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Team PC Consensus: Starcraft 2

Unless you live in some remote African village, or are just plain oblivious, you’ve heard of that Starcraft game and its 2nd edition. We’ve been glued to it for over a week now, and so we bring you thoughts, impressions, and other things. This feature contains spoilers, I say again: !!!SPOILERS,SPOILERS,SPOILERS,SPOILERS,SPOILERS!!!

!!!SPOILERS!!!

Matt Perkins: I just started the defense mission on Char, defending the Xel’Naga artifact, which is insane on normal. A lot of the game is insane, and you can totally screw yourself over in a lot of situations, but it’s addictive. The missions are surprisingly unrepetitive, and fun to play for the most part. I’d say the story needs work in parts, especially the cheesy dialogue, but it isn’t as bad as some make it out to be. It’s the best singleplayer campaign I’ve seen in an RTS in maybe a decade. What did you guys think of it?

Charles Battersby: The Single-Player Campaign is nice and long, with enough to justify the purchase of the game even for people who aren’t into multi-player.  The missions have nice gimmicks to differentiate it from multiplayer.  I was especially pleased with mission which sent swarms of zombies at you during the night, and made you dash around the map during the day trying to wipe out the infection.  I was glad to see the addition of Choice, with a capital “C”.  The player is given moral choices which affect the story, and has options regarding which missions do do in what order- along with the opportunity to blow off a bunch of them if you want to blast through the campaign quickly.  The research and upgrades will help justify multiple playthroughs as well.

The story is no great work of science fiction, but it does provide a conclusion to what was established in the first game.   I’m also ecstatic to see that Nova, the protagonist from the aborted game “Starcraft Ghost” has an appearance here.  It’s a shame that she didn’t have more to do in the game.  I also loved the UNN news team of Donny Vermilion and Kate Lockwell.  I actually laughed out loud at a few of their lines “You think the Zerg watch our broadcasts?”

Ben Moore: I have really enjoyed the campaign, though the gameplay and mechanics seemed identical to the previous game. However, I loved the gameplay and mechanics of the previous game so i was a happy camper, if it isn’t broken don’t fix it. The missions in the campaign were imaginative and each one felt fresh, something that is very hard for RTS, which usually boils down to attack this, defend this and sneak up on this. The between mission gameplay on the Hyperion was fun and I found myself hunting down every little bit of story i could find. I actually found the storyline interesting and compelling.

It is a little long winded but the Terran campaign from the first game would have been too if it had been stretched out to a full game. My only criticism from the campaign is that, do to its ‘pick your mission’ format, the multiple stories become a bit disjointed, Raynor and Matt shouting at each other one minute and smoking cigars the next. Still though i loved the campaign, loved the missions, loved the story.

Matt: Speaking of the story, which has some ridiculous elements and characters, which of the characters did you find the least compelling? I personally couldn’t stand Tosh and his cliched mixed bag of racial stereotypes. He also failed to redeem his self later in the game. I laughed out loud when he revealed that he was a super special type of Ghost know as a Spectre.

Not a smart move by the writers on many levels. Ghosts are rare and unique already, you didn’t have to go and make a ‘jedi’ type role, and the choice of name is ridiculous. It’s bad enough the story is a mixed bag of sci-fi standards, but to go and blatantly attempt to cash in on Mass Effect is ludicrous. Seriously Blizzard, can you try something original for a change? Sorry, nerd rant there, you guys go ahead.

Charles: Egon Stetman, the superfluous nerdy scientist nerdy guy, was my least favorite member of the cast.  He seemed out of place in this world of grizzled cyborgs and bad ass revolutionaries.  It seemed that he was only in the game to cover the Laboratory Research exposition while Doctor Hanson isn’t around.

Ben: Dr Arial Hanson, stop being a whiny bitch and burn them Zurg, enough said!

Matt: Fair enough, those two where pretty dry characters. Fortunately they didn’t have their own units though. What about the new units? My favorite had to be the Odin/Thor, so versatile. Some of the later missions can be completed with them and SCV’s.

Ben: Banshee. Raining multiple missiles on ground units is very fun, raining multiple missiles on ground units while in stealth is even better. A favourite tactic, especially when detectors like spore colonies are about, is to nip in with some Wraiths, upgraded to take less damage when in stealth, then bring the banshees in to deal the hurt, then turn everything to char.

Charles: My favorite new unit is definitely the Viking.  A jet fighter which turns into a killer robomech is pure sci-fi nerd fan service, and I can’t hold that against Blizzard.  I don’t just love the Viking because it’s a transformer, I love that it has such awesome versatility.  My first foray into Multiplayer, I used these shapechanging units and some Banshees to wallop a guy who didn’t plan against air attacks.  In the single-player campaign I used them as scouts, patrolling guards, and often just formed vast armadas of them, knowing they could handle whatever they came across.  They were my go-to unit, and the fact that the Starports can crank them out quickly just makes them even better!

Matt: It really sucks that we won’t be able to use those units in multi-player.

Charles: Blizzard is going to give us a pair of Expansion Packs and I obviously want to see more of the story from the Protoss and Zerg points of view.  I liked that “Wing of Liberty” was human centric (I can identify with humans), and it’s good that it gave me the option of skipping the other races altogether if I wanted.   I’ll expect the same species-centric sort of story in the expansions as well.  I’m hoping that the expansions won’t add new units to multiplayer; I don’t want to have to drop another $120 on expansions in order to be able to play online.  If they do add features to Battle.net, I had better be able to get a free update to Wings of Liberty.

Ben: I can’t wait to find out what happens next in the Zerg campaign. Who is the Hybrid? Is he a fallen Xel’Naga? Will the Xel’Naga be turning up to save the day? etc, etc. Though I’m not sure i can wait another 12 years so Blizzard need to chop chop.

Matt: I don’t care much for the Zerg, but I definitely want to play the Protoss campaign, as they seem much deeper to me than the other races. Zera’tul is hands down my favorite character. But enough chit chat, time to be men. Men with very large diamond encrusted steel cod-pieces. Give it to us straight and simple, out of ten, how do you rate the game as a whole?

Ben: 9.5, awesome!

Charles: It gets a 9/10 rating.  Buying it is a given for fans of the genre, and it’s a good choice for people to try out RTS for the first time.

Matt: Well, I’m going to be the jerk and give it an 8.5, averages a 9 though, good job reviewing it Park! Well, that’s our team consensus on SC2, come back after the expansion release to see more. We’re off to play some more.

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