Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Starcraft II was released back in July 2010 and took the world by storm. I personally know a lot of people who were WOW (World of Warcraft) subscribers, actually cancel their subscription to play Starcraft full time. I would hear countless descriptions of “fantastic story”, “brilliant gameplay”, etc, etc…so bought the game.
Now, me being me, I wanted the full story , so decided to buy the first StarCraft, and the expansion Broad Wars to ensure that when I played Starcraft II, I got the full story. This was the reason it’s taken me so long to complete StarCraft II, not the fact that I was busy with the first game, more that I would play a level, then not bother going back to it, as it was 10 year old graphics, sound and gameplay….and trust me, things have really come on in that time. After about 10 missions on StarCraft, I decided enough was enough and took the plunge into Starcraft II…and boy, have Blizzard really gone to town.
Now I’ll attempt to be as spoiler free as possible, as I think the story is something that should be experienced by everyone. You take on the role of Jim Raynor and lead the fight against the Zerg and Protos, this is done the RTS (Real Time Strategy) game style.
Now I’ve been a big fan of RTS games since the likes of the original C&C, and have seen them evolve over the years, I have to say Blizzard have really gone to town with this and made the perfect RTS (bold statement I know). Throughout the game, I never felt there were any units that were overpowered, or underpowered, and just felt the game….worked. There have been many improvements to the units and building, however if you’ve played the first game, a lot of these will be familiar to you.
Now the RTS is great, but I think what makes this game is the way Blizzard have handled the “in between missions”. Some game have FMV (Full Motion Video), some just goto the next mission,….not Blizzard, they give you a full enviroment to interact with. Now don’t get me wrong, they’ve not skimped on the FMV either, every cut scene is done in that glorious highly rendered way, that Blizzard seem to have become a master of. As you progress through the game, the enviroment changes based on the story, giving you a number of rooms to go to in a “kind of point and click” way. These are the like of the Laboratory, Armoury, Bridge, Canteen
The most obvious is the room is the Bridge, this is where you pick up you missions. You are normally presented with at least 2 missions to choose from, 1 will be the main story arc, and the other will be a side mission for a crew member. You don’t have to do any of the side missions, however if you do you get the benefit of credits, a new ability (building, building upgrade, a new unit, or a unit ability), and addition Zerg or Protos research which can be used in the Lab to give you new units or abilities. On the bridge, you also have the option to reply old missions.
The Armoury, as you would expect is where you can spend you credits earned in missions on upgrading units. The upgrades tend to be additional abilities, or the likes of faster cooldowns, on tech addons to buildings not needed to produce the units. This is also the place where you can view new units you’ve acquired from doing missions (which I found very cool)
The Laboratory is where you spend your Zerg or Protos research points gained by doing missions. Both the Zerg and Protos have a maximum of 25 research points that can be spent, with a new unit, building or ability at 5 point increments. Now interestingly at the 5 point increments you have to choose between 2 different upgrade options, the one that you don’t pick gets locked, stopping you from selecting this in the future.
Finally the canteen, this is where you go to hire Mercenaries to help you fight the good fight, and seems to be where the majority of your crew hang out. The canteen also seems to be your trophy cabinet too, as I noticed that the wall gets populated with “trophies” from doing missions. A nice little touch in the canteen was the jukebox, which has some fantastic tunes on it. Finally the canteen also has a TV, clicking on this will give you a UNN news report, which explains the outcome of your last mission, and current state of play in the world.
In each of the rooms there are a number of objects to click on and interact with, as mentioned above there is the jukebox, the TV, a number of crew member, and even some memorabilia from the first game. As with the side missions, you don’t have to do any of them, however clicking on them adds to the story.
As with WOW, the main story is essentially training for the end game, the end game being the multiplayer. Now you can just start with the multiplayer and not even bother with the main game, but that would be such a waste.
Now to be honest, as I write this, I’ve played very little multiplayer. I think I’ve played around 20 matches, and got my butt handed to me on most of them. From what I’ve seen there seems to be 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 all with their own league table and ladder system rankings. These can be played co-op, or via AI, or even free for all.
Now Blizzard being Blizzard have found a way to suck people in, and keep them playing (even though there is no monthly fee), and they do this really well through the achievement system, public profiles and leagues and ladders. Starcraft II also integrates the Real ID communicator system, so if you have friends still playing WOW, you can speak cross game.
This is without a doubt currently the best RTS game made, it does everything right, and I see myself playing for many additional hours to go back and get the achievements I’ve missed, and even completing the missions I didn’t do. I’m looking forward to playing through the challenges, and hopefully not getting my butt kicked so much at multiplayer. If you have a Mac or a PC, and don’t already have this game…..go buy it, it’s awesome !
Approx Time taken to beat – 30hours
Difficulty setting – Normal
Score – [Rating:5/5]
Games TrailerTags: Blizzard, Bold Statement, C Amp, Countless Descriptions, First Game, Game Style, Gameplay, Jim Raynor, Missions, Plunge, Real Time Strategy, Rts Games, Spoiler, Starcraft, Starcraft Full, Starcraft Ii, Time Strategy Game, World Of Warcraft, World Of Warcraft Subscribers, Zerg