Brood War doesn't look all that much different than the original Starcraft,
although there's plenty of new visual content. Fortunately, Starcraft's graphics have
aged nicely, and the game still looks great. Brood War's new units fit right in
with the returning cast, and although the new snow terrain is too bright,
the twilight and desert tile sets are beautifully drawn. Meanwhile, the stylish new
intro movie and ending cinematics for each of the three campaigns are emotionally moving
and tie in much more closely with the larger story than the original Starcraft's cutscenes. Brood War boldly improves upon Starcraft's unforgettable audio, with new music
and sound effects and a lot of new speech. Each of the three races gets a new music track,
and all of it is outstanding, particularly the orchestral Terran theme that eclipses
the New Agey stuff from the original. With the exception of the Dark Archon who sounds
like he has laryngitis, all the new units in Brood War sound every bit as good as the originals,
and many of them have very amusing things to say if you keep on clicking.
Every surviving character from the original Starcraft returns with many more speaking
lines in most cases, and as in the first game, the voice acting in Brood War is first-rate.
With rare exceptions, the dialogue during mission briefings and during frequent in-game
scripted events is completely convincing and adds up to what's one of the year's
best stories in any gaming genre. It picks up right where the first game left off,
and much like the original, the three plots are brilliantly written to be both
self-contained and deeply connected. As you'd expect, the Brood War campaign is much more difficult than the original
Starcraft campaign. Nevertheless, the missions are far superior by design.
They're heavily plot driven, with scripted story events frequently punctuating the action.
Occasionally your mission objectives will change after you complete what you thought
was the extent of your duty. At other times you'll be given a choice of objectives,
and your decision will directly affect the course of the following mission.
New units are introduced in context, and the scenario will teach you to use them
by demanding you take advantage of their particular specialties. It is worth noting,
though, that the designers start to run out of steam by the end, as the innovative
scenarios that permeate the Protoss and Terran campaigns finally give way to more
straightforward against-all-odds Zerg-centric massacres, although the story remains
captivating to the end. With Brood War, Blizzard took the opportunity to reevaluate the play balance of
an already well-designed real-time strategy game. The results are outstanding;
seemingly minor but terribly significant modifications to unit costs, damage rates,
hit points, and build times suddenly make the game play very differently, as units
that were once ineffective (such as the Protoss Dragoon and the Terran Goliath)
are powerless no longer. In the end, almost every single unit in the game has been
changed in one way or another. Likewise Blizzard addressed the common complaint
that Starcraft catered itself toward rush tactics, where an early attack by basic
units would often prove decisive, by augmenting defensive structures to better handle
small numbers of weak units. These changes to the original units are included not only
in Brood War, but in the Starcraft 1.04 patch.
DOWNLOAD LINKS (625MB):
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