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Review: Starcraft II Wings of Liberty

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starcraft-II

Few games have defined a genre, even fewer have lasted over a decade, and it’s rare for one to dominate a nation.

So Blizzard think they have what it takes to make Starcraft 2, have they crafted the next RTS master? or is it just another sequel?

If you’re reading this review, then you have heard of Starcraft, you know about it’s reputation and that it’s probably the most balanced strategy game ever. Well the new version has finally dropped in and the devoted are already knee deep in new improved Zerglings.

They have split the story up, this first game being the Terran campaign, which is a rich tapestry of drama and action, the multiplayer is as frantic as you would expect, and there is a challenge mode pick up new tactics and bring those old micro-skills up to scratch!

Gameplay

starcraft-II-screenshotTerran Campaign = £2
Splitting the game by race the way they have might mean some find that this release neglects their favoured side. However it gives focus, this chapter of the story is filled with fantastic cut scenes, brilliant characters, and an interactive adventure between missions to.

Tutorial mode = £1
Always necessary for a game to have a tutorial, the SC 2 tutorial system is useful, small modules to keep focus on specific game mechanics.

9 Challenges @ £1 each = £9
Just an epic concept, the challenge mode is the best place for you to learn the craft without the side effect of being a ‘noob’ with heavy losses on your profile. In this section you can practise various essential skills such as micromanagement and picking the best mix of units to counter an invasion.

3 Multiplayer modes @ £1 each = £3
Clearly the focus of this game has to be the online multiplayer, the main eSport title had to have a suitable successor and it looks like battle.net has been the main strength of the title. With ladders, co-op, team games and a selection of sides, this should have everything for the sometimes player or the budding progamer.

Graphics

30 Units @ 20p each = £6
While these have been criticised as behind modern graphics, the units I’ve seen are some way better than certain other RTS games can manage. Most importantly they graphics scale down well, so that the majority of PC gamers, even with slightly out of date rigs can enjoy some spectacular effects which bring the game to life!

26 Levels @ 20p each = £5.20
Fine detailing and a good size, lots of triggered events to affect your strategy and even early missions have lots of extras to discover.

62 Multiplayer maps @ 20p each = £12.40
Good selection of different sized maps, from 1v1 close encounters to astronomic 4v4 landscapes with choke points and hidden treasures.

Audio

Ambient Music = £1
Any RTS needs a kicking soundtrack, something to sync up with and compliment your crafted strategies. Starcraft II does this brilliantly and uses the music to build the suspense between Zerg rushes!

Choice

starcraft-II-upgrade-screenshot Mission Selection = £1
Path choices are available, choosing to fight the marauding Zerg, or the corrupted Protoss, leading to different technologies and research becoming available.

4 Difficulty settings @ £1 each = £4
If a particular mission is giving you a hard time, you can drop the difficulty at any point in the campaign. A useful feature if not the sweetest pill to swallow, admitting that you really just can’t cut it!

Special features

Facebook integration = £1
Gaming is above all a social experience, there is limited fun playing against a predictable AI, or playing random’s across the internet. If you find on your friends list that you have some closet gamers you can while away the weekends with some pwnage.

Achievements system = £1
Looking back at it, you might think that the real reason the Xbox is seen as a gamers device, is the gamerscore and achievements system. This is now everywhere and rewards gamers with a sense of achievement along the way to completing a game. You can aim to get gold ratings of every mission and challenge which will keep the best players busy for a while!

Map Editor = £1
Something to always be considered in games is the creative ability of gamers, by including a map editor, fans of the game can extend the competitive nature of the game for years to come, a definite plus point.

Predicted lifespan: 12-18 months (x0.75)
This is key for a valueview, this multiplier, based on how long we think this game will be on your ‘lets play shelf’, can reduce all the value to zero as features in a game mean nothing if you’re not playing!

Starcraft II Wings of Liberty is a return to a time where gaming began, a sequel which has been a long time coming and yet, feels like it they have kept some of the magic which made the first game such an icon worldwide!

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty
Platforms: PC & Mac
Version Reviewed: PC
Release Date: Out Now

Review Overview: “A fine follow up by the numbers and looks like a bargain at any price”

Pricewatch suggestion: £35

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 at 5:00 pm and is filed under PC, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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