Preview: Starcraft 2

It’s almost here and the anticipation is unbearable. One of the greatest strategy games ever is coming back again for a sequel, but can it bring more to the table than its predecessor? Starcraft 2 is what I’ll be covering today so sit back as we go through what to expect from this reincarnation of the original and also how it fares against Starcraft the original.

It has been a long time coming and Blizzard has become an expert at being tight lipped about its projects. They surprise us at every BlizzCon with the announcement of new games and they tease us with tantalising bits of media until its release. It was 2007 at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Seoul when Blizzard announced to us that there will be a Starcraft 2, before this it was all just hearsay and rumour. Almost immediately the homepage for Blizzard was swapped with the Starcraft 2 logo linking to the Teaser Trailer. Anyone logging onto World of Warcraft at the time was bombarded also with the Starcraft 2 logo on the loader. The online communities were buzzing with excitement.

Slowly we started receiving more information, artist conceptions of new units and buildings when finally we got to see some in-game screenshots and videos. Not holding back here, the initial impression of the gameplay videos left me speechless! The detail was amazing, straight away we could see Blizzard has been careful with how they were going to approach Starcraft 2. With the strong fanbase that Starcraft has Blizzard knew they would be in for a challenge. Hardcore fans are going to be very cynical and more than likely expect just a re-release of the original, whereas the more casual fans expected a whole new game with the story continuing on.

So essentially what Blizzard has to do is create a sequel that would appeal to both the hardcore fans and the casual fan, not an easy task. So let’s take a look at how Blizzard has gone about tackling this challenge.

First thing you will notice is that the interface is identical to the original, so if you have played Starcraft the learning curve was zero. You have your familiar units and buildings that feel and act the same as before but have been visually upgraded. Although there were rumours of a new race being added I can say for certain that this is untrue, Blizzard have kept old faithful. Three races as before, the insect race Zerg, the human race Terran and finally the alien race Protoss. At this point you’re probably thinking that we just have a remake on our hands, let’s continue and visit some of the new features Blizzard has added.

The Zerg race look fantastic and you really see the hive as it was meant to be, in no small part due to the enhanced graphics. You get Swarms of wet looking insect creatures pounding against Terran defences, relentless and horrifying like my kitchen at night. It really gives a new definition to the Zerg rush. This race is for the fast gamer with no consideration for losing units and now you get to see your units get smashed up in detail. But more importantly the Zerg has a new Queen unit, this is a hero unit that can be levelled in the same fashion as hero units in Warcraft 3 and brings in a bunch of unique abilities.

Now the Terran brings back a lot of fond memories, the defensive race providing a satisfying feeling of watching Zerg splat from siege tank bombardments. The siege tank is back for more and has brought a friend along, The Thor. This big hunk of moving metal is made for full out assault and no holds bars. With an all you can eat selection of assault capabilities it can also take out air. Additionally characters such as Jim Raynor and Kerrigan will be playable as hero units for the Terran race.

Not to disappoint but there are some downsides that need to be said. It has been confirmed that Starcraft 2 will not have a LAN option. This means no playing with friends on a network or LAN parties. Blizzard has announced this was done for quality assurance and to prevent piracy, an all too common issue on the PC. A new Battle.net system is being used that will incorporate one sign in method for all your Blizzard games similar to Steam. From what I hear Starcraft 2 is ready for release and the only thing keeping this rabbit in the hat, is this new Battle.net which is still under development.

Most gamers will find that Starcraft 2 resembles the original very closely, some would say too closely and in the end appears to be just that, the original. Updated graphics and smoother gameplay but in the end it is almost a remake with new features being minor. But to avoid ending on a sour note as this game deserves better, I still believe it will be fantastic, it will be addictive and you will find that it will be one of those games you will always have installed on your PC for years to come.


About the Author

Nightshadow is an avid PC gamer, but occasionally strays off to the Xbox360 for some console action. Frequent writer for Gameolio - he has a strange obsession for uniquely flavored soft drinks such as Cherry Coke, Passion Fruit, and Buzz Monkey. Currently Playing: - Mafia II - Age of Conan - Red Dead Redemption