Havoc's Reviews: Starcraft II

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Havoc's Reviews: Starcraft II

Post  Havoc on Sat Aug 21, 2010 8:01 pm

Make no mistake... War is coming. With all its glory... And all its horror...

Twelve years after Blizzard released a real-time-strategy game that became almost universally known to anyone who plays computer games, they finally release the sequel. And it has been well worth the wait.

Starcraft II is the first of three games in Blizzard's sci-fi setting telling a long and involved story. But new players will not be as lost, but will likely miss out on some of the mythos that has been woven. (especially those that relate to 'Dark Origin' from the original. I'm gonna try and avoid spoilers, since this is one of the better-written stories in video games this year.) However, that's not gonna cut back on your enjoyment for this title.

StarCraft is the story of three races. The Terrans, Zerg and Protoss. The Terrans are displaced humans from a future and over-populated earth who have built a life in the stars thousands of light years from home. The nightmarish Zerg are an alien swarm of monsters that have come from far away to invade and assimilate new life. The Protoss are a brave and psionically powerful race that is the most technologically-advanced race. All three have found themselves in the conflict, fighting to survive. Each faction, especially the terrans, have their own internal problems to deal with and this is part of the heart of the story: the characters.


This is one of the more extensive and meaty single-player games that people will come across and it's well-worth any strategy enthusiast's time. It follows the story of Marshal James Raynor from the first game. He's the leader of a band of rebels dedicated to bringing down the corrupt Terran Dominion which was established in the first game. There is a big twist that sees the return of old friend Zeratul, a protoss wanderer, and which kicks off the larger story in the trilogy. Can't tell you too much without giving it all away, but you'll find a wealth of missions at your disposal that will take on a first playthrough a good 10-15 hours!

There are many enemies that you'll face along the way, but you will have an impressive arsenal yourself to fight back with. If you've played the first you will see several familiar units like wraiths, firebats, goliaths and medics. Each mission as well has a challenge where you have to use the new unit to achieve victory. Most of the time this is true, while others will help, but a bit of a trick. Part of the fun is discovering the surprises you'll come across in the missions. I will say this too: the last missions are some of the most intense and fun in the entire game.


Starcraft is known for its multiplayer aspect and is often joked at being the national sport of South Korea. Unlike the single player that only gives you access to the terran part of the game, you can choose to play as any of the three races, who have different nuances and abilities that can be used to achieve victory. It can be a lot of fun and the matchmaking seems to be very good. However, therein is part of the problem. Though the computers do a good job at matching you up (even in the beta, I found that it did a good job at putting you against people of similar skill levels) you cannot control the reputation or behavior of the other person, and there are ways to trick the system so that an elite player can curbstomp someone of moderate skill regularly. Unless you want to get into the competitive aspects and all, I'd stay steer clear and look into finding people you know on battlenet and play custom games with your friends. There are plenty of maps already included that can keep you busy for a while and the AI is plenty smart, though on lower difficulties it is practically braindead.


One thing that is worthy of note when it comes to the game is the included editor. This thing is INSANE! With the editor, players can create new maps and missions to play through either on their own or with friends in multiplayer. It IS important to note the editor is not as user-friendly ass it could be and will require a good bit of trial and error to figure it all out. However, given some of the things the community has already created, the possibilities are virtually endless for what you can create.


After extensive playing, I have to say that I am eager for more. Knowing Blizzard though, it'll be another year prolly before we see part two of the trilogy if we're lucky. I will not recommend this game for everyone since not everyone is a fan of strategy, but if you are an RTS player, you at least should try it. If you're unsure, wait. The current price of admission (59.99 USD) is a little steep. If you're a fan of the series or a big RTS player, then it might be of interest. It doesn't change a lot from the original, but it's still very good, even if there are parts of it which makes it seem like Starcraft 1.5. For a story buff like me, it's a no brainer. Though the story is a bit cliched, it's done in such a way that it's entertaining to the end. I eagerly await to see what comes our way with part two: Heart of the Swarm.
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