Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty Review

Score: 93 / 100
Good: A detailed single player campaign that delivers a huge replay value and a well balanced multiplayer that uses a great ladder system.
Bad: No Lan Support, and the game just doesn’t seem to provide enough of a unique experience from the first Starcraft
What It's Like: Starcraft 1, but with better graphics and an extensive singleplayer experience just for the Terran race
Reviewed On: PC

The Backdrop...

Ever since Starcraft came out in 1998, fans have been hoping for a conclusion to the epic tale of the Terran, Protoss, and Zerg. Sadly, we still have to wait on that since this is only the first installment where you play the terrans, operating through a bitter and disillusioned Jim Raynor four years after the events of the first game.

The Campaign...

I cannot stress enough just how much detail the campaign has packed into it. I loved earning cash to upgrade the troops, and the new additions like the ability to call in elite mercenaries practically made me giddy! The cut-scenes were topnotch, a massive upgrade from the talking heads in the first game, but the dialogue, despite the superb voice acting, tended to be quite cheesy.

Each mission also has multiple objectives, and there is plenty of variety to keep the entire campaign spicy. There are also achievements for accomplishing certain tasks during missions, which will keep you coming back for more.

Multiplayer...

Adding new units for each race and improving on the balance is an amazingly difficult task considering how close to perfect Starcraft was. From what I can see, and what I've heard from the gaming community is a near consensus: Starcraft II has an almost perfect balance. In fact it seems the key to victory isn't any particular strategy, but more about awareness of your opponents build/tech orders.

The Visuals...

Starcraft II shines in the details, and its graphics are no exception. It's great that the graphics won't tax most systems, and as an added touch it automatically warns you if it is causing latency issues online. On your higher end systems however, the game looks flawless and the cut-scenes are almost of cinematic quality.

The Disappointments....

I cannot stress enough how upset I am with the lack of LAN support. Some of my fondest memories involved massive Starcraft LAN parties of 4v4. What is really annoying though is that you have to be online to get achievements in the campaign. Blizzard wants everyone to have to check online with Battle.net to ensure their copy is valid, and paid for, every time you want to play the game.

Another potential annoyance is that unlike in previous blizzard games, you can no longer play with your friends in Europe. You have to purchase two separate accounts, one on US and one on EU. It just seems as if blizzard isn't making their usual attempt to go out of their way for their fans and are just squeezing this cash cow for all its worth.

Overall...

Aside from the lack of LAN and online shenanigans blizzard is pulling, I have no complaints. I just cannot quit playing the campaign, wading into the online ladder system was a blast, and the extreme attention to detail that was apparent in virtually every aspect of the game blew me away.

- Drew Jaques

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