StarCraft 2 had a lot to live up to, often when making a sequel to a critically acclaimed game, developers will look at re-inventing the game or quite simply, buffing up the content and mechanics of the game to ensure old and new users alike are satisfied. Star Craft 2 manages to remain as solid as its predecessors, whilst creating a radically new and fresh game. Both offline and online modes in Star Craft 2 provide players with an outstanding step forward in the series, as well as endless replay value to keep players coming back for more. A slight disappointment is the fact that the game is full price despite the fact that players are only given a single campaign. Though this is only a slight niggle and does not stop Star Craft 2 from living up to the legacy.
The campaign in StarCraft 2 is the first of many positive aspects that the game has to offer. Though people have registered their disapproval of only a single campaign featuring within StarCraft 2 this is hardly a problem and should not dismay people in their decision to buy the game. During the campaign, the player controls the human faction of freedom fighters led by Jim Raynor. This does, however, mean that both Zerg and Protoss are not fully utilized, meaning that new players are not given an opportunity to learn how to play as them. However, players can simply play against the AI to gain an understanding of how these factions work in StarCraft 2 multiplayer.
Although these missions are new and interesting ideas the game does not venture a great distance from the standard RTS mission format(which is not a bad thing). Missions such as controlling a small squad through a map are given more depth by including side missions. These side missions are often given meaning and context parallel to the main story in StarCraft 2, such as saving civilians who have been left to die by Emperor Mengsk. By helping them they are then willing to rise up and fight alongside you and help you through the rest of the missions. It’s simple additions to the missions such as this, which make StarCraft 2 a shining example of what makes a good RTS.
The characters and story in StarCraft 2 grips players and provides them with a meaning to missions. Players closely follow the story of Jim Raynor and learn about his troubled past and his struggle to oppose the manipulative Emperor Mengsk. StarCraft 2 does a brilliant job of providing players with an insight into the previous games and brings them quickly up to speed. The cut scenes during StarCraft 2 are simply sublime, with a fantastic soundtrack and action-packed movies. StarCraft 2 provides users with a gripping story which is very well told in unique ways. For example: during the downtime in between missions it provides players with an interactive scene in which they can click on objects or people which trigger a cutscene to learn about the story. This provides players with an interesting way to learn about the story, without forcing it upon the player. Providing players with 10+ hours on the story alone, this campaign is by no means a disappointment despite only being able to play as a single faction.
Though the campaign is only a single faction there is hardly a thing wrong with it. The campaign features a deep story that new and old players alike will be engrossed by. New players will be brought up to speed through flashbacks, and old players will be given a slight reminder of previous events in the StarCraft universe. The campaign features a wide verity of different missions each as innovative as the next keeping players interested and wanting more. Take for example one of the early missions in StarCraft 2. The player has a day and night cycle in which the player must switch between offence against the Zerg during the day, and then ensure your men are back for the on-slaughter that follows at night. The game is filled with new exciting missions that keep players engrossed. From navigating through rising and falling lava that poses a threat to your men on low grounds, to defending scientists as they run for their lives to the escape ships.
The real selling point for the StarCraft 2 is multiplayer. Though it hasn’t changed much from its predecessors it has been updated in order to keep the game interesting to olds fans. Players can pick and choose between the three different factions. Through doing this the player can learn which faction best suits their style of play. One player might prefer to rush into a game with the Zerg and catch a player off guard. Another player may prefer to play as the Protoss and bide their time to watch their powerful forces destroy an enemy base in minutes. The multiplayer has not changed much from StarCraft which, for me at least is an extremely positive thing. The previous StarCraft games already had a flawless multiplayer system and why change something that is not broken? Slight updates such as ranking players with respect to their multiplayer ability provide players with the best multiplayer system an RTS has to offer. Online StarCraft 2 has unlimited replay value and will keep players constantly coming back to play more.
Battle Net is the interface that allows the player to manage their multiplayer accounts and join and create new games. Although there are a few problems with Battle Net, such as having to constantly be online even to play the <Star Craft 2 single player campaign, overall the method is sound and allows players to easily use the multiplayer system.
If you’re already a fan of the StarCraft series, you will have probably already bought this game the day that it came out and are already working your way up the multiplayer league. If, however, you are looking for a new RTS to play look no further. StarCraft 2 offers players hours of entertainment both off and online and, in all likelihood will be the leading RTS for PC for quite some time. With two sequels already lined up (for the Zerg and Protoss campaign), StarCraft 2 is looking to dominate the genre for quite some time.