Highly anticipated, hyped up, and years in the making. The first of three editions of StarCraft II was released, but does it live up to the hype and hopes of fans?
StarCraft II has been years in the making, and the series itself has stayed strong since it’s initial release in 1998. Now the series makes it’s triumphant return and in three seperate parts which will focus on each of the three playable races: Terran, Protoss and Zerg. The first of these to be released is Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty which focuses on the Terran. Starting up after the events in Brood War, the single player campaign picks up with Jim Raynor who has been ostracised as a criminal by media campaigns by Arcturus Mengsk. the leader of the Dominion.
Raynor is on the far outlying planet Mar Sara where he is working on helping to free the people from the Dominion. He is soon approached by his old friend Tychus Findlay who proposes that Raynor joins up with him to collect Xel’Naga artifacts for the Moebius Foundation. After securing an artifact from a site on Mar Sara the Zerg, who had been silent, launch an attack. After escaping, Raynor finds out that the Zerg have lauched attacks upon Terran systems and that the Dominion have retreated to only defend core worlds.
From there the plot gets pretty good. I enjoyed the fact that there were some missions where I had to make a choice on what to do which then affected the plot for the rest of the game. I also liked the missions with Zeratul as it gave a break from the strict Terran play. Some of the missions did feel a bit repetitive, but then something came along that broke up some of the gathering monotony. I’d say more about the plot, but I’d rather keep it spoiler free. I will say that I did enjoy the ending and can’t wait to see what happens next.
Graphics are highly improved, and the fully rendered cut scenes are amazing, but I was a bit unimpressed with the game rendered scenes. I honestly was disappointed that not all of the scenes were fully rendered. Not that the graphics looked bad, but it just didn’t feel the same. Maybe I’m just spoiled with other games I guess.
Now multiplayer, this was an aspect I was both looking forward to and dreading at the same time. Even back when I was playing the original game, I wasn’t amazing at multiplayer, but after years of not playing the game at all, I’m back to n00b status. Thankfully I can just choose to play with my friends against computers and not feel too ashamed while practicing and trying to get better. There are also some great challenge modes which were designed to help you improve your decision making and skill at the game. It is sad that you can’t do traditional LAN parties with SC2, but in the end I do enjoy the Battle.net functionality. And connecting that with Facebook was fun as I found out which of my friends play (there were a couple of surprises).
As for the overall review of the collector’s edition, I have to say that if you did snag one it was a good decision. The art book is fantastic and I’ve flipped through it several times for myself and to show others. The behind the scenes DVD has some fun features to it, and it’s great to have all of the fully rendered cut scenes in one place to watch whenever I want. And I imported the soundtrack day one since I fell in love with the music from the get go. Plus if I had a full size replica of Raynor’s gun I’d have his dog tag hanging off of it in my office (next to my Lancer and cog tags).
Now I know that there are more hardcore fans than I who were disappointed with the game. I’ve read and listened to what they’ve had to say, and I can understand their feelings. However I still say that if you’ve enjoyed the original StarCraft games, you will enjoy SC2: Wings of Liberty. Not to mention, this is just part one of three for SC2. Something tells me that the other two with different storyline views will expand upon what we have in Wings of Liberty. So I say go out and buy SC2! I’ll be anxiously awaiting to play Heart of the Swarm while working on my PvP skills.
Review copy provided by Blizzard and does not affect the outcome of this review