StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Review for PC

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When we left off, in 1998, the insectoid Zerg had just betrayed the technologically-advanced Protoss and Terran armies, wiping out all life on planet Char. The Protoss homeworld of Aiur had been thoroughly ravaged, an infant Overmind had been destroyed, and renegade Terran hero Jim Raynor was fleeing the might of the oppressive Dominion forces led by backstabbing sod Arcturus Mengsk. Also, I was 11.

These days, Jim Raynor is a broken man. His waking hours are spent sitting alone in bars, knocking back bottles of whiskey and listening to a cover version of Free Bird. At night his dreams are haunted by the Zerg rushing his one-time love Sarah Kerrigan, back when she was still human and not an oddly attractive Zerg Queen – one that resembles a cross between Tricia Helfer (who now provides the voice) and the work of H. R. Giger. Also, I am 24 in a month.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The StarCraft of 2010 is not the StarCraft of 1998, but it does such a good job of respecting its source material you might end up thinking you're basically playing the same game. You'd be wrong.

Crucially, there's an all-important divide between the single and multiplayer components. The former's campaign, the heart of StarCraft's burgeoning space opera, has you controlling Raynor's renegade forces on the Hyperion, his personal Battlecruiser. Keeping the narrative grounded to Raynor's perspective, with the majority of levels based around the Terran race, gives Blizzard's designers the chance to breathe, to let the game unfold at a more comfortable pace and create levels that bring out the best from each unit. New toys are introduced into the game on a one-by-one basis; each mission encourages you to your latest prize to accomplish the demands of each particular scenario.

Levels are glued together by impressive in-engine cutscenes, the occasional lavish FMV sequence and plenty of pottering about on your ship to spend money and research points – we’ll talk about the latter in a moment. The Hyperion is far more than just a giant spaceship with a massive pew-pew laser: it has its own laboratory, armoury, bridge and cantina, with each RPG-lite area presented as a moving image rather than as an interactive environment. The effect ends up feeling like a screen from a 90s adventure game, only with fancier technology.

A renewed focus on plot, atmosphere and setting is complimented by the fundamental mechanics of the game. Blizzard's often-criticised decision to focus on the Terrans actually pays dividends when it comes to tailoring a squad over the 16-odd hour duration of the main campaign. Giving 29 lengthy missions to one race grants the supporting cast time to develop, resulting in a cohesive narrative that turns the experience into far more than a disconnected series of missions linked together by a loose plot. The ending's not bad, either.

The last 12 years has seen the original StarCraft lifted to untouchable status in the gaming canon - and deservedly so. Cast the nostalgia to one side, however, and you'll realise the story, especially some of the stuff introduced in the Brood War expansion, was a bit silly: fluff, filler and intentionally vague topics about Protoss/Zerg clones, an Earth faction and a Xel'Naga disguising himself as a Terran. StarCraft II has its own daft moments, but it's a tighter, more controlled storyline that distils and expands upon the core elements that proved a success in the original: Raynor, Kerrigan and Mengsk.

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Highwayman's Avatar

Highwayman

NO DX10/11 at all, yet manages to have some very nice graphics considering.

As with most Blizzard titles there's lots of tightly designed gameplay and levels, excellent multiplayer. The Zombie night & day levels were fantastic, as were the volcanic tidal ones.

9/10 close but not perfect, needs better graphics and enviromental scarring, and unit capping is for gaylords.

Makes up for crappy C&C Twilight, and Sup Commander 2.
Posted 17:48 on 28 November 2010
renegade's Avatar

renegade@ Bloodstorm

Seem to be the done thing to blame Activistion for everything. Blizzard are smart enough to know how to make a game.

The problems you highlight don't effect most of the people tbh. If the Single player is good and the Multiplayer is as solid as the first. Whats stopping it getting a 10? No game is perfect.

I think its great to see a Pc exclusive being a contender for Game of the Year and in a very busy yaer.
Posted 16:17 on 30 July 2010
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm@ renegade

So you're saying you're fine with that? This is what PC gaming as become.....you shouldn't have to have stupid limits on mods, memory especially.

I also dont like how Activision are trying to cash in on player-made mods like those created in Warcraft 3. Good game but it's not brilliant.
Posted 15:43 on 30 July 2010
renegade's Avatar

renegade@ RecoN

Yes I loved that game lol.

If you want some old games try.

Warcraft 3
Diablo 2

Both Blizzard both amazing
Posted 13:30 on 30 July 2010
RecoN's Avatar

RecoN@ renegade

I loved C&C, maybe i might give the 1st one a go :) Im looking for groundbreaking games of the past and i might have found one :)

Did any one ever play Dundeon Keeper? That was like the ultimate classic in RTS
Posted 13:16 on 30 July 2010
renegade's Avatar

renegade@ RecoN

Starcraft is probably one of the best RTS series ever made, close with Warcraft 3. the C&C series I never got into. Red Alert was good however.

If you like RTS games or story games you need to play this game.
Posted 12:55 on 30 July 2010
RecoN's Avatar

RecoN

Guys i have never played Starcraft. Is it good? Can anyone compare it to C&C for example?
Posted 12:44 on 30 July 2010
renegade's Avatar

renegade@ Bloodstorm

Shouldn't get 10? :O

One thing with regards to sound, why is it an 8. I mean the sound track is amazing for this game and some of the "piss" sayings the units have are awesome. and did you listen to the Cut scenes :O.

I agree with the 10 this game is amazing, but do not agree with the two 8s
Posted 11:29 on 30 July 2010
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

Oh dear, someone forgot to mention that you can only publish 5 mods and they HAVE to have a limit of 20mb for 5 mods. The editor refuses words like "Suicide", "God" and "Blow" among others, why is that you're asking? Because thanks to hot coffee Blizzard ARE liable for any obscene content on custom projects thanks to the new system they introduced thanks to GTA.

Shouldn't get a 10, an 8 maybe but giving a 9 would be generous.
Posted 10:51 on 30 July 2010
Roland_D11's Avatar

Roland_D11

I read somewhere that the region lock will be removed in the future because of the negative reactions. Blizzard only hasn't said when exactly, yet.
Posted 10:39 on 30 July 2010

Game Stats

System Requirements
10
Out of 10
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
  • Compelling campaign and multiplayer
  • Incredible depth
  • The genre at its peak
  • Region locking is a bit of an annoyance
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 27/07/2010
Platform: PC
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Genre: Real-time strategy
No. Players: 1 + Online
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 42 2
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