WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne

aka: WC3:TFT, WarCraft III: Expansion Set
Moby ID: 9685

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 89% (based on 59 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 113 ratings with 5 reviews)

Quite possibly the best expansion pack ever released.

The Good
I wrote a review for Warcraft III a while back, and by reading it you can assume I wasn't very impressed with the game. In fact, I was disappointed and annoyed with what was the game I anticipated more than any other game. And while the game seemed to offend me in every aspect, one part I thought was not only done "right", but done "exceptionally well," and that was the single player campaign. It brought us a great, original story, with not-horrible voiceovers, traditional "Blizzard-style" RTS gameplay, and four races to play through with ten or so missions in each campaign.

I did not have high expectations for Frozen Throne. Not only because of how Warcraft III disappointed me, but because expansion packs typically suck. Most publishers think they can get away with adding two or three new units and charging you thirty bucks for it. Let me tell you...Frozen Throne is no 'typical' expansion pack!

Not only does Frozen Throne add more to the game, it nearly doubles what the original game gave us! It adds a ton of new units, new items, new tilesets, even a few new races that you can control! And best of all, it brings us a brand new story, bringing back some of your favorite characters from Warcraft III, and it's almost every bit as good as WC3's.

The levels in the campaign are much more varied than in the original campaign, but only a handful are typical "build base and destroy enemy base" style missions. While this may disappoint some people, I thought it was great. Levels range from dungeon-crawling expeditions that don't involve base building at all - in a few missions you must even escape from a collapsing dungeon! - to a sort of "tug of war" game in the Outland. One mission you must massacre several villages not letting any peasants escape, and another you must annihilate two bases while its inhabitants sleep, and there is even a "turret defense" secret level. Your goals are reasonable, and almost never feel burdoning, and every level begins and ends with a rewarding in-game dialogue exchange/cinematic.

And speaking of cinematics, the two CG cinematics you'll find in the game, while not quite as wonderfully detailed and exhillerating as the original campaigns, are very, very pretty and I've watched them more than once. One thing that I found quite pleasing was an in-game cinematic in which two Heroes battle it out over a frozen wasteland, and it doesn't look in-game. That is to say, it's rendered in-game using in-game units, but not typical in-game animations.

There is a "bonus campaign" that plays more like an RPG than an RTS game. Actually, you might say it was obviously influenced by the countless "RPG" maps created for Starcraft over the years. It works very well, and it was very fun to play, and while not completely finished, Blizzard has promised two free episodes will be available to download from their website.

Also one thing that I was very happy and surprised to see was that you're not just playing "Night Elves" or "Undead" this time - but a general alliance instead. Several missions will require you to utilize two different races' bases at once, including the Naga and the Blood Elf races.

Heeyyy food limit was bumped up to 100! Not quite the 200 most people want, but you can get that extra unit or two now.

The ending credits is hilarious.

The Bad
While the entire game campaign was quite good, I found the first campaign to be sort of boring. Perhaps it's just because I don't like the setting it took place in, but I just really wanted to finish it to move on to the next race's campaign.

There's no Orc campaign! Well, there is, kind of, but it's a "bonus campaign" and not part of the expansion's story! The Orcs have always been my favorite. Why couldn't they have played a crucial part in the story, like in the original campaign?

The in-game cutscene I mentioned, while pretty cool, annoyed me how it was set up. It looked more like a Dragon Ball Z anime short than an in-game cinematic. The sword arking down the screen with lines flying around behind it just looks stupid. In fact, the whole anime influence in the game is altogether annoying and really detracts from the focus.

The Naga and the Blood Elves come with their own semi-unique set of units and buildings - why can't you play them in multiplayer?! Four races is pretty cool and all, but six would be even cooler, don't you think?

The in-game story was kind of vague, I think. First of all, the game's campaign seems to pick up and drop side-stories every few chapters, and it's not really enough for you to 'connect' with what's all going on. You don't even understand what's going on or why it's even called "Frozen Throne" until about the last campaign. While everything leading up to it added a lot of suspense, I feel it would have benefited by clueing you in sooner. By the time I learned of the Frozen Throne, I was past being in suspense and was wading in impatience. The problem is, it's just not rewarding enough to complete vital missions and not really know what the overall purpose is. It helps that the characters are interesting enough, but with only about seven or eight missions per campaign, there's not that much in there for you to truly connect with the characters. There's no real beginning to the story - it just takes place some time after the last game, and you're thrust into fighting Nagas.

The ending is vague and awkward. It certainly leaves an opening for another expansion, and they'd better make one because it's SO vague that it almost doesn't make any sense at all. The entire last campaign - you're striving for something, putting all your efforts into completing this one goal...and then once you get it, that's it, game over, nothing happens. You don't see what becomes of some of your favorite heroes, you don't know the outcome of anything, you don't see anything...just...vague, emptiness. There are also a pile of plot holes throughout.

Hey, the Blood Elf archer sounds an awful lot like the Night Elf archer, though they look different. What gives?

The Bottom Line
Well, it didn't add enough to the original Warcraft III to make me spend countless hours playing multiplayer or skirmish games like in Starcraft, but it was enough to make me happily play through several hours in a single player campaign in a game I don't really altogether like. The new units and the great story and all the other goodies in the game - it's almost like playing a sequel.

Frozen Throne does what an expansion ought to do - expand in the game to not only add to gameplay aspects, but to build upon what made the original any good in the first place. Too many expanions throw together a bundle of new units and a piss-poor campaign to justify it and call it an "expansion". That's not an "expansion", that's a ten megabyte "add-on" - one that usually can be done better by amateur mappers and modders.

Frozen Throne is, in my opinion, quite possibly the best expansion ever released for a game. If you enjoyed WC3, you'll definitely enjoy this. If you hated WC3, this probably won't add enough to make you come back - unless you enjoyed the storyline, of course, in which I would definitely suggest picking this one up.

Windows · by kbmb (415) · 2003

Makes a superb game even better.

The Good
New heroes, units and buildings with awesome graphics, great sound effects, nice voice acting and the deep warcraft universe. The strategies will change a bit from RoC to TFT, giving some more balance to the units. In short, Blizzard added anti-air and anti-magic units so just mass casters or mass air units won't beat almost everything, and if these new counter-units are used well, they can give you the victory. Four selectable races and different strategies that will need different heroes and units give this game a huge replay value

The Bad
Tho most annoying aspect of the game, a crash to windows desktop now and then was actually fault of my PC and low-cost RAM, so since it has never happened again, i love every bit in this game / expansion.

The Bottom Line
Roc + TFT is the best game i have ever played. Since I bought it, I have finished the campaigns and played literally thousands of online games. Every time the game is about to start, the players have been picked, the team defined and the map is loading, I know that shall my team win or lose, I will have a great time

Windows · by Emlyn Hughes (14) · 2006

A good story does not a game make

The Good
I’m not a massive fan of high-fantasy, but I must admit the plot of Warcraft III had me hooked. It was suitably large, spanning genocides, kings, demons, immortality and a genuinely interesting and dramatic plot twist. It ended with a slightly damp fart of a cinematic however, so thankfully it is continued here. Characters seem much more original than many in the genre, with clear motivations and relationships. It’s interesting to play as someone like Maiev Shadowsong, who has her own personal agenda opposed to the other playable characters, as well as others whose moral standpoint takes second-place to their individual drive.

The graphics aren’t exactly state of the art, but are pretty in their own cartoony way. The new locations look pretty. Sound is the strongest aesthetic on offer and a lot of attention has been paid to sound effects and music.

What does this expansion add? You now get sea combat, which you had in Warcraft II, though can only hire ships from a sort of used-car salesman present on a few maps. There are also runes and books that add various buffs, permanent and non-permanent, to your character, as well as numerous new items. Which is nice.

There are new races too. The Naga are big and lizardly, although each unit and structure functions identically to every other race’s units and buildings. The Blood Elves use basically all the High Elf models from the previous game.

You’re also given a relatively freeform RPG-lite experience controlling Rexxar in Durotar, in case anyone wanted to find out what was going on with the Orcs. This works as a scaled-down version of the normal gameplay, with all that entails.

The Bad
For a setting basically copied from the Warhammer universe, Blizzard have gone to great lengths to develop and expand the Warcraft world into new areas. Their elves here are purple and have giant ears, for example. The story then is the strongest point of this game, and it is the only reason to play. And I stretch the definition of “play” to its limits. ‘The Frozen Throne’ uses the character-hopping nature of the previous game. We are presented with the semi-demonic (and completely different looking) Illidan Stormrage on his morally questioning fight against Arthas; Arthas the man himself in a downright morally reprehensible quest of his own; and the fate of the Blood Elves, a new race for the game. I was really interested in finding out how the different players went about pursuing their different goals, particularly as the situation many were in was a direct result of my actions in the previous game…

…but just couldn’t be bothered to PLAY as them.

Here’s an example. Kael'thas the Blood Elf is dealing with a racist human commander and is being temped over to the cold-blooded Naga to satisfy his thirst for magic. So what does he do? He kind-of invades an island and mucks around killing random, totally unrelated creatures. I want to see plot progression, not successfully click on different figures to watch them die. Later he is captured and imprisoned by said humans and undergoes a daring prison escape. How does he do this? He wanders around a vast labyrinth, repeatedly slaying completely random creatures (one question: how did the men who imprisoned him get past all these creatures and complicated button-pressing obstacles?) and collecting a bunch of junk, seemingly without reason. Ah luckily these very-slightly-more-powerful-than-my-previous Gloves of Power happen to be lying around. In a barrel. In a prison.

This is what Warcraft’s gameplay consists of. Train a bunch of oddly proportioned warriors, generally about twelve as that’s the most you can select (?!?!?) and then click on other oddly proportioned bad guys to watch them hit each other with swords. Or oddly proportioned utterly meaningless monsters that stand around in the woods.
This is coupled with a levelling system for very slightly improving your hero character for the six or seven chapters he’s around for. You’ll frequently find yourself training him in the most powerful of his four (Four! That’s way more than three!) magic spells early, then absentmindedly learning the others simply because they’re all that’s left. Why not present us with a selection of spells, having us decide between which we have to sacrifice? Click, splat (some frequently-encountered creatures like Murlocs actually splat), click, splat, click splat.

I’ve mentioned that some of the graphics are rather nice. However everything has this weird, cutesy look to it. Every unit, flying or mounted, moves the same speed and is pretty much the same size. They all have this hyperactive design to them- no sword is smaller than seven foot tall and no hand or foot smaller than any head. This is then contrasted with the excellent FMV cutscenes (rare as they are) where suddenly things look real again. It’s hard to accept what’s on the screen as what is actually going on in-world. My invasion fleet of twelve blokes lands, kills a few people, then builds a load of chunky farms and barracks. Is this meant to be a facsimile of the real events? Does each one of these soldiers represent a squad, each town hall an entire town? How did I manage to invade a giant fortress and knock down buildings with TWELVE PEOPLE! I find it hilarious reading about these character’s rich background and histories, only to see them blunder about hitting Gnolls on the head and stealing their stuff.

The entire game functions like this. You are essentially playing filler in between the actual story and cut scenes. I admit, hand on heart, that I played most of it with the invincibility cheat on, just sending my character straight to the end of the level, pausing for the occasional subquest (though most are similar to those in World of Warcraft e.g. “Kills those monsters. Why? Because I need twenty of their teeth. This teeth-encrusted jacket won’t make itself.”)

Much ill has been said about the multiplayer, so I won’t repeat the stories of tank rushes and unbalanced upkeep here. Needless to say it’s a boring and soulless experience.

Finally, fan service aside, I won’t take any woman seriously who wears a metal thong and bikini. Blizzard can write some interesting female characters. Why can’t they design them using more than one hand?

The Bottom Line
There is a story here. It's no War and Peace, but for an RTS it's grand and also interesting. As a GAME experience however this is shallow and repetitive at best, downright boring at worst.

Windows · by Curlymcdom (44) · 2008

A worthy addition to Warcraft III

The Good
Blizzard did a great job in creating this add on. The graphics were impressive. The additional field units added a depth of strategy. The music was pleasant without too much repetition. The continuing story was entertaining and relevant to the levels you ended up playing.

I really like the increased cap of 100. It added to the mayhem you can cause.

The Bad
The wicked evil micro-management that came with the new Hero characters. If you didn't heal and curse on a second by second frame, you'd get munched and crushed without putting up a fight. The grouping mechanism is still awkward and the path finding AI is a little scary at times.

And the wide open ending that left you wondering what in the heck will happen next?

The Bottom Line
If you loved Reign of Chaos, then don't hesitate to get this addition. You'll not regret it.

Windows · by Scott Monster (986) · 2006

Could have been stand-alone

The Good
Exactly the same good as Warcraft 3; the gameplay still works fine, the soundtrack is awesome and the story and the way the game tells it are still great. I can't say there is any improvement though.

This expansion is just as long as Warcraft 3: Reigns of Chaos was and could have been sold to me as a full-priced game. I won't complaint about it though :)

The Bad
Still the same flaws as Warcraft 3, Blizzard is rather consistent it seems.

The Bonus campaign just keeps dragging on and it's way too easy. It does end with a great climax, but everything leading up to it is just boring and never seems to end.

The Bottom Line
This review is a bit shorter than what I usually write, but that is because you can't really say anything about this expansion. It's still exactly the same good with the same flaws as it's predecessor, but now at a much lower price. It's still a recommendation for fans of the Warcraft lore and for strategy-game fans, but people who aren't either of those this game will prove to be a bit boring and a little too hard.

Windows · by Asinine (957) · 2011

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Jeanne, piltdown_man, Thomas Helsing, nyccrg, Patrick Bregger, Yearman, Xoleras, Cavalary, Scaryfun, Tim Janssen, jaXen, Cantillon, Alaedrain, Wizo, Caliner, Zeikman, GTramp, Alsy, vedder, Kabushi, 666gonzo666, Parf.