Starcraft 2 review

So now that we’re through the Starcraft 2 release, here’s some of my thoughts(keep in mind that that Starcraft I was my favorite game ever and I spent several thousand hours playing it):

The single player is impressive, maybe even outstanding. It has exceeded my expectations in several areas. Some of the cinematics are amazing. I like the somewhat non-linear flow and the settings and storyline of the various parts of the ship are cool. The thing that really makes the single player outstanding is the level design. Even for an experienced player like myself, the levels are challenging(I played on Hard), and there are innovative level features and mechanics that show thoughtful design. There are a requisite number of simple defend this base or attack this base type of missions, but there are also twists and turns that make you stay on your toes. I like the achievements I’ve seen. I have been busy collecting all kinds of them, single player, multiplayer, vs computer, challenge levels. They provide a nice incentive to continue playing all types of games even though I typically just play multiplayer games. One thing that is odd about the single player is that certain aspects of having a non-linear make saved games a bit weird. For instance, you make a decision on upgrading your units and then they aren’t available later if you start from a certain point, but they may be later.

The multiplayer launch was much smoother than expected. People buying the digital download right at the opening hour had some problems, but it cleared up pretty shortly after that. And there have been no major outages besides that, so kudos to them from a guy who knows how hard it is to maintain uptime and performance in peaky systems.

The multiplayer game is about what I expected given that I’d already sunk a couple hundred hours into the beta. No new surprises. Race balance is good. My personal preferences have changed a bit already. I always play random, and during the beta I performed pretty poorly with Zerg. But my results improved significantly after starting to do a fast expansion instead of teching. I still enjoy the style and units of Terran the most, but I feel like I’m pretty capable as all 3 races and I like the challenge of playing Random. I am currently Gold in 2v2 random(my preferred game), but I feel like I should be Platinum for sure. There’s a small chance I could qualify for Diamond, but I’d be one of the worst in that division for sure.

Critics would say Starcraft II is not innovative and the storyline is overly melodramatic and formulaic. Those are all valid criticisms, but you have to look at it from the standpoint that Starcraft I was unarguably one of the most influential PC games ever created. It’s a bigger financial risk to mess with success than it is to try and break new ground, especially with such a huge Korean gaming industry eagerly anticipating it.

Overall I give the game an A-. An A for style and polish and everything else, except a B+ for originality. I’m very much looking forward to Episode 2 and 3 to get some more units and complete the story.

Oh and here’s my stats:

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