Starcraft 2 sucks (single player review)
Note this review is for singleplayer only: This review contains spoilers, so don't read it if you can't deal with knowing everything about the game.
Warning : This review is for people who can actually see the flaws of the game and can speak about them openly given that everyone knows starcraft 2 is going to bring out the fanboys and their hatred, they would love shit in a box if it had the blizzard name on it.
Note this is not a fanboy review, if you have never played starcraft 1 and are under the age of 33 this review is not for you! The exception is - if you too thought Starcraft 2 was a big letdown.
First the story aspects... After 12 years all I can say is...
What the hell happened? It seems to me that blizzard was extremely scared to mess with the starcraft formula and were out to lunch about all their competitors in the RTS scene. The problem with being #1 is that you get an inflated sense of your worth and become lazy. Starcraft 2 is probably the biggest let-down in gaming history, despite the blind fanboy praise everyone and the paid off journalists are heaping on it.
Starcraft was a great RTS - 12 years ago. The problem is that other games like Company of heroes, Supreme commander and Dawn of war have been released since that time. SC2 still has some maddenning bugs in the gameplay, for instance you can't grab a group of battlecruisers and have them all use the yamato at the same time, nor can you grab a big group of templar and have them merge into archons at the same time. Little bugs like that in the interface that will irk you.
There's a lot less micro in Starcraft 2. Some of it is positive but for the most part they tried to remove micro from starcraft 2 for casual gamers, beyond tactfully moving certain units that are made for micro heavy players like the reaper.
Micro can be a good thing when done well, but they tried to reduce micro in SC2 as much as possible which means the game has a more macro level feel to it but without the macro depth - i.e. you spend a lot of your time doing nothing interesting.
Blizzard single handedly ruined the potential for the story of SC1 in Starcraft 2. They did this by giving everything away and at the wrong times and in the dumbest and most inane of ways. There is no build up with each revealing item in the story, they forcefully spell out the obvious from the beginning in such an obnoxious and overt manner that they waste their voice acting talent because the script is so bad.
The new characters are all flat and throw-away, you won't care about any of them really. The only decent one is tychus but even then he's not very fleshed out. You always remembered the name of every character in SC1 and broodwar, Duran, Kerrigan, Overmind, Tassadar, Fenix, raynor, etc.
Most of the new characters you will see you will barely remember years from now. It either appears Blizzard succeeded by a fluke in the story of the original Starcraft or that all the original SC1 developers are gone and therefore the cool things they had in store for us for SC2 are lost to history. Since it's been 12 years and the original SC1 dev's are long gone.
The voice acting is probably the worst part about SC2. They had to change the voice actors for all the characters and the characters they did bring back (zeratul) just had the lamest script ever. In SC1 Zeratul was a badass, he killed his own matriarch! in SC2 the script they give him in the overmind tendril mission is just awful and reduces him in everyway.
Here's what happens with zeratul:
-Zeratul gives Raynor a crystal to re-experience zeratuls memories (basically it's an excuse to play out what zeratul experienced in campaign missions, except - the missions are lame)
-Zeratul spends a mission getting "pieces of the prophecy" (but the prophecy mission was awful, you meet another new character in the mission but the in-game cutscene and dialogue is just bad)
-Zeratul encounters on the next mission a "protoss zerg hybrid". But there is absolutely no explanation or build up of the hybrid characters themselves, and some protoss there are corrupted with no explanation.
-Zeratul revisits the dead overmind to see what he can learn and Tassadar shows up out of nowhere and just reveals everything and ruins a huge part of the story!
The fact they bring tassadar back and in the most lamest of ways was just what really killed it for me.
-With Tassadar you find out (as he spells it fricking out for you) he is now "immortal" and "alive" and he shares the vision the overmind gave him, you learn the zerg were forced to be slaves and that the overmind was "courageous" for creating kerrigan, kerrigan was the overminds plan to stop the zerg's enslavement at the hand of the xel'naga.
This could have all been a ok plot point but the way they revealed it all at once with tassadar showing up out of the blue to reveal it all was just the lamest thing in a video game ever.
They even gave tassadar lines to tell you what had happened to him. To SPELL IT ALL OUT.... like why he was back out of the blue. It was so forced and didn't fit with the story of the original which made it all so damn lame! The developers must have known that they fucked up the story bad and couldn't think of anything else to stick there so they bring back tassadar... stupid.
The next plot point they ruined was Raynor/kerrigan... they ruined these characters so badly in SC2. Here's what happens, note that they spell it out for you all game that tychus is going to turn on you at the end with kerrigan.
Breakdown of the plot flow of raynor rescuing kerrigan.
-You get tychus marine early on supposedly a bud of raynor (totally new character and kinda lame but ok Voice acting)
-Matt Horner (the revolutionary, staff officer) says theres a transponder rigged in tychus suit to explode. This is the huge give-away that tychus is working for mengsk on threat of death.
This should NOT have been revealed until after the betrayal... betrayals are only good if you don't see them coming! But they tell you it is coming all game... this is just awful storytelling.
-Tychus betrays raynor at the end when they save kerrigan after kerrigan has been rehumanized somewhat with use of the artifact, although her zerg hair in the last cutscene seems to tell us she has to stay a hybrid human/zerg.
-Kerrigan is supposedly the savior of them all...
Just the way all of it was handled was off the charts bad.
There is just so much wrong with all of this - kerrigan was supposed to be your enemy, queen badass. You were supposed to take her down. Now they have to make her and the zerg into the good guys? It just doesn't wash... in SC1 they speak of the overmind out-growing the influence of Xel'naga and their enslavement. They talked about in brood war the cerebrates left over afterwards forming a new overmind, kerrigan spent most of brood war dealing with these rogue cerebrates before they could become a new overmind and take control of the swarm.
At the end of SC1 jimmy wanted to kill kerrigan big time. Since she had killed so many of his friends. He had no love for this girl, the way that they artificially give jimmy feelings for kerrigan in starcraft 2 when kerrigan and jimmy had like no love interest in the first game was just off the wall. Kerrigan had one line where she mentioned that Jimmy thought naughty thoughts about kerrigan and that was it, wanting to have sex with a girl is different then being in love with her. Somehow fanboys in other reviews construed this as "love". Shows how much most reviewers were not paying attention to the story - sheer idiocy.
The protoss in the first game were religious and fought a lot amongst themselves but you knew they were the "protectors" - the good guys... the way they handled the story and characters in SC2 was just such a huge disappointment.
So after all the cool conversation and character betrayals and shenanigans of SC1. it's obvious that the people who are behind SC2 have no idea what they are doing storywise. Even the cheezy out-of-story moments in SC1 missions had flavor all their own but did not take down the entire story with them.
This has to be the lamest thing I've ever seen coming from blizzard, especially after all the cool story telling they did in SC1 and in warcraft 3. The story in starcraft 2 just doesn't add up at all.
Story 2/5 - Bad
-- The gameplay --
What has changed in 12 years?
The answer is not much. The single player campaign missions are interesting enough but they will get old fast. If you do not believe this, consider that DOTA, Hero arena (warcraft 3) and other user made mods are more fun then starcraft 2's single player campaign by leaps and bounds. So anyone who disagree's with this review, how is it that user made mods from the mod community from years ago are better then the retail campaign made by developers? So the real action will be online with user made maps and the excellent map editor. The single player campaign learned nothing from the mod community at all, and is not very interesting compared to what you can find today made by the user community for older games in the series (SC1, Warcraft 3) and newer ones like Heroes of newerth.
The way story is revealed during single player missions is pretty lame most of the time. You'll not have any cool missions like the one in broodwar where you are looking for stukov and before dural kills him. The mission with all the humorous chatter of the marines while you're pressing the buttons to get to stukov, that kind of fun is all gone in Starcraft 2.
Even though the many in game cutscenes in SC1 were limited by the technology of the time. The voice acting and miniature portraits did enough to draw you in, the same can't be said in starcraft 2 because the side characters in your missions don't have any real dialogue at all, which makes the world feel really dead. The story/conversations during missions and after missions is the weakest point of SC2's single player campaign.
Overall the game is just a remake of starcraft 1 with better graphics and slightly reskinned/retooled units (medic becomes dropship medic) and also a lamer story. But the design of the RTS feels stale after 12 years with other games like suprem commander having brought new additions to the RTS genre like patrol waypoints, strategic zoom and infinite queing. Then there is also the plethora of mods for SC1 and Warcraft 3 from the mapping community like DOTA, Heroe arena and plenty of others. There is also the lack of interactivity in the map environments - that is, there is practically none. There's no cover or buildings to hide in or anything like that or anything interesting to do besides just navigate your units around, they couldn't come up with anything in 12 years even though the mod community has come up with great stuff that's heads and shoulders above Starcraft 2's single player campaign. In SC2 the environment merely acts as a wall/barrier as it did in SC1 a mere setpiece. The only thing you can do in SC2 is move and shoot other guys on the map, the map and objects on the map play no real strategic role in your being able to interact with it at all.
2.5/5 or 3/5
After 12 years Starcraft 2 could have been way better, I feel that the desire to chop the game into three games really hurt starcraft 2 since they had to come up with filler for the terran campaign because they want to milk the Starcraft franchise for all the money they can.
It's a sad day in gaming, blizzard has really let us down.