Starcraft II released in 2010 and six years on it is still supported. This isn’t a surprising thing for Blizzard, as they patched Warcraft III 14 years later. Nova Covert Ops is the next bite-sized DLC portions to add more story to the Starcraft universe.
Nova Covert Ops also serves a purpose of being standalone, allowing players like me who’s only knowledge of the game is second hand to learn the Starcraft mechanics and nuances that makes the game such a long standing classic in gaming history. The DLC is a small three mission introduction for both the veteran and the newbie.
Chapter 1 follows Nova combating the Zerg, who have struck out after two years of peace. This isn’t the whole boiled down story and over time the picture grows showing the power struggle for a single city-state and the role of the Zerg in the conflict. The missions clock around 20 minutes each for a veteran so story exposition is limited however the story is rounded enough in a rich enough universe to give players a good scale of the stakes in this conflict.
The core gameplay has not changed dramatically. While it seems the engine is being pushed to the limits to accommodate all of Nova’s unique traits such as her cloaking, melee abilities, sniper skills, pulse grenades and her jump suit the gameplay is still traditional Starcraft II. Some of these mechanics seem out of place and this is very noticeable in the stealth portions, where enemies take no notice of bodies littered around.
This engine stretching makes the DLC swap between organic and robotic. Players will be forced to do things just to add drama to the action, such as stopping to dodge a hazard and even some on-rails action. However later missions do fall back into the typical big battle RTS scenario. It is somewhat of a shame that these mechanics are used in such a small piece of DLC though there are two other mission packs coming along. This is going to be beneficial as there is very little replay value on offer and you only squeeze around 3 hours of play out of this pack at a push.
In total Nova Covert Ops is a solid yet sadly short piece of DLC. There isn’t much completely new here yet it supplements the original game well and gives new players a simplified method of entering into the Starcraft world especially if you dislike the huge investment of time that it typically demands. The cost is a little high but the whole experience is decidedly solid and earns a healthy 7 giving a good experience for the new and the old.