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StarCraft 2 Review

StarCraft 2 Review

On March 31, 1998, a historic global event took place - Blizzard released StarCraft. At that time, the RTS genre was really still being formed, and in addition to the battle of the titans (Westwood / C & C against Blizzard / Warcraft), projects such as Age of Empires, Z, Total Annihilation, The Settlers ... had a great influence on it ...

After 12 years, it is safe to say that StarCraft has become the most successful representative of the genre and in general one of the most successful and successful games of all time - we will not consider awards, we need only recall 9.5 million copies sold. By the way, about 4.5 million boxes with the game were sold in Korea, where the first StarCraft became a real national sport. Professional players there are rich and popular no less than other celebrities, and the matches are broadcast on national television.

As you understand, there is nothing surprising in the fact that millions of players waited for the offensive on July 27 to hold their breath. And when expectations are overestimated as far as they can be overestimated at all, this inevitably leads to disappointment.
StarCraft 2 Review

Of course, the main reason for the “eternal” youth of the first StarCraft is not a storyline campaign and not technical perfection, but a nearly perfect balance of three unique races in multiplayer modes. But despite this, a huge number of veterans for 12 years have been waiting for the continuation of the story of the conflict in the Koprulu sector of our distant descendants - the Terrans, the noble and technologically advanced Protoss and the giant bloodthirsty beetles - the Zerg. By the way, if you forgot something, or if you were too young at that time - watch this video , which tells the story of StarCraft and Brood War.

We can safely say that all but the most avid duelists were expecting a new generation campaign from Blizzard and were not ready to accept anything less. But before we go through the plot and single-player mode, it is worth remembering that Wings of Liberty is only the first part of the trilogy, and therefore it is impossible to draw final conclusions.

However, you cannot fail to notice that little has remained of the epic swing of the first game in the StarCraft 2 campaign. The main emphasis in the new part of the series is made on individual characters, their experiences and personal tragedies. Numerous innovations were not in vain, and the writers of Blizzard clearly tried to give Hollywood a touch to what was happening - with a pronounced main character, a love story and colorful supporting actors. Many will certainly be disappointed that StarCraft has “crushed”, but it can be assumed that this is only an introduction and the epic will return to Legacy of the Void.

StarCraft 2 Review

If you wait for unexpected plot twists and numerous riddles, then you will be disappointed. Even with all the reservations, the writers of StarCraft 2 went too far - the world has probably not seen so many clichés since the days of the black-and-white cinema. Literally one step separates Blizzard from the badges: Hero, Faithful Helper, Naive Love, Genius Engineer, Scientist-fanatic, Honest Journalist ... It is clear that this can be called irony or sarcasm, but it seems even schoolchildren will not take what is happening seriously.

Some details are meant to remind you that an epic war between races is raging around. However, news releases retell the content of the previous mission rather than inform about the course of interplanetary conflict, and the tragic events of a galactic scale still do not cause a sense of belonging, unlike Mass Effect with a similar intrigue.

It is unlikely that a company like Blizzard did not notice these shortcomings. StarCraft 2 was clearly made for a mass audience, the game should be understandable in Asia, in America, and in Europe, from young to old. Therefore, it is difficult to condemn the writers for the fact that they were not offered an intellectual thriller, but a typical blockbuster. You don't think Avatar is a bad movie? And you could hardly make out there at least one plot twist in less than 10 minutes before it was shown.

StarCraft 2 Review

And if you’ve been expecting a good-quality directing storyline from StarCraft 2, you’ll not be disappointed and really feel yourself aboard a space cruiser, in a bar on a remote planet or in a field camp in enemy territory. Attention to detail, peculiar to Blizzard, does its job, and all sorts of little things create the right atmosphere and fit perfectly into the gameplay.

Therefore, 99 out of 100 users will enjoy the passage of the campaign - the bright atmosphere of the cosmic western will remind you of the Firefly series, and the quality of localization can be called a reference. Of course, if you have the knowledge and the ability to evaluate the original, then you should prefer the English version of the game, but believe me, in the domestic StarCraft 2 everything is translated, and translated qualitatively and with soul. You probably could not imagine the game from Blizzard with Russian inscriptions on gaming buildings and the synchronization of facial expressions to your native language - absolutely everything is translated, and you will not find any inscriptions in English, and certainly you will not hear. By the way, the selection of dubbing actors is also beyond praise - the dialogues leave far behind most of the domestic films.

Needless to say, from a technical point of view, the game is executed flawlessly? The screensavers on the game engine are far superior to everything you saw earlier in this genre, even the wonderful Dawn of War 2 . It's no secret that Blizzard can make great videos, and their mastery is manifested throughout the Wings of Liberty campaign.

StarCraft 2 Review

Fortunately, in addition to watching dialogs and videos, you can also play Wings of Liberty. Designers have implemented a non-linear approach to the selection of missions, therefore, as a rule, you will choose one of two or three available missions. But do not worry, this does not mean that they are mutually exclusive - you can go through almost everything (StarCraft 2 has only three alternative missions plus one secret).

At the beginning of the journey, you only have a handful of marines, but in almost every new mission you will discover new units that you can freely use in subsequent tasks and improve in Arsenal and the Laboratory. Thus, the set of units available in each of them depends on the sequence of missions. By the way, much of the units available in the campaign, you will not find in multiplayer modes StarCraft 2.

The strategic part of the campaign is the research of Zerg and Protoss technologies in the Laboratory, as well as the use of credits earned at missions in the Arsenal and in the mercenary market (elite versions of conventional units).

StarCraft 2 Review

Since you will not have enough money for all purchases in the Arsenal, you will have to choose the ones that best suit your style of play - infantry, equipment, aircraft or a mixture - it's up to you. But mercenaries can hire everyone, so that they can patch up gaps in your strategy. Of course, I would like to be able to earn more money on missions for masterly passing and completing additional tasks, but this might be a bust - there is enough of a system of achievements.

As for scientific research, they also will not be able to perform in the framework of a single passage of the Wings of Liberty. The fact is that the technologies of Zerg and Protoss are divided into five levels and at each level you will be forced to choose only one of two possible studies. Thus, you will face a difficult choice - to take additional armor for a bunker or equip it with an automatic turret, choose an instant building for storage or increase the speed of the spawn mining ...

StarCraft 2 Review

There is no “right” or “wrong” choice in Arsenal or in the Laboratory - all options are attractive and make it easier to complete tasks, which is especially critical at high levels of difficulty. Unfortunately, to see all the technologies in action, you will have to go through a campaign again, which is actually difficult to call punishment - almost all StarCraft 2 missions are original, and you still want to go through them at a higher level of complexity to earn new achievements and try new tactics.

If we are talking about missions, we have to admit that the designers did their best - you will encounter a massive zombie invasion, descend into underground tunnels, take part in the resource extraction operation on an unstable planet where the lava periodically floods the lowlands ... you don’t have to perform Classic assignments with mass building and huge "packs" of troops. And at high levels of difficulty, where there is no room for error, you will have to sweat a lot to just complete basic tasks, not to mention additional ones.

StarCraft 2 Review

Oddly enough, the quality of the development of artificial intelligence (AI) raises questions. The level of "ingenuity" of units can be judged by two important criteria - the path finding algorithm and the choice of targets. Both are not perfect.

On the one hand, in StarCraft 2, the troops learned how to part and miss the allies, then returning to the site, and your workers and doctors will "repair" everything that is within the game screen. On the other hand, the AI ​​fails when it is necessary to find a path through a multi-level terrain, especially when it comes to Reaper.

As for the choice of the target, the AI ​​really surprises - it seems that the targets are chosen randomly, and the number of remaining “hits”, armor and other trifles are not counted at all. You can safely leave the wounded soldiers in the group - the next wave will try to kill them, if only by chance.

As you understand, these problems concern not only the campaign, but also the fights with the AI, and the behavior of your units in the battles with real opponents. It remains to hope that Blizzard will do the work necessary errors, especially considering that there are already more advanced algorithms created by users, for example, Green Tea AI . And if you plan to practice "on cats" before rushing into the maelstrom of online battles, use the improved scripts.

StarCraft 2 Review

So we came to the main point, the reason why StarCraft 2 had to wait more than 10 years, and thanks to which the next 10 years will be played. Multiplayer modes - exactly what made StarCraft great. Duels, team matches, tournaments, user modifications are the part of a giant iceberg that is hidden under water.

Blizzard must have been tempted to leave everything unchanged, given the perfect balance and millions of fans. The game engine was updated, the network functionality was expanded - what else do you need? However, taking a scalpel in their hands, the developers with confident movements removed many old units from the game, then added new ones, and some old “dogs” taught new tricks.

Unfortunately, if you think that after completing a campaign at the highest level of difficulty, you learned how to play for the Terrans, you will face fierce disappointment - in the multiplayer game you will not find half of the troops that are familiar to the story missions. Anticipating a similar situation, Blizzard prepared a wonderful beginner's guide and a special game mode - Tests that should prepare you for the cruel world of duels.

StarCraft 2 Review

There is also good news - when you, after reading a lot of theory and having practiced enough against AI, decide to challenge a living opponent, you will get into a special training league StarCraft 2. If you feel confident, you can skip this “training camp” and immediately go to the next initiation stage - five qualifying matches. According to the results of these matches, you will be assigned to one of four leagues (bronze, silver, gold and platinum), each of which is divided into divisions. There, presumably, you will find your equal rivals and gradually rise to a more prestigious league or sink to a weaker one.

StarCraft veterans will certainly mark the improved dynamics of the game. For example, in addition to the usual minerals, there are special rich fields, where the extraction rate is significantly higher. These tidbits are usually located in the open places of the map, which greatly complicates control over them. In addition, the starting locations now have two Vespen geysers, but now the gas is running out with time, which actually forces you to get out of your familiar place and expand your possessions. Add here such important locations as the Zel-Naga towers and you will get a war all over the map, and not just on the approaches to the main bases. Considering the above, the increase in the mobility of the Zerg and Protoss was very useful.

It’s too early to make final conclusions — too few games have been played, and many “pro” are just learning StarCraft 2 — but it’s already clear that a solid foundation has been laid, and there is nothing that cannot be fixed with patches. By the way, currently matches last for 15-20 minutes, which once again underlines the dynamic nature of the new game.

StarCraft 2 Review

It seems that nothing could be more important for SC2's long life than quality duels and professional leagues, but there is something else that extended the “life” of the first StarCraft and still maintains fire in the “veins” of Warcraft 3. You probably guessed that we are talking about custom maps and modifications created with the help of the game editor.

Perhaps you do not know, but it was for the first "Star" that the Aeon of Strife card was made, which formed the basis for the modification of the Defense of the Ancients on the basis of WC3. The new editor gives users a truly great opportunity, allowing you to create not just maps and campaigns, but completely new games. Suffice it to say that it was with this editor that the arcade game Lost Viking was made, which can be found in the Hyperion mess room.

The other day Blizzard organized a special contest for authors of maps and modifications, but some prototypes of future hits have already appeared - there is even a real online shooter with a third-person view, and the first versions of DotA have already arrived.

StarCraft 2 Review

Unfortunately, and for the barrel of the network modes there were several fly in the ointment. New Battle.net has brought several unpleasant surprises that threaten the bright future of StarCraft 2.

First, the players were divided by continents, which is bound to upset. Of course, it is difficult to estimate the load on servers and channels while simultaneously connecting millions of users, but this is still very sad, and a company like Blizzard should be able to solve such problems.

Secondly, it is now almost impossible to talk to a player who is not on your list of friends. One can imagine that the developers simply tried to protect the players from the stream of selective curses that could often be heard in Warcraft 3 or StarCraft. However, this seriously complicates the search for new friends to play outside the usual social circle. Even integration with Facebook does not help, unless you have several hundred friends there. By the way, this “trick” can play a cruel joke with you, if your work colleagues ask for your contact list in SC2 ...

Finally, thirdly, the game modes on the local network disappeared from StarCraft 2. But computer clubs and cyber cafes have made a huge contribution to the growing popularity of SC. Whether the pros agree to play for serious prizes in the face of possible delays (“lags”) remains a question. It is terrible to imagine, but the new generation of StarCraft 2 players will not know how great it is to give your partner a squad for another blunder in a team game.

In fairness it should be noted that the first two points the developers promised to fix over time, however, no exact dates have been announced so far. But, you know, you will not remember the shortcomings of Battle.net when you have headphones with a microphone and a few friends on the network. The system for selecting opponents works like a clock, and you are unlikely to wait for the start of the match for more than 15 seconds (not counting the loading time of the card). The leagues will sort the players over time, and you are guaranteed to get a worthy opponent for a duel or a team game in a matter of moments.

StarCraft 2 Review

Despite the predictable story, which inspires some concerns about the remaining parts, Wings of Liberty offers an exciting campaign that you probably come to pass more than once. Add to this a great editor and network modes that have everything to surpass the successes of the eminent ancestor - StarCraft 2 did not change the old formula, because it did not have to be changed.

And if the first great StarCraft came out only this year, it would be exactly like StarCraft 2. This game proves that there are eternal values, and some games are so successful and attractive that they have not gone out of fashion for many years. You can be sure that millions will play in SC2 ... until the third part comes out.

In an ideal world where all developers are as good as Blizzard, StarCraft 2 could be put under 10 points, but even nowadays, when high-budget games breed like mushrooms after a rain, this game simply has no real competitors.

Verdict: 10/10 (Phenomenal!)

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/101815/

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