“Tosh.” How Apt.

By Alec Meer on August 5th, 2010 at 10:31 am.

As I moaned last week, while I’m entirely digging the game design otherwise, I’m finding StarCraft II’s writing a bit of a chore. At times it seems like it was generated by a machine, or perhaps a horse with a Dictaphone. It can be tricky to demonstrate why I have this distaste for the game’s oft-insipid dialogue and characterisation, outside of quoting the flat, tired lines over and over. So I’m going to try and do it through a character study instead: a breakdown of why I’m not satisfied with the approach the game has taken to its chattiest denizens.

Let’s talk about Gabriel Tosh: spooky Rastafarian psychic soldier dude. That he’s so appropriately called “Tosh” – well, maybe someone was paying attention after all.

Some spoilers follow, and are flagged as such – they’re primarily focused on Tosh, but you’re still advised to steer clear if you’ve not finished the campaign.


Kittens mean spoilers. Bears mean spoilers end.

Tosh appears early in the game, as a shady character offering to help you out, and goes on to provide the narrative backbone of a subset of missions.

As with all of SC2′s thinly-sketched characters, Tosh is described more by his appearance and vocal mannerisms than by what he says or does. He has dreadlocks, he’s a bit mystic, he says “be” instead of “is” – three times within 15 seconds at one point. “This be the moment of truth.” “This be worth a fortune.” Apart from that, the rest of his English is spot on – but apparently he needs a single vocal tic so that we remember he’s Rastafarian.

Ah yes: he’s the only non-white member of StarCraft 2′s main cast. (Admittedly, General Warfield’s importance is stated a few times, but his appearances are very fleeting compared to the rest of the plot-relevant characters). It would be petty and strange to complain about this in itself: plenty of other games (and movies) elect to star an entirely or predominantly white cast, after all. I mean Harry Potter, for goodness’ sakes. What I want to go into instead is how trite Tosh’s characterisation is, and how that could be perceived. I do not prescribe any negative intent to Blizzard, apart from possible thoughtlessness.

Here are some Tosh-facts:

Tosh is presented as sinister, untrustworthy and self-interested – his motives questioned repeatedly by gravel-voiced hero Jim Raynor and all his allies.

He has a drug habit, though this may or may not be necessary for his mystic powers.

A bunch of his friends are in jail. (Though are all white, however.)

He apparently has only two attitudes: stoned-sounding mystic and murderously angry.

Oh yes, and he has a Voodoo doll. A voodoo doll.

He even carries it around his neck, in case he needs to do any emergency voodooing at a moment’s notice. No-one else in the game is carrying a voodoo doll. There isn’t any suggestion that anyone else in the game so much as believes in black magic, in fact.

Are we supposed to think he’s cool, or think he’s quietly villainous? Omar he ain’t. It gets worse. Unfortunately, however…

SPOILERS!

In Tosh’s last mission, you’re given the choice to help him or bring him down. Do the former and he lives and remains your buddy, albeit with a little bit of threatened knife-crime first. Do the latter and he threatens Raynor with his voodoo doll – but gets it wrong and hurts the wrong guy. What a silly!

Take this path and his narcotics involvement extends to him being a drug-producer and possible dealer.

Take this path and Tosh gets killed. And insulted. Repeatedly. It’s not a noble death – it’s a humiliating death, in which he’s first made to look like both an idiot and a hissing pantomime villain, and then sent out with a cruel, cheap stab to the back of the head, before we’re treated to a lingering close-up of his slack-jawed corpse as Raynor celebrates the kill. This savage treatment completely undermines any sense that he’s a heroic character, a misunderstood freedom fighter – as picking the other path for this mission tries to claim he is. The game decides you shouldn’t feel like you’ve made the wrong decision, so removes almost all moral ambiguity about Tosh if you choose to turn on him.

He is, as per Hollywood cliche, the first major character in the game to die [Edit - this does depend somewhat on the order in which you play some of the climactic missions.]. And suffice it to say this is not game with a great many speaking-role casualties.

So, let’s recap: the game’s only major black character is a witch doctor, is too inept to witch-doctorise properly, is a drug dealer whose friends are in prison, and who (optionally) gets killed. It is hugely important to note that there is a choice as to whether the player treats him as a hero or a villain, but picking the latter means he is then depicted almost unilaterally as thuggish scum who deserves to die.

SPOILERS END!

Again, I’m not prescribing any motive behind Tosh’s or anyone else’s depiction- the problem is that the sheer weight of cliche laden onto this one character alone is crazy. Perhaps more to the point, he’s just one more growly, semi-magic, exposition-spouting cipher in gaming’s great litany of such supporting characters. Maybe he’s a a light-hearted parody of that, but if so I wouldn’t say that comes across. He doesn’t add up to a fun, surprising or even particularly likeable NPC: he adds up to an exceptionally tired dramatic stereotype. Which is my only argument here – that SC2′s characters are nowhere near well-developed enough to escape cliche.

There are (at least) two huge counter-arguments against Tosh being an especially poorly-realised character, and I’m very much aware of both. [Edit - and, as some have correctly observed, a third. Another, hitherto minor black character is promoted from apparent villainhood to much greater importance very, very late in the game.]

1) StarCraft II is far, far, far, far from being the only recent videogame that treats its non-white characters cursorily. I’m not singling it out for that. My point is that big, gloopy spoonfuls of lore and prophecy do not excuse the game’s storytelling weaknesses – of which Tosh is just one example. Given how much time we spend listening to them, I wanted more convincing, more interesting characters.

2) The game willfully embraces stereotype throughout. Its white characters are variously: drunks, criminals, jobsworths, grumpy, nerds or despots…

…while the only two female characters with significant speaking-roles are a helpless scientist who immediately falls for Raynor, and his ex-lover Kerrigan, who’s been turned into the queen of all chitinous evil, but still manages to show off her shapely bottom at all times. Oh, you can also factor in that the medics are all (helpless) women if you want. The age-old nurse stereotype, clad in power armour.

As is so often the case, this videogame doesn’t seem to treat its female characters with a great deal of respect.

So no-one does well out of this, in other words. That may be because the game is shooting for Simpsons-style “if we insult everyone we’re treating them equally” blanket-prejudice, or it may be because aspects of the writing may have not enjoyed as much consideration as they perhaps should have done.

If there was more depth and subtlety to StarCraft II’s characterisation, I wouldn’t have spotted Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Tosh and thought “uh-oh.” It’s as simple as that. I’m aware that the game’s deliberately going for Lucasian breadth in its tale of war amongst the stars, but that isn’t excuse enough for characters this shallow and patronising.

Yes, it’s an overblown tale about lasers, love and larvae: it’s not The Wire. A little thought can make all the difference, however. Surely the world’s richest game developer can do better than this.

, , .

193 Comments »

  1. sigma83 says:

    It’s honestly shocking how poor the writing and voice direction are. What’s worse is that there are moments of genuine brilliance slotted in between, as though they suddenly turned on the sluices and then shut them off for fear of losing too much brain-fluids.

    Captcha: HACK

  2. sigma83 says:

    Totally the wrong attitude to take if you want improvement in game writing.

  3. Xocrates says:

    You know, you could at least have finished the game, and check the alternate missions before making this post. Especially since

    [SPOILER]
    It’s entirely possible for Tosh to be the second to die, or not die at all. And the “Dominion bloke” is a significant player at the end of the game (though granted, he doesn’t do much)

    [/SPOILER]

    That said, yeah, most of Starcraft 2 characters aren’t exactly tactful and well developed. I still liked most of them though, even Tosh, though the voodoo man gig annoyed me.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Yes, as I say very clearly you’re given the choice to help or hinder Tosh. Admittedly I wasn’t aware that you could still do that mission after the major denouements, however.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Schaulustiger says:

    I was desperately looking for some kind of self-irony in all those characters but I didn’t find any and that’s the problem. You can go with such cliché-burden sterotypes but at least you have to acknowledge that fact in the dialogue. Starcraft II takes itself and its lame characters way too serious, leaving it on par with, let’s say, the Wing Commander movie. And that was pretty bad.

    Funny that there are glimpses of what the story could have been. SPOILER ALERT! (kind of) The Protoss interlude missions for example were pretty good in comparison to the rest. Sure, they do have all this fate-and-destiny blabber, but they had the epic aura (this last battle!) that space-cowboy Raynor and his cardboard cutout sidekicks lacked. Raynor is not a hero, not even once. He’s a walking, talking cliché and acts within the boundaries of a cliché character, making him completely uninteresting and unsurprising. SPOILER END

    That’s the problem with most games, to be honest, not just SC2, but I think the story comes across as such a very weak aspect because the rest of the game is so incredibly slick and polished. I wonder, though, because it feels a bit like the plot was kind of an afterthought after they designed the missions. I mean, they have those cool ideas and twists for every single mission, but the story around them feels tacked on, as if they didn’t know how to properly lead the player into the actual gameplay.

    I found myself more than once just clicking through the dialogue without listening to it, so I could tackle the next mission.

    • Urgl says:

      SPOILER
      If
      “We should have known!!!11″
      “How could we not see this!!111″
      and similiar cliched outcries of whiny”oh noes” equivalents are high-end proper storytelling for you, then I don’t know how to help you.
      The lone, wise superwarriorprophet character +- some self-sacrifice Protoss-peepz are just as stereotypical as the Raynor-Rednecks.

      Obviously most of SC2 was painful one-liners and stuff like “OHhhhh BIG SPEECH THEN MOVING MUSIC THEN TOTALLY SYMBOLIC CLEARING CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE GLEAMING NOW WE JUST NEED FLYING BANNERS AND LET THE FAPFEST COMMENCE OHHH PATRIOTISM EVERYONE JOIN THE ARMY GODDAMNED NAOOOO!!! UUURAHHH!!!!1111111111 *slobberjizzraeparmrifleandlickbullets*”

      /SPOILER ENDS

      The sad truth though is that most of the wannabe-alpha-male crowd is sufficiently gullible, geeky and wannabe to eat this kind of drivel up, be it in SC2 or in “patriotic”-ish / action movies/series/tv-blabber.

      All SC2 does is cater to a low common denominator of plain vanilla “How it’s done” formulaic puke-writing. That means it’s shallow, predictable and generic.
      It also means it’s excruciatingly american.
      It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t sell like crazy to the people it targets. And you will get forums filled with “Oh man it’s so awesome” accordingly.

    • Premium User Badge

      Schaulustiger says:

      @Urgl: You obviously missed my point.

      SPOILER!
      I didn’t say that Zaratul was a particularly well done character, he was just as cliché as the rest (bearing strong resemblance to someone like Drizzt, for example), but the small story arch with the destruction of everything non-Zerg in the universe at least got the proper space epic thing right. It was not “Raynor and his gang engage in yet another I’m-so-cool-I-shit-bricks mission to save planet Epsilon Blah from destruction”, it was something that gave you the goosebumps in the same way as cliché bad-ass Darth Vader gives you the goosebumps in Star Wars. Neither is particularly well written, but it works on a certain level and it’s just what I expect from a space opera.
      SPOILER END

      I don’t need Protoss Proust and Human Hegel to discuss matters of grave importance in a video game, but I want a certain scope in such a game. Something that the Raynor campaign was not able to deliver.

  5. Quizboy says:

    Again, I’m not prescribing any motive

    Taken alongside the still-kind-of-toe-curling comedy-Jamaican trolls in WoW (and, you know, them living in straw huts, most of them being cannibals, Voodoo etc etc), I’m beginning to wonder.

    So no-one does well out of this, in other words.

    I don’t know, straight white men seem to come away pretty much okay. Although I honestly cannot but see Jimmy Raynor and Horner McTwinkersons as a couple. Bucky even gets jealous when Jim-Jim’s manly old flame comes back!

    • TheApologist says:

      Yeah – I agree with this. Without wishing to elevate the claims Alec is making, it is worth pointing out that Blizzard has form in this regard.

      The details are hazy after all these years, but I seem to remember Warcraft 3 had similar problems that rankled with me at the time – Jamaican accented witch doctors, and women only depicted as scantily clad and amazingly assed.

    • XY says:

      Personally I’m all for abolishing racism, but if you want to take away my scantily clad, magnificently assed wimminfolk THEN TAKE UP THE BLADE MY MAN, BECAUSE I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL, I SAY!

      Abolishing well-assed wimminfolk, how dare people even utter the thought.
      The cheek! Oh, the cheek!

      Dear Blizzard,
      please keep rendering those delicious badonkadonks in high detail and waggle them playfully in full view of the CGI camera and disregard the haters.

      Assfully yours,

      Darren Derriere

    • XY says:

      Personally I’m all for abolishing racism, but if you want to take away my scantily clad, magnificently assed wimminfolk THEN TAKE UP THE BLADE MY MAN, BECAUSE I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL, I SAY!

      Abolishing well-assed wimminfolk, how dare people even utter the thought.

      The cheek! Oh, the cheek!

    • Uhm says:

      Are all replies being moderated?

    • XY says:

      Personally I’m all for abolishing racism, but if you want to take away my scantily clad, magnificently assed wimminfolk THEN TAKE UP THE BLADE MY MAN, BECAUSE I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL, I SAY!

      Abolishing well-assed wimminfolk, how dare people even utter the thought.

      The cheek! Oh, the cheek!

      Dear Blizzard,
      please keep rendering those delicious badonkadonks in high detail and waggle them playfully in full view of the CGI camera and disregard the haters.

      Assfully yours,

      Darren Derriere

    • TheApologist says:

      @ XY

      Ok ok – one step at a time :)

  6. Matador says:

    I felt that the hackneyed storytelling was below what’s expected for a game that picks up from the story, but I think that you could get the feeling from the very first mission onwards. I chose to work with Tosh, so I never saw his paraphernalia, but the choice presented was that you got two virtually identical units and that you kept Tosh as a comrade. In a Party Based RPG, this would matter. The character would continue with you and add to the over all story. He was presented as nefarious, and a potential backstabber, but Blizzard never explored that. He just sat in the cantina for the rest of the game, making occasional comments on the Raynor/Kerrigan plot.
    Choices without consequences are worthless.

  7. Fenring says:

    The article is spot on about Tosh – and yet he was my favourite, the others being even more irritating. I really wish they’d get their act together on this. I’m one of those gamers who investigates everything and watches all the video sequences, but even I found myself skipping conversations towards the end of the campaign. What’s the point of putting all that effort into designing ship interiors and animations when the characters are so lifeless?

    • sebmojo says:

      This is it, for me – writing is so damn cheap compared to every single other thing you can do in producing a video game – why not spend a few bucks on doing it well?

      I suspect the reason is the same as why all American cars are ugly – people without taste hire people without taste. The top dudes at Blizz don’t think it’s bad writing.

  8. ceb says:

    Im about fanboy squared when it comes to SCII, Blizzard games (so far) in general, but the chars and dialogue is starting to wear me down. I want to poke someone responsible in the eye, repeatedly, untill they realise the errors in their ways and beg forgiveness and promice to do better in the next two.

    • ceb says:

      Rats, so much for “crime of passion”. Because of that post I’m going down for premeditated poking :\

    • Vague-rant says:

      Premeditated poking may have some sinister connotations.

  9. SuperBladesman says:

    I’ve not been too bothered by the writing or characterisation in Starcraft 2, though I can see why others are. I guess I view it all as a bit of unexpected fun; I didn’t play Starcraft 1, I did love Warcraft 3. I don’t mind a bit of cheese.

    Maybe I just feel grateful that it’s running at all and looking so sweet, despite the PC I’m playing on having a graphics card just outside of the minimum requirements.

  10. negativedge says:

    Oh god. Really? In a game where the main white dudes are outlaw cowboys (and traitors), the scientist is a dorky guy that talks to himself, the chick is sternly looking for a white knight while spouting platitudes about hope, the ship captain is uptight and by the books, and the army captain is the same black soldier guy that’s in everything else–you’re going to complain about Tosh? As if he’s being singled out?

    And newsflash, if you side with him he becomes Reynor’s confidant and is portrayed as the “smartest” character in the game. There’s nothing here, but I suppose the RPS readers demand some mild push against Blizzard.

    • Premium User Badge

      Sunjumper says:

      Or you could read the article and notice that all the points you are complaining about are actually addressed?

    • Heliocentric says:

      Fight the power Alex!

    • Snidely says:

      It’s interesting to see how his character is treated depending on the choice you make. If you turn against him then he’s played for laughs and killed. If you side with him then he and Jimmy have a little “men like us” banter and he ends up helping Jim with all the crystal vision stuff. I’m guessing that Blizzard was trying to portray him in different manners to fit how the player felt about him, but it comes off as making him seem schizophrenic. He swings from being the slightly spaced out guy who sees more than most to the ruthless angry guy who throws threats around. This happens outside of the dialogue related to the choice that decides his fate as well.

      I’m glad that his voice acting is decent, clichéd as his character is. Raynor and Dr My People sounded like they were phoning it in.

    • subedii says:

      The same thing happens with the choice for Dr. Hansons subplot. If you side with her it was the right decision and you saved those colonists. If you side against her, the colonists were thoroughly infested and there was nothing to be done to save them.

    • suibhne says:

      So much for choices and consequences. In the new age of gaming, it’s impossible to make a “wrong” choice or have unpleasant consequences.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Wasn’t the point of the article simply “hey, how rubbish is this writing?”

      Tosh is just a single example of that, and others were given.

  11. elstob says:

    You seem to have forgotten the fact that the most revered military man in The Dominion, and the man given the responsibility of leading the fight agains the Zerg, General Warfield, is also black. But that doesn’t make quite as good a story as “SC2 perpetuates negative sterotypes OMG!” so…

  12. Gap Gen says:

    The original’s storytelling worked far better, I thought. I thought it grated that your first missions were to rescue civilians from slavery. The Warhammer 40K-style “no good guys, or if there are good guys then they’re too beleaguered to do anything but run away all the time” worked far better. But like you say, if the basic writing and voice acting was on the same standard as, say, Mass Effect 2 (since it’s clearly trying to do something similar with the bar/bridge between levels), I might not have noticed.

  13. kikito says:

    The transporter pilot are also female. They dont’t feel helpless.

    Also, I’d like to point out that I haven’t seen any hindus, asiatic or hispanic guys. And that doesn’t bother me a little; this is a game, not a United Colors of Benetton ad. I would have loved to see someone with a russian accent though. (“Set the courrrse. Engaeich”).

    I’m very thankful for the Kittens and Bears. A very nicely done spoiler warning, and very useful, since I’ve still not finished the campaign.

    • Gap Gen says:

      What was the accent of the battlecruiser pilots in Starcraft 1? Also, one of the major characters in Brood War (Stukhov?) was Russian.

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      I believe there was some of that in Brood War.

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      Beat me to it.

    • subedii says:

      I wouldn’t necessarily point out the transport pilots to make that point to be honest, that just felt like it was fitting the stereotype as well, they’re women in a non-combat role doing medivacs.

      However, I would point out the Banshee gunship pilots, who are cast as female, and most certainly in a combat role for once.

      Although all in all, if there was something to be worried about here, I’d be more inclined to worry about the fact that the only black units in the game are space janitors.

    • Gap Gen says:

      The transport pilot from Starcraft 1 was a homage to Aliens, over anything else. The Alien series is probably one of the seminal examples of strong female characters in film, though.

    • Reefpirate says:

      I’m pretty sure Banshee pilots are female too… They’re pretty badass killing machines.

      Or maybe I’m remembering incorrectly. It’s been over a month since I played the beta.

  14. AlexW says:

    Yeah, I struggled to enjoy his behavioural mannerisms, to be honest. The suggestion that there would be, in the far future, such isolationist Rastafarian settlements as to produce a man like this, with all the accent and dreadlocks to make any modern-day person so inclined seem like an accentless blob… it’s a little far-fetched.

    I actually didn’t mind the voodoo thing, to be honest, considering it’s an interesting take on the psionic ability route, but [MINOR SPOILERS ON] I disagree with the director’s suggestion (in the commentary for the ‘Nova’ cutscene) that the misdirected voodoo was needed to break up the moderately disturbing content of the scene at large. It was vaguely amusing, but it’s okay to have a scene about assassination when the most powerful individuals in the game’s universe are all trained assassins. It’s not Care Bear Ethnic Cleansing Time, it fits.

    Also, hooray, Nova. I enjoyed that book, though in the game she looks a bit advanced in years for the timescale provided. Also, after Ghost of a Chance and Whispers of Doom, I would strongly enjoy another such stealth-oriented game, Blizzard, so bring back StarCraft: Ghost.[MINOR SPOILERS OFF]

  15. Matt says:

    I wonder if he was named after Peter Tosh, of reggae music/The Wailers/Rastafari fame.

    • tome says:

      Mystic Man (1979)
      Wanted Dread And Alive (1981)
      No Nuclear War (1987)

      I think the self-awareness might actually be there, albeit in coded form. I particularly like the last one, given Tosh’s special mission.

  16. Wednesday says:

    Oh lord, that Dialogue really is bad.

    I don’t get it, Warcraft 3 wasn’t like this, was it? I mean, it wasn’t exactly Booker prize worthy, but it was functional at least. I don’t recall wanting to vomit.

    • Grandstone says:

      @Wednesday

      I was playing Warcraft 3 recently, and oh lordy is that dialogue tired. There isn’t an interesting character in the bunch.

    • Nick says:

      I didn’t mind the writing so much until the PROPHECIES AND HERE’S WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON came about. I hate that.

  17. Choca says:

    Wot ? There’s a campaign in StarCraft II ?

  18. Quizboy says:

    Actually, you know what else I just remembered I’d noticed in SC2? Lot of people in turtlenecks.

  19. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    It’s the same with, say Indiana Jones or Star Wars – they are deliberately riffing on the genre tropes of old fashioned adventures. It makes the stories simple, easy to grasp and therefore easier to get bg fun out of. Unfortunately, using those tropes also brings with them a lot of the racial and sexual stereotypes of that previous age – like the imperialism of Indiana Jones, for example.

    I’m guessing that Starcraft is using the rousing and simple narrative shapes of space operas and 80′s action films to provide its fun – and unfortunately that brings with it all the horrid baggage of 80′s American politics and chosen-one Star Wars guff.

    So it’s not deliberately horrid, but the developers can still be brought up for aping those styles so unquestioningly.

  20. subedii says:

    or it may be because aspects of the writing may have not enjoyed as much consideration as they perhaps should have done.

    I’ll vote for this one.

    To be honest, it just seems like they didn’t have a dedicated writer at all, that this was something they wrote on the in-between whenever they had 5 minutes to spare. The dialogue all around is pretty bad, and Blizzard should definitely have been able to do better.

    *********************
    SPOILERS BELOW
    *********************

    Incidentally though, that other black character you mentioned does get a bigger role, and a slightly more dignified one. Granted he gets rescued, but I’d be willing to buy that since he’s not a main cast member.

    But getting back to Tosh for a second, I think you might be characterising him a bit too much as all bad. Yes he is a gigantic cliche wrapped in stereotype, but over the course of the game, he’s also represented (assuming he survives) as someone that gives advice to Raynor and has a bit more understanding of what Raynor’s going through with the whole crystal / Zeratul thing.

    Of course, there’s also the problem that that may effectively make him the “magical negro” of the piece, which isn’t necessarily that much better (even if Morgan Freeman has effectively made a cottage industry out of that cliche)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_negro


    ******************
    SPOILERS END
    ******************

    The intro is something that just brings home how badly they messed up on the writing. The pre-release version with no dialogue was amazing, it was spectacularly well done. You didn’t need the Gruff McGeneral voiceover explaining everything over the course of it, it just worked on its own. The lack of any speech made the whole thing feel menacing at the start, and that just gets taken away when you’ve got some guy speaking over it. They had one line at the end, and it worked, partly because nothing else was said up to that point.

    Having Mengsk narrate over the entire thing pretty much ruined it. It’s almost like they lost faith that their audience could understand it without an overblown narrative explaining “THIS MAN IS A PRISONER!”. Really? I couldn’t have guessed from the big screen saying “prisoner” on it. Or the shackles and the prison jumpsuit. Grief.

    I don’t even understand why they tried to play up Tychus as a mystery when they literally explained everything in the intro.

    • Xocrates says:

      @subedii: To be fair about the intro, when the thing was made it wasn’t supposed to be part of the story, and Tychus wasn’t even a main character at that point. The intro was just supposed to be a regular marine getting suited up (one should note that marines are usually “rehab” prisoners). They just decided to shove it as part of the story and added to voiceover to explain that.

      I do agree they ruined it though.

  21. Pedro says:

    Not this shit again…

  22. Mark O'Brien says:

    I haven’t played SC2 yet, so I didn’t recognise the character.

    Did anyone else think of this when they saw title image?

  23. Turin Turambar says:

    Well, i can only agree. Writing and characterization (sp?) is not very good in Starcraft 2, and Tosh in particular is a boring, silly character.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Sagan says:

    The bad story totally ruined my first impression of the game. Even so much, that I didn’t enjoy the missions inbetween. That changed later on, especially after the Protoss part had some decent story, but still I now don’t have as positive a memory of playing StarCraft 2 as I would have expected. Or in other words: The story is the main reason why the game didn’t live up to the hype for me.

  25. Hobbes says:

    Really sorry to do this, but… “is to stupid” –> “is too stupid” surely?

  26. MadTinkerer says:

    The reason for why the Terrans are often portrayed as either:

    1) Scum with hearts of gold.

    2) Total backstabbing scum.

    is because of their origins. The Terrans in the Koprulu Sector are all ex-convicts from four massive prison ships that crashed on the planets, or just a generation or two removed. A society formed from essentially a massive prison break does not spontaneously develop sophistication and class overnight (as opposed to something more like Australia or Colonial America where only a small part of the starting population is actually from prison colonies). It takes a while, and as evidenced by many characters who are younger and far less scummier, the Terrans are making good progress. But the fact that a lot of Terrans are scum to various degrees is a major theme of the Starcraft story. And thus:

    The fact that a lot of Tosh’s friends are in prison does not make him stand out from the other Terrans.

    The voodoo doll does seem a little over the top, but if you choose to side with Tosh, a bit of flavor text will reveal that ALL Spectres basically carry voodoo fetishes around. It’s just that Tosh is the only spectre you meet in the cutscenes. Also: the whole psychic powers = magic things goes back at least as far as WH40k, so I really can forgive Bizzard for that.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Er, not that I’m defending the quality of the dialogue. Just that I feel Tosh is no worse than anything else in the game. And the gameplay and the presentation is almost enough to forgive the flaws in characterization.

  27. Ninja Dodo says:

    I’m sad, if not entirely surprised. The original Starcraft somehow managed to hit all the right notes and had a sense of restraint and subtlety that was altogether missing from Warcraft 3, and I guess from this one. I don’t know if they just didn’t have the same writers or if budget and engine constraints forced them to make it more understated at the time, but it worked really well.

    The whole Raynor, Mengsk, Kerrigan story-arc is still one of my favourite pieces of interactive storytelling.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      The events of the original Terran campaign aren’t just there for a nice recap and provide motivation for the characters, it actually ties in directly to some of the later missions. I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say there’s ample opportunity to resolve unresolved issues with Mensk.

  28. BigJonno says:

    So you insist that it’s a commentary on how SC2 is crammed with stereotypes of all kinds, but you focus on the black guy? You’ve got to admit that there’s at least a small dose of controvo-juice there.

    Anyway, what do you expect from Blizzard, the company who liked a romance/corruption storyline so much, they used it twice! As a major plot thread! In two-thirds of their franchises!

    For anyone not up to Blizzard stories, take this summary “The previously noble Sarah Kerrigan was corrupted by the Zerg and became the Queen of Blades, leading the evil forces she once opposed. Jim Raynor, believing that there is still hope, dreams of finding a way to save her, despite the terrible battles that he faces.” Now replace Sarah Kerrigan with Prince Arthas, Zerg with Scourge, Queen of Blades with the Lich King and Jim Raynor with Jaina Proudmoore and then sort out the pronouns. Ta-dah! Starcraft has become Warcraft.

    • subedii says:

      “what do you expect from Blizzard”?

      A company with their resources, and ten years to make a game?

      Dialogue better than this for a start.

      You can even keep the cliched story and characters, that’s part of the game’s style. Saying that they always do the same thing however just doesn’t cut it. The dialogue was just plain bad, and they could have done much better.

    • Neil says:

      And Warcraft 3′s ending copied Starcraft’s, which copied Diablo’s (sort of). Noble hero (orc, protoss, human, respectively) sacrifices himself to save the world. The Diablo scenario repeats itself in WoW’s Lich King story.

      It seems that Blizzard has decided that copying other people is too hard, and is sticking with copying themselves.

  29. Huzzum says:

    Is it just me or is all that SCx did in terms of units and story is throw WH40k and Aliens(Zerg) VS Predator(Protoss, Humans=Marines) into a blender and press “Whirl very, very, mildly”?

    And if you’re smart enough to “get” that, where does the expectancy of even a hair of original thought or plot come from, exactly? :P

    Just saying..they even stole the “twist” from just about any AvsP / sci-fi-with-aliens-and-scientists flick/game.

    It doesn’t get any more pathetic than SCx in terms of unoriginality, if that’s what we’re scoring it for.

    • Tei says:

      Supposedly, theres originality and creativity. SC2 can’t be original in the world design, since it already exist and can’t make mayor modificationss, but can be creative. ( originality=strategy, creativity=tactic ). SC2 could have ben original in the new character design, but choosed no. And It all (seems, according to the people posting here) lacks creativity, that is unexcusable. More because is creativity, and creativity is much cheaper to make. Creativity is cheaper, because you don’t need genius that can make gigantic jumps, normal bright people can add creativity in a incremental way, more hours = more creative. So something that is not creative feel like rushed… to quote subedii…

      “To be honest, it just seems like they didn’t have a dedicated writer at all, that this was something they wrote on the in-between whenever they had 5 minutes to spare. The dialogue all around is pretty bad, and Blizzard should definitely have been able to do better”

      …If you have a big budget, and you end with something withouth creativity, theres something very broken, because you don’t need genius, you only need to accumulate hours of work. So is either lazyness of by design (made this way for some obscure reason).

      I can’t judge because I have not played the game.

  30. Cooper says:

    Sounds like an attempt at good old C&C camp gone horribly wrong?

  31. Tei says:

    In the next games, Blizzard *must* include TECHNOVIKING as a character to clean this bad karma.

    • Coins says:

      Tei, there is! I think. There’s this unit and is has a portrait, and I think it could very well be technoviking. But you haven’t played it, so I shall not spoil.

  32. Veldjes! says:

    oh… just give me full-scaled rewiev of SC 2. I want it. badly. :(

    p.s.

    @AlexW says
    “Also, hooray, Nova. I enjoyed that BOOK, though in the game…”

    Errr… did I miss something?.. What book are you talking about?

    • AlexW says:

      Well, Veldjes, Blizzard have released a number of novels expanding the StarCraft universe, so since I was pleasantly surprised by the Halo novels I decided to give them a shot. There’s a book simply subtitled Nova, that focuses on that psionic candidate for the Ghost program (set at the beginning of the Zerg attacks in SC1). I’m easily entertained, but I thought it was pretty good.

      I’ve actually been meaning to get more, but I keep finding awesome music that I need to buy instead.

  33. bildo says:

    Much ado about nothing.

  34. Simon says:

    (SPOILER WARNING!)
    About the women, there are a few cases you forgot.

    Nova (the would-have-been protagonist of Starcraft: Ghost btw)
    A seemingly high-ranking ghost who clearly can hold her own.

    Mira Han
    Mercenary Leader who commands her own army and who you are forced to pay or you’ll fail a mission.

    The Banshees
    One of the best and hardest hitting Terran units, flown by women.

    The Medics
    While they may be helpless by themselves they’re probably the most imbalanced unit in the campaign. If they would be released in Multiplayer without alteration, it would likely lead to all Terran players going Medic-Marine-Marauder against every single matchup.

    About the rest of the story, I guess it depends on what your expectations are. Looking at other titles in the genre I would say it’s the most well executed one yet. At least the characters have personalities, even though they are thin clichés.

    Tosh
    He’s clearly not a rastafarian and his accent is clearly more haitan/dominican than jamaican.
    I actually found his voodoo doll quite interesting. This is just my own speculation, but I figured he used it as an aid t to channel his psychic powers and that the doll itself didn’t hold any special magic. That it still worked when Tosh was dead and Nova stabbed it might be explained by Nova herself having psychic powers, and it having some residual charge from being used by Tosh.

  35. Rick says:

    Tosh, Valerian, Nova and Horner are all ones who were introduced and further developed more through the series of books than actually in Wings of Liberty. I’m imagining that’s why they seem more superficial to the majority of players who wouldn’t have looked at the extended material as they’re more casual fans. Blizzard didn’t particularly do a good job of introducing these characters in the game, almost expecting everyone to know them already because of the extended material.

    On the same line, I’m also wondering how many people read the plot stuff in the manual and went “Huh? When did that happen?” at the bit about Zeratul being set straight by a Terran archaeologist, something only covered in the books.

    • BigJonno says:

      That’s been one of Blizzard’s storyline problems for a while; they introduce and develop major characters in outside sources, leaving people who only play the games scratching their heads when they pop up. Probably the worst example of this is Varian Wrynn, the King of Stormwind in WoW. The reasons for his disappearance and how he eventually returned to Stormwind were covered in a comic series.

  36. Neoviper says:

    I made a conscious decision to, no matter how bad or cliche any of the dialogue got, to still somehow enjoy the game. I do this a lot with bad movies, just laugh at how ludicrously bad the acting is. That’s about how I played starcraft 2, laugh at the acting then move onto the actually rather fun missions.

  37. spacesubmarine says:

    A great article – however at the end you say “it’s not The Wire” – eh…

    The Wire has the most clichéd characters ever :D

    Good cop that breaks the rules and has a drinking problems?

    Stupid boss?

    Ballsy young policewoman who happens to be hot lesbian?

    Maybe starcraft 2 cast is not THAT bad after all….

    • Mark O'Brien says:

      I have to disagree with you there.

      McNulty is not just a good cop who breaks the rules and has a drinking problem. He’s not particularly good – he’s motivated far more by his ego and the need to prove how smart he is as well as beating his opponents rather than the desire to make the world a better place.

      He doesn’t just have a drinking problem, he’s pretty much completely dysfunctional, and his compulsive nature often has serious consequences for him and those around him rather than just being a colourful quirk for a humorous character.

      He’s a much more interesting character than the stereotype you seem to imply.

      Also, Kima is not especially young (the actress was born in 1964), and hot is subjective. She’s ballsy, but so are a lot of the characters in the show. Mannish unattractive lesbian is also a stereotype, so it’s hard to know what kind of physical appearance you would consider to be unstereotypical. “Lesbian cop” in itself is certainly not a stereotype I’m aware of.

    • spacesubmarine says:

      Yeah, if you take it too literally – you’re right about Kima – but, dysfunctional cop…. I dunno, sorry I just can’t help it, The Wire characters are really very much clichéd. Not just in my opinion I fear.

      The show itself is innovating in a way how they discarded the usual plot points and climaxes and how they deprived the audience of the usual (clichéd :) ) crime-solving satisfaction.

      However, on a positive note -

      - The Shield
      - Breaking Bad
      - Sopranos
      - even the australian Underbelly to stay in the “police/crime” genre

      there are drastically better writtens characters

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I love the Shield as much as anyone, but if you think the characters are better done in it than the Wire, you’re full on mental. The Shield is a glorious OTTP comic-book.

      KG

    • Gap Gen says:

      The Shield is The Wire as told by Herc.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Awesome. I’ve thought similar things but never put it so succinctly. Bravo.

      KG

    • spacesubmarine says:

      The Shield has much better written characters than The Wire.

      Simple as that.

      They are actually interesting, there is a lot going on within them and the grand finale that Shield offers at the end of the show, nothing in The Wire can compare to that.

      Don’t tell me McNulty had reached – in any scene – the emotional magnitude of Vic Mackey working till six at the desk in the FBI office after his betrayal.

      Oh boy.

      Don’t you dare telling me The Shield is a glorified comic-book.
      I’m not saying that it’s a high art – its just brilliantly written.

      BTW: The Wire is one of the most overestimated series in TV history – only to justify that in fact, its a mildly boring show.

    • Premium User Badge

      Saul says:

      Hahaha, you won’t get many people agreeing with you there. The Wire = Best. Show. Ever.

    • spacesubmarine says:

      I know that not many people will agree with me, but my point is –

      where The Wire succeeds in the depiction of urban society, and where it is a great social analysis,

      The Shield is simply more entertaining. To achieve this entertaining value, the characters have to be very well written. And – I don’t find The Wire characters better written / in fact, they’re written really simple, sometimes totally flat. They’re realistically portraited stereotypes, but not dramatically deep.

      The other thing is, I’m not from US, so The Wire urban/social thing not too much related to “my society” or my environment. The Shield is universal – like Shakespeare :) – it’s drama and it’s tragedy – it’s not a “portrait”.

      I don’t mean to insult The Wire – Just really feel the characters are flat and stereotypical mostly – however, there is a wide selection of them ;)

    • Samuel Erikson says:

      “Gap Gen says:
      August 5, 2010 at 1:45 pm

      The Shield is The Wire as told by Herc.”

      You sir, are a genius.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      The Shield goes for over-blown total Melodrama every time. It’s the engine it runs off, and a big part of its charm. It’s a machine which runs off “What’s the most extreme response a character can do in any situation”. What the Shield is a brilliant example of exploitative, manipulative writing.

      KG

    • Grandstone says:

      One: The Wire isn’t boring.

      Two: I know this probably won’t sway you, but The Wire has at least as much claim to universality as The Shield when taken as a satire on institutions’ self-betrayal. I agree somewhat on the characters’ flatness, but I think it comes from the show’s genre as much as from David Simon’s creative limitations. If I were to single out problems, I would start with scenes like D’Angelo explaining chess to his dealers, in which the characters could have been unproblematically replaced with the writers hashing out the scenario.

      Three: I’m from Massachusetts. I could easily say that The Wire isn’t universal because it’s so specifically about Baltimore. I don’t say that, because that would be irrelevant.

    • spacesubmarine says:

      @Grandstone: I get your point and it’s valid. No need to sway though, because I was just explaining, that I understand why The Wire gets so much credit – it is because of the realistic depiction of urban society and institutions failing to solve problems of underclass etc etc.

      Problem is, when you are not at all interested in these – for many people important – social issues.

      When you find the most attractive thing about this show completely unrelated/unimportant, and you are just interested in STORY – then you find the show boring.

      Just check how popular is The Wire outside of US….. as compared to other mentioned TV shows.

      The Shield is a drama about friendship and guilt, that’s why it is more universal – it is entertainment – and it’s a nonsense to compare The Wire and The Shield as to which one is BETTER, because it’s apples and oranges, BUT – you can clearly see where the characters have more depth/emotions manifested through dramatic actions.

      And I completely respect your three points.

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      Interesting discussion.

      But who’s the ‘stupid boss’? Not Rawls, who’s conniving, ruthless and fairly smart (not to mention having the best blink-and-you-miss-it bit of characterisation ever). Not Burrell, who’s a Grade-A arsehole but who interferes with the investigations not because he’s stupid but because he doesn’t care about the big picture, only the stats. Also not Landsmen, who isn’t really the boss but is also shown to be pretty canny in many episodes.

      When people ask me why I love THE WIRE so much the first thing I say is because it is utterly hilarious. People think that’s mental, but it’s true. If THE WIRE really was just about urban decay and failed institutions it would make you want to top yourself in about four eps. It’s sense of humour is pretty much what keeps it on top: almost everything Herc and the Bunk say, the legendary McNulty/Bunk crime investigation scene, Clay Davis, the opening scene of Season 5 with the photocopier (based on a true story, as half the series is), a lot of Omar’s stuff, even the scene in S1 where the characters are trying to get a desk through the door.

      Also, a WIRE discussion in a SC2 thread? One of the reasons I read this blog.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Problem is, when you are not at all interested in these – for many people important – social issues.

      The Shield: The Wire, for sociopaths.

      ;-)

      (Favourtie Wire moment (and why not): drunk Bunk trying to set fire to his clothes)

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Adam: Valchek was dumb-ish – or more tightly focussed on his own politics than anything else.

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      True, but Valchek was only ‘the boss’ in S2, and only as he got the team on a loan to try to bring down Sobotka before he went off to join TRUE BLOOD. His attempts to direct the investigation were also not very effective once the shipping crate bodies were discovered and higher-ups took more notice of what was going on.

      Probably my favourite story arc in THE WIRE is the rise and fall of Stringer Bell, and for me the funniest bit is when Marlo and Chris are trying to work out what happened to Omar after jumping off a balcony and somehow survived unscathed, “That’s not possible, that’s some Spider-Man ‘stuff’ right there,”. Again, that was another true story, except in the real incident the guy jumped down six stories rather than four. The writers thought the audience wouldn’t buy what really happened.

    • spacesubmarine says:

      Isn’t here anyone who appreciates the EPIC story arc that The Shield has? :-D

      (More like a cathedral than just an arc, imo – spreading across 7 series, building the highest towers of drama and tragedy one episode at a time!)

      :-D

      Am I the only one here who thinks that there is something profoundly deep under the surface of brute/skinhead/cop story you are claiming The Shield to be?

      C’mon Mackey fans I know you’re somewhere around here, show yourselves!
      Help me prove that The Shield isn’t just for psychopaths and sociopaths!

      Or are you busy playing MANHUNT ? GTA ? WHAT, AGAIN ???

      Lol

      * gone to drink beer and beat wife *

      * returned drunk *

      Youwirefansyouresmmleftwingpussieslemmetellya !

    • Willful Murder says:

      Have to go with the Wire better than The Shield crowd here. I started out really engrossed by The Shield, roughly up until it got to the serial old-woman rapist part, at which point i realized the show was just trying far too hard to be edgy. I still think it was well written, they just didn’t have to throw in graphic rape scenes or fridges full of semen every 30 minutes to maintain interest, it actually sort of eroded mine.

      Watching The Wire was like reading a book, it was engrossing in part because you felt like you knew the characters, not because you were waiting to see what crazy shit they would pull this week (although i think this was as much the acting as it was the writing, if not moreso). Don’t get me wrong, The Wire had it’s numerous flaws; occasionally the writing detoured into sillyland, like with the snooty Forbes-reading hitman or McNulty’s brief stint at Vic Mackeydom (but this was more stooping to the level of every other TV show than anything else), it tended to get gratingly preachy at times, and some of these times it was quite clearly out of it’s depth (season 2 being the worst offender, although it’s still my favorite), but all things considered it’s still a remarkable show.

      Also Bunk is one of my all time favorite TV characters.

    • Willful Murder says:

      I’ve heard nothing but good things about Breaking Bad. Eventually i guess i’ll have to watch it…

  38. We Fly Spitfires says:

    I’ve not finished the campaign yet (thanks for the kitten and bear indicators – very useful) so my opinion may changed but, yes, I too have found the characters to be incredibly stereotypical and, honestly, I can’t decide whether or not Blizzard did this on purpose or not. Are they meant to be tongue-in-cheek parodies? Sometimes I think so, other times I’m not so sure. If they are then it’s very, very subtly done.

  39. Starky says:

    All this talk of SC2′s story is so overblown…

    It’s a sci-fi pulp, no one should expect more than that – it’s about friggin space marines.
    It served as a functional backdrop to give some context to those awesome and creative missions.

    It’s clear to me that Blizzard designed their gameplay first (as is their slogan), designed the missions then wrapped a story roughly around that, and I’d have it no other way, because this game has some of the best mission design ever to grace a RTS.

    • subedii says:

      This isn’t an either-or. Having good writing isn’t something that precludes good gameplay, and good writing can enhance an already good game and make it something special.

      It REALLY isn’t an either-or when you’ve got the resources of Blizzard, and over a decade to make the game.

      The game should have had better writing.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      WH40K is Sci-Fi pulp (arguably; it is actually space fantasy pulp but let’s not get into that here…). StarCraft II has rehashed some of the iconic imagery and produced some admirable results in that regard. Strictly visually speaking. It is not pulp, however. It lacks the awareness of just how devoid of actual quality its writing is. SC2 is just simply bad. You don’t get to be pulp based solely on that.

      And yes, the game was gameplay first. I don’t think anyone’s actually denying that. Missions are some of the finest examples of RTS single player game design to date. I don’t think I (or RPS for that matter, them being of actual importance here) would bother talking about all of this if the situation was different. It’s precisely the extreme lack of quality in one field while another is full-on awesome that makes the bad part seem even worse.

    • Quizboy says:

      Of course we should expect more than that. Why have such low expectations? You could have the same amazing game with an amazing story rather than having to rationalise away its badness.

      It’s daft to suggest nobody should talk about the story because it’s an excuse for the game to happen (if it even is; Blizzard have clearly spent significant time and money on telling the story here. They could have gotten away with much less). Good pulp sci-fi exists, and bad pulp sci-fi exists, and it’s possible to distinguish between the two. The fact they’re writing within the pulp sci-fi genre doesn’t exempt them from criticism or opinion. Neither does the fact that the story plays second fiddle to the gameplay. It’s a story, it’s being judged alongside other stories, and it’s a bit poo. It being good wouldn’t automatically ruin the gameplay. They’re not on a see-saw.

    • sebmojo says:

      Dawn of War 2 has SHOW ME WHAT PASSES FOR FURY AMONG YOUR MISBEGOTTEN KIND!!

      Starcraft 2 has IT AIN’T OVER ‘TIL IT’S OVER YOU SON OF A BITCH!!

      Neither are Shakespeare – but the first is pitch perfect and awesome. The second is … pointless. Unnecessary.

      Honestly they could have vastly improved the SC2 cutscene dialogue just by taking out two thirds of the words (esp. the stupid ones).

  40. Anski says:

    “There isn’t any suggestion that anyone else in the game so much as believes in black magic, in fact.”

    If you choose to get Spectres instead of Ghosts, the description mentions something about it being common for them to have totems/trinkets like that on their person in battle.

  41. Mavvvy says:

    With you on that Starky.

    I respect the thought that by improving the story/narrative in games it could open up the medium to gain acceptence in bigger circles.

    But ultimately I play games for the individual dynamic moment of wow! Which in my experiance has never had anything to do with the story (Final Fantasy 7 excluded :P)

  42. Pod says:

    Who wants improvments in ‘game writing’?
    I’ll read a book if I want a decently written story.

  43. Lanster27 says:

    But Zeratul is still the most awesomeness character.

  44. Spinal Muffin says:

    Let’s focus on the important issues, like why Blizzard decided to rip off Forest Whitaker’s character/thing from “Battlefield Earth”

    compare and contrast

    • Dawngreeter says:

      We’re going to get angry Scientologists here now, aren’t we?

    • Malagate says:

      @Spinal Muffin, that’s pretty much what I thought. In fact, before I even read the title, the screenshot had me instantly thinking that the article was about a Battlefield Earth game, which was scary. Seriously, those dreds….

    • Mark O'Brien says:

      Ah, I see I have an answer to my earlier question!

      I haven’t played SC2 yet, so I didn’t recognise the character.

      Did anyone else think of this when they saw title image?

  45. Odious Repeater says:

    Tosh is also pretty much a Warcraft-type Troll. But in space. And “human”.

    Wrote a great deal about the general crappiness of the story on my blog:

    https://odiousrepeater.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/thoughts-on-fallen-stars/

  46. JKjoker says:

    im completely disappointed with SC2

    first came the bnet2 crap that is pretty much killing the thing i liked the most about war3 (aka starcraft 1.5) with the doomed map model

    then the fact the multiplayer component is the same damn game as 12 years ago (which is awesome sure but i played that to death 12 years ago), i just cant squeeze any fun out of it, the single player levels seem to be aware of this by trying to spin the rules somewhat in every mission

    next the single player story, its not just crap with completely unlikable characters, but the entire plot is about 1 sentence long, a single sc1 level had more plot in it than the entire sc2 campaign, when ppl start saying that they rather being a nameless commander than being forced to follow Raynor around you have a huge problem, also i was expecting a cliffhanger ending but ***SPOILER*** we get a goddamn Sopranos ending, the parts when the cast start fighting for no reason are also very hard to swallow ***END SPOILER***

    and finally the missions, the irony is that by trying to escape from the multiplayer’s sc1 remake they ended up making them just as derivative, there are pretty much 3 kinds of missions, defend your base against waves of enemies, get to x places in the map before the clock runs out and baseless get your hero to the waypoint. Now some are pretty nice, i loved the zombie defense mission mentioned in the half review a week ago (the best mission imho) and some of the hero missions where ok (war3 had many better ones tho) but they overloaded the thing with timed missions, these are ok used sparingly but when most of the missions are on a timer it gets incredible annoying, and thats without mentioning the painfully missed chance of adding choice to the game, locking units to missions, refusing to give you any input on the strategy to use in a mission, what kind of commander cant even choose their landing position ? if you are going to do that just make Raynor the player’s boss instead of the avatar

    • spacesubmarine says:

      AMAZING ! :D

    • bleeters says:

      “there are pretty much 3 kinds of missions, defend your base against waves of enemies, get to x places in the map before the clock runs out and baseless get your hero to the waypoint.”

      Strange, I must’ve bought a different game. The only ‘get to x before the clock runs out’ missions I remember off hand pitted your forces against an exploding sun, or a zerg onslaught. These aren’t abstract clock timers, ticking away on your screen for no apparent reason.

      And sure, there’s the odd ‘defend your base’ mission, but they do at least throw in various other factors to handle, and only two effectively prevent you from going on the attack if you so wish, doing so by flinging unmanagable amounts of units in your direction.

    • JKjoker says:

      really ? get to the artifact before the sun destroys the planet, get 7 gas canisters before the protoss seal them off, destroy the mothership before it destroys the colony, etc, they are all timed missions the timer is just replaced by a character talking or a visual cue, at least there are some clever ones like the zombie day/night cycle

      maybe i came out a little harsh in my other post, i do like the game but its slightly above average at best, nowhere near perfect scores or other blow jobs reviews sites are handing out by the dozen, im very disappointed that they killed most of the replay value by scripting everything (so that they always play out the same) and the heavy custom map restrictions, as things stand today ill barely get 5% of the value i got from sc1 and war3

    • bleeters says:

      Right, the point of those being to apply just enough pressure to get you moving, rather have than leave the player to hole up for an hour constructing an unstoppable doom force.

  47. Wednesday says:

    @Pod. Shhh your mouth. I’m tired of that argument. You want to play brainless tripe, fine with me. But I want a little more depth from my games.

    No, I want a lot more. If games were about nothing more than cheap mechanical thrills I wouldn’t persevere with them.

  48. Dominic White says:

    I don’t think Blizzard have ever really been good at writing. Their stuff reads like early 90s cartoon fodder, but with occasional gore and bad language. It’s enjoyable in its own, dumb, saturday-morning-cartoonish kinda way, but you really aren’t going to get any more enjoyment beyond that out of it.

  49. gordon says:

    @pod
    Read a choose-your-own-adventure book and you don’t have to play games at all.

  50. Zinic says:

    Incidently, one of the primary writers for Blizzard at the moment (And the one who wrote a lot of the story in SC2) is british born Andy Chambers who previously worked for Games Workshop and authored much of Warhammer 40k.

    Just thought of it as an interesting fact.