My Top Ten Games of 2015
#10 MASSIVE CHALICE
#9 Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void
There’s a poem titled “Ode to the RTS” rattling around in my brain somewhere. If you grew up playing PC games in the 90s it was pretty tough not to become a fan of the real time strategy genre. Blizzard and Westwood competed for our love with their growing mega-franchises, while numerous knock-offs flooded the market. It was a magical time.
These days you have Starcraft II, and that’s about damn it. When Blizzard announced the sequel I was ecstatic; Starcraft was (and still is I guess) one of my all time favorite games.
Then they announced that SC2 would be split up between three games, with the three races’ campaigns as their own standalone games. Because it’s Blizzard, these games took years to come out. Five years after Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, we finally get the third and final Starcraft II experience in Legacy of the Void.
That’s a lot of exposition to explain what is very nearly a Lifetime Achievement award that I’m bestowing on Starcraft II by including it on my Game of the Year list.
Now, I very much enjoyed the Protoss-focused Legacy of the Void. Blizzard doubles down on the teenage comic storytelling, with fun characters and over-dramatic events. The overall story of battling against an ancient evil is tiresome and lame, but individual story moments, like reactivating the Purifiers or helping a former foe seize control of his armies, are fun and engaging.
The gameplay hasn’t really changed in five years – and really dates back to the original in ’98. Starcraft isn’t broken so Blizzard didn’t really need to fix anything (pretty much their opposite approach with Diablo).
That being said new modes and ways to play were a welcome addition. I particularly enjoyed the interesting Co-Op Missions. They give you commanders from the main story with specific abilities and units, and scenarios that can only be finished with a partner. It’s a great way to incorporate elements of the campaign into a multiplayer setting.
Legacy of the Void probably has the weakest story but the strongest gameplay of the Starcraft II trilogy. In five years Blizzard have nailed the best variety of missions and experiences for the campaign, though I found the 3-mission epilogue awkward, difficult, and ultimately a disappointing end to the saga.
I love this dorky sci-fi world and all its characters, and I feel a strange sense of emptiness without more Starcraft to look forward to. Starcraft II was practically alone in a sea of MOBAs, trying to prove that the PC-only RTS is still a viable genre. It’ll always have a special place in my heart.