RPS Half-Verdict: StarCraft 2

By RPS on July 29th, 2010 at 2:57 pm.

That's Alec on the left and Quinns on the right.

Blizzard’s über-RTS, StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty is finally here, with its sprawling single player, imposing multiplayer and grand narrative aspirations. Where does it succeed? Where does it stumble? Does it really need the two additional parts currently in development? Alec and Quinns met in the RPS saloon for a chat.

Alec: Right, let’s put our cocks on the table. How much have you played of Crafting The Stars Chapter The Second?
Quinns: I have completed eight missions. Which sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But I’ve probably unlocked barely a third of the Terran’s armoury, and if the achievement list is anything to go by I’m about a fifth of the way through.
Alec: I’d guess I’m on about ten missions in, and yes, there any many robots yet to come. I’ve also been playing on Normal, not Hard. So you are more of a man than me.
Quinns: I’ve actually started brushing up against my skill limit already. I tried the last mission twice, failing both times. Briefly though: It’s good, innit?
Alec: Totally. I’m playing missions to play the missions, not to see the next cutscene , and that’s astonishgly rare in singleplayer RTS.
Quinns: As you mentioned in the chatroom, it’s hard to think of an RTS that’s transparently spent so much money on the single player.
Quinns: Let’s get this out of the way. Those cutscenes. That dialogue! These goddamn characters!
Alec: Bloody awful. They’re every scifi and western cliche compressed into one slightly haggard looking man. At the same time, I suspect that’s almost the point. They don’t want to get in the way of the game too much.

Alec: It’s the Blizzard slickness thing – Jim Blandor and chums are there simply to progress things on, not to be genuinely compelling narrative creations. I suspect they’re happy to leave that to people more veteran in it. It’s a series of excuses to make something else happen in the game. But Raynor is a terrible, terrible character and I’m amazed they hung so much of the game’s presentation and marketing around him.
Quinns: Raynor’s fine on paper, as are the rest of his crew. The haggard rebel, the criminal, the nerdy scientist, the by-the-book spit-and-polish captain and his antagonism with the criminal. But in execution it’s boring. I couldn’t believe it when I heard Tychus refer to some colonists as “Damn dirt-farmers!” as if it was space slang. Like, dirt-huggers, yeah. Dirty dirt people. Whatever. But dirt-farmers? Where else do you expect them to farm, dude? [Edit: I have since discovered this is a real-life phrase, and I am thick. --Quinns]
Alec: Raynor’s “everyone’s a critic” after one of the news reports made me turn the game off for the rest of the day.
Quinns: Yeah. Fortunately the mission design and between-mission development of your forces is completely engaging. I can’t believe how much you get to play with that’s not in the multiplayer.
Alec: Robot panthers!
Quinns: Exactly. The single-player Terran forces are some 200% more varied than their multiplayer kin.
Alec: The unlock and upgrade systems are great – it’s dialled down and rewarding rather than screen-spamming handicapping. You have to wonder what Blizzard’s plans are in that regard. Microtransaction units, perhaps?
Quinns: Impossible. No way. Not after they spent this much time on balancing. Maybe they’ll be the new Terran units when the next two instalments of StarCraft 2 arrive. But even that seems unlikely. Most of the extra units in the singleplayer double-up on some other unit’s role.
Alec: Or simply for terran vs terran matches? It seems a lot to effectively abandon.
Quinns: Maaaaaybe. Really though, what they’ve got going on here is a whole other world to the multiplayer. Which is one of the stranger things about SC2. This is absolutely two games.
Alec: It has to be. It’s the smartest thing about it. While they would never admit to it, they know they painted themselves into a corner with the multiplayer. They know they’re not really going to win a new audience there. What they’ll do to keep singleplayers singleplaying will be very interesting.
Quinns: And God, they’re doing just everything. I can’t get over the mission design. Every level is unique. Every level has some twist that bends the game mechanics in some unforeseen way.
Alec: Yes, every one is its own adventure. All killer, no filler. Even the old “keep the hero unit alive” level involves the hero being inside a Taj Mahal-sized robot suit.
Quinns: The zombie defense! Let’s talk about the zombie defense.

Alec: Oh, that’s brilliant. Waves of attackers by night, going and burning their crypts by day. But it’s the additional challenges, the achievement and unlock poitns that make it – coaxing you into going out at night, leaving safety even though it’s suicidal. Just so you can hunt some beast that only emerges at night.
Quinns: On Hard the night raids of zombies were great. They must be absurd on Hardcore, the setting above Hard. I had SCVs parked behind whole walls of bunkers, perpetually repairing, knowing that at dawn my Hellion attack force would be able to leave the base through the gaps torn in my defense.
Alec: Random point: this is the only RTS I can think of where bunkers aren’t boring. They’re a splendid little sub-game all to themselves, once you factor in the upgrades – guns on top, increased troop capacity, using bunkers as walls in front of other bunkers…
Quinns: You see some great bunker play at the start of pro StarCraft matches. Players sprinting a lone marine at the lone bunker wedging the entrance of their base closed, trying to get him inside it as a couple of Zerglings just manage to set it on fire.
Quinns: The level design in StarCraft 2 is actually so good it makes me a little speechless that other RTS games never bothered getting this creative. Or is that me being a terrible person? Is StarCraft 2 just more suited to curious missions?
Alec: StarCraft 2 has all the money in the world. Ten times as many groats and ten times as many people have worked on every single level. We must not forget this. It’s not because Blizzard have cracked open some magic potion, it’s because they have the resourcest to do what every RTS dev would love to do. But underneath that, it is a very conventional RTS. An impeccably-polished one, but it doesn’t take the risks that other devs do.
Quinns: Mm. Then let’s be glad that at least they didn’t screw it up. I can’t imagine the desk-biting fury if I was an RTS developer watching Blizzard waste all these resources.
Alec: Heh. I mean, God knows how much they scrapped during the last 12 years. They were never going to release it if anything was wrong. The time also means they’ve packed so much detail in – the news reports, the jukebox, the curious animals… and the incredible optimisation of the character close-ups in the in-engine cutscene. Some of that stuff is flabbergasting. If you peer closely, you can see the backgrounds are totalyl static, they’ve poured every single polygon into slowly-moving faces. It could have looked like a shitty animatronic theme park ride, but they’ve absolutely nailed it, you just don’t notice the trickery
Quinns: I certainly didn’t. That’s amazing.
Quinns: So here’s what I’m curious about. This slice of golden single player- this glittering thing. Do you think after you’re done with it you’ll want to get involved in the multiplayer?
Alec: Basically, no, bar some journalistic poking. I know what it is, I know it’s not really for me, and I know it won’t scratch anything like the same itches as the campaign. I presume you’re chomping at the bit to climb those ladders?
Quinns: A little. But it’s not really about climbing ladders, beating people down, anything like that. I just love how hopelessly deep the game is. I want to see myself get better. I want to sink my psyche into it like you would a scalding-hot bath.
Alec: I respect that urge. I’ve always been one to explore all the surface of a game rather than plunge into particular depths. This is because I am lazy and very easily distracted.
Quinns: :(
Alec: A look, a pigeon!

Quinns: In closing: To anyone who’s curious or cynical about why they’d release this game in three parts, it’s for people like me. It lets me know that if I want to take this game seriously, I’ll be rewarded. In time there’ll be an expansion, with more units and map elements. And then another!
Alec: There is absolutely no sense that this is just a third of a game. Definitely more akin to, say, the Lord of the Rings movies. The first massive part of a ludicrously massive saga.
Quinns: Right. And that’s a saga I kinda wanna be involved in. In five years I want to have fond memories of when they introduced the Zerg Bumlisk and the Protoss Taciturnitoss, and I had to reinvent my whole strategy.
Alec: It’s about being a game as a service, a place we live in for the next half-decade. It’s not an MMO, but it’s totally designed to be like WoW
Quinns: I never thought of it like that. Aren’t Blizzard making a StarCraft MMO, too?
Alec: It’s supposed to be a new IP. I don’t believe we’ll have any other StarCraft project until all chapters of this are done, and I don’t believe we’ll see the new MMO until 2013 or something.
Quinns: Hey. Holy shit. I just had a thought. Are Blizzard giving WarCraft 4 this treatment right now?
Alec: They could well be. I just don’t think they’re into having multiple products off one IP active at any one time though. WC3 is still fairly active, they’ll give it a few years yet. But they’re almost certainly working on a crapload of projects we don’t know about for release within the next decade.
Quinns: Dammit, Blizzard.
Alec: Anyway, let’s go back to our achievements. We must reconvene for full-Verdict next week, and give Jim and Kieron time to play some of it and add whatever obtuse and 100% wrong comments they have upon it.
Quinns: Yeah. And if they’re not interested, maybe I’ll finish that World War Three feature myself.
Quinns: Until next time!
Alec: For the confenderacy!
Alec: Are they the good guys? I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.
Quinns: Sorry? I was busy reformulating my build queue.
Quinns: Nevermind.

__________________

« | »

, , .

196 Comments »

  1. Antsy says:

    It sounds really, really, good!

    I’ve yet to sample its delights as my collectors edition has vanished in the black hole that is the royal mail. Can’t wait to try it though, someday!

  2. Alexander Norris says:

    Unless Quinns finally got that promotion, isn’t this more like an RPS quarter-verdict?

    • Alex Bakke says:

      John hates RTS, so Quinns is standing in. I think.

    • AndrewC says:

      Get John to see how long he can find things to do in the game before actually having to RTS.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Jim: I’d be willing to accept that it qualifies as an “RPS half-verdict, rounded down” if Quinns did get a promotion.

      In other news,

      Quinns: I have completed eight missions. Which sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But I’ve probably unlocked barely a third of the Terran’s armoury, and if the achievement list is anything to go by I’m about a fifth of the way through.
      Alec: I’d guess I’m on about ten missions in, and yes, there any many robots yet to come. I’ve also been playing on Normal, not Hard. So you are more of a man than me.

      Does this mean Alec’s cock is longer, but Quinns’ is thicker?

      RPS Commenters: We’ll Discuss Anything.

    • Clovis says:

      Two-fifths? Is that some kind of offical announcement??

      ::checks bottom of page, notes four names::

      No, I guess not.

    • Gentacle says:

      It’s a quorum with Quinns :O

    • BigJonno says:

      It’s clearly one-third of a verdict.

  3. Lars Westergren says:

    Oh wow, that sounds great. I’m picking this up after work in a couple of hours, I’m totally psyched to play it after reading this. I’m always harping about plot, writing, and acting, but if there is *so much good game* in it, even I may overlook weaknesses in that department.
    :)

  4. kikito says:

    Blizzard are good at making grandiose-epic-action-packed scenes, but they still have to nail down dialogue and character development, at least on Starcraft.

    I watched some very forced walking animations, as in “robotic”, on some in-game cutscenes – crew members mostly, but also on Raynor’s himself. Raynor’s cheesy. The “Don’t shoot the monitor” thing was fun, though.

  5. Mac says:

    I’ve played maybe half of the campaign so far and yeah, every mission is really that good. I don’t mind the cheesiness of the dialogue cause the detail they’ve put into the entire ship and all cutscenes is just ridiculous. After every mission you can talk to people and get different responses, some times even cutscenes if a character on your ship is particularly interested in something, coupled with the upgrades, mercs, research, this has more role-playing and advancement systems than most full RPG’s.

    Most single-player campaigns in RTS’ are usually pretty bland and consist of plain skirmish maps with the occasional line of text inbetween missions, so I’m glad that SC2 is proving that RTS campaigns can actually be good with unique mission design.

    • Subject 706 says:

      What you said. The in-between-missions places remind me of the wing commander games, only more detailed.

    • Howl says:

      Yep, it’s the Wing Commander/X Wing/Tie Fighter medium with the Mass Effect conversations. They removed the need to exhaustively select all available dialogue options or laboriously plod about the ship.

      I like it, although the characters, dialogue and lore are so awful that I just gawk at how technically accomplished the cut-scenes are whilst waiting for them to shut up.

  6. FinDude says:

    -Hey guys! I had a great idea.

    -What if we sell this one game that axiomatically will be a financial succes as three games!

    -I think it would mean like triple profit! Great idea!

    -THIS MAN IS A GENIOUS, GIVE HIM THE POPES HAT

    • misterk says:

      While there is no doubt that this is, to some extent, what Blizzard have done, point to the rts that don’t do this (most of them call them expansion packs), and it does not sound like this is a small game.

      Sadly, I don’t think this shiny game will run on my laptop, who’s graphics card has taken to crashing while running return to castle wolfenstein….

    • Carra says:

      The game even plays on my 6 year old P4 3ghz & ati radeon 9800.

      So the system requirements are very low for a current generation game. Laptops however…

    • Matt says:

      Seriously? Can we give it a rest with this crap already? This may have worked when the conspiracy theorists were able to paint a picture of an unfinished product with nothing to refute them. But the game is out now. And nobody who’s actually played more than a few hours of it can credibly say that it somehow isn’t a $60 product. In fact many would argue that it’s quite a bit more than what usually passes for a $60 product these days.

    • Paul B says:

      Here’s the relevant quote from the article:

      “There is absolutely no sense that this is just a third of a game. Definitely more akin to, say, the Lord of the Rings movies. The first massive part of a ludicrously massive saga.”

    • Jad says:

      And that is the perfect analogy. Starcraft 1 was like the Hobbit: a self-contained story. Wings of Liberty is like the Fellowship of the Ring: the first part of the very very long Lord of the Rings story.

      Did you people really walk out of the theater after three hours of The Fellowship of the Ring and complain that it was only “1/3 of a movie” and not worth the ticket price, despite being longer than most movies? If you did, shoot yourself. If you’re making the same complaint about Starcraft II, well …

    • Skinlo says:

      Is this anything like StarCraft 1? Because I didn’t like that game that much.

      I need to know whether to waste my bandwidtrh or not downloading it ( I refuse to pay for games related to Activision).

    • TenjouUtena says:

      So, the first dawn of war had like 5 expansions…(I’m probably wrong, but I’m not going to go count right now) was it only 1/5th of a game?

      People who have gotten through it say it has taken them 16-20 hours. Gears of War 2 is lucky if it took 10. Plus the AI is actually competent and fun to play. Show me the AAA shooter where you can play with bots and it’s actually satisfying.

      I think as a single player game, it holds more value than many AAA titles that people bend over backwards to defend.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Mass Effect was only a third of a game, then?

    • sebmojo says:

      It is exactly like Starcraft. So much that it’s sort of surreal, like your eyes have got sharper over the years rather than blurrier.

    • subedii says:

      @ Skinlo:

      How about you not download it at all, good or bad, unless you actually pay for it?

      “I refuse to pay for games related to Activision”? That’s your excuse? Really? You genuinely think anyone believes that you’re taking a ‘moral’ stance by pirating a game instead of buying it?

      Here’s a tip, if you want to take a stance against Blizz/Acti, then don’t buy it and don’t play it either. It’s not like there aren’t other RTS’s out there. Assuming of course you’d be willing to pay for those ones.

    • Wisq says:

      The game itself does seem worth the price tag — or at least, definitely worth it if you plan to play MP, quite probably still worth it if you just plan to SP.

      My only complaint about the whole notion of splitting up the campaign is, the campaigns in Starcraft 1 and Brood Wars served as a good way to slowly introduce you to each race, their units (or new units in BW), and their strategies.

      Here, in the first iteration, we only have that for terrans. Which wouldn’t be a problem if things were the same as before — but from what I’ve seen, there have been quite significant updates to all races. So not only do the new units lack any intro or story background, but they also have to be learned either en masse in your first MP game, or individually via small skirmish training.

      It’s not a very big deal, and from what I hear, I do think it’s better with more depth per campaign than doing a trio of campaigns per title. But this seems to be one of the bigger disadvantages to all that.

  7. Snall says:

    I’ve quite like it, can beat the AI on Very Hard (Just skirmishing)- need to beat it on Insane (and quickly) before I dive into MP…

  8. Veret says:

    Oh dear. Quinns, you made me snort all over my newly-cleaned keyboard with the line “Protoss Taciturnitoss.” STOP BEING FUNNY.

  9. Jonathan says:

    I am so stuck on whether I should get this or not. The original SC is one of my all-time favourites, but I’m skeptical about (1) the inflated price point, (2) that it’s only Terran, and (3) my perception that it is multiplayer-focused. This article has somewhat convinced me to set 2 and 3 aside though.

    Is there a single-player skirmish type setup? If so, is the AI worth bothering with? I have zero interest in online RTS.

    • Snall says:

      I’m a fairly good RTS player, if not quite in SK league, and it took me three tries to beat hard AI, but then I beat VH on my first try after those learning games. And this is rushing not normal game play though. I haven’t tried turtle expansion or anything with the AI.

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      The game is incredibly single player-focused. In fact, as a single-player RTS it leaves every single other title released in the genre to date in the dust, including DAWN OF WAR II, COMPANY OF HEROES, SUPREME COMMANDER, everything. You could buy this game, not even look at the multiplayer, and walk away fully satisfied feeling you’ve had your money’s worth.

      I bought the game in HMV and it cost me exactly £5 more than I paid for STARCRAFT in 1998. Considering inflation and the fact that Blizzard must have poured more money into this game than any other strategy game ever made (the production quality is simply jaw-dropping), that is more than acceptable.

      Finally, it’s not only Terran. There are four Protoss SP missions as well (and the way they’re worked into the narrative is very clever) and you can play the Zerg and Protoss in skirmish as well.

    • DSX says:

      I’m curious about this as well, one my fondest memories of SC is making custom maps and then pitting myself against the AI in 1v2+ skirmishes.

      Does this sort of feature exist in SC2?

    • Manley Pointer says:

      @Adam Whitehead:
      I disagree that it’s better than CoH or DoW II. Though less polished, those games were more innovative, as Alec points out. SC II reminds me of one of those big console shooters that puts a lot of focus on graphical polish, mixing up the form of presentation, and solid workmanship. That said I don’t think it has a lot of imagination.

      I think this Half-Verdict wasn’t harsh enough on this game for its awful, awful writing and acting. It’s not just that “there is some cheesy dialogue sometimes” — this game makes you sit through like 10 times as much talking as the original Starcraft did, with lots of scripted dialogue in the missions themselves, actual cutscenes that interrupt missions, cutscenes between missions, and lots of dialogue in the hub sections. And it’s all bad. They made their characters a major part of the game, and utterly fucked up the presentation. I would never be comfortable praising Blizzard’s “attention to detail” when they screwed up so badly in the minute-by-minute execution of the game’s narrative elements. I actually was sort of interested in the overarching plot, but the storytelling was garbage.

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      “I disagree that it’s better than CoH or DoW II. Though less polished, those games were more innovative, as Alec points out.”

      I do not dispute this. Note that I said ‘single-player experience’. COMPANY OF HEROES is overall a more satisfying strategy game and its multiplayer is something I return to often (just this week, actually, with the new version of EASTERN FRONT competing with SC2 for playing time). I would rate CoH as a superior multiplayer RTS to SC2. However, I don’t think anyone would seriously suggest that CoH’s single-player mode is anything other than perfunctory. A couple of nice missions but overall it’s a bit dull, and the expansions are even worse (and let us not even mention TALES OF VALOR, erm, apart from just now when I did).

      As a game for sitting on your own at home to play offline, SC2′s presentation and the sheer amount of effort poured into the SP mode leaves CoH and DoW2 way in the dust.

    • Bowlby says:

      I’m kinda with Manley Pointer. I don’t know if I have my rose-tinted glasses on or whether I held a lower standard for storytelling when StarCraft was originally released, but I’m about ten missions in and the characters are dull, boring stereotypes, the plot is completely unengaging and the dialogue is god-awful. Everything, narrative-wise, feels like trivial filler, whereas at least in the original the pace of the storytelling was much faster and plot points were communicated way more effectively.

      Sure, there is the multiplayer. I might play a bit of it, but I’m just not into competitive RTSs that much. The single player, for me, is where my interest lies. And while the missions are varied, I just feel I’ve played this game before, except now there’s no incentive to see the next cutscene or the next part of the story, because that part sucks. I find myself dipping in and out of the game – playing a couple of missions, and then going off to do something else. It’s still StarCraft; it’s still very good, but it’s not even close to how brilliant the original was when it came out.

  10. Yurt says:

    Quinns: Let’s get this out of the way. Those cutscenes. That dialogue! These goddamn characters!
    Alec: Bloody awful. They’re every scifi and western cliche compressed into one slightly haggard looking man. At the same time, I suspect that’s almost the point. They don’t want to get in the way of the game too much.

    This is one of my problems with it, and one of the reasons I’ve put off picking SC2 up yet (aside from my internal conflict between hating RTS and loving Blizzard games).

    Considering Blizzard are so bloody good at dramatic pre-rendered cinematics, why are SC’s story and characters so terribly, painfully cheesy? When I think about the Diablo 2 cinematics, the WoW stuff, and of course everyone remembers the incredible WC3 cut scenes, it bothers me that I don’t even have that as a reason to get excited about SC2.

    • Jeremy says:

      Maybe I just have low standards, but I really haven’t felt like the characters are awful. It certainly isn’t breaking ground by any means, but up to the point where I’m at, I feel like they’re at least going somewhere with the story. It’s hard to say when we’re looking at characters that are only 2/5 of the way through a story, they can still show us quite a bit more about these characters and ramp things up by the end.

      Then again, maybe I just like Westerns and their character archetypes :)

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      They’re not that bad, and I think people are maybe getting a little too rose-spectacled about Blizzard’s previous games. WARCRAFT 3 had shockingly bad and cheesy dialogue and characters as well. SC2′s characterisation, dialogue and writing are all on the same level as SC1′s, so if you didn’t have a problem with SC1′s, you shouldn’t have a problem with this, bar the fact that there’s a bit more of it.

      Also, whilst there is some cheesy writing there’s also some brilliant stuff. The news channel reports, which are somewhere between Rob Burgundy and the FAMILY GUY newscasters, are particularly great.

    • ScubaV says:

      I’m curious if this is an RPS-thing, a British thing, a Euro thing, or none of the above. RPS made similar complaints about Witcher’s dialogue and voice acting whereas I thought it was adorably funny prepatch and acceptable postpatch. I haven’t played SC2 yet myself, but the other (predominantly North American) gaming forums I read show no one else complaining about cheesy writing. In fact, everyone praises the story elements.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I actually was surprised that the dialogue wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, mostly because I think Blizzard’s writers are literally retarded. They write the most terrible schlock, but it wasn’t as bad as previous games so I can let it slide. However, if someone wrote up the plot, it would still read as written by a child, maybe just one at ten instead of eight this time.

    • sebmojo says:

      To me it just sits oddly with the absolutely best-of-breed beauty of the cutscenes, that they’ve got bargain basement (what a lot of ‘b’s) writing.

      I mean shit, what would it have taken to get Kieron to write Starcraft for them? A hundy? Two? So why the fuck do you skimp on the cheapest but most vital element?

    • Saul says:

      The problem with it, and the reason its not as good as Warcraft, is because it takes itself so seriously. It’s just completely humourless, where Warcraft happily plays the ‘silly’ card. Just as well the missions are so solid.

    • fallingmagpie says:

      Shame you guys didn’t get the version of the game with the good script, like Bit-Tech apparently did:

      ‘The all-round superb voice acting and scripting have a big part to play here, giving genuine life and appeal to game’s characters, with space convict Tychus stealing the scene every time he pops up.’

      Hmmm.

    • TheTingler says:

      ScubaV: I’m British and I agree with them on Starcraft II, but not on The Witcher – at least not from the Special Edition onward.

      To be fair, The Witcher is Polish. The very fact that we like the English dialogue shows how much effort CDProjekt put into the game (their first game no less). Starcraft II is American, so English is its first language, combined with it having more money behind it than any other RTS game out there. They really have no excuse.

  11. TheApologist says:

    Quinns is great.

    One request, can you post a video of the horrifying process of his absorption into the hivemind please?

    Cheers.

  12. Tupimus says:

    OH GOD YES THE MEDIC AI

  13. Rich says:

    I don’t care if the plot and dialogue is the worst kind of clichéd sci-fi nonsense. I’ve watched a few summer block-busters you know.

    Also, bad dialogue? Well I’m knee deep in 1C company games right now, so all those poor translations and that amateur voice work is going to make SC2 look like Shakespeare.

  14. Oneironaut says:

    “Alec: Basically, no, bar some journalistic poking. I know what it is, I know it’s not really for me, and I know it won’t scratch anything like the same itches as the campaign. I presume you’re chomping at the bit to climb those ladders?”

    This basically describes me, and why I haven’t bought the game yet. All I plan to do in it is play the campaign and maybe check out some of the mods made through the new world maker. I have close to zero interest in the multiplayer, so I’ll probably wait for some sort of price drop before buying SC2. From the looks of it, I’ll definitely enjoy it when I do get to it though.

  15. Whiggles says:

    Jonathan:

    Yes. There’s an offline skirmish mode along similar lines to the one in the original SC, and approx. 60 maps to choose from. As to the AI, at Hard I find it to be a cakewalk, at Very Hard moderately challenging and at Insane… well, insane. I played the beta extensively, though, so your mileage may vary.

  16. Ginger Yellow says:

    “Quinns: Maaaaaybe. Really though, what they’ve got going on here is a whole other world to the multiplayer. Which is one of the stranger things about SC2. This is absolutely two games.”

    The same was true for DoW 2. Seems to be the new thing in RTSes.

  17. Owen Macindoe says:

    I’m about 15 missions in on Hard and Alec and Quinns have pretty much nailed it: The missions are really great and keep me coming back for more, but I feel like much of the dialogue insults my intelligence. Mensk’s evil empire would have been more frightening with less mustachio twirling. For example, having the news reporter disappear after her first gaff would have driven home the tyrannical nature of the regime much more effectively than the continual ridiculous efforts of the anchor to silence her. I see what they were trying to do by hamming up the melodrama, but there was another, more subtle route available to them which I feel would have been better.

    On the other hand, I have really enjoyed the Zeratul missions and also the dilemma missions. In the latter I genuinely felt torn and uncertain as to what versions of the missions to accept, so despite the hamminess Blizzard did manage to suck me in and make me care about what happens to the characters. And of course Zeratul is just badass.

  18. teo says:

    “Dirt farmers” is just SC2 making fun of itself. RTSes with resource gathering are often called dirt farming games

  19. Max says:

    Well, by this logic, the first was split into two games, so think of it as the upgrade in races from warcraft 2 to starcraft.

  20. Sagan says:

    My experience in the campaign was mostly “I have played this before.” A lot of missions have been taken straight from Warcraft 3 or StarCraft with very little changes. But then I did play it non-stop so far and have finished it after playing only one evening, one day and one morning. So I guess it is kind of great and I shouldn’t complain too much.

  21. Max says:

    Soz, meant that to be a reply to FinDude, above.

  22. Bhazor says:

    So it’s Warcraft 3 in space, then? Sold! There were some fantastic missions in that game like the citizen killing race. It’s still my favourite single player RTS.

    Good to hear about extra single player units and fun time missions. My big gripe going in was that it was only the one campaign with the other two sides not even getting a look in. The idea that their own releases will constitute a full game with all the extra units and swank is a very good thing.

  23. bill says:

    I’m confused by the “level design and missions are great” but “gameplay is totally generic RTS” part.

    Must confess I’ve lost all interest in RTS games because the missions are so repetitive, and the gameplay is so ridiculous. But this is a game with non-repetitive missions – but repetitive micro-managing your bunkers gameplay?

    Now have no idea what to think…

    • Jeremy says:

      Well, thus far I’ve felt like SC2 has done a great job of mixing up the missions. There is generally a unique hook involved in each mission that adds variety and isn’t the same old… start with pre-determined force, carve out small base, build it up to take on the 3 enemy bases in the area. One thing I was worried about before starting this game was that it would just add up to a bunch of gimmicky levels where the novelty would end up running out over. It hasn’t been the case, and it has kept me up late the last two nights because I was excited to see what the next level would bring to the table.

      However, I’m only 8 or 9 missions in, so take what I say with a wee little grain of salt.

  24. Psychopomp says:

    If Perdition Turrets don’t find their way into multiplayer at some point, I will be sad. I don’t care if they have to nerf them, it is awesome.

  25. kalidanthepalidan says:

    @findude You’re right…they should have released a 90 mission single player campaign which included all three races! Those bastards! Thinking they could give us a game with only 20+ amazing, fun, well designed levels which is also is dripping with content both in mission and out of mission. I mean really! Blizzard has certainly pulled a fast one on us all!

    *KA-WINK WINK*

  26. ken says:

    Regarding dirt farmers:
    In space, plants would likely be grown with hydroponics or aeroponics, neither of which actually require soil. Not knowing the starcraft universe too well, I’m assuming the colonists living on the ground are considered stupid and unable to use this “advanced technology”, only growing their plants in soil, while people in spacecraft do not use soil to grow their food?

  27. squirrel says:

    I really want to try it out but then i realize that it is not a complete game. Blizzard is going to put out two expansions for SC2. Besides, the price is quite inflated (standard Activision pricing?!). No, I will have to pass this time and wait for the discounted bundle which introduces the complete Starcraft 2. If we have waited for 10 years, i guess it’s okay to wait for one more year.

    • Psychopomp says:

      See Kalidan’s post

      Also, no it’s not standard Activision. It’s been Standard Blizzard since Diablo 2.

    • Mac says:

      Then you realize wrong, it’s a very complete game, a very very polished massive complete game. The price isn’t inflated either, Warcraft 3 costed the same at release. It’s well worth the poor extra $5-10 when comparing to the a lot of the stuff that’s been churned out lately. Heck, the map editor alone is worth the full price of a regular game, Warcraft 3 lasted many many years past its prime just thanks to that.

    • Jad says:

      It’s called inflation, and its a basic fact of life. Something that cost $50 in 2000 would cost $63.29 in today’s dollars: http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/

      And, as people have noted, Warcraft III cost $60 in 2002, which is $72.70 in today’s dollars.

      So Starcraft II is actually cheaper than WC3. It’s $3.29 cheaper than any $50 game you bought in 2000. You are, in fact, getting a bargain.

      So stop this, please, everybody.

    • Subject 706 says:

      Whine whine whine. I’d say this game is as complete as they get. And standard Activision price? I got the game yesterday for 299 swedish kronor, which is about 30 euro. Not bad for a brand new AAA game, I’d say.

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      “It is not a complete game.”

      This is starting to get monotonous. It is a complete game. It is fecking huge, longer and bigger than STARCRAFT 1, will take upwards of 10 hours to complete on medium, and you then have a massive multiplayer mode. Plus there’s the mods (an example of which is included in the game as a mini-game).

      The sole argument for this not being a complete game is that there isn’t a Zerg single-player campaign, and there is a very good, story-based reason for that which makes making the Zerg campaign a separate game a very valid idea. Having a Zerg campaign following a highly abbreviated version of the Terran campaign in the game would completely devalue STARCRAFT II’s ending.

    • Archonsod says:

      Inflation? If they’re selling 1999′s gameplay then I’m not paying more than 1999′s prices for it. Although since it looks like it would have been a fairly by the numbers RTS in 1999, I think I’ll just not bother.

    • Sagan says:

      I think you are just trolling but I’m gonna reply anyway. Once.

      If you say that StarCraft 2 has gameplay from 1999, then you would have to say that 90% of shooters have gameplay from 1999, and all driving games have gameplay from 1990. “Gameplay from 1999″ is just ridiculous.

    • Jad says:

      You know, I wish more games had gameplay from 1999. System Shock 2 came out in 1999. Freespace 2 came out in 1999. Unreal Tournament came out in 1999. Planescape: Torment came out in 1999. 1999 was a pretty good year.

      Of course, Starcraft actually came out in 1998, which was a pretty good year too: Fallout 2, Grim Fandango, Half-Life, Thief, Alpha Centauri.

      If all of those games came out now with sequels or remakes with similar gameplay but upgraded graphics, we’d all be going absolutely bonkers with joy here.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      A basic fact of life is that both median and average real incomes were decreasing since 2000 (with minimum in 2005) and still are lower than in 2000, so any argument based on inflation is just bullshit. If the game really takes only 10 h to beat on medium… then it’s overpriced.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      I really wish they’d make a new X-COM with its gameplay stuck in 1994, instead of this newfangled console shooter silliness we’re getting.

  28. bleeters says:

    I’m quite impressed with the missions as well, no two feel the same, and all feel fresh and challenging. My personal favourite is probably the desperate last stand you perform as part of the handful of Protoss levels that unlock about halfway through or so. And then, when the game was drawing to a close, all units had unlocked and I’d largely assumed all variation had been exhausted, everything went all Dawn of War 2 and suddenly I had a squad of distinct hero units facing down entire armies.

    I found all the little details on your ship pleasing too. The dancing night elf hologram is a nice touch.

  29. Kyle says:

    I hate to be Johnny Internet, but “dirt farmer” is real slang from the Dustbowl Era. It’s actually from Steinbeck, I think.

    Still, the rest of that dialogue sounds absolutely terrible. I tend to be in the Alec camp on that–if it’s bad enough, it can totally throw me off the game.

  30. Sid says:

    The noughties saw quite a large number of RTS games which all attempted innovation in different ways – from Age of Empires III’s RPG home cities to Rise and Fall’s direct action hero control. The only one which truly succeeded in taking RTS in a new, solid, lasting direction was Company of Heroes.
    It’s such a shame that newer games like Starcraft II just ignore Company of Heroes and everything it did so marvellously. It really was unbelievable, and going back to the old style of Starcraft does not remotely appeal.
    I would love to see that company of heroes gameplay in a setting more interesting than WW2.

    I would really like to play the campaign missions but I’ve read up on the plot and the characters and heard about the dialogue and yeah… good level design isn’t enough when the gameplay is archaic and the writing rubbish.

    • Psychopomp says:

      All I ever get from these arguments is that old, apparently, is nothing but bad, and new things are always better.

    • Sid says:

      That’s not what I’m arguing, as demonstrated by my examples of the various RTSs attempting something new which ultimately failed – Age of Empires III, etc. I just wish Company of Heroes could be as influential on RTS as, say, Halo was on FPS, because I think that particular RTS and the particular gameplay innovations of that game were extraordinarily good, and it makes it difficult (for me) to go back to the 90s style which feels primitive and frankly redundant.

    • Rich says:

      Only being able to carry two weapons, checkpoint saves, exclusive console deals followed by extremely late and shoddy PC ports… yeah, we’ve come a long way.

      Yes I know I’m both sourpuss and grumpy face. I don’t care.

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      HALO was a huge step backwards in FPS design, however, and its creative impact on the genre has been mostly negative, so that’s not a good comparison.

      I love COMPANY OF HEROES and think it’s an amazing game. I was fully prepared to be disappointed by STARCRAFT II, but oddly it works. The SF nature of the game means that turning it into a CoH copy wouldn’t work (fortifying buildings would be a waste of time when a single Siege Tank blast can wipe out a neighbourhood), and SC2 is definitely an army-based game where you can control hundreds of units, not a smaller-scaled skirmish game like CoH.

      The two games tack different tacks and both achieve what they are trying to do very well.

    • Sid says:

      A fair point Adam and I guess the more heavily abstracted empire-building or army-controlling is just not for me any more.

      The Halo reference may have been ill-advised – I wasn’t trying to suggest I APPROVE of those specific innovations which rolled out across console FPS games, just that it had a remarkable influence which I personally would like to see emulated by Company of Heroes. Though perhaps a lot of people would hate its gameplay innovations in much the way they do Halo’s.

    • Archonsod says:

      “All I ever get from these arguments is that old, apparently, is nothing but bad, and new things are always better.”

      More like if you’re going to re-do something I’ve already got, you’re going to have to chuck in a few more bells and whistles to get me interested. Or in other words, what does it do that I don’t already have in Starcraft?

  31. Nick says:

    Why the hell is it so damned expensive everywhere? Why is the most expensive place by a good £10 digital only direct from Blizzard?

    I literally can’t justify the extra expense =(

  32. Alex says:

    Basically i don’t agree with the fact that this is an incomplete game… reviews, comments and trailers definitely point to this being an excellently polished and very fun single/multiplayer experience. I agree that game pricing these days is pretty silly though. Give it a year and it will become priced about right :).. also you could try somewhere like g2play for a bit of arbitrage fueled savings..

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      The ‘this isn’t a complete game’ thing is bizarre. If there was a golden age when ‘complete’ strategy games came with 90 single-player missions, a comprehensive multiplayer mode and one of the most powerful game editors ever release, it must have passed me by.

      In this case, ‘incomplete’ means ‘you can’t play the Zerg in a story-driven single player campaign’, which doesn’t fit the definition in my book.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      I think the issue is very much not about length. It could have been three times as long, but if it was just Terran it would still seem “incomplete” to some.

      If you are only interested in the single-player, then it’s a strategy game where you can only play one side, which is a sequel to a game where you had three. I always viewed the Terran in SC as sort of the boring training mission bit before you got to the real fun of playing Zerg or Protoss. So in a way, they made an entire game out of that boring beginning bit.

      It’s interesting to look at Blizzard’s track record with how the various sides work in their RTS single players. In WC1 and 2, you picked a side and played through. The two sides were exclusionary, alternate stories that for the most part mirrored each other. Given such there are actually “canon” campaigns for those games (Orcs win WC1, Humans win WC2, and I believe Humans win Beyond the Dark Portal). Jump forward to SC and you’ve got campaigns that go in an order and tell a continuing story, Terran comes before Zerg comes before Protoss. You could however start the game and choose whichever race you wanted, it briefly warned you that you would be missing out on story if you played this way, but you still could. Warcraft 3 came along, and similar to SC each race tells a piece of the story, but now you are no long allowed to play them out of order (IIRC). SC2 has taken the idea that each race tells a story to the next step, by making each race its own game. Interestingly, by doing this you are now allowed to play them out of order again, but you need to wait to do so.

      Anyway, long aside aside, the “it’s not a full game” argument is less about length of content, and more about specificity of content. Really it should be “it’s not the game I wanted.”

  33. Anon says:

    I am disappointed at the lack of mention about the Galaxy Editor in this.

  34. Qjuad says:

    Pretty much agree with everything written – a great, polished game; I even enjoyed the singleplayer quite alot. I’m a sucker for space westerns I guess.

  35. Pijama says:

    Just a quick nudge to the Hivemind – giving the piss on Starcraft’s story seems unfair after so much praise to Dawn of War II.

    And that being said:

    1 – I am not comparing Warhammer to Starcraft;

    2 – WH40K has so much more lore than SC that is unfair to pit them against each other, but I am comparing the game. :)

    • Alec Meer says:

      Dawn of War 2 was just as shallow narratively, but tighter, less self-important and didn’t constantly push one incredibly boring man in your face while pretending he was incredibly interesting.

    • Qjuad says:

      Thats true Alec – it pushed four or five instead :P

    • Alec Meer says:

      ‘xactly – your entry point to the game doesn’t live or die on just one hollow cipher.

    • Qjuad says:

      I can see your point and agree to some extent – Raynor worked better in SC because he was placed amidst a much larger cast. I think he’s a fairly interesting character – just not all by his lonesome.

    • Rich says:

      Is it the same voice actor playing Raynor? I’ve heard people complain about the voice work, but I always though the guy playing Raynor was pretty good. Mengsk was a lot worse (in one scene particularly).

    • Pijama says:

      Superbly replied, sir Alec.

      What I am attempting to get at is that we were so awed by Dawn of War’s “RPG” stuff and the more finely tuned Chaos Rising campaign that gamers in general expected the SCII campaign to be something otherwordly epic.

      Whereas we didn’t have such expectations with Dawn of War, for example. Or any other “high-class” RTS of recent times, to say the least.

      Still, I have to shell out ultrabucks to play starcraft. Better do it now before spoilers flow all over the internet. : (

    • sebmojo says:

      Dawn of War 2 was just as shallow narratively, but tighter, less self-important and didn’t constantly push one incredibly boring man in your face while pretending he was incredibly interesting.

      This is a good point. I’m halfway through playing DoW 2 and it’s an interesting comparison – not least becuse they’re exactly the same game to someone not steeped in nerd trivia. DoW 2 presents its story in a much leaner and less portentous way, which is appropriate for space piffle. SC2 gets all Dostoevsky on it with its close ups and pompous line readings and oh god make it stop.

    • malkav11 says:

      Dawn of War II is substantially shallower in narrative, and I’m not trying to claim that Starcraft II’s is exactly deep or nuanced. This is, admittedly, mostly because there’s barely a narrative at all in Dawn of War II, especially in the original campaign.

      But I do think they make for an interesting comparison. Dawn of War II’s campaign(s) represent a strong move away from the traditional RTS towards something more closely akin to squad-level Diablo. Starcraft II doesn’t really move away from the traditional RTS – indeed, it’s sufficiently traditional that many people are talking about it as a sort of throwback – but as is Blizzard’s wont, it’s the most ridiculously polished, inventive, and varied approach to that traditional model of gameplay that I’ve yet encountered. I don’t know which I prefer most, to be honest. I might give a slight edge to DOW II just because it supports full 2 player coop throughout the campaign, whereas SC II’s “coop” is basically just comp-stomp skirmishes (still something I plan to mess with at some point). On the other hand, while both games have focused on their space-marine-riffic race for the singleplayer campaign, SC II will avowedly have similarly sized full campaigns for both other races. DOW II has an expansion already and here we are, still trapped in Space Marine land with no word as to whether followups will ever let us play anything else in campaign.

  36. JimmyJames says:

    I generally dislike RTS games but love Starcraft 2. The missions are just THAT good. I’ll probably never play more than a few rounds of multiplayer but I know for certain I’ll be replaying the single player portion on different difficulties.

    I’ve never played such a polished game. It’s worth the money!

    • Rich says:

      The various mods that are bound to come out, which may or may not require micro-payments, are going to add a lot to the replayability.

  37. Spaceman-Spiff says:

    All cutscenes are skipable, you don’t have to watch through them.

  38. Karthik says:

    Here’s an idea: Blizzard, sell the Starcraft singleplayer campaign for less, maybe $40. Most of us who will never take it online just want to play the campaign and not fork out $60.

    • Alex says:

      even better… bring back “Spawn” disks like the old days! I remember buying Total Annihilation. You could give one of the CD’s to a friend and they’d have multiplayer only. Doesn’t make financial sense for Blizzard of course :P but hey, they make enough money selling special mounts…

  39. Vodkarn says:

    The upgrades on the ship – and hell, a lot of the inner-ship dynamics (armoury, etc) – remind me a lot of Mass Effect 2. I’m not sure why, but my way throguh the first 6-8 missions has been an awful lot of “Hey, I remember this from…”

    Also yes, the acting/dialogue is so goddamn awful. And what is with Professor McPlasticface? She looks like she can’t emote at all.

    • Qjuad says:

      Fun fact – Dr. McPlasticface is actually voiced by the actress who did Liara’s voice in Mass Effect. She has an expertise in voicing boring scientist types it seems.

  40. Whiggles says:

    Rich:

    Yes it is. Robert Clotworthy was brought back after a significant fan backlash to Blizzard’s decision to recast the role. I for one am glad – the Raynor of Starcraft II looks so different from the 40×40 pixel version in the original that it’s good from a continuity perspective that he at least SOUNDS the same.

    They did recast Kerrigan though. Boo hiss.

  41. ChaosSmurf says:

    Call me the massive fanboy that I am, but I rather liked the caste, and Raynor in particular. Not as much as Mass Effect’s supporting characters, maybe, but as a cowboys in space cliche, it’s a Blizzard quality cowboys in space cliche. I’m never too bothered by poor dialogue when it’s well acted and some of the badassary makes up for the plain old assary.

    The actual missions, someone pointed out to me, feel like a much, much, much better C&C Generals/Zero Hour (having the same lead designer, I am unshocked). Having not played CoH, and again fanboy, I’m probably not qualified but whatever: easily the best singleplayer RTS experience ever.

    • Rick says:

      I’ve got to agree with this gentleman. I really don’t think Raynor is as bad as he’s made out to be. I’ve enjoyed his characterisation and manner, and I’ve no problem with any of the voice actors. They’re all fine to me

  42. LionsPhil says:

    >Come to RPS.
    >Entire visible frontpage is Starcraft ads.
    Well, I hope this keeps you guys in cheese sandwiches for a year.

  43. Whiggles says:

    ChaosSmurf:

    Zeratul too, although in that case I believe the original VA had died in the interim.

    • ChaosSmurf says:

      Oh, yes, I believe you’re right, on both counts.

    • Rick says:

      The Overmind and Duke were by the same guy, so they’ve been recast for their brief appearances too. Though I really don’t get why they re-recorded Duke for the single line he has-”this is Duke, psi emitters are in place”-when they could have taken it straight from the SC1 sound files…

    • Rich says:

      Sound quality? It would’ve been pretty hard to make it fit.

  44. Red Avatar says:

    I’m still not sold. What you told me is: “cliché story, same old gameplay but just more variation to missions”. For me, just a lot of variety isn’t enough. It’s time RTS games stop being so generic in story. For all the money Blizzard has, you’d think some proper script writers would be easy to get.

    I’ve played dozens and dozens of RTS and most I get bored of after a few hours. Command & Conquer and Red Alert 1&2 being exceptions (and Warhammer 40.000) but I wonder how SC2 will hold up considering I’ve never completed the first one.

  45. ShineDog says:

    The very clever mission design is what has kept me playing this, because the actual core mechanics do nothing for me. I just dont believe whats going on, I guess.

    Games like CoH made some changes to the genres core that I was incredibly happy about. Battles became less abstract, and the fact that I’m managing troop positions in a more believable manner, watching for cover and fearing a tank bursting through a wall, had me completely engrossed and totally involved in the fate of my panicking, human little dudes.

    In SC, nothing really behaves like I want it to. A jet moves over. Stops on the spot, fires its weapons, spins on the spot, moves away. A battlecruiser does the same. A nightmarish flapping winged alien does the same. A tank is an infantryman with different stats who takes up extra space. Everything takes place at about 3 feet. Except when that same distance fits a kilometer long space ship.

    I get what Blizz are going for here, and after the success of SC1 it was never going to be anything else. But having played CoH and how engrossing its combat was, I just cant get overly excited about the combat this game offers me. Its not evocative of anything.

    Fortunately, the missions are (after some overly simple early ones) fantastic. The polish on display is absolutely stunning, as everyone has pointed out.

    I just find myself wishing, at every stage, that I could have the perfectionism of Blizzard and the drama and flair of CoH in a single game.

    • EBass says:

      @Shrinedog

      I completely agree with your opinion vis a vis Company of Heroes.

      CoH for me should have been the Half Life of RTS games, it totally changed the core mechanics behind the RTS genre into something far more compelling, I simply can’t get aroused by Starcrafts core mechanics, which are essentially a very balanced faster paced C&C.

      An air unit is essentially a faster moving tank with the “Can only be hit by other anti air fire box ticked.”
      An infantry unit is a tank which takes less damage before kneeling over.

      The terrain you fight on is static and unchanging

      All the battles occur at a distance of two feet..

      If only Relic hadn’t essentially disbanded into a team of complete morons some companies might be building on CoH rather than ignoring it.

    • CMaster says:

      Relic are a very interesting company. They’re the company that put me off RTS completely with Homeworld. How – it was so enthralling, made such use of 3D etc, had tactical changes that really worked, unit AI that was largley pretty competent, etc that even though it wasn’t exactly balanced (destroyer fleet > all), I always had great fun with it. No RTS after that ever grabbed me. World in Conflict appealed for a while with it’s “Real Time Tactics” model, but sadly proved a bit of a multiplayer dissapointment (no combined arms really manageble unless you were near superhuman, and horribly powerful off-map fire support). Then Relic got me back into the genre with Company of Heroes, which I now play pretty damn reguarly. The idea of going back to Starcraft, as impressivley balanced as it was doesn’t grab me at all.

      However that isn’t to say I think there is anything wrong with those who do want to go and play starcraft, or that I can’t sort of see why some people are happy to do all their units thinking for them, wondering why us Relic players are prepared to put with having to queue up 20-30 orders just to make a tank reverse away from enemy guns rather than turn around and expose its weak side.

    • Pod says:

      @Cmaster:

      “No RTS after that ever grabbed me. World in Conflict appealed for a while with it’s “Real Time Tactics” model, but sadly proved a bit of a multiplayer dissapointment (no combined arms really manageble unless you were near superhuman, and horribly powerful off-map fire support)”

      Wat?
      The WIC multiplayer was all about combined arms. That was the whole point of it. Each player on the team played a different branch. Together you were a combined arms force.

    • Soundofvictory says:

      I think what a lot of people seem to be ignoring or at least not mentioning is all the NEW stuff in SC2 that isn’t just polishing of the original. I do not know the exact number, but it seems like there are roughly 2x as many Terran units this time around. Some of those are slightly better versions of others, while some offer completely unique advantages. On top of this, in the single player campaign you can upgrade nearly everything which is really fun. These upgrades can be simple “deals +20% damage,” but also there is more interesting stuff such as bunker upgrades as mentioned in the article. These upgrades allow you to take your already awesome army and convert it into a world-ending military force. There is SO MUCH more game here than in the entirety of SC1 and BW, that it is nearly staggering.

  46. KJR says:

    I find the cut scenes to be agonizing to sit through. Glad to hear that at least some people share my opinion. They are well rendered, but the writing and delivery are pure pain to me. I agree with people who view it as Wing Commander with a bit more polish.

    However, many people have written that they are doing the missions just to be rewarded with the cut scenes, so your mileage may vary.

  47. Iain says:

    I’ve played about 20 of the missions (completed 18) on Normal and I have to say – as a person who normally avoids RTS’s like the plague – it’s bloody awesome.

    Firstly, I’m going to dissent on the characters. They’re fine. No worse than the Ship Of Extras you pick up in the KotORs or Mass Effects, in my opinion. Okay, so the lead characters aren’t particularly well-voiced or scripted. I don’t care. Jesus, just LOOK at the cutscenes and the detail in them. I defy you to find a better looking CGI film, never mind a game. Starcraft has always had a “Space Cowboys and Rednecks” vibe, so I don’t see the problem with the cheesiness or melodrama. I don’t go for the accusation of SC2 taking itself too seriously, either. Just look at the Level 800 Elite Tauren Chieftan advert in the cantina – and there are loads of other subtle in-jokes in there are well. It’s not a poe-faced game at all – even if the plot is about your generic “the Creators are coming back to kill us all” kind of threat.

    The mission design is terrific – there’s always something to force the pace and stop you from playing more conservatively or defensively. I think there have only been a couple of missions where I’ve been able to stick to my RTS instincts and play DoW1 style where I build up my forces and hoover up enemies from the map. It forces you to do more with less to the point where I can actually feel myself becoming a better RTS player as I progress through the campaign. Zeratul’s missions are also a great little change of pace that give you a good idea of what the Protoss missions will be like, too.

    I’m about reaching my innate talent limit now, but I want to perservere with it, because I am hooked by the story and the action, both. That’s quite something for an RTS, in my book. I really want to see how it ends.

    As for the multiplayer – I get the feeling that the singleplayer is mostly intended as a training mode for the multiplayer – the singleplayer challenges are definitely just that. I may or may not have a dabble with it, but I can see myself playing a lot with the offline skirmish mode, because the design and unit balancing are just fabulous. And finally, for the people whinging about “$60 buying a third of a game” – just shut up. It’s well worth the entrance fee for the singleplayer content alone – the production values are just incredible.

  48. I saw dasein says:

    I didn’t buy DOW2 because it was only a quarter of a game. Discuss.

  49. madned says:

    >What they’ll do to keep singleplayers singleplaying will be very interesting.

    UMS maps?

    I wonder if the lack of lan will affect the SP to MP conversion rate. patching through the internet removes some of the immediacy of friends demanding you play with them.

  50. fishyjoes says:

    I stopped reading after the first few paragraph because… I want to enjoy the game! Leave it alone you bullies! Stop criticizing my lovely game! I don’t want to see it’s flaws. Ah!

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>