Nova Covert Ops Mission Pack One Review

The Starcraft II Campaign came to an end some months ago with the release of Legacy of the Void, the game’s official last chapter. The world was saved, Kerrigan and Raynor got their ending and all is well.
Or is it? Nova Covert Ops is a 9 mission DLC (split into 3 separate packs) that continues the Terran storyline. You assume the role of everyone’s favorite ghost, Nova. Awakened in a strange facility with no memory of your last mission, you must escape, gather your team, and figure out what happened. 

A new secretive faction has sprung up calling themselves The Defenders of Man. You quickly discover these seemingly benevolent group of Terrans have more sinister designs in place than to just help defend against the Zerg. While this mission pack doesn’t get far enough to really explore the story yet, it does enough to introduce it and get you hooked.

The missions themselves so far are a blend of controlling Nova as a hero character and the traditional RTS of Starcraft. One mission has you holding out against waves of attacking Zerg, and another see’s you attempting to garrison soldiers in various places around the city. On their own, they wouldn’t be anything special, but the unique mission parameters and presence of Nova makes them entertaining.

Nova herself is treated to some RPG mechanics. You won’t see any  skill trees a la Kerrigan in Heart of the Swarm, but you can modify her weapons, armor and gadgets on a per-mission basis. Optional objectives show up on missions that generally lead to extra equipment. As always, these are worth it to give you options. I suspect its possible to make a mission extremely difficult for yourself by taking the wrong gear, but I didn’t find this to be an issue. I enjoyed switching Nova to a shotgun for closer ranged combat, and gaining a giant AOE burst skill as a result. Conversely, sticking to her traditional rifle lets her  snipe from afar. She can even turn melee, with an energy sword. Lets just say body parts will go flying when this is in use.

Nova's pulse grenades make short work of squads

There’s about two hours of gameplay here, possibly less or more depending how fast you are, or what difficulty you are playing on. (I played on Hard.) The packs are $15 for the whole lot, or $7.50 individually. Bought alone, I would say they are a little overpriced, but if you purchase the whole bundle I would say its solid. Blizzard clearly put a lot of work into this to create not only a new storyline, but a lot of unique and fun missions, scripted events and cinematics with the in-game engine. You don’t even have to own any of the SC2 games to play this. You can use the free starter edition and buy the Nova packs if you want. A nice touch by Blizzard I would say.

My only complaint about this DLC is that of any episodic content: you want to play it all right now and not have to wait for the rest of it to come out. The other mission packs have no specific release date, other than “they will be released on or before December 2016.” I imagine it will be at least a few months between releases.

Personally I really enjoyed and recommend the Covert Ops mission packs for anyone who wanted more story to play in the Starcraft universe. The missions are fun, the scripting impressive, and Nova is just a blast to control. Check it out.