Review: Nova Covert Ops breathes new life into the Starcraft franchise
If you finished Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void, you might have assumed that the six-year-old game had finally run out of things to offer. But if there’s one thing developer Blizzard is good at, it’s dragging you back in just when you think you’re out for good. If you’re looking for another unique way to experience Blizzard’s hit RTS, then the first act of Nova Covert Ops is here to whet your appetite once again.
Nova Covert Ops is a nine mission campaign set years after the events of Legacy of the Void and revolves around the Terran government once again facing the threat of open rebellion. These rebels, The Defenders of Man, will stop at nothing to overthrow the Terran Dominion; it’s up to the Dominion’s most dangerous asset to stop them through stealth and superior tactics. The campaign is scheduled to be released in three parts, the first of which is already available with the second two installments dropping before Dec. 1.
In 2002, Blizzard Entertainment announced that they would be making a third-person shooter for consoles, Starcraft: Ghost. The game never saw the light of day, but its spirit lingers through the game’s would-be protagonist, the Ghost operative Nova Terra. Since her game’s cancellation, Nova has made appearances in novels, comics, the Starcraft 2 campaigns, and even as a playable character in Blizzard’s MOBA, Heroes of the Storm. But until now, she has never had the spotlight in one of the franchise’s main games.
The feature that makes Nova Covert Ops unique to the franchise is your ability to customize your units before a mission. Nova herself is a powerful hero unit that can be equipped with a variety of weapons, armors, and gadgets that let players take a drastically different approach to each mission. This also applies to your regular units, which allows you to swap certain special abilities for some interesting results. For example, you can give spider mines to the cliff-jumping Reapers or equip your Siege Tanks with jetpacks in order to propel them to higher vantage points. Your options are limited at first, but as you progress through the campaign, you’ll find more useful equipment through story elements and bonus objectives. Most of the Terran units have also been reskinned to fit into the covert ops theme.
As far as the story goes, it’s what you would expect from a Starcraft title, though less hamfisted than Legacy of the Void. The main concern is how abruptly the first act cuts off right as things start to get exciting. This could end up playing out in Blizzard’s favor, as it seems like a good way to keep players interested in the game by drip-feeding them new content to keep the game on their radar.
You can buy each set of missions for $7.49 each or in a bundle for $14.99 before the final set is released. All you need is the free Starcraft 2: Starter Edition to play.
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