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Heroes Of The Storm Review

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Monsters vs aliens

★★★★

It's a testament to Blizzard's impact on gaming that, with only a handful of core franchises to its name (chiefly Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo), a title like Heroes of the Storm, offering a crossover between them, can still feel like an event. A multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) in the grand old tradition of Defence Of The Ancients and the all-conquering League Of Legends, HOTS has been in beta for several months but now, at full release status, it's worth considering its importance.

By their nature, MOBAs are typically not terribly welcoming to newcomers. There always seems to be a caste of players who are instant experts, making getting to grips with the competitive genre a nightmare for the uninitiated. Not so, with Heroes. Yes, the hardcore contingent is present, but the game does a wonderful job of getting you to grips with its systems before throwing you into the mix. Simple controls (right click to move or make basic attacks, use more powerful moves with left click or the QWE keys) and an emphasis on team, rather than individual, rewards (XP is shared, with the nice side effect of discouraging glory hogs and kill thieves) has you feeling both capable and motivated once you begin playing for real.

However, for all its tweaks on the MOBA formula, Heroes of the Storm remains distinctly familiar. Although there's a pleasant amount of variety on offer, with multiple maps offering distinct objectives, and a beefy roster of 37 heroes – rotating in their availability for free players, or available for purchase and permanent use – gameplay is still 5-vs-5 battles across three-lane maps, assaulting the rival team's base and slaying minions en route. Unlike League of Legends or DOTA 2, matches are typically shorter with a better pace to the combat, but that's not quite enough to win over players who aren't already into the genre. For those who are though, Heroes of the Storm's faster combat, friendly approach to teamwork, and variety of maps might ultimately make it more fun.

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