So, yeah, multiplayer doesn't do much for me. I do enjoy cooperative play, but it has to be true cooperative play, something like World of WarCraft did where everybody had their individual jobs and there was true cooperation and teamwork. Speaking of World of WarCraft, I've now been sober for four years!!
Anyway, that's all my introduction to say that I really enjoyed Heart of the Swarm because of the story. That's why I actually like playing most video games. I find them a very interesting form of storytelling, one more interactive than a movie, but with many of the watchable elements of a visual medium like TV or movies. Once again, it was the story that Blizzard wrote that makes, for me, the game so compelling. Their character from WarCraft III, Prince Arthas, remains to me one of the best stories of someone actually turning to evil from good, taking more and more extreme steps to combat the undead invading his kingdom, but in doing so losing his soul and actually joining them (you can watch the WarCraft III storyline where he falls from grace here, and though the graphics are dated, the story is still great). The fallen slayer, Faith, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is also a pretty good bad guy fall from grace story, but I really can't think of any others. I've blogged about how hard it is to find good bad guy origin stories.
The storyline in StarCraft 2 is almost a bad guy origin story. Sarah Kerrigan, betrayed by her leader Mengsk and left for dead, was forcibly turned into an alien-human hybrid to control the zerg swarm. Her friend, Jim Raynor, never gave up on her and was able to return her to her human form (Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty). However, Mengsk, now the leader of the human empire, still seeks her death. Kerrigan continues to fight for the man she loves and the vengeance she seeks against Mengsk, and has to take more and more extreme measures to continue the fight. As part of the process, left alone, abandoned, and thinking that Raynor has been executed, she returns to the alien zerg and once again becomes their leader, but on her own terms. This eventually includes a return to her zerg form, and with the alien forces reunited, she finally accomplishes her vengeance, killing Mengsk, but at the expense of millions of her own troops to depose Mengsk with minimal civilian casualties.
Whereas Arthas eventually loses his soul in the process of his fight, Kerrigan never ultimately loses sight of her humanity. Even in her transformation back into a human/zerg hybrid, she remembers why she is doing all this, and maintains her conscience. (You could even argue her conscience gets stronger as the campaign progresses, even as she continues to take more and more extreme measures.) It's a great story, and I enjoyed playing through it. Lucky for you, if you're interested, someone took all the major moments of the Heart of the Swarm game and put them into a video, so you can watch it if you like! It doesn't quite work as a movie, but it's better than a lot of TV currently showing, so here you go (skip the first 13 seconds; I have no idea what that's all about)!
I had no complaints about the gameplay or anything like that. I'll take a few points off for calling it an "expansion pack" because really it's its own self-contained game. In any event, I'm just mostly reviewing the thing I care about most-the story. And for a video game, it was a good story. I look forward to StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void, where Kerrigan will fight the fallen Alien God Amon and end the StarCraft 2 series.
Final Score: 90/100.