User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1133 Ratings

User score distribution:

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  1. Mar 16, 2013
    9
    I am on mission 20 of 27, and am having a blast. The complaints about the story here are inconceivable. I am finding it intriguing and well done, especially for an RTS at heart. The progression of the campaign feels very fluid as it adds choices and new species to play with. Choices that can be changed at any time. Seems there are quite a few bad reviews complaining about things they wish it was, instead of actually reviewing the game as it is. A shame. This is a very, very well done expansion. If you are a gamer reading these reviews for a push, you have already passed the threshold of needing to buy it. You will not be disappointed. Expand
  2. Apr 15, 2013
    9
    I liked the organization of the campaign even better than Wings of Liberty although I thought the lack of diverging paths in the story was a negative. The storyline was predictable but with a few twists I didn't see coming.
    I thought the visuals and audio were excellent.
    I would like for the single-player campaign to have done a better job of preparing me for multiplayer. I don't see the
    point of learning to like units and upgrades that you will never use again. Expand
  3. Oct 1, 2013
    9
    This is quite an expensive expansion but does add a lot to SCII, both the singleplayer campaign and the multiplayer are great, after playing for some months I'm starting to hope the final expansion will be released soon. Its a solid game and my favorite multiplayer by far... probably until I try DOTA.
  4. May 8, 2013
    3
    Heart of the Swarm is not so much a game as a guided tour. The game holds your hand and carefully walks you through every stage like your a 5 year old. It's actually pretty insulting--like one big extended tutorial for stupid people. How far have we fallen from the tense and frantic game play of Warcraft 3? Remember that? Apparently Blizzard thinks its customers have lost half their IQ points in the past 11 years. Expand
  5. Apr 27, 2013
    1
    Dumbed down. Dumbed down and dumbed down. Tank rush? MUCH!! What is it with developers? Or does every gamer want a "lowest common denominator" experience these days? Starcraft 3 will likely be a 2 button cover based shooter as that seems to be all the brain dead dolts who buy games these days are capable of enjoying. Thank god for Indie games where gameplay, depth and longevity are still valued by most. This is garbage. Blizzard along with Bioware 2 of the best developers 10 years ago, now both churning out "assemble by numbers" thoughtless dumbed down drivvel like this. Expand
  6. Mar 18, 2013
    0
    This expansion does nothing to improve on the fundamental flaws of Starcraft, it only adds a few gimmicky units. I would not recommend this expansion to anyone it's as much a waste of money as the original game.
  7. Mar 13, 2013
    9
    I wish the campaign was a little less focused on individual hero units and more focused on the overall RTs aspect.

    Aside from that, the game was fun and multiplayer and more interesting.
  8. Mar 19, 2013
    7
    Pretty fun experience overall and a more enjoyable storyline than Wings of Liberty. The cut-scenes are spectacular as usual (unlike some of those crappy ones embedded in WoW these days) and the units, upgrades, etc. all feel very nice. This expansion includes some Evolution missions that serve as tutorials for using your units and that then later give you the choice of selecting a "specialisation" for them as you progress through the SP campaign. Negative bits are here though so I'll list them:
    - Far too easy on Normal (especially when compared to Wings of Liberty)
    - Silly "noob" options enabled by default (i.e. not being able to select your enemy/non-playable units to see their health, constant reminders of "an optimal number of units to mine gas is 3", etc.)...just like Diablo III's elective mode being hidden away.
    - Too linear and short I can accept the linear because I don't expect an RPG and the "too short" bits could have been fixed with a more challenging experience when playing normal (really Normal feels more like Casual with sunglasses). I can't comment on mutli-player because I don't care about it (well I used to enjoy LAN with friends and family but the online lag pauses piss me off now even when playing in the same room).
     
    Conclusion: Enjoyable experience but just not quite worth the price if you're only into the Single Player campaign.
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  9. Mar 21, 2013
    8
    Heart of the Swarm provides the same zany story elements the series has always had (yes even the originals weren't shakespeare) but the campaign has more varied gameplay than Wings of Liberty. Having Kerrigan around for many missions feels more like old school Starcraft campaigns where hero units were regularly present. The new units in multiplayer are nice additions. The game is quite easy for veteran Starcraft players, so I would recommend playing on a higher difficulty if you've been around since the start of the series. Expand
  10. Mar 12, 2013
    10
    Chess is the ultimate strategy game, unlike Video games chess will remain untouched, its perfect in its conception.

    Blizzard have done to the RTS genre what Chess did to the board game genre, they have created the ultimate game, how can they better it? they cant so all cry's of stagnation and lack of innovation are futile. You cant innovate perfection, unlike chess RTS's can tell a rich
    and intriguing story and allow you to play scenarios out, this is what makes HotS worth any strategy fans money. The amazingly balanced, simplistic, complex, multiplay is a huge bonus.

    10 out of 10 for blizzard!
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  11. Mar 30, 2013
    8
    I thought the game was graphically excellent, but had less RPG qualities than the base game. The main negative with this expansion is that missions are more linear. You choose a world as Kerrigan and end up doing a 3-4 mission sequence that you can't get out of. This makes the game somewhat linear for long stretches.
  12. Mar 28, 2013
    10
    I love Starcraft II and I love playing as the zerg. So I guess I love HOTS. Overall, I've been playing this off and on for 2 years and I can say for sure that there is virtually no limit to the amount there is to learn about it. It's huge, it's a lifetime game, getting to know it feels like I'm getting a small Degree for a university course. I would say getting to know the technical (controls/interface) is bigger than some entire games, and then getting to know the technicality of each race (builder order/units/uniqueness) is like 3 full other games (3 races), and then actually getting good at the game is like 10 full other games. So you're basically getting 14 games worth in this one game. That's actually not even an overstatement because I'll be playing this for 5 years and I'll probably get 14 times the number of hours I get out of most games. Wow, I just realized that I'm not in hyperbole. Expand
  13. Mar 12, 2013
    8
    As the first review to not give it either a 10 or a 4 or less, let me say that this game is far from perfect. The gameplay is still the same Starcraft 2 you love, but with more units and a new story. The new units add a an interesting feel to competitive matches. unfortunately, the story is lackluster and the big glaring retcon is annoying, especially because the story would have worked fine without it. The gameplay in the campaign starts you out at a disgustingly slow pace. Over an hour of a tutorial in an expansion wasn't necessary whatsoever. The difficulty is way too easy. I played the game on hard an I didn't even need to pay attention to win for the most part. You have the illusion of choice for missions like deciding to use different weapons to do the same thing, but in reality this tacked on feature does not challenge the intelligence of the player and, I have to say that while playing I felt like my intelligence was actually being insulted. Luckily the game picks up in later levels, getting far more enjoyable. Forget the main characters because the zerg are interesting creatures to have conversations with. Overall, it's a fine expansion pack with some flaws, but If you enjoyed Starcraft 2, you will definitely enjoy Heart of the Swarm Expand
  14. Mar 12, 2013
    10
    Quality of Heart of Swarm is on par with Wings of Liberty. But I like it more since it now shows alien race with all kind of weird stuff instead of mere humans. Blizzard did fantastic job with missions, cut scenes and story. The only thing I liked more in WoL is dialogues. The game is now more challenging on highest difficulty. Trust me, you'll reload alot. Cant wait to see the last part of this epic trilogy Expand
  15. Apr 2, 2013
    2
    A two because: This is still Starcraft (original) with turd-polish. You already paid $60 for this game. (now they want $60 more... and what of chapter 3? $60 more I think) I hate time limits...I play to relax. Time limits mean lazy game-making. The meta-game blows chunks. Leads to mono-tactics. The graphics still lag modern computers. Enough of all this negativity...I thinks I'll go try Duke Nukem Forever now. After all these years, surely they have had the time to make a spectacular sequel...right? Expand
  16. Mar 18, 2013
    4
    Average expansion. Over hyped. Just what you would expect from BLizzard lately. What you get out of this for the money is just bad value. Few stupid MP units and average campaign. With stupid story.
  17. Mar 19, 2013
    9
    I've played around 100 games online so far and I like the changes made both in-game and out. The campaign is extremely slow to get going and I wish it would go back to the way Brood War played out (use the online tech tree and limit only some units). As a result, much of my time as been online. BNET interface is better, like the level system, league portrait colors before the matches, new physics etc... Any issues with balance will obviously be tweaked along the way. GG! Collapse
  18. Mar 31, 2013
    2
    you are paying 10$ per new unit they added
  19. Apr 2, 2013
    6
    The game is very polished as is usual of Blizzard games and the game mechanics and units are fun to control. The upgrade system for kerrigan and the units is kind of pointless though as you never really get to use your upgrades in a meaningful way. There are very few additions to the multiplayer side of the game so you can't really give credit there. What really drags this expansion down is the storytelling of the very short singleplayer campaign. It really makes you feel stupid to be playing the game given how cringe worthy it is. I thought the story in Wings of Liberty was borderline ok but Heart of the Swarm sinks a few levels lower to the point of being completely worthless. If you mostly just play Starcraft for the singleplayer like me then you will find that this expansion is not worth full price. Gamespot said it really well in that the original Starcraft looks like Shakespeare compared to SC2. Expand
  20. Mar 15, 2013
    8
    A solid addition to Starcraft 2. The campaign has a wide variety of fun missions, and the added units in mutliplayer add a needed shift in competitive strategy. If you don't already like Starcraft, you probably won't like this, but for any fans of the series this is a must.
  21. Mar 16, 2013
    9
    A short but well crafted expansion, the story missions are varied with an obvious focus on fun story driven gameplay vs artificial feeling challenge which I definitely appreciated. other then that the new units aren't so much new as re-skinned support units from the first which again is appreciated but wont wow anyone. A worthwhile expansion to a very solid rts. All the 0's here remind me that metacritic needs to be read with some pretty thick filters, especially with company's with as storied a history as blizzard, remember always nostalgia is poison to the gaming world no more is this more apparent then on metacritic. Expand
  22. Mar 14, 2013
    6
    I'm kinda splitted when it comes to HotS. Gameplay is fine as always. Cinematics are good. But the story carried by those two is rather weak. Even if it has at least two nice little touches, it feels more like a Anime aimed for 16 year old boys and girls instead of a mature story for the fanbase who grew up with Starcraft and Brood War. The scenes itself feel a little disconnected as when someone thought "Oh, it would be cool if Kerrigan would do this. And later that" without really caring about why she would do it. The game was no edges. It's all round and comfy. Also it kinda does the Warcraft 3 limbo. Now since Humans and Zerg are more-or-less at peace, we will have some Protoss fun in the next title and i REALLY strongly guess that we have to team up against the evil space-god-zerg-protoss-hybrid-xel'naga whatsoever antagonists and we will leave the universe in the state of fragile peace like we did in wc3. So Blizzard can craft whatever they want out of it. Expand
  23. Mar 23, 2013
    1
    Rather than actually base Starcraft II upon Starcraft I, which is, a game about Strategry and Military Tactics, they decided to base Heart of the Swarm upon timed console gaming garbage like Legend of Zelda. Most of the missions are more "Race against the clock" to win trash.

    Avoid this garbage like the plage, it's about console style beat the clock and is nothing like the original Starcraft
  24. Mar 16, 2013
    8
    This game has a lot to live up to in following a masterpiece like Wings of Liberty. Overall this game does a wonderful job of doing just that. The single player is fresh and fun, it isn't a large change from Wings of Liberty and I am okay with that. The story is a bit hard to believe and seems a bit rehashed but overall it is well executed with that said. For multiplayer, the units were not changed a lot, and there just seems to be a few changes overall. This is good in my opinion due to the large number of strategies that would have to be completely scrapped if the multi player was fully revamped.

    Overall I give this game a 8/10. It has a good single player, and a continued amazing multi player.
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  25. Mar 21, 2013
    10
    The game is very good in terms of both singleplayer and multiplayer. The multiplayer is still incredibly demanding and I feel exhausted after only laddering for a short while, but that is how all good rts games are. The campaign is well made, has good replayability, and is definitely by itself worth the price of 40$
  26. Mar 30, 2013
    5
    As usual with a Blizzard game there`s a lot of polish to HotS. The MP engine, the in game interface and unit control is all great as is the graphical quality and the sound. In fact, if you love playing MP RTS games with lag HotS is just about the perfect game.
    Unfortunately I don`t and consider e-sports about as entertaining to take part in as math exams, and more stressful than Christmas
    shopping. It`s OK to watch, but just like with downhill skiing, Tour de France or professional wrestling I`m more than happy not to ever participate in it.
    Which leaves the single player campaign, which is to be perfectly honest full of some of the most lame ass writing you`re likely to have ever seen. Cliche on cliche piles onto the never ending monologue of weirdness and bravado of Kerrigan. I don`t think I can remember the last time I had a more overwhelming desire to kill off the main character in the story of a video game. It is just too bad to even properly describe in words.
    The story itself might be OK actually, but it`s just the way it`s being told. Until otherwise proven by Blizzard my opinion is that the entire scripting crew of SC2 have bee fired because they had too much talent,, and have been replaced by 3 illegal aliens being held prisoners in a broom closet by evil Blizzard accountants and forced to write scripts for the SC2 franchise, unless they wanna be handed over to immigration.

    Honestly though, if it wasn`t for the damn lag I get every time I so much as think about multi player, I might not be so harsh on SC2. But when the campaign is so poorly written I squirm with embarrassment in every single dialogue, and I can`t play multi player because of lag, what is left to like of the things I paid for? Not much is the answer to that question.
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  27. Mar 15, 2013
    4
    Very average. I think most of these 9 & 10 reviews are based off people still on the hype train. The writing, average, the story average, the game mechanics average and nothing excelling or pushing the boundaries. That said nothing is bad about this game, its just it never seems to go anywhere. Everything is predictable. The cinematic videos are superb but this is a game and not a movie. They do redeem this from scoring lower. A lot of potential wasted, a buy for the true fans or people, an easy skip for everyone else. Expand
  28. Mar 15, 2013
    0
    In the HOTS campaign, my very own intelligence was insulted. I managed to finish the whole game with barely a base defence. I hardly even touched an upgrade in the evolution chamber. most missions a few handful of zerglings was enough to get the job done. I didn't even have to think. I didn't even have to plan. I was even on the phone to my friend with one hand and with the other clicking away aimlessly and before I knew it....MISSION SUCCESSFUL. I don't think there was even a mission that wasn't complete in less than 30 minutes. But it just doesn't stop at the poorly thought out difficulty curve (which treats us like babies who've just developed an opposing thumb). The HOTS story carried the same childish, cliché, predictable, and cringe worthy moments that were dished out to us from WOL. No momentum was lost in the declining storyline. No brain cell was spared either for all of mine were lost just witnessing it. Expand
  29. Mar 15, 2013
    9
    I quite thoroughly enjoyed Heart of the Swarm. I find that the campaign is fairly well written and stands its own even compared to some of the RPG typed games that I've played. Like Wings of Liberty, the narrative brings a certain depth to some of the characters we know, such as Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan. The campaign is about 27 missions long, which is fairly lengthy considering the original Starcraft had about 30. The cutscenes are of course beautifully done, and the way the missions are panned out really gives the game an extra flavor, since it's not always about building and conquering. The new additions to multiplayer also seems to be a welcoming sight, with a few unique units that offers up to strategies to your game. If you are a Starcraft fan, don't pass this game up. Expand
  30. Jun 3, 2013
    6
    This review is for the single player, because the if you want to play a multiplayer RTS, you already know that SCII is about as good as it gets.

    The campaign is just atrocious. It's polished, as blizzard games always are, but it's about as relevant to multiplayer or RTS elements as I am related to a tuna. It's essentially a nonstop flow of new, gimmicky map ideas, and while I'm okay
    with mechanics that supplement the RTS elements, I don't like how many levels were DOTA-esque and central around the hero. Starcraft and warcraft 3 just don't blend well together, and it might make new players think that the hero concept has anything to do with the game, where it doesn't. I can count on one hand the number of missions where I felt like I could play proper zerg (I'm a terran player and still felt like zerg got cheated) and the number of departures from multiplayer zerg is almost frightening (queens are completely changed, all the mutations and different attributes of each unit make them feel completely different to how they do in multiplayer)

    The character arc for kerrigan is bipolar at best. She starts out just right, but almost immediately, goes completely bananas. They really could have paced her arc better, instead of wildly bouncing around. And pacing the story around what happens in the very first mission just doesn't set a good tone for the rest of the game.

    Interacting with your crew is pretty awful, as well. WoL's crew was equally as varied, but they were human, and thus, relatable. The zerg characters were just goofy and camp. Tychus and Matt in WoL were central, driving characters that you felt invested in. I went through every piece of dialogue in HOTS, and I absolutely hated almost every word spoken. I wanted nothing more than to not listen to those irrelevant sidekicks. Starcraft is dark and a very human story, and the zerg campaign made it feel goofy and completely inconsistent in tone, bouncing between drama, cliche, and humor with all the smoothness of falling down a flight of stairs.

    The game is also just brokenly easy. I breezed through it on brutal, and I'm by no means a great starcraft player.

    Cinematics are as good as video game cinematics can get. But unfortunately, and this feels unique in a blizzard game, they feel completely detached from the game that I was playing.

    If you're looking to play some multiplayer RTS, buy this game without even batting an eye. But if you're only looking for a top notch single player RTS, I'd suggest you go to teamliquid.net and find the starcraft brood war mod done in SCII graphics.
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  31. Mar 19, 2013
    0
    I've played around 100 games online so far and I like the changes made both in-game and out. The campaign is extremely slow to get going and I wish it would go back to the way Brood War played out (use the online tech tree and limit only some units). As a result, much of my time as been online. BNET interface is better, like the level system, league portrait colors before the matches, new physics etc... Any issues with balance will obviously be tweaked along the way. GG! Collapse
Metascore
86

Generally favorable reviews - based on 68 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 68
  2. Negative: 1 out of 68
  1. Jun 10, 2013
    90
    The tutorials and the A.I have been improved, giving newcomers the chance to calmly try new tactics… before playing against experienced players that will go straight to their jugular. [April 2013]
  2. May 9, 2013
    85
    Accomplished, if not exactly groundbreaking. [June 2013, p.80]
  3. May 9, 2013
    90
    Heart of the Swarm is ScarCraft made better. Welcoming to newcomers, but never dumbed-down, the franchise at its best. [June 2013, p.66]