No StarCraft 2 Reviews Before Lunch

By Quintin Smith on July 23rd, 2010 at 2:18 pm.

The Zerg: Most moist race in RTS history?

In what journalists are calling a “Dick Move”, Blizzard has announced that there will be no reviews of StarCraft 2 before lunch. Would-be reviewers are going to have to wait until after everybody in the office has had lunch before posting their review of the hotly anticipated RTS.

Wait, hang on. Sorry, I misread my RSS feed. Blizzard has announced there will be no StarCraft 2 reviews before launch. Before the game’s launch, on Tuesday, when the BattleNet servers go live. According to Eurogamer Blizzard was “unable to offer an official comment at the time of writing”, though they gather that it’s to do with Blizzard not wanting anybody to play the game without the full suite of BattleNet features. What did you have for lunch today, readers?

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250 Comments »

  1. a says:

    I had some precooked chicken nuggets. Passable, I guess. But I grabbed what I thought to be BBQ sauce but was actually Italian dressing. Chicken nuggets and Italian dressing is terrible. Like Starcraft. Zing!

  2. bhlaab says:

    For lunch? Well I’m a member of the enthusiast press so I’m eating dog food out of a bowl that publishers have provided for me because they are my BDSM slave masters

  3. Out Reach says:

    APB and now this? SIGH.

    If this becomes a trend with new releases, I hope someone with an intonational PC gaming magazine of some kind breaks one of these stupid review embargos. They’re really not good news for the rabid consumer on the street who needs review advice prior to release day.

  4. Geofrey says:

    So where’s the review?! It’s past lunch already!!

  5. HexagonalBolts says:

    Apologies for posting something serious amongst all the fun, and this may come as a dumb question – but is it actually a good/ “OMGAMAZING” game and worth pre-ordering? I’m yet to read anything decisive about whether it’s actually great fun to play or not, usually just things like ‘oh i kept getting owned’. I played a fair amount of the original and loved warcraft 3 to bits but I’m concerned that the online mode might be a bit too fast paced for me…

    • TheHumanBlur says:

      Moi aussi. Ill probably pick it up on sale sometime in the future for the singe-player, but multiplayer sounds like a nightmarish twitch-fest.

    • randomnine says:

      Multiplayer isn’t so bad! The matchmaking system is really good, honestly, even with the small beta population, so you rapidly end up playing people about as skilled as you.

      There are also free-for-all and team play modes and co-op vs AI, all of which are far less serious and intimidating. Don’t write it off completely :)

    • Raum says:

      I’m sure you’ll have no issue with the MP. I think Blizzard has hit the proverbial jackpot with the matchmaking system. A lot more people will play MP, and the skill level involved will be precisely where you’re at, at all times. I’m still pretty annoyed by that article Alec wrote a few months back, as apparently, he didn’t even play the game (another explanation is that he’s completely rubbish at RTS games), as SC2 really isn’t a hard game to get into. I had maybe 50 1v1 games spread out over the 6 months the first phase lasted, and in phase 2 I was placed in the second highest ladder league. Really, there will be plenty of people to play with at any skill level.

      Also, it’s a lot less fast paced, APM wise, than the original. The skill ceiling is a lot lower, and although it’s fast paced, it’s relatively easy to get into the macro/micro mindset of SC2. It’s not even close to being as brutal and unforgiving as SC was.

      Note that I don’t think Blizzard has really catered to the hardcore crowd yet, but I’m pretty confident that they will (as they’re positioning themselves to make SC2 the first game ever that’s going to be thoroughly pushed into being an e-sports game).

  6. Sir Derpicus says:

    rice and stewed pork with green beans.
    I regret not having yogurt for dessert.

  7. Unaco says:

    Homemade Longpig Burritos… although they’d have to be homemade, as I can’t quite imagine Tesco or Morrisons doing them. It is my birthday though, so I felt I should treat myself, and they were well worth the effort. Served with beer battered onion rings and spicy refried beans.

  8. raskolnik says:

    I’m really saddened by what Blizzard has turned into since Activision bought them out. Customer service on WoW (when I still played it) was sub-par, although granted it wasn’t great before the merger, either.

    Still, this to me just feels like them waiving their dicks around because they can. It’s also a worrying trend from game publishers. While reviews aren’t worth a whole lot (especially with the 8.0 average score these days), it’s very arrogant for publishers to basically say, “screw you guys, people will buy our stuff anyway.”

    Unfortunately, that’s true. As saddened as I am by Activision’s decision, I’m simply amazed at the amount of apology here for this decision. I guess some people are willing to be blindly loyal to a brand. What it means though is that these brands will realize they can do no wrong, and then stop caring about customer service altogether (see also: Apple).

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Servers aren’t up and content is still missing from the game (or just simply bugged) – why is it a big deal that they don’t give reviewers early access when they’ve yet to ensure that paying customers will be able to play the game properly on the release date?

  9. Chris says:

    Croque-madame. I’m a posh bastard.

  10. Aquifel says:

    Hey, its my birthday too, happy birthday man.

  11. TheHumanBlur says:

    Fish fingers. No, not that kind.

  12. James says:

    Matambre with a spinach and spring mix salad with strawberries, pecans, roma tomatoes, and feta.

  13. Langman says:

    I have to say I’m rather staggered at the whole ‘doesn’t matter, it’s SC2, everyone will buy it anyway’ vibe people are giving off.

    It’s – from what I gather – a fairly bog-standard RTS which just happens to have a load of impressive cutscenes that tell a story. It doesn’t matter how polished the RTS-dynamics are, it’s still going to just be an RTS.

    I mean, obviously a section of gamers will buy it straight away, but I imagine a lot will be just like me; looking at it and waiting to see what the actual RTS gameplay has to offer beyond the usual, samey rock-paper-scissors fare of PC games from 10-15 years ago. If it’s basically just a more polished SC1 then I’m not touching it with a barge-pole.

    And for lunch I had a cheese toastie.

    • Psychopomp says:

      You seem to be forgetting that, much like Dragon Age, there hasn’t been a good “bog standard” RTS in over a decade.

      Also, the single player is as far from bog standard RTS as you can get. From what we’ve seen, it’s closer to Dawn of War 2 than Starcraft.

    • Zwebbie says:

      Langman: Haven’t we established by now that it’s a polished Starcraft? Sure, they may have some fancy RPG elements in the campaign that we don’t know that much about, but the game mechanics still work as they did over ten years ago.

      Personally, I played Company of Heroes and have a hard time going back to games where build orders and micro dictate the game flow as opposed to strategy and tactics. It doesn’t matter if SC2 gets an average score of 10/10 – which it probably will, since it’s Blizzard and everyone seems to love them – I won’t be buying it. I think you ought to be able to get a fairly good impression from playing SC, so there’s not that much of a point in an SC2 review.

    • bleeters says:

      I’m constantly confused as to why the assumption that a game with base building and micro managment must be devoid of strategic gameplay still persists, really.

    • Psychopomp says:

      After getting back into Starcraft, and realizing that DoW2′s multiplayer was a stagnant mess, I’m equally confused.

    • Wulf says:

      Just to play devil’s advocate, here. Every kind of game will require a different skill-set, and some will be more prone to one sort than another. For example, someone whose skills revolve primarily around micromanagement will find strategy in that, and they’ll see 4X and tactical games as crap and not at all strategic simply because they don’t involve their skill focus.

      It stands to reason that the reverse is obviously true as well.

      You’ll like what you’re better at, it’s really as simple as that. I always thought Starcraft and the like were a bit crap, really, but that’s because I have minus-zero skill when it comes to micromanagement (my poor sight has a lot to do with that), yet I very much dig 4X games. Sometimes I really have to turn my head inside out understanding what the ‘strategy’ in a game like Starcraft is, and you see, I came to the conclusion above.

      If you’re not good at something, then you won’t find strategy in it. Langman likely isn’t great at micromanagement, so he sees no talent in the process. Psychopomp is clearly a bit crap at Dawn of War II, so he sees that as being something of a mess (even though it isn’t, really, he’s just unable to wrap his mind around how it works for other people, which is exactly the problem I had).

      The end result is that we can’t all be wrong.

      4X and tactical games require a more observant sort of active, hands-on strategy that has you thinking about the present moment, and planning things only a few steps ahead because you can’t really afford to think too much further than that. Whereas a game like Starcraft has you doing micromanagement, and trying to plot out the entire game in your head, but not leaving much room for adapting or hands-on gaming.

      They’re just different sorts of games that use different skills, and to say it again, you’ll like what you’re good at. And what you’re crap at? Well, that’s obviously going to seem crap too, isn’t it? It’s all very logical and easily understood, when you really think about it, and try to understand the position from the perspective of all involved.

    • Psychopomp says:

      I think it’s a stagnant mess, so I must be bad at it?

      Dawn of War 2 is too simple to evolve. For each race there’s all of one or two viable builds and strategies. These are the same builds that have been around since the War Is Coming or whatever it was called patch. Before that, the same builds that existed since launch. Every game is the same as the last game. A metagame is practically non-existent.

      Also, “Whereas a game like Starcraft has you doing micromanagement, and trying to plot out the entire game in your head, but not leaving much room for adapting or hands-on gaming,” is completely backwards. As a matter of fact, your description of 4X is far more apt.
      A hands-off, unadaptable player will never win a game outside of bronze. How Starcraft became known as the MICROAN EVERY DAY game, when Warcraft 3 is right there I’ll never know, but the idea that micro is the end all be all of the game is completely off. Any serious player will tell you that it’s the last thing anyone should worry about when learning the game. Your strategies, macro and game sense are far more important, and any time spent focusing on a few units needs to pay for itself in some way, or you’re going to be behind. A micro focus is a gamble, not a necessity.

    • TheHumanBlur says:

      @wulf – your definitions for ‘Tactical’ and ‘Strategic’ seem to be a little muddled. 4x games, by their very nature, are quintessential Strategy games (slow moving long term plans which are kind of a more complex version of chess) Whereas a fast paced, think-on-your-feet tactical game tends to be what we call RTS games. (A weird corruption) there is clearly a bit of both concepts in both types of game as they are the two sides to the same coin. Also I dont think that you necessarily dislike something because you suck at it. Im utterly useless at Dominios 3 but I absolutely love it.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “It doesn’t matter how polished the RTS-dynamics are, it’s still going to just be an RTS.”

      Like how X-COM is “just” a turn-based tactics game? >:[

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      @Zwebbie: “Personally, I played Company of Heroes and have a hard time going back to games where build orders and micro dictate the game flow as opposed to strategy and tactics.”

      This doesn’t even make sense because build orders and micro REFER TO strategy and tactics.

    • Tei says:

      There are bad micro, like a Korean making a motorcycle unit unkillable moving around it like crazy. and I don’t call that strategy, I call that tactics-minus-minus-star

    • Raum says:

      I mean, obviously a section of gamers will buy it straight away, but I imagine a lot will be just like me; looking at it and waiting to see what the actual RTS gameplay has to offer beyond the usual, samey rock-paper-scissors fare of PC games from 10-15 years ago. If it’s basically just a more polished SC1 then I’m not touching it with a barge-pole.

      So, you never played SC?

  14. noilly says:

    I played in the beta and the likely reason for the review embargo is that they’re not done with Battle.net… you have to log into battlenet for single and multi-player and it acts as a portal for all the achievements/social networking/etc stuff. The multi-player side has already gone through ~18 balance patches and is basically done. The pre-orders are already shipping in europe.

  15. geldonyetich says:

    Hey, it’s Starcraft 2. You really think anyone’s going to read the review before buying it?

    • Galleon says:

      It’s been a long time since anyone has had to read the review of any Blizzard product.

      Who knows, SCII might fail, but based on the mutliplayer I doubt it.

  16. randomnine says:

    @DJ Phantoon: They took herding drones to mine new things out, you can just rally your hatchery to the minerals (and rally combat units elsewhere at the same time). Which is nice.

    Pretty graphics are nice when you’re watching replays, day[9]‘s daily strategy casts or casts of tournament games. Those are all a nice break from, as you say, fairly intense matches.

  17. Galleon says:

    I’m sorry to hear that any Company of Hero’s fan will be missing out on this.

    I haven’t seen the single player of SCII, so I won’t comment.

    But to say that build order and micro are not important in any RTS is silly. Playing in the beta for months I can say with out a doubt that yes, mechanics are more important in SC2 than the other two examples but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing time with what is truely a well constructed multiplayer.

    I understand that videogamers are always looking for the new and mind blowing, and get bored very quickly. How else do games die so quick a death. But lets not pretend that this will be anything but a very very well made product. Too pass on it becuase you think it’s outdated? I don’t know what to say. I enjoyed the hell out of Punch Out on the wii, was that outdated? Yes, but it sure as hell was fun.

    So has starcraft been, at least for me. Don’t get jaded just yet.

    • Zwebbie says:

      Galleon: I’m assuming that’s a reply to my post, so I’ll give you a short summary of my opinion.

      I think Company of Heroes is (or was, before OF) the best RTS out there, sticking out with head and shoulders. Here’s why: the environment was incredibly important. From cover to stick your troops in, to buildings of which you have to assert the value by location, construction, and coverage, to the resource being supplied through linked territories, to setting up arcs of fire. That’s fun; it allows you to execute a good amount of strategic maneuvers with a limited amount of tools (such as Riflemen vs. Volksgrenadiers and MG42′s). It’s also very real and recognisable, since making use of the terrain is one of the primary things to keep in mind in actual warfare. It’s very elegant.
      In Starcraft and the other ‘old guard’ of strategy games… not so much. Starcraft has a whole set of complex mechanisms to execute strategies, but they’re all rather artificial, and the game often has to resort to abilities to introduce another layer. Is it really strategy if the situational awareness is barely a part of it? Only half so, if you ask me.

      I can see the excitement in a game of Starcraft, but it’s also always very abstract, and rather boring in that way.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Pretty much everything you just listed, bar cover, is important in Starcraft. Starcraft just doesn’t put in place a bunch of mechanics for them like you gave in CoH.

      As for a cover system, they did actually have one in the early stages of development. Caused too much turtling, games were largely static and uninteresting, with little ebb and flow.

    • Jake says:

      I also think that CoH is the best of the genre by a mile, and that Starcraft 2 doesn’t look very impressive when compared. I’ll give it a shot to see though, but I think it is just that when CoH came out it had a style of play I totally loved – taking quite a few pointers from Close Combat – and it made the old school RTS games seem very outdated. Going back to an old school RTS might work, after all I expect SC2 to be an extremely polished example… but I really doubt it will be for me. A lot of the strategies and mechanics of that sort of game just no longer seem very appealing.

      I don’t think it has anything to do with what you are good at, just what you find appealing. I expect SC2 to be very popular and have plenty of strategy and competition, but I think it is now quite a retro sort of game. I’d love to see CoH 2 being made, not that the original is very dated, just that the DoW series is weak in comparison.

    • DarkFenix says:

      Personally I just didn’t think CoH was the game DoW was. Dawn of War is held high in my mind as one of the best examples of RTS gaming ever. It was varied, it was fun, it let me turtle (yes I’m one of those kinds of players). CoH simplified the formula, gave less variety and forced me (like most of the other recent RTS games) to play a rush game. I hate being forced to rush out and participate in a land grab from the word go, it made CoH strategically one-dimensional in my mind.

      DoW2 was even worse at this. Playing the land grab was the only facet of the game. They removed bases, they removed unit variety, they removed large battles. In short, they removed everything I liked about DoW. To this day I still play DoW, but have vowed not to send another penny Relic’s way, because inevitably they will destroy any series I like, turning it into a dumbed down micro-fest game of “who can rush better?” They destroyed the homeworld series, they’ve destroyed the DoW series, next up is CoH, which going by their pattern will involve controlling one squad of guys, if that.

    • Raum says:

      The big problem with Starcraft in general is that it’s a lot more advanced than any other RTS, it just doesn’t flaunt it with shiny new buttons or bullet points. You have to be a good player to see and understand the more advanced mechanics of the game.

      It’s like Chess. If it hadn’t been common knowledge that the game is incredibly advanced, most people would look at it and think it was cut and dry. This piece does goes diagonally, this other one just one square to either side. Easy, right? Then you start playing it, and the ceiling of skill and complexity suddenly towers above you — you can, in fact, barely make it out, because clouds and the density of the atmosphere is in the way.

      I do enjoy Company of Heroes, but it’s a pretty simple game. Starcraft is still evolving. It’s a 12 year old game. Not by any means as impressive as Chess (still evolving after hundreds of years), but still, it says something about what kind of game it is. Played competitively by millions, and still not figured out yet.

      It’s not just another RTS. And as much as I enjoy Company of Heroes, I recognize the fact that, sadly, it’s precisely that. Just another RTS. Starcraft is so much more.

  18. Joe Duck says:

    From Madrid, but for work reasons I get to experience a completely differrent kind of food, I live in Holland, and even if there are a lot of spanish food restaurants and I can cook at home, it’s just not the same.
    The beer is great though…

    • Joe Duck says:

      opps, this wqas meant to be a reply for a post from wayyy before….
      Apologies…

    • Sassenach says:

      Don’t worry, it wouldn’t have seemed so out of place if people hadn’t gotten off topic talking about Starcraft 2.

      I moved up today’s lunch’s slot of a bowl of cereal on the schedule to this morning to fill in for breakfast.

  19. Vincent D'Ettorer says:

    This. As well as wanting honest opinions about the final version of the online mode and not recycled beta impressions.

  20. El_MUERkO says:

    i’ve never had much of an interest in Starcraft, a game that prides itself on it’s best players committing 300 actions a second sounds to me like it needs a UI and AI overhaul not praise

  21. Tupimus says:

    Potato/sausage stew, but then again I also had that for breakfast, brunch, dinner and late-night snack.

  22. DarkNoghri says:

    Lunch being the second meal of the day, rather than something eaten at lunchtime? Chicken stir-fry with broccoli, carrots, and onions over brown rice. Mmmmmm.

  23. Kurt Lennon says:

    @ DJ Phantoon

    You make it sound like Starcraft 2 should have been designed to specifically please people like you who don’t like extremely intense, challenging and demanding RTS games, which is pretty ridiculous considering the original was an extremely intense, challenging and demanding RTS game.

    Do you also complain when movie sequels aren’t designed for a different audience to their prequels?

    All is not lost though, because there are many other RTS games available. One of them is bound to suit your preferences. You sound like a Dawn of War II type of guy. :)

  24. wintermute says:

    So when APB does this, there’s 200 nerdrage comments of people ragging on the game.

    When Starcraft 2 does this, there’s 200 comments about food?

    Colour me worried, gang, but what’s the motivation here? Give the AAA developer a break, but screw the new guy? Isn’t there a problem, when a company known for its super-mega-ultra polished products is having trouble a week from launch?

    Beta’s been going on since Feb, but all the features aren’t even in yet? On a game which is a graphical upgrade with new units thrown in of the original that came out 12 years ago?

    Who cares when it will get “8 or 9/10 anyway?”

    Kotick must be ecstatic reading this over his midday snack of chicken-salad-hold-the-chicken with a cup of virgin blood.

    • Vinraith says:

      APB was trying to embargo reviews until a week after release, which is unprecedented in the industry. Launch day embargoes are pretty standard, which is why no one’s particularly shocked or appalled. I’ve got no horse in this race, being indifferent to both APB and Starcraft 2, but the two situations are not comparable.

      As to the food issue, Quintin asked what we had for lunch. We don’t want to be rude you know.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Not to mention that there was already a general consensus that APB was not very good by any standard, and the devs pretty much openly called reviewers retards.

  25. VonFIDDE says:

    I do enjoy RTSgames alot, but after i played the sc2 beta i wasent that pleased. Thing is its way too much hardcore for me to enjoy, however after ive seen the latest trailer i just had to preorder it cuz they story looks/sounds amazing. So im actually buying the game for the SP part only :O, however i do know peps out there will make awsome TowerDefense maps and you gotta love em :O smooth clicking.

  26. JB says:

    Well, it’s Saturday morning here now, but for lunch yesterday I had McD’s. Second day in a row.

    *hangs head in shame*

    Also, Quinns, yes the thread has been charming and yes you should do it every Friday =)

  27. bill says:

    Nevevr played it, and don’t want to. But i’m off to write an “exclusive review” and get lots of hits…

  28. Sean says:

    you reporters feel sore for waiting ive been waiting for about 3 years and you cant wait for blizzard to have lunch

    CAPTCHA

  29. Tei says:

    When Jim Raynor drinks, you know shit’s going down

  30. deanimate says:

    My friend recently shot and ate a rabbit. Big bugger it was too.
    He showed some before and after photos of the unfortunate jumpy creature. That rabbit looked fucking delicious.

  31. disappointed says:

    Two word review – It sucks
    Four word review – Not worth the wait

    The blizzard publicy machine must be working overtime on reviewing itself. Given that they took so long to release it there were only two possibilities: It would either be the best thing since sliced bread or, as I suspected, the people in charge didn’t know what they were doing. Unfortunately my suspicions proved correct.
    The cinematic sequences are very good, but the rest of the game sucks. The movement engine has the same flaws as the original with units getting suck behind buildings or on terrain on a regular basis (Gameplay is far from flawless as the ‘independant’ reviewer claimed). The graphics though more detailed are sillier for the zerg & protoss making it hard to take them seriously.
    Extra units make the terrans more interesting but the added complexity interferes with the fast paced gameplay that was one of the hallmarks of the original.
    The storyline of the campaign is a typical cliche designed to appeal to 13-15 year old boys.
    Multiplayer must run through Blizzards battlenet making the game close to useless without a very good broadband connection. No LAN parties with this one.
    Overall there is no way an independant reviewer would give this anywhere close to 100% unless they’re hyped up on some stim packs.
    With a few simple changes this could have been an excellent game but as they say the devil is in the details. Basically they should have got some real gamers design this, not a bunch of suits.
    Graphics 8/10
    Gameplay 3/10
    Campaign 2/10
    Functionality 0/10
    Overall 4/10

  32. introspective says:

    SC sequel is similar like original, there is no major changes. The graphics has been updated a few units added. Still, game is good and enjoyable. It reminds me on good old times.