(http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/)  Rated Teen for Teen by ESRB.  Ever since game developer Blizzard released Starcraft in 1998, people were enamored with its near perfection. The wildly popular sci-fi strategy game is still played by gamers all over and is practically a sport in South Korea. The fact that it is still played to this day means a lot in this fast paced gaming world. When Blizzard announced that they were creating a sequel, fans across the world drooled over the thought. After so many years later, people had almost given up hope that it would come, but finally Starcraft 2 has arrived.

(http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/)  Rated Teen for Teen by ESRB.  Ever since game developer Blizzard released Starcraft in 1998, people were enamored with its near perfection. The wildly popular sci-fi strategy game is still played by gamers all over and is practically a sport in South Korea. The fact that it is still played to this day means a lot in this fast paced gaming world. When Blizzard announced that they were creating a sequel, fans across the world drooled over the thought. After so many years later, people had almost given up hope that it would come, but finally Starcraft 2 has arrived.

 

Presentation:
Starcraft 2 picks up years after the events that happened during the Brood War expansion for the original Starcraft. You follow the exploits of the supposed outlaw, Jim Raynor, as he fights to destroy the Zerg and liberate the Terran Dominion from the control of the treacherous, self-proclaimed emperor of the Dominion, Arcturus Mengsk. Throughout the campaign, you’ll see the return of characters from the original Starcraft, including the mysterious dark templar Zeratul, the infamous Queen of Blades, and Jim’s army “Raynor’s Raiders”. A few new faces are introduced too, such as Mengsk’s son Valerian, and Jim’s old criminal friend Tychus Findlay.

The story in Starcraft 2 plays an even bigger part than it did in the original. With plenty of cinematics and cutscenes as well as opportunities to have conversations with various characters aboard your flagship Hyperion in between missions, Blizzard shows that they not only know how to make a superior real time strategy game, but they also know how to write a riveting story. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Starcraft movie released sometime in the near future.

       

Graphics:
Anybody who’s played the original Starcraft knows that graphics were definitely not its best feature. While they were good for its time, they are definitely the most noticeable overhaul to the series. Seeing Starcraft 2’s graphics for the first time, my jaw almost dropped off. The entire game is rendered in a surprisingly detailed, cutting edge sci-fi 3d. In addition, there are two different types of cutscenes. One type is rendered using what appears to be the actual gameplay graphics and while it isn’t necessarily bad, it feels like some more work could have been put into it, most of the cutscenes are rendered that way. However, there are a few cinematic scenes rendered with such high quality graphics that it nearly brought a tear to my eye. In particular, Raynor’s flashback to the Zerg invasion of Tarsonis was so well done that it looked like it could be shown at a theater. And of course, the actual gameplay looks nice too. Adding detail to each and every unit has made all the units so much more vivid. The complex machinery of the Terran army is very reminiscent of the Marines from Alien, the elegant Protoss units are so wonderfully shiny and perfect, and the Zerg are somehow even more strange and disgusting. Starcraft finally not only plays great, but looks good too.

Sounds:
The original Starcraft had some of the most recognizable sounds from any game I played as a child. The advanced zapping and blasting of the Protoss, the disgusting squishy noises of the Zerg, and the familiar sounds of Terran machinery all return in Starcraft 2. However they’ve been redone in such as way as to sound clearer and more refined, while keeping the original feel. Your units still say quirky comments as you command them around the battlefield and your commander still nags you about low supplies and units under attack. Even the background music sounds eerily familiar to the music written 13 years ago by Blizzard’s brilliant composers, Derek Duke and Glenn Stafford.

Then of course there’s the absolutely brilliant voice acting. With Starcraft 2 we see several new and returning voice actors, with both Raynor and Mengsk being voiced by their original actors, while others such as Kerrigan were replaced. The voice cast is just phenomenal and makes the game that much more enjoyable.

       

Gameplay:
In the end, it doesn’t really matter if it looks or sounds pretty; gamers are begging to know what’s changed to the actual game since the original. The controls have been thankfully barely messed with, having only a few tweaks here and there to make it more effective. However, there have been quite a few changes to each army’s unit list. Because the story only consists of the Terran campaign (so far), the Terrans definitely take the spotlight with their new units. There isn’t enough room to detail every single change, but the Terrans now have access to a gigantic assault walker called the Thor, two new infantry units, and Vikings: mechs that can transform into aircraft. Protoss have the gigantic colossus and can warp units directly to the battlefield. And the Zerg have gained suicidal Banelings as well the tunneling Roach. The list of changes goes on and on, but each one seems well thought through and keeps the game just as balanced as the original.

During the campaign, you will steadily unlock Terran units to use against your enemies and by the final mission you will have access to a considerable arsenal. There is a big disappointment however, not all of the Terran units and upgrades from the campaign carry over to the multiplayer. While there is a small understanding that some units might unbalance the multiplayer, it is quite saddening to lose use of Goliaths and Diamondbacks during multiplayer battles. Hopefully, Blizzard will release balancing units for the other two armies in the next two expansions, therefore unlocking full use of all units during multiplayer. But despite any complaints, Starcraft 2 still just as undeniably fun as the original Starcraft.

Longevity:
Starcraft’s multiplayer capabilities are really what kept it so popular for all these years. And Starcraft 2 promises just as rich a multiplayer experience as the first, with one small difference. LAN support has been dropped. So if you expect to go to a LAN party and play Starcraft 2 without an internet connection, think again. In order to play Starcraft 2 multiplayer, you’ll have to use Battle.net. Maybe Blizzard will change their mind and provide LAN support, but LAN partygoers can only hope.

       

The campaign will provide you with hours upon hours of fun, and the addition of achievements you can earn will have you going back just to see if you can get them. And the campaign at least deserves a second play through because you make a few choices along the way to gain access to different bonuses. And if you can get past the lack of LAN support, Battle.net multiplayer will take even more of your time. Not to mention that there are at least two expansions that are going to come out. Starcraft 2 is certain to have you playing for months.

Conclusion:
Starcraft 2 has been worth the wait. The original had such a fan following that no matter what Blizzard did, people were going to complain. But they still went ahead and made a game that is considerably better than the original. And yes, fans complained. However, if you look past the petty complaints and begin to appreciate the sequel as what it is and not just as a sequel, Starcraft 2 is a wonderful game. I strongly recommend this game to anybody who is a fan of real time strategy and I can’t wait to see what Blizzard is going to come out with in the next sequel.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here