StarCraft 2

2011-04-11 22:20:43

StarCraft, a legendary game, a game that helped solidify Blizzard as a true force to be reckoned with. While Blizzard had a fair share of titles that came before StarCraft, StarCraft was the first to become such a sensation that it would become the official sport of an entire country. There are professional gamers that make their living, their fortunes off of playing StarCraft. So when I heard that Starcraft 2 was coming, and I saw the initial teasers on Youtube, I knew what I was in for... Hardware upgrades.

Now don't get me wrong, Blizzard has an amazing knack for optimization and have done a great job in making their titles run on any old clunker you might have running around your house. But I wanted to live the experience, eat sleep and breathe Space Marines. So I plotted and picked out my hardware, and got myself a brand new PC Gaming machine. For the curious it is a Intel Core 2 Quad with 12Mb L2 4 Gigs of Ram, Win 7 64 Bit Ultimate, and 1.25Tb of HDD space at present. I'll post a tools of the trade page in the Console section coming soon.

But in any case would StarCraft 2 live up to the hype? would it prove to be worth 60 dollars x 3 since the title would be segmented? I was skeptical, and was lucky to find it at K-Mart on sale for 39.95, but having finished the title on Hard, and with so much more gameplay left to accomplish. I will say for the first of the series, I would've paid 60 bucks for it in hindsight.

The story continues some years after the end of Brood War, everyone licking their wounds, Kerrigan out on the loose as the queen of blades looking to destroy everyone. It has a very space western flavor which I could appreciate, and after you complete the first planets worth of quests, you unlock the battlecruiser as a base of operations, here you will spend credits you earn in the missions on buying additional upgrades for your units, researching alien artifacts for both zerg and protoss granting you crazy awesome upgrades(such as turrets mounted on your bunkers, and the ability to no longer build Depots, but have them flown in instabuild style). The campaign is compelling although the plot twists are some of the most cliche in the history of storytelling. but it still feels good to play. Difficulty in this game is no joke, Hard requires serious attention to detail, and often times multiple playthroughs to feel out the right course of action.

Included in the single player segment is a series of tutorials and challenges, which are designed to help you get up to speed on the gameplay, and on the races as they are presented in multiplayer. These missions have 3 tiers of victory, making you strive to succeed and beat the final tier. By completing these challenges you are readying yourself for the multiplayer experience.

Built in voice chat has been added, and LAN play has been removed. much to the chagrin of us LAN gamers. That is probably the only omission I am angry about, I can understand the desire to protect against piracy, but this game locks itself down very seriously, you need a account to even play the game offline, as it needs something to validate the registration against. guests can play on your computer in single player at least after you logged in online for the first time.

LAN play though would really bring the game together as a perfect storm, latency lost having to reach out to blizzard before coming back into the LAN is lost performance, which can be no fun if people are running slower machines or shittier network equipment. 

The game plays great at 1080p with great attention to detail, the visuals are simply stunning and well thought out. You simply cannot get tired of the shine this game brings on. Gameplay balance in Multiplayer is well done, where old strategies in StarCraft 1 do not carry over very well, as Zerg production has been slowed down in a lot of ways, and zerglings alone rarely do the job unless your opponent is really really slow.

The game features achievements and unlockable avatar graphics which give you yet more things to strive to complete in which to show off your prowess. tie in to a universal chat system between Battle.Net and WoW helps tie in cross sold players keeping the community tight. Facebook tie in using Real-ID makes for a great way to incorporate your real life friends into your cadre of opponents/coop pals.

I don't think the next two titles could be worth 60 bucks a piece and I hope they treat them more like the expansions they are, limiting them to 40 dollars or at most 50. but then again maybe they will suprise me in the Zerg expansion. I'll be keeping my eyes open, and from the way the story progressed in the Terran campaign, this battle has only just begun!

Time to chalk in the numbers.

Reason Result
Start 10
Well Balanced and Challenging(best in genre) +6
Good use of Community building features +4
High Cost for a PC Title even this far from launch -5
Graphics and Story are compelling and well done. +7
Story Cliches are a tad overkill, plot twists too apparent -3
Final 19/10

19/10 means this game destroys the Genre it was built in, no one does an RTS quite like Blizzard, Relic comes close, but Blizzard brought their A game to this fight, and will continue to do so in the coming releases. The only major thing I wish Blizzard would do here is reduce the price of their downloadable version. I mean they include game cards, a collectible notepad of jim raynor wanted posters, and a disc for install in the physical box, and it is kind of sad when I can pick up said box for cheaper retail then clicking download online which has far less overhead than disc manufacture and distro. to my readership- what are you doing?!? BUY THIS GAME!