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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2013
This review will be spoiler free.

Anyone buying this expansion should know what they are getting into, seeing as it requires Wings of Liberty, and I'd hope you have it if you purchased this. It is, in its most basic form, just more StarCraft 2.

HotS includes a full new zerg-centric campaign of 20 levels, plus 7 short bonus levels that let you try out new toys. The expansion is as well-polished as Wings of Liberty and captures the feel of zerg very well. The story moves along at a frantic pace and doesn't do anything overly shocking or innovative. Nonetheless, it was entertaining. Entertaining in the way a summer action blockbuster is; fun for a while, but skin-deep and forgettable. My biggest gripe with the campaign was the focus on micro. When WoL was released, the intent was to make a continuation of the original StarCraft. With SC2 emerging as an esport, and micro-management becoming the factor that determined winners, it makes sense that Blizzard would adopt this approach for the single player. It's just the natural evolution of the game, like it or not. I often felt like I was playing a MOBA, instead of an RTS / RTT (SC is really a tactics game, not strategy). This was further reinforced by the fact that most missions have timed events forcing you to react before you have time to really strategize. I got my fill on action, but I'm looking forward to Uber Entertainment's Planetary Annihilation for true strategy.

When it comes to difficulty, any player with moderate micro skills can blaze through the campaign with ease, as I was able to do on brutal difficulty. It was much easier than WoL, and Blizzard said it would be "more challenging" prior to release. I could see that being true for players who have no experience with micro, but my so-so ability was more than enough. Even so, a few missions provided adequate challenges and the experience was fun.

As for the UI and multiplayer, the changes are less dramatic, but welcome nonetheless. My favorite new feature was implemented before the release of HotS with a patch, and it is the active worker overlays on your geysers and harvesting base buildings. I no longer have to manually count my workers to fully optimize them. Another great feature is the more interactive and lively allied AIs on custom games. The AI can be given orders and notifies you of its actions and discoveries. It feels like a much more involved experience for those of us who prefer to avoid competitive play.

Finally, I have no comment on multiplayer balance changes or anything of the sort, as I tend to avoid the vs aspects of the game. I have a condition called essential tremors, which causes me to have trouble with micro intensive matches. I'm otherwise a pretty good SC2 player, and I could probably still push diamond league without much trouble. Perhaps I will get into the multiplayer with this expansion and update my review in the future. Then again, perhaps not.

Overall, you should know what to expect; more SC2. Everything seems well implemented, but the focus was certainly different than WoL. Also note that while the system requirements are essentially the same, the focus on Zerg created more than a few situations where my system dropped down to fairly low framerates. Hundreds of zerglings and other units on screen at once will do that, even though I have an i5-3570k @ 4.5 GHz and two Radeon HD 7870s in crossfire. If your system ran WoL poorly, expect some serious chop on HotS.

EDIT: Almost forgot the collector's edition items. The box opens like a heavy blast door and is impressive within itself. The contents of the collector's edition are very nice, from the hard cover art book to the great looking mouse pad. The mouse pad is very sensitive to movements and may not be for everyone, but it looks fantastic. I'll stick with my Steelseries mousepad, but this one really looks cool.

I haven't watched the making-of DVD or listened to the soundtrack yet.

Lastly, AVOID LOOKING IN THE ART BOOK UNTIL YOU HAVE FINISHED THE STORY. It may contain spoilers. Big ones. I kind of shot myself in the foot with that one.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2013
I enjoyed Starcraft (the first game), and I loved Warcraft (II and III) as well as Diablo II, however I do not play internet-only games such as Starcraft II or Diablo III (although Starcraft II can be played offline, but I believe you first have to connect and register). Regardless, I can not deny that Blizzard makes what I believe to be among the best collector's edition games. As noted in the title, this is a review of the "bonus items" or the "extra swag" you get in the collector's edition. I am NOT rating the game, only the extras. My goal is to help people decide whether or not they want to shell out for the extra items.

First off, if you just want to play the game, there's no point in purchasing this collector's edition, unless you want the exclusive in-game items (see below) which frankly I don't think are worth it, however I'll let you be the judge.

What does this set include:

*The Game: for PC or MAC on DVD. You MUST have the original Starcraft II installed in order to play this! However, I am not going to rate the game, but do keep in mind if you want to play you must have Starcraft II.

*Exclusive in-Game Content: you get three in-game items, HOWEVER only one of them is for Starcraft II. The others are for Diablo III and World of Warcraft. In order to play ANY of these games, you must be online at all times (which I personally think is asinine since Diablo and Starcraft have single-player campaigns). For Starcraft II your in-game item is a "Torrasque Ultralisk" and some portraits. Apparently the Torrasque Ultralisk is only a skin, and the portraits are portraits, so this won't exactly help you dominate the field. For World of Warcraft you get an exclusive pet, which I know a lot of people love. It's a pet "Baneling" which means it's an ugly insect-like creature from Starcraft, but it's probably useful, albeit far from cute. For Diablo III you get "wings" for your character and a banner sigil. Probably not the most useful items, but apparently it's supposed to make you look "cool". Both the wings and sigil are of course from Starcraft.

*Mousepad: It's a nice mousepad. Has a scene from Starcraft on it. I don't know if people collect these mouspads, but it's of good quality, although nothing I would say extraordinary.

*Behind the Scenes Blu-ray and DVD: Now we're getting somewhere! Very few companies produce these, which is very unfortunate, because this is one of the best reasons to get a collector's edition game! As noted, this is the same material on either the DVD or Blu-ray, however obviously the Blu-ray is high-def. You get over an hour of behind the scenes such as interviews with the voice-actors and people who brought the game to life, but of course the main attraction here is you get the FULL CINEMATICS to the game! If you love the game, you'll certainly love the gorgeous cinematics (just make sure to finish the campaign before watching these, unless you happen to like spoilers). If you don't love the game or don't want to play the game, well the cinematics are a treat nonetheless!

*Art Book: Another reason to get this! Blizzard always produces top-quality art books for their collector's editions, which they have been doing since the days of Warcraft III. Most games that have a bonus art book include a flimsy softcover book with 20 or so pages. Not here! Blizzard gives you a whopping 144-page beauty! The book is hardcover, printed in the USA (nice), has an embossed and metallic cover! This alone makes the collector's edition worth it in my personal opinion.

*Soundtrack: I love video game music! I think the music to games is as beautiful if not more so than most movie soundtracks. Now, if you don't enjoy music from Starcraft, then this is NOT for you. However, if you do enjoy it, then you are in luck! This CD includes 11 tracks from the game, and is nearly 75 minutes in length! Also, it comes in a high-quality case, which is SO much better than a flimsy sleeve!

To Summarize:

GOOD: Lots of great bonus items if you like that stuff!
BAD: If you only want to play the game, don't bother purchasing the Collector's Edition. Also, no figure for those that like that kind of stuff.

Overall, I think the swag in this edition, as well as other Blizzard Collector's Editions is top notch! I only wish recent Blizzard games did not require internet connection for those that only enjoy the single-player campaigns, but unfortunately they do not. Still, I won't deny that I think this is about as perfect a collector's edition as possible, with also an excellent price ($30 more than the standard edition). Some people might want a "collectible figure" which is NOT included in this set, although Blizzard will likely have one available for separate purchase later. I'm not a huge fan of figurines, so for me this is not a problem, however keep in mind none are included. Nonetheless, the bonus items are top.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2013
I will write this review in two categories: game, and collector edition.

1. Game
-some new units on top of existing sc2.
sc2 WOL already has a great solid fundamental gaming mechanics set up and with more additional units comes more strategies to consider in mind. It's guaranteed to be fun for SC2 fans.
I do want to talk about the single player however. The game comes with 27 missions: 20 story and 7 evolution missions. It sounds like a lot of contents for $39 expansion, but I felt the missions are slightly shorter than expected. Each mission lasts about 10-25 minutes, and were cleared after 6-7 hours. Evolution missions are basically training missions lasting 5-10 minutes very straightforward, and as soon as you think you will start enjoying your new evolved units, the game ends, especially ultralisk evolution comes very late in the game. However, considering it's $39 expansion and are still packed with loads of cool Blizzard-quality CG scenes, I think it's a decent expansion.

2. Collector edition
-you know you can still buy digital deluxe from battle.net or just buy standard edition, but is collector edition worth it?
if you're a fan of sc2 like me, obviously. Reviewing,
-soundtrack: It's ok and good to have but not sure if you will be listening to it all day and be impressed by it since it's all background music especially it's zerg themed.
-Behind the scenes: comes on Bluray and DVD, so you get two. Considerate of Blizzard. You get to watch all the in-game scenes in lossless quality
and get to watch how SC2 was all crerated that were never shown anywhere on the internet again on bluray quality scene. The best part I enjoy is how the game I enjoyed was created.
-Artbook: very high quality 150pgish hardcover book. shows some already-shown illustrations and some that were never shown. also shows how some CG in-game scenes were designed.
-Torrasque skin: I've tried them and if you're a heavy zerg player, you will love it. Unlike Thor skin with some wings on its shoulder, Torrasque emits electricity and light from its body, which looks extremely cool. Trust me on this.
-other WoW & etc contents: I haven't tried them, but you get what you see.

In conclusion, the game was very worth the wait and if you are a fan, collector edition is a way to go as it's only $79.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2013
The game is great! If you are a StarCraft fan you will love it. The extras in the collectors edition is worth the price. However my collectors box got one corner severely damaged before shipping and was still sent to me. I rated the shipping as poor as possible and posted a picture of the damage for Amazon to review. No response of any kind from Amazon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2013
was what i wanted in the new sc2 and more love the extra goodies that came with the collectors edition
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2013
The game is simply amazing. Blizzard have hit a home run with StarCraft II, and the expansion made an already awesome game even awesomer.

Looks like you can still get the CE. It is worth it if you are into the artwork. Blizzard have some of the best, most talented graphics designers in the gaming industry. I buy the collector's editions because of the art book that comes with them. It never ceases to amaze me some of the art they come up with: simply beautiful.

If you are a fan of StarCraft and have been living under a rock, BUY THIS NOW. If you are an RTS fan and haven't played it... also buy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2013
Totally worth the wait, the mouse pad is incredibly detailed and wider than a standard mouse ad, the campaign is great and I really like the master archives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2013
Love the game and the collectors edition. Well i could write a whole review about the game itself but most people want to know about the Collectors Edition itself. You get cool portrait avatars and decals for bragging rights. Now the Box.
The DVD and Blu-Ray is cool. What makes Blizzard games and especially HOTS so amazing is the Cinematic videos and to be able to watch them on Blu-Ray is just so very awsome. The Mouse Pad is cool they are like 12 to 15 bucks retail. Kinda would have preferred something else like a cool looking USB like Collectors edition for Wings of Liberty or something that personalize Kerrigan. I kinda wish there was a little bit more stuff like art cards or something.
Good game, great as gifts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2013
I was a bit annoyed at the $80 price at first, but if you liked the Wings of Liberty Collector's, there's just as much extra stuff in here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2013
Much better writing and more solid gameplay place this expansion above and beyond the original Wings of Liberty. The redesigned multiplayer perfects what was already amazing.
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