It's about to get heavy!
It's no secret that I loved the first Starcraft- it's been my gold standard for balanced multiplayer action over the past decade, and
I've been stoked to see what Starcraft II could bring to the table. In short, it doesn't disappoint. Starcraft II builds on the multiplayer legacy of its predecessor in smart, exciting ways, and manages to provide an impressive single player campaign to boot . In other words, Starcraft II is a stellar strategy game that has something for absolutely everyone.
The original Starcraft has a storied legacy as one of gaming's most balanced, competitive multiplayer experiences ever created, and Starcraft II holds the standard high. The Terran, Zerg, and Protoss all return in playable form, and they are just as diverse, and just as balanced as ever. It's great to be able to choose whichever of the three distinct races best fits your play-style and not feel like you're putting yourself at a disadvantage. There's a certain comfort to knowing that you're engaging in fair competition, and that whoever plays more skillfully will rightfully wind up the victor. That allows you to put all your focus on maximizing your own abilities, and the wide variety of units available to each race does a fantastic job at giving players a ton of powerful tools to use. Each and every one of them has their uses, and Starcrat II is all about finding the right unit for the right situation- there aren't any throw away units to be found. The multiplayer action in Starcraft II is incredibly rewarding and exciting in all the right ways, and is poised to carry the torch lit by its predecessor for years to come.
Given Starcraft's competitive nature, it's natural for it to be intimidating for newcomers. That's perhaps where Starcraft II is most improved, as the slick interface and seemingly endless options for play do a great job as easing new players into the experience. The host of tutorials, challenge missions, and practice leagues do an amazing job at teaching you the ropes, and navigating the new Battle.net interface is super snappy. In fact, it's the revamped Battle.net that really drives the entire multiplayer experience. The new leagues and ladders system is surprisingly addictive, and the match-matching feels really effective already. The whole thing makes getting into fun modes suitable to your skill level refreshingly simple. Finally, even if you decide to forgo multiplayer altogether, Starcraft II offers a wonderful single player campaign as well. Its lengthy, character driven narrative is accompanied by some of the best mission design the genre's ever known, and the between mission segments bring a welcome level of customization to the entire thing. The campaign was one of my favorite parts of the original, and Starcraft II's matches it blow for blow.
Starcraft II builds upon not only its predecessor, but the entire genre to create what is easily the most complete strategy game I've played to date. Between its incredibly balanced competitive play, Battle.net's extensive features and match-making prowess, and the satisfying single player campaign, Starcraft II provides an overwhelming amount of bang for your buck. This is the total package, and anyone who's ever been even remotely interested in strategy games owes it to themselves to give Starcraft II a go. You won't be disappointed.
For additional information on my review style and scoring system, click here.