Early Thoughts: Heart of the Swarm

The Queen of Blades.

I've only played a handful of campaign missions in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. With that said, this game already has it's bio-engineered hooks in me. So bad.

I'll write more when I clear the story and actually acquaint myself with the new multiplayer suite (which is sure to devour my soul). But so far Blizzard has done some fantastic things here. Chief among them is the storytelling, which thrusts Kerrigan into the role of tragic hero, teetering on the division between man and monster. Also, she has an adorable zergling pet. How could you go wrong?

Blizzard has always destroyed their CG cutscenes -- and I'm using "destroyed" in the most positive way possible. I still get goosebumps thinking about the opening to Wrath of the Lich King. Heart of the Swarm pulls no punches, opening with a stellar cinematic that you're all surely familiar with, before tumbling into a series of awe-inspiring, in-engine animations. Wicked stuff.

Insane Kerrigan cosplay. Really. This blows my mind.

Of course, being that this is StarCraft, the actual play feels as pristine and rewarding as ever. In the context of the first few missions, Blizzard does a phenomenal job bestowing the player with ego-inflating power. With a legion of Zerg churning and boiling through stages, you really do feel like the (ex-) Queen of Blades.

And just hours into the campaign, you're forced to make some difficult but entertaining choices on how to evolve your forces -- which led me to ten minutes of anguish as I clicked back and forth from one zergling strain to the other, weighing the potential of each unit.

So far Heart of the Swam has eased me into playing Zerg, while maintaining an engaging series of challenges that continuously open up Kerrigan's abilities and badassery. It's early to make any definitive judgments on it, but Heart of the Swarm starts strong.

Can't wait to keep playing! In fact, imma' play right now.