12/11/2015

Legacy of the Void - the worst Zelda game ever

Before we start, I'm a huge StarCraft fan. It was one of my first PC games. The franchise has been with me for over half of my life and what might be weird, I loved the game mostly for the story. Sure it wasn't the greatest thing ever written, but the execution was just so much better than all the mission briefings we were used to at that time in RTS. Jim was a cocky bastard, Mengsk was a major asshole and Fenix sacrificing himself was one of the most meaningful game deaths for me. And the soundtrack... Hell, I'm gonna listen to it while I'm writing this. Hey! You can listen to it while you read this, too! It'll be the soundtrack for this post, why not.

When Wings of Liberty came out, I played the crap out of it. Got all the achievements in the story mode. Even the Lost Viking ones, because I just wanted to show my respect to the guys at Blizzard that made it so beautiful. So what all characters had depth of a puddle, at least they were diverse and worked well together. The missions were diverse, the goal clear and Raynor relatable. It's been 5 years and I can still remember some of the maps.


Then Heart of the Swarm came, with its in-your-face romance and pink Kerrigan. Up until the end of Wings of Liberty, the word "love" has never appeared. The relationship between Jim and Sarah was hinted, but never explicitly shown or confirmed. The beginning of Heart of the Swarm could have easily featured them as good buddies, with Jim having hots for the HotS (sorry for the terrible pun, couldn't resist) and Kerrigan not really being that interested. Still it wasn't so bad after all. Seemingly faceless Zerg got amazing new representation in Zagara and Abathur. However, it's probably not the best thing that I don't know what the end goal was.

HEAVY SPOILERS FROM NOW ON - YOU'VE BEEN WARNED

Legacy of the Void has been so much worse though. The whole thing is a MacGuffin fest. Starting with the introduction of a "bad god" very originally named Amon. Although, if main characters have the most popular American names, Jim and Sarah, it's probably fitting that the bad god has the name out of top three popular god names. What's worse, is that the only purpose this Amon serves is for us to know what we want to hit in the face in the finale. The coolest Protoss alive, Zeratul, gets sacrificed to free the most boring of them, Artanis. "Screw Zeratul, I want to play as Artanis in the last part of StarCraft" said no one ever. It's as if the creative director played Metal Gear Solid 2 and thought "hey, this Raiden guy was so cool!" or something equally ridiculous.


What follows is resurrecting the one character that should have stayed heroically dead - Fenix. What's worse, he's resurrected, but not quite. He's now having existential problems and becomes a plot device in a story that keeps getting worse with every passing mission. Way to dig out a corpse of a beloved character and spit on it. Accompanying the bland Artanis are also a green-eyed female, a blue-eyed female that occasionally turns red, the only protoss with a beard and a red-eyed bad protoss that for a completely unexplainable reason manifests free will. Yes, I just finished the game yesterday and already cannot remember the names. The only good moments in the campaign cutscenes are when Kerrigan, Raynor and Swann appear. The rest is just one still face babbling to another still face.

Back to MacGuffins - almost every mission goes like this: "Hey, Artanis, I've discovered the xhtehyean... ah screw it, I discovered these magical thingies that you need to collect or destroy so you can advance." At some point you find yourself chasing 3 pieces of Triforce to be able to collect 5 gems to free 6 sages to find 7 crystals. Unfortunately, Artanis doesn't have a fun green hat and what's worst, he talks. Makes me wonder whether all the level designers were reassigned to Heroes of the Storm and Legacy of the Void was left with just a team of juniors.


The pinnacle of this is the final mission of the epilogue, where instead of an epic bossfight or commanding a massive final battle, you get to... You guessed it! Destroy 7 floating crystals! And as a reward, you get to see burning Kerrigan using a laser pointer attack on the forehead of Cthulu Amon. And don't even get me started on Kerrigan trying to rival Dragon Ball Z characters in the amount of transformations and how cliché her final form is.


When I finished the game yesterday I immediately googled whether they changed the person responsible for the story, but no. It's been Chris Metzen all this time, but apparently struck by some midlife dementia. You thought the ending of Mass Effect 3 was bad? Well, it must be some space opera curse, because Legacy of the Void manages to deliver an even worse ending to a much better franchise. After it's all over, you end up feeling like Blizzard has just taken a long, boring piss on your favourite characters.


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