August 5, 2010
Starcraft II Review
The time is finally upon us, after ten long years Starcraft II is now in stores and in our hands. Starcraft II may well be one of the most anticipated games ever in the fact that it had almost 1 million preorders and it’s the fastest selling RTS in history. There has been a lot of criticism about Starcraft II and the removal of several key features that were in the original such LAN support, and the separating of the title into three separate games and to ice the cake charging $60 which is $10 more than your average PC admission price. Do these things really hold back the game?
Having played through the single player campaign I can honestly say Starcraft II is one of the best single player RTS to date. In addition to everything you’d expect from a classic RTS like Starcraft it adds several pleasing additions to the single player game such as being able to roam aboard the Hyperion (your command ship), the ability to interact with characters within the ship and to purchase upgrades for your units. These additions help to create a much more in depth and personal universe and also allow you to add another layer of customization into how you approach the battlefield. The original Starcraft was about 30 missions in length and this spread across 3 races so approximately 10 missions a piece. In Starcraft II you play across about 30 missions almost all Terran and a couple of Protoss missions for good measure. The campaign is good for about 12 – 15 hours and there are achievements even after you’ve beaten it. Those worried about getting skimped on the single player campaign can put their fears at rest.
Starcraft II is a beauty to behold and while the game doesn’t take advantage of DX10/11 it still looks gorgeous and a lot of attention has gone into details. The battles are pretty and if you have ADD you will be staring at them while your base falls apart around you. There are simple details from the armor suits to the effects of lasers bouncing off the shields of Protoss carriers that really help enhance the universe of Starcraft. Unlike its predecessor Starcraft II does a much better job in immersing you. While the Starcraft did have cutscenes it didn’t really do much in progressing the story. Starcraft II’s cutscenes really do help make a story for you to follow and enjoy.
Multiplayer is just what you’d expect from Starcraft and in all honesty it’s very similar to the original in many respects. There are some units missing from multiplayer that are in the single player campaign and while this is disappointing in some respects it definitely isn’t a deal breaker. The addition of difficulty settings in Starcraft II is a welcome surprise as in the original you had a once size fits all approach which was ok but didn’t really help once you got down the computer tactics. Starcraft II will have you playing with and screaming at your friends until late hours of the morning.
To summarize I’ve had a blast playing the newest edition of the Starcraft franchise. There are some would tell you to hold out on the game until LAN play is returned, Real ID is removed and Starcraft II is made into one title. I’m here to say if you’re holding on because of those small problems then you an idiot. Starcraft II is a excellent game that improves on almost every aspect of the original and then throws in a crisp, exciting and well done campaign to boot. Having said all this, my only grip will come with the expansions. If the expansions bear a $60 admission price I will be quite disappointed. I suspect that they will only be about $30, add another 15 hour campaign and some new multiplayer units.