Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review

Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review
goldfries rated it
Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review
 

The much anticipated (and very much delayed) sequel to Starcraft – and it’s a great game!

The Story

The game continues after Starcraft and Starcraft : Broodwar. If you’ve not played any of them, chances are you guys are still pretty young. 😛 I played Starcraft when I was in college, and yes that probably makes me quite old to some of you. 😛

And yes, I’m in my early 30s and I’ve been a gamer for a little over 2 decades now and I am damn well proud of it. So if any of you have mothers, aunties, girlfriend or whoever that thinks you’re being childish for playing games – I can give them a really long lecture. LOL. I should write an article on that gaming thing (I said that long time ago, should get it done really soon).

Now, back to the game – it’s interesting to know that Starcraft 2 is more than 10 years apart from the original game and its expansion. Oh about the story? Use Google, it’s really too long to write the whole thing here.

Gameplay

Basically it’s good old Starcraft with improved graphics and not so much improved sound.

It’s the only game that made me use shortcut and till now, still the only game that makes me use shortcut. I know there are shortcut keys on games like Command & Conquer and Red Alert series but I don’t know, they just don’t have that shortcut spamming feel to it.

Starcraft 2 is actually very interesting in campaign mode, the developers made quite some significant changes to what it was. In Starcraft, the missions were simple – listen to a dialogue and proceed with the mission. You get a cutscene every 3 – 4 missions or so………… I think.

In Starcraft 2 it’s different. The game starts with an introduction scene, the mission, and always comes with a scene before and after the missions. There’s a whole lot of conversation in this game, often in between the missions were you get to listen to music and visit various sections of your base of operations. Below are some examples of the areas available in your base of operations.

Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review

Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review

Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review

Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review

Interestingly, they’ve even included a Shoot’em Up game called The Lost Vikings.

Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review

*It was a game in the early 90s, produced by Blizzard……….. before it was named Blizzard. 😀 Awesome game it was.

Also not that in Wings of Liberty, you play Terran and only Terran all the way. No 3 races campaigns for you like Starcraft. You get to experience the Zerg and Protoss units by getting hurt from their attack. 🙂 Yes, all 3 races have new units. Some older units have either been removed, replaced or modified.

The great thing about campaign mode is that it is not presented in linear fashion. For example, you will come by some points that there are like 3 missions for you to choose. You can do them in any order, and each mission usually also holds a new unit type, some research types (more on this later) and credit rewards (more on this later too).

Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review

It’s your call. Play X mission to get Siege Tanks that could be helpful on the next mission? Or play the other mission to get your Vultures? What you unlock is what you get to use, as long as the mission is one that’s not about running around with infantry units.

Missions also have main and bonus objectives that could gain you a Zerg or Protoss research points. There are 2 branches of research (Zerg and Protoss) and each branch allows you to have technology that you can use to beef up your arsenal. I thought the automated refinery and instant supply depots were awesomeness-sauce!

As for credits, you get to use them to hire mercenaries (Elite Firebats, Marauders, Battlecruiser and so on so forth) or use them to upgrade the technology of your units (eg improve splash damage of Firebats, improve attack power of Vikings and so on so forth).

Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review

For some missions, you’re presented with a “course of action” where you get to decide WHO you should be (the mass murderer or the savior, for example). The mission will be different, and so are the rewards.

The campaign however, isn’t all good. For example, I can’t play Lost Viking once I finish the campaign. How to play Lost Vikings again? Replay the campaign till you get to the point where the game is available. How sad eh?

In fact there’s NO way to have 2 separate campaigns. This means if you played THIS way – all the units available will be THIS way. You can play the alternate missions from the mission archive but the decision made stays. So yeah, change of mind? Replay the whole damn thing.

Graphics and Sound

I see no point in screen capping this game, there are so many replays out there. 😀 You could just view them. Here’s just a few in game shots.

Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review

Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review

And here are my in game videos.

Graphically the game is stunning. And believe it or not, most of the screen caps here were graphics powered by the nVidia GT 220 GPU! Yup, I had some PSU issues so I went with my GT 220 instead of GTX 470. In fact I played 2 rounds of campaign with the GT 220! Later I took time to swap my PSU and all, then fired up the game on GTX 470 and the difference is quite huge. This time I see rain, lightining, I see sparks as the SCV construct or as the factory produces a unit. I see harvesting units having blue glow around them as they move minerals and green glow around them as they move the vespene gas.

Sound wise, it’s just Starcraft. Nothing spectacular. Music was quite nice though, crisp and clear sound of the guitar and various strings but I still miss the old Starcraft theme song, especially that of the Terran.

Networking / Multiplayer

While the campaign shows awesome upgrades and the availability of unit types, it does not apply to multiplayer. Newbies might get a shocker to see their favorite Terran combo or units in the missions are not available in multiplayer.

I love what they did with the Firebat but unfortunately the units that were previously in the multiplayer game like Firebats, Goliaths and Wraiths are not available. No medic either. Protoss had Dragoons replaced by Stalkers. No more Corsairs. No more Reavers (damn!!!! no more reaver drops!!!). Zergs seem to be missing Guardians, Defilers and Overlords just don’t see cloaked unit anymore. 🙁

That aside, meeting friends online and having a blast over multiplayer games is easy with Battle.net – Unfortunately the game also requires you to be on Battle.net to play with friends. I prefer to have Direct Cable Connection like the Starcraft of old.

As for human vs human matches, finding games for you takes quite a while. I had quite a number of games that took more than 20 seconds and not finding any match. Probably lacking players in SEA region? I don’t know. I don’t bother investigating such details.

And oh yeah, there’s no LAN mode too. 🙁 No way to play the game by just hooking up a few computers.

Newbies get to play like 50 games before sitting for placement games, I on the other hand had mistakenly skipped the 50 games……….. and yeah, 5 placement games for me and I had 3 win out of 5. Not bad for someone who hasn’t been Starcrafting for more than 10 years.

Achievements

The game, like most of the game nowadays, allows you some ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCK thing but somehow the achievements in Starcraft 2 seems more fun to achieve and more rewarding after achieving it. Look at my score! 😛 I spent many hours just playing the missions to achieve that score.

Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review

And yeah Battle.net keeps track of your stats.

Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review

Now, the down side of the Achievements part – you’re achievements are not recorded as long as you’re not on Battle.net. Sure, you can play skirmish in OFFLINE mode but nothing will be registered so you’re pretty much wasting your time in doing so. If you’re just gaming for fun and don’t care about contributing to achievement record, then it’s fine.

Funny thing about the Achievement for missions is that if you completed the campaign in Normal mode, you’ll have higher score than someone (like me) who finished it in Hard Mode. 🙁 Reason? Each mission has 3 achievements to unlock. Out of the 3, 2 are for Normal mode. Ahhh, and guess what – it’s easier to achieve the achievements in Normal mode than a much harder requirement for the Hard mode achievement, not forgetting Hard mode AI is superior in every aspect.

On the other hand, if you’re playing skirmishes and such. Beating an Insane difficulty AI on some achievements would automatically contribute to achievements involving Very Hard, Hard and Medium AI. For example, if I beat the Insane AI in 5 minutes, I’ll get Insane Blitz achievement and also bag 3 other achievements for the Very Hard, Hard and Medium Blitz along with it.

Another unfortunate thing about achievements is that some of them are not achievable without you playing the campaign all over again, and I happen to be about 1/3 way through the campaign when I decided to load some old game and my 2nd round of campaign was lost so I had to restart. 🙁

Conclusion

I’ve not been blogging a while, that’s because I’ve been spending a whole lot of time with work and of course, StarCraft 2! 🙂 It’s so fun to play.

On the downside, the DRM issue. Arrgggh. I didn’t like it.

Great game. Worth the $$$ spent (I bought it for RM 250 or so) if you’re a person that’s into Starcraft. If you’re an RTS gamer and not familiar with StarCraft, it’s good too. Time to get yourself immersed in it. 😀 If you’re not an RTS gamer, well maybe RM 250 is a bit steep. Get a guest pass and give it a try perhaps?

Anyway, I won’t go into detail on the units because there’s just too many things to cover. Feel free to visit Lowyat.net’s StarCraft section for more detailed discussions on the game.

More than a week without articles? Well, I blame myself for being addicted to Starcraft 2. 😛 Lemme go grab a video or screenshot………. oh wait, there’s an achievement I’d like to get. Oh hrmm, and what about the build order I saw the other day ……………. ARRGHGHGHGHH!!!! 😀

Signature

You can get a signature like this……….

Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review 1

….. from sc2sig

Game Rating

Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review

Fun Facts

And here’s why you should play Starcraft!!

Starcraft 2 : Wings of Liberty Game Review

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20 Comments

  1. I believe Malaysians are not too shabby in the Starcraft player ratings as well. 😉 Probably not as well documented as the Koreans, that’s all.

  2. Once a gamer, Forever a gamer! 😀
    Still have yet to play….my laptop and desktop tak cukup power play

  3. too bad they didn’t implement a LAN mode this time =(
    all they want to do is to just fight piracy, which is good and bad at the same time in my opinion
    ori buyers (that includes me :P) feel that the 200++ unworthy without LAN, maybe because we paid something and we can’t even get the basic features that needs to be implemented. In this case, the LAN mode.
    But nonetheless, good job Blizzard!

  4. hi Goldfries…. wanna ask how do you compare this game with DOTA?

    i know DOTA is an old game already…. thanks…

  5. What’s up, for all time i used to check blog posts here in the early hours in the morning, because i love to find out more and more.

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