Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos PC Review

There was much excitement surrounding the launch of Warcraft III: The Reign of Chaos, this game being the third instalment of the much loved Warcraft series. There hadn’t been a good RTS on the market for the PC since Red Alert 2 with Emperor: Battle for Dune being a disappointment.

The game was actually delayed on more than one occasion which added to the anticipation. The fact of the matter is Blizzard don’t make bad games. They are the Nintendo of PC Gaming, they create few games, but all are of top quality. With Blizzard’s reputation for making good games coupled with the delays, much was expected of this title, but did it deliver?

The simple answer to the question is yes. The game is great for both single and multi player. While there’s nothing very revolutionary here, Warcraft III’s combination of great graphics, excellent setting and story and addictive real-time strategy game play it offers a spectacular gaming experience, one that easily places it in the ranks of Blizzards’ best games. However if you’re buying Warcraft III because you’re expecting something entirely innovative, you’ll probably be disappointed.

Graphics

Blizzard has come up with a very good WC3 engine. The camera can be moved in and out, and down to ground level. The ground camera looks really cool, at that camera angle the flyers seem like they really fly, as there is now space between them and the ground, not too mention hero close-ups are sweet. There is a definitive lush, creative, artistic, and specific game art going on in WC3. The trees, character size, and other denizens of Azeroth and Quel’thalas all have a style that can only be characterized as ‘Warcraft 3.’

Gameplay

Those familiar with the Warcraft series will feel, at least initially, right at home in the world of Warcraft III. Races include the beloved Orcs and Humans, but also two new additions-the Undead and the Night Elves, both of whom play very differently from our two more familiar races. Humans seem like the weak fodder but have decent technology, Orcs are brute strength amplified, the Undead have endless numbers through their use of on-field corpses, and the Night Elves have long range and cloaking abilities. Each race has a range unit, a melee unit, and a flying unit, with only the air transport being a neutral unit supplied by local Goblins that are more than willing to supply you with their wares for a modest fee. Building destructive units such as catapults and meat wagons are all there too. Those used to the Warcraft Universe will pick everything up very quickly; new players will get the hang of it just as fast. Blizzard has done an excellent job on the tutorials; and the buildings and units explain themselves with the pop-up menus – no manual required.

Each race can choose to train one or more heroes. Heroes are more powerful than normal infantry. The hero gains experience when they or the friendlies around them kill enemies. These experience points lead to more hit and magic points, and spells which help to devastate the opponent and compliment your army. In addition, the neutral baddies that can be found on all maps and can be killed to gain more experience points for your hero, drop gold and treasure chests that have items that add to your attributes or affect your whole party.

Multiplayer is great fun, the introduction of heroes has added new questions and strategies online such as dual-heroes, hero-rush, and new micromanagement skills. Combining Hero skills to decimate the opponent is half the planning, and hero leveling becomes the ‘third resource.’ Without attacking neutral baddies on the map and leveling up, an early defeat is almost assured. Battle.net itself had some troubles in the first edition, but the v1.01 patch has fixed a few of the problems. The options to set up a random game and a custom game with friends all work well.

Sound

Fans of the Warcraft series will recognise familiar grunts and phrases from the characters. Classics such as “Zug-Zug”, “Ready For Work” and “Job Done” from Warcraft II make it through to the latest game. There are also some new phrases that are just as great: “Approaching The Sound Barrier” and “Mortar Combat” to name but two add comedy and fun to the game play. The music score is great as well and reflects the world of Warcraft aptly. The sound can’t be faltered.

Overall

To summarise Warcraft III is a game built up of little things, small ideas, minor improvements, little tweaks. All the big ideas have been dubbed down, the role of the much hyped RPG heroes has been reduced and simplified, even the 3D camera is limited. Warcraft III is not a game that breaks from the traditional; it’s a game that refines the traditional to near perfection.

9 out of 10
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