Let's not mince words - WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos is one the most enjoyable games ever created, regardless of genre. Chronicling the saga of a prince named Arthas, WarCraft III's campaign is a breathtaking affair of betrayal, epic combat and a world's desperate bid to fend off an unstoppable evil. It's the kind of grand storytelling that's extremely rare in gaming.
The single-player campaign is split between the game's four races - Humans, Orcs, Night Elves and the Undead - and the story is told from each side's perspective. The diversity of the missions, which range from large-scale combat to stealth affairs, keep the entire game fresh and exciting. You never know what's just around the corner.
What really elevates WarCraft III above the usual strategy fare is the hero system. Each side has two heroes endowed with extraordinary powers, such as healing. This has been tried before in strategy games, but WarCraft III nails it, both in ease of use and how much of an impact those special powers have in battle. And because your hero maintains his or her level throughout the game, the powers that you choose have long-term strategic effects.
Graphically, WarCraft III looks sensational. The world of Azeroth is packed with a ton of details, including highly detailed and wonderfully animated characters. The fully animated cut-scenes - which match anything that Hollywood produces - catapult the story forward while never breaking from the game's tone.
Like all Blizzard games, WarCraft III has an extremely robust multiplayer component. Blizzard's Battle.net makes online play simple and swift with a host of play options, including hero-centered scenarios. And if you're really serious about multiplayer, you can enter tournaments and slug it out with other players via the player-ranking ladder system. If there's one downside to multiplayer, it's that the people who play online are really good, so you'll need to bring your A-game if you want to even stand a chance.
Regardless of whether or not you're a hardcore fan of strategy games, WarCraft III's compelling story and excellent balance makes it a must-own.