The legend of Starcraft is back with Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty. For a hardcore SC fan like me, who still played the 1998 version until 2009, this is a momentous occasion indeed.
There was something that made the original stand out among other real-time strategy games. In its prime it was compared to games like Command and Conquer and Total Annihilation. This comparison was kinda like comparing the iphone to comparable phones: Yeah they have perks, but the iphone kept it simple and fluid and won the day. Starcraft kept it somewhat simple. You didn’t have a ridiculous list of unit choices (lookin at you Total Annihilation) and everything flowed.
Well Starcraft 2 is in beta, and after playing it for a week I can tell you it’s still got that shine. Obviously I wanted to know what everything was right away and wished for the opportunity to just play a dumb computer so I could learn what all is new, but with the beta you get thrown right in against other players. Things I noticed immediately are the updated graphics of course, but I noticed how similar it was. Now I say that with a disclaimer: everything you WANT to stay the same, pretty much is.
The races you know are still here: Zerg, Terran and Protoss, but expect to be pleasantly surprised as you reacquaint yourself with them. Even the things that are the same have been made more intelligent. Tired of making gatherers, looking away, and coming back to a group of slackers doing nothing? Well you can set a rally point to minerals so they gather right when they’re made. Or how about the addition of icons you can click when a building is done and it takes you to that building. You’ll enjoy the simple ability to select a larger group of units at a time. Click a building and right click anywhere to set a rally point. I could go on for hours of all the little tweaks that make this version so superior to its predecessor.
As for the units/buildings themselves, you’ll have plenty of new things to learn. Within the first 5 minutes you’ll probably catch yourself saying “hmm… what the hell is that? Should I make it?” I admit, I’ve been playing mostly Protoss and I still only know about %75 of what’s available. That might be because after I realized Void Ray’s are flying lawnmowers, I stopped stressing and started winning games. This will probably be fixed before the final version is released.
The beta + release is a good chance for people that got used to FAST MONEY$$$$$ super maps to get back to basics. Expand your base or be mineral starved. Or expand your base and still be mineral starved but have something to show for it.
Achievements, profiles, graphics, music, rankings: all done with perfection. Starcraft 2 comes out July 27th and will cost ~$60. See you on the battlefield with my army of Void Rays!