People are very impatient in internet and do not want to type emails if they dont exactly understand why it is required. I recommend to lead people directly to this page: http://lifeforcecampaign.com/missions/
Non-spoiler verdict: Play this now! Stop reading and go get it!
Mission spoilers ahead of course.
The 3 major differences between LifeForce and normal SC2 is:
Units have more hp for their cost, without the extra damage. The reaction time needed to move a <50% hp sphinx is huge compared to moving most SC2 units
Units cost more. This means that you don't have to build a large amount of buildings to keep your resources low, especially since you get tech reactors. So, a lower macro level than SC2. As well, it will take a little longer to build up a decent size army.
Enemy units have in general been melee or have dodgable projectiles. Micro is much more rewarding in terms of hp saved than in Starcraft.
Given that LifeForce seems to be in theory less difficult than Starcraft II, can it provide an engaging experience that isn't a-move to win?
Yes it can! LifeForce is an amazing campaign, and really should be played by literally everybody. The missions add things to up the difficulty. Examples:
M1: Limited resources! Your micro better be excellent, because the more units you lose, the more likely you're going to fail the mission. Strong early attacks! You're going to be hit by lyote alphas before you're going to have bunkers up.
M2: Rush focused! The cutter pilots forces you to move out early.
M3: Strong enemy early game! With only 4 mech techs and a tank you have to fend off a huge number of bugs. Micro is highly effective, but at the same time you have to be getting your economy going.
M4: Strong early attacks! You're going to be fending off forces twice as large as yours while getting your economy up, and the difficulty keeps going up. Base crushing rewards! Going after enemy bases, while optional rewards you with less attacks, and resources. Limited resources! Vespene is pretty limited this mission; you may have to choose between what upgrades/units you get now/later No reinforcements! The swamp means not only will it take a large amount of time to work your way through the swamp, but you're not going to be able to "constantly" reinforce during an attack, as they will be eaten alive by the dwellers.
Do these always work? Are missions always great? Sadly, no. Mission 2 going to be a bit of a drag if you don't try to rush down the pilots (sphinx's + repair makes shooting down the shredders trivial), as well it is very easy to A-move with a heavy sphinx+commando comp. The second half of mission 3 can end up being pretty easy as well, only having to cast goo once every few seconds and just watching your enforcer bunkers tearing apart stragglers, mammoth bugs aren't just threatening (or heavily armored) enough against them and their ~70 bunker DPS aura of death. And in mission 4, attack waves heading to expansions can be frustrating because of how slow (or damaging) it is to work your way through the swamp to engage. Many 2 and 4 attack waves can be defeated by running some guy in front of your army, have everyone target him, and just keep him moving.
Still, LifeForce manages to hit the things I like. Rewarding to use comps of multiple units? Absolutely! Every unit has at least some place that it's good. `Difficult enough that I'm not bored (Brutal SC2 campaign player)? Yes!
Obligatory balance suggestions:
Shadowcats can't move through other shadowcats. Spreads out the effects of the stun much better, prevents players from sniping down objectives (will get hit by AoE and stuff, as well as they can't group up to burst), and putting Sphinx's back in front regarding burst damage.
More hp nerfs to Sphinx please
Rating: I'm going to rate this "higher than The Master" (seriously, look at the guy's lines. Lay off the vespene a little. "only one to get past the trials?" More like only one with a high enough tolerance that you're not completely brainpanned)
Life Lessons from LifeForce:
Take a flashlight whenever you're heading underground, you never know when accidents happen.
Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, but maybe look it over with a scanner
It's Bilxor, not Blixor
Gas masks: not just fashion statements
Always back up your files, especially your bioweapon databases (RIP Razorface)
Have your cult members do a lot of menial tasks for a long time every day, gives them an extra 90HP
Everything can be explained away by pirate attack! Cult murdered? Pirate attack! Planet disappeared? Pirate attack! Zerg invasion of Tarsonis? Pirate attack!
Great breakdown thanks tchosen for the recommendation. I have contemplated the shadowcat nerf you suggested as well I just might do that. Been hard at work on the next chunk and brainstorming a lot and now I'm wondering if I want to make LifeForce a 2 or 3 part saga; I just have too many big ideas. It might be cool to wrap this up sooner and dive into an all new even more innovative project (like an rpg or tps) but I'm not sure if fans would rather just have more LF.
Great question... mission 5 will probably be done next week then beta testing the following 2ish weeks. Yeah it took a year of on and off work but it has an incredible amount of custom stuff. It's huge, easily twice as big as any previous map. May just release that on its own. Other maps probably 6 months out but will be much faster.