Reviews// Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

Posted 2 Aug 2010 17:29 by
StarCraft is a special game; StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is the much-anticipated sequel. Imagine playing through Halo for the first time back in 2001, experiencing what felt like an evolution in console FPS games. Now, think back to how much you loved that game ? how much I loved that game ? and try to envisage that Halo 2 is still to be released, set to hit the stores some time around 2013. That?s pretty mental, right?

Back in the 1990s, Blizzard Entertainment established itself as one of the best developers of Real Time Strategy games with the success of several Warcraft titles. There were many other developers producing fantastic and profitable games, building on their franchises, while others failed in their attempt to cash in on a highly popular genre. In November 1997 (in the UK at least) Blizzard Entertainment produced a title that would redefine the RTS, smacking competitors in their faces with its class and sales: Starcraft.

Back then, all I could really give a shit about was Blizzard?s previous title Diablo, though StarCraft became the company's love child. It sold millions worldwide, particularly in South Korea where it fast became a national gaming phenomena. 1997, remember.

Here I am in 2010 reviewing the sequel.

Now, the problem with such a huge gap in a true sequel is that there is going to be a massive amount of expectation; expectation from old, jaded and fatigued StarCraft veterans. That?s a tough bunch of people to please.

First though, let?s start friendly and welcoming to anyone who hasn?t played StarCraft. StarCraft II is set in the 26th century, some distance away from our solar system, but within our galaxy. There are three main species:

Terrans are the human race, consisting of multiple factions. They?re like any collection of humans, both real and fictitious; victims to love, hate, war and politics.

Protoss are the typical advanced technology space dudes to be found in any self-respecting Sci-Fi. These are portrayed as the nemesis to the Zerg.

The Zerg are insectoids that attack in numbers and are akin to those flood bastards in Halo. For anyone who?s played any online game, you?ll be familiar with the term ?to zerg?. Or, zergfest, facerolling zergtards, get our zerg on, etc. Well, now you know where it comes from.

In the single-player campaign, you take the role of James Raynor, an experienced warpig running his band of space rebels labelled ?Raynor?s Raiders?. Jim?s goal is to bring down the leader of Dominion space, Mengsk. Funds. As allies are limited, and you find yourself battling on, fighting the good fight while doing other jobs on the side to keep your ship, The Hyperion, and mission afloat.

After being introduced to the story, the characters, and your purpose, it?s time to get down to business. One of the first things instantly noticeable is how great the game looks. StarCraft was very well known for its artistic style, and this has definitely made a positive transition to modern day graphics in the sequel.

Points of View

You are restricted by a tilted top-down view, with the option to pan slightly, and zoom in and out. While the in-game engine is fantastic (should you have a PC powerful enough to handle it), one major bugbear is the camera distance. You will forever find yourself pulling back on the mouse wheel in an attempt to zoom out. The reason this zoom is restricted is so you can only ever manage the section of the map you?re focused on. Zooming out and managing several groups of troops would break the dynamic of the game. While I understand it... well, it's still very annoying.
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