Replaying STARCRAFT II: LEGACY OF THE VOID - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Alexander Wallace boards the Spear of Adun for his mission briefing.
I’ve saved the Queen of Blades from herself in Wings of Liberty, and brought her back to her status as ‘Queen Bitch of the Universe’ in Heart of the Swarm.’ Here, I discuss the end of the main story of StarCraft II in its final expansion Legacy of the Void. This is the game that was billed as the epic conclusion to the StarCraft saga. Does it hold up to this lofty goal?

Back when it came out in 2015, I was greatly dismayed to find that one of the promised campaign features did not make it into the final game. In the leadup to the release, there was talk of how the campaign would include an expanded diplomacy, with different missions currying favor or alienating different Protoss factions. It would have been a decision that gave so much depth to the storyline, with increasing the profundity of characterization as the entire Protoss coalition teeters in the balance. What we got, to my chagrin, was the sort of incremental coalition-building that marked the progress of the campaigns in Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm. Blizzard had a chance to really set Legacy of the Void apart, and they blew it.
The storyline, after the first two installments, feels rather by-the-book in parts and jarring in others. The third player protagonist in this game is Artanis, the Protoss leader who is tasked with saving his people from ultimate destruction. Unfortunately, he has neither the roguish charm of Jim Raynor nor the vengeful fury of Sarah Kerrigan; he feels like your standard space opera protagonist and not in a good way. Otherwise, the narrative for the most part keeps in tune with the standard story beats that are familiar from the first two.

The main overarching narrative of Legacy of the Void, however, breaks strongly from the first two installments in a way that feels very abrupt. You play as Artanis uniting the Protoss and his other allies in defeating Amon, the malevolent Xel’Naga intent on unleashing armageddon. Yes, Amon was foreshadowed from Wings of Liberty onward (most memorably in the end of the Zeratul subplot in Wings of Liberty, which is one of the best-designed RTS missions I’ve ever played), but it doesn’t feel like nearly enough; there is not enough transition between the fall of Augustgrad and the war on Amon.
Legacy of the Void also irritated me by killing off one of the best characters in the entire franchise: Zeratul, the savior of Aiur and the hero of the Dark Templar. Zeratul’s perspective would have made this game so much better beyond the prologue campaign that Blizzard gave him; he did not deserve to die possessed on a ruined Aiur, his great work seemingly undone.

Additionally, and I know this is minor, I wish that they hadn’t killed Selendis so early on, too. She likewise had a lot of potential.

I harp on the narrative a lot; is the gameplay any good? I’d say yes, and that more so than any story is what makes Legacy of the Void worth it. There are several more creative missions, one of my favorites being one where your base is on a moveable platform. Another favorite is the first mission of the epilogue, where you and your allies’ armies march into the void to put an end to the entire bloody war; you feel like the Allied armies on D-Day, on a righteous crusade. I also rather liked the support powers here; Blizzard came up with some creative ways of raining hell on your enemies, albeit ones clearly inspired by Command & Conquer. Ultimately, Legacy of the Void gameplay is more of the same from StarCraft II; if you liked the savagery of the first two games you’ll see nothing to dislike here.
Legacy of the Void, in hindsight, is not great. It’s not bad by any means, either. It is a solid addition to the StarCraft canon, but one that treads water rather than reaching new heights. I enjoyed it, but many will probably be left wanting more as I did (fortunately, there’s one more article in this series forthcoming!).

Alexander Wallace is an alternate historian, reader, and writer who moderates the Alternate History Online group on Facebook and the Alternate Timelines Forum on Proboards. He writes regularly for the Sea Lion Press blog and for NeverWas magazine, and also appears regularly on the Alternate History Show with Ben Kearns. He is a member of several alternate history fora under the name 'SpanishSpy.'

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