, Battle.net has been set up to help connect players of similar skill and desires automatically. Simply set up the parameters of the game you wish to play, and the network will find other gamers looking for the same type of game, compare your skill levels (it keeps tracks of your wins and losses), set up a scenario, and put you all in the game seamlessly. Battle.net isn't your only option for network play, however. You can get a few friends together, and play each other over a LAN connection.
Once again, Blizzard has set the bar for other game makers to strive for with Warcraft III. It's a great game in all aspects. Fun to play, fun to look at and listen to, with great online gaming options. It is available just about everywhere, or directly form Blizzard for $59.95. Play this game.
Michael R. Harvey