If you're a StarCraft fan, pull out your sniper rifle and get ready to get sneaky! The first Nova mission pack was released on March 29, and there are two more in the making.

Nova: Covert Ops is a series of 3 standalone mission packs for StarCraft II, meaning it is not necessary to purchase the core game in order to play. The other two Mission Packs are expected to release later this year. StarCraft and StarCraftII are Sci-fi Real Time Strategy games (RTS) designed for PC and Mac.

The Dominion Ghost Operative Nova Terra was introduced to us in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty , and also appeared in Heroes of the Storm, as well as a cutscene in Heart of the Swarm. She was featured in novels and planned for comics, and would have been a playable character in the non-canon StarCraft: Ghost had it been completed. It feels like there were a lot of ideas floating around for Nova Terra, so I'm excited to see some of them coming to fruition.

The first mission pack involves a variety of combat scenarios, including 3rd person hero mode, road warfare, and more traditional RTS. The transitions between these give a refreshing variety to the player who may have already logged plenty of hours in the three core campaigns. Most importantly, the action is fun and allows for a flexible play-style, since the player can switch up the mods on their units between missions. There is definitely more than one way to allocate your points, and missions can be replayed with different approaches. As is expected of StarCraft, the commands are easy to issue quickly, efficiently, and with precision. The cut scenes continue StarCraft's great story-telling, voice acting, and graphics. They are just the right length to get the player into the story without getting bored.

Nova presents a refreshing change in play-style, with her permanent cloaking abilities, sniper rifle, and Nuke. She is also able to detect psionic units at a great distance, making her a diabolical covert operative. Her original abilities are complemented by new features such as the cliff-jumping suits enjoyed by Reapers. While we haven't seen a lot of dimension to her character yet, she still kicks butt. Grey DeLisle does a great job of voice acting Nova's character.

Nova's forces are Dominion, many of which are exactly as they were in Wings of Liberty, with some new abilities to mix things up. I don't have a lot of criticism for this mission pack, except possibly that it's just enough to get you into the story but leave you hanging a bit abruptly until the next pack is released. It does not take a lot of time to burn through, though you will probably get more mileage out of it if you're a completionist/achievementeer. At under $15 for all three packs, it won't be necessary to embezzle funds for gaming. While the packs can be played on their own, I prefer to at least have experienced Wings of Liberty first, giving a better introduction to the plot and play-style. All the better if you've played all three campaigns, though not necessary. Seriously, StarCraft's epic storyline alone is worth the playthrough.

Platforms:PC
Developer: Activision Blizzard
Publisher: Activision Blizzard
ESRB: Teen
Rating:

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