Published on April 3rd, 2010 | by prime0
Starcraft 2 – Preview
Starcraft is the RTS what Counterstrike is to the online shooter, so it’s fair to say that it isn’t a place for anyone new to the unique stylings of this strategy sequel. That isn’t to say it isn’t flawlessly designed, expertly executed and brilliant to watch, but the land of PvP is a harsh, unforgiving landscape.
What else would you expect from the competitive arena which spawned the term e-sports and has dominated Korean gaming culture since its release in 1998? Fans will experience an unmistakable sense of nostalgia when they see the beautifully updated worker units scurrying around to collect resources, which has a novelty that doesn’t wear off even after several hours of play. Economy is as important in this universe as it ever was, and if strategists don’t pump out a few low-level infantry units for protection, more experienced players will easily overwhelm them.
Even though the campaign for each of the three races has been split up and spun off into their own products, players can still take on the role of their favorite faction in multiplayer. Whether it be Zerg, Terran or Protoss forces. Each faction has a wealth of different units, with some featuring as many as 40 percent.
The biggest change from the original is the elimination of the 12 unit control cap, culminating in masses of units moving around the battlefield at once. It’s often awe-inspiring to watch your units swarm into enemy bases, and is a fine example of how Starcraft II’s core concepts have been updated for modern gaming.
The biggest revelation during the Beta we got to grips with is how well Battle.net works, finding appropriately leveled players quickly and without any fuss whatsoever. The lack of LAN support will still annoy some, but for most it’s a worthwhile trade off for such a well-implemented service. Whether this will be the case when millions of gamers are unleashed onto the servers at launch remains to be seen.
None of the single-player content has made its way into the Beta, but Blizzard have confirmed that AI skirmishes will be possible before the end of the testing process. It’s a shame, because the challenges and tutorials which we haven’t yet been shown would be a welcome addition to any newbies to the series – the veterans may need a refresher of sorts. It would be nice to know more about the campaign at this point, but as always Blizzard are being coy.
If nothing else, the cut-throat nature of this RTS is the kind of PC game that has been lacking for a very long time. We can’t wait to see what happens when it’s finally released.