astras's StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (PC) review

Not a step forwards.

I have just finished the final mission of Starcraft 2 and feel that the ending of the game sums up my entire experience of the game, dissapointment.
 
I have played over 50 games multiplayer operating in the silver league and been taking my time with campaign doing about 1 mission a day for the last month ish.
 
Engine
The game engine has not moved on enough in 12 years, the technology being used in the main game should of moved on in leaps and bounds. I cannot believe that the decision was made to have a fixed camera with the same crap and pointless zoom functionality that was used in Warcraft 3. Looking at games such as Supreme commander.. I would have thought that this zooming camera style in the year 2010 would be a staple in all RTS by now.
Graphically the game does it's job, animations are ok... but I don't feel that I saw anything much different to Command and Conquer 3, I just felt that Blizzard could of taken more risks by introducing:

Evolving Terrain - Battles shape the terrain
Destructable Terrain - Building etc explode and effect the terrain and battles
Simulated artillary - Seige tanks like supreme commander have simulated ammo, that can miss and effect it's surroundings. 
Zoom technology with scaling - Camera control

 
etc..
 
The engine just seems the same static game from years ago, all you have to do is look at games such as Company of Heroes, Supreme commander, Age of empires.
 

One thing I will say that has significantly improved is the Path finding, I like how the groups of units are no longer bound to large grid positions when standing close... the way the zerg units move really do give the impression of a swarm charging across the map.
 
Multiplayer
This is the first RTS I have ever played whereby a decision has been made to remove units that are within the single player game from the multiplayer game... the word BALANCE is one that Blizzard are scared of I feel.
 
I think that some people are so caught up on Starcraft that the don't realise that most of the strategies used in Starcraft are used in other RTS games, and yes it is possible to Macro and Micro in other RTS games also LOL.
First off SC1 mulitplayer is better than SC2... All the units in SC1 are used in mulitplayer games for a start which means that the overall game is better designed and more tidy.
 
Even though playing multiplayer I got the stragest feeling of Deja Vu.. 
 

  • Terran you are still playing Bio or Mech tree's ... same tactics apart from you have the Reapers for extra cheese which are OP. Oh goliaths are to OP to have in multiplayer for some reason?
  • Zerg you are still either going heavy macro, early SP into Muta or summat along those lines but the queen has lost all functionality, defilers have mysteriously vanished, and you have lost some other units.... but you have banelings which are.. great... ish..Infestors are a good addition
  • Protoss play to me exactly the same, reliant on stalkers, zealots, templar... same tactics of using storms etc... Mass void ray's is a new strat that is risky.
 
For me apart from learning the new cheese and how to stop it/execute ... the multiplayer doesn't even feel quite as good as the first, i'm not sure if it's because of balance but it feels slightly more arcade as if Blizz are trying to push me from Macro and into quick Micro games with fewer units.  

Because of how people now play Starcraft: using graphs to evaluate their game performances, watching videos of Koreans play to improve etc.. it kinda feels that the multi in some cases has lost it's fun factor and turned into "I must learn all the build orders etc"
 
In silver league which is fairly low down, I still have some fun games but feel as though I am being choked by the game itself as Blizzards need to keep the game a Paper scizzors and Stone game between the 3 races is actually taking away depth from the game and possibilities. 
 
If you build a game around Terran race and bulk them out.. isn't it your responsibility to flesh out the other races also so that the multiplayer is interesting instead of taking unit's away from the race the game is based around in multiplayer.. what I feel we are left with is a pretty boring MP game.. and to be honest even the diversity of the different builds etc is so limited and the available tactics feel limited.  
Couldn't other unit's been intrduced into the other races to counter - Medics, Firebat, Science vessel, Viper's, Spidermines, Goliaths, Silverbacks etc.. etc.. just feels like a cop out.
 
Blizzard are so terrified of making a MP that doesn't last 10 - 15 years that they basically make a really dull one. This MP experience isn't as good as many others that were on the market 10 years ago.
 
Single Player
Having just finished the single player, I thought that the presentation was excellent. I felt that misison designer did an excellent job, however:
 
I didn't like how the introduciton of each new unit to the Terrans was basically the only unit I needed to finish each level. I didn't fail once because I knew that if I spam this unit, I will be ok.
The mission objectives were great for each level, but I found myself aching for one mission that just said DESTROY ALL ZERG, perhaps they should of done that for the last mission instead of a defend point X for this long?
 
The navigation around the ship or on Char between missions was fantastic, I like how the hyperion felt as a ship and how all the characters interacted.
 
I didn't think that Jim Raynor's character would have been portraid as it was, but I liked the HERO character to be honest and felt that the story required one and hey fit the bill well, other characters such as Tychus etc.. were excellent. I didn't understand why Jimmy suddenly wanted to rescue kerragan as in SC1 he wanted to kill her.
 
without too many spoilers the ending confused me, the artifact.... why were the protoss trying to keep it sealed away??? why not gather it and use it if they are soo commited to the extermination of the zerg anyway?? 
Kerragan is human again?? and that's it?? seemed a bit lame... and all a bit too heroic from Raynor.
Zelxnaga or whatever they're called... cool story bro? if your going to intrude a fourth and hybrid race.. just do it already 
 
My favourate mission was the last stand of the protoss strangely enough in a supposidly Terran campaign :P
 
Music/Voice
I have a feeling that this an area that Blizzard spend so much attention too. The music in Warcraft is almost hypnotic and makes levelling or grinding those PRIMALS :P strangely tolerable.
 
The music in SC2 is fantastic and is new and farmiliar to the first game. I feel that without the fantasctic music and sounds ingame my experience would have been even more average.
 
The voice acting was fine, I guess.
 
Overall
Yes this is turning into a wall of text... What I am saying is that SC2 should of been much more, the problem for me started when they made the decision to basically use the same but slightly updated engine they have been using for years for SC1, WC3.
They should of taken a few more risks instead of playing it safe and making an average game that lacks in multiplayer.
 
As you would expect from Blizzard the presentation is excellent, but from a company that have taken many risks in the past I feel that they played this one far too safe, and as a result is an ok game whereby I get almost the exact same experience I would if I replayed Starcraft 1 from 1998.
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