Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne Review

Buying an expansion game can be a risky proposition.  You can spend half to three quarters the price of a new game, and in the end feel that you spent way too much just to get a few new units and some new missions.  Dollar for dollar the extra gameplay just isnít there.  Rest assured that this is not the case with Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, though.  Blizzard has put together a full-featured and finely crafted expansion to our strategy game of the year for 2002 that packs in more gameplay than you get from many regular releases, let alone expansion games.

Naval units make their return to Warcraft in The Frozen Throne.

To begin with you get a new 26-mission campaign game that is designed with the same care and craft that went into Warcraft IIIís campaign.  You get the same high quality cinematics, compelling storyline, and topnotch voice acting found in the original game.  The campaign opens with a cinematic of the evil Night Elf Illidan summoning monsters known as the Naga to help him obtain the gameís namesake, The Frozen Throne.  You begin the campaign controlling the night elves and their new hero, the Warden Maiev.  Iím not one to ruin a story by giving away its major plot points, so Iíll just say that after playing as the night elves, youíll control the humans and the undead.  Like the original game the campaign has you play for different sides involved in the conflict at the center of the campaign, which can be disconcerting at times for those who like to always fight the good fight.

Missing from the campaign is a chance to play as the orcs.  To make up for their absence the game gives you a bonus campaign that puts you in the role of a beastmaster named Rexxar who aids the orcs as they work to carve a new homeland out of the hostile land of Durotar.  The bonus campaign plays out as a long mission with an evolving story that adds new quests as it evolves.  It is entirely focused on Rexxar and a troll shadow hunter - there's no base building or clash of armies; it's just your two heroes and no more than a handful of support units roaming the countryside and kicking some butt.  The bonus campaign is not as challenging as the main campaign but it is enjoyable.  Once you've completed it you can download additional missions for the campaign by connecting to Battle.net.

The game's main campaign is well-balanced with a variety of mission types that includes races against the clock, single hero quests, and interesting variations on more familiar game types. As is typical with the campaigns in Blizzardís strategy games, youíll be introduced to the new units types as the campaign unfolds and be required to take advantage of their special abilities to complete the missions.