Starcraft II is a Real Time Strategy game (RTS), which is placed in a futuristic space universe. If one does not know what a real time strategy game is, think of it like the board game RISK but players and their opponents move their troops at the same time. It is a PC only game, meaning it is not on any video game console.
The best part of the story is one doesn’t have to know what has happened in the first game. The game designers pick up right where they left off from the first game, and everything important to the story is explained in the game. In this universe, there are three (3) intelligent forms of life, the Terran (the humans), the Protoss (the classically advanced alien race), and the Zerg (an evil race of bug-like aliens that want to destroy everyone and everything). Since this is such a complex story to write down, I will give you a quick version of it. A man by the name of Arcturus Mengsk has become dictator of the Terran Dominion. Fighting for the freedom of the Terran’s, is a man named Jim Raynor, an ex-Dominion soldier, who now leads a group of rebels called Raynor’s Raiders. In the middle of the war between Raynor and the Dominion, the Zerg, thought to have been destroyed years ago, re-emerged and began their wave of destruction all over again. Mengsk, who fears Raynor because of incriminating information Raynor has on him, practically ignores the Zerg and focuses on killing Raynor, while the Dominion’s outlying planets are overrun by Zerg forces. Raynor takes matters in his own hands and wages a war against the Zerg in order to stop their advance. When Zeratul, a old Protoss friend of Raynor’s, discovers important information about the Zerg threat the Protoss become actively involved in the war against the Zerg. However, because of an old feud between factions of the Protoss, some rouge Protoss eventually attack Raynor’s men during some missions, which hampers the wars progress even more. Throughout the game, you are given missions to do. The missions have the same mechanics as multi-player games, but each mission has a special goal you need to complete, which makes it that much more interesting. There is more to the story, which helps it flows very nicely, but it is too much to write about in here. The story can be changed slightly depending on which missions you decide to take, however, the ending cannot be altered.
For this review the Mechanics will be discussed here
Let’s start off with the options for multiplayer. One may choose to play 1v1 (v=Versus), 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, or a free for all match, where one can fight up to eight players at once. In any of these modes a player will get to choose his/her race to play as, Zerg, Protoss, or Terran. When choosing a game a player can either, choose to play against a friend one can play on the “Ladder”. The “Ladder” is where a player will go if they want to try to rank up on the leader boards. After a gamers first 5 “Ladder” matches they are placed in a league, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Masters, or Grand Masters. Once they are placed, the game will match them against players with about the same amount of skill that matches the player’s own skill level.
Looking at the mechanics of this game, one will find each race has its own units and abilities.
For example, the Terran can make any of their buildings lift off and fly in the air, the Protoss units have shields to absorb some damage, and the Zerg units can regenerate their health slowly. Since each race has its different units and buildings, it would take a while to explain all the mechanics in the game, so I will just focus on the mechanics each race shares. No matter what race a player is in, they always start out with a HQ building and 5 workers. The 5 workers’ job is to collect blue minerals that are near a gamer’s base. These minerals serve as a player’s money throughout the match. In addition to the minerals, there is a “gas geyser” locater next to your base as well. One can also have their workers collect the “gas” so they can train or build more advanced units and buildings. The workers are also the only unit in the game, which can build additional buildings. One will need to build buildings in order to build units because your HQ building can only build additional workers. Another common mechanic is the supply system. In order to construct buildings or train units, a player will need to have enough supply. Supply is the number of units or buildings a gamer can have built or trained at one time. A player can, however, get more supply by building their race supply building. Each supply building is different for each race, but its purpose is the same, to allow a player to make more buildings and troops.
The game has a very good UI (User Interface) and gamers may customize the interface so it is easier to use. The Graphics are amazing. There are full CGI cut-scenes, which gives a very movie like feel to the game. To be honest, they made a movie of this game, they could use the cut-scenes in it and no one would notice. For the actually units and buildings in the game, players will find the graphics are truly amazing, as every little thing is detailed. There are animals, created for the game, that one can see walking around the battlefield. They do not affect the gameplay, but they are very well-detailed. The signs on the buildings actually spell out words. Most of them are phony advertisements, but there are a couple of references slipped in. Each unit is beautifully designed, and the attack and death animations were specifically created for each unit. Also, when the unit is clicked on, one will find each unit has an animated profile picture that appears in the UI As for music, a whole host of custom music was written for the game. Be it background music for the missions, grand adventure music for cut-scenes, or just the selection of music, gamers have the ability to cycle through, using the jukebox at the bar. Each song fits the scenes very well, and the songs in the jukebox range from funny to awesome.
The community centered around Starcraft 2 is one of the biggest and the best. The players on the Ladder are very helpful. After a match I ask my opponent what he /she thought about my playing. Nearly all of them point out things to help my playing, and the people who don’t help me are the ones that jump into a game immediately after I play them, and they can’t respond. Very rarely do people “rage quit” after they lose a game. The actually forums for the game are very helpful and there are several communities set-up for players to converse, set up friendly games, and just have fun. A big part of Starcraft 2 community is Esports. The E in Esports stands for electronic. Esports is where gamers have taken competitive video games and created sports like competitions. Esports have grown tremendously in the last 2 years. In fact, it has grown so much so professional players and teams have been formed, and people are actually living off their winnings. Players and Teams are being sponsored by companies, making the life of a professional gamer profitable. However, the biggest cause for the growth in Esports is Starcraft 2. It’s naturally competitive multi-player and Ladder system make it perfect for competitions. Starcraft 2 s caused a 40% increase in Esports ever month for the last year. In conclusion the community for Starcraft 2 is one of the best you can find.
P.S If a gamer is looking for a nice clean Starcraft 2 community to join my personal recommendation is: The Starcast Podcast community: http://thestarcast.com/
The community is really very good when it comes to maturity and most of the community can be marked as a 14+. However, there are always the immoral parts in any community, so exercise caution. There are a few swear words sprinkled throughout the game, such as B*****d and S**t. Unfortunately one cannot turn off the swearing, but thankfully there is not many times they do swear. There are a few parts in the game where a player may choose missions where they can either save a group of refugees or go on a mission to get more resources for the army. Each mission gives a player an upgrade on completing it, so choosing what mission to go on ends up being more about the upgrade one gets rather then what the mission is about. The cut-scenes in the game could scare a younger audience.
Thanks to a suggestion, I have decided to add this to the column.
At the end of each column I will rate the Chance of Addiction for a game on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the highest). If anyone would like to see the way I classify these 5 different levels please go here: http://deargamer.rocketdemon.com/game-addiction-chart/
The campaign is good but it is not something one can play over and over again.
What one needs to be careful about is the multi-player. It is very fun, if you like RTS games, and there is always someone in the Ladder for anyone at any level to play against.
Starcraft 2 can, however, get frustrating if player continues playing for too long, so addiction to the game is possible but not easy done so. In the end I will rate this game a LEVEL 1 on the addiction chance chart.
Recommended Age: 14+ (Remember your child’s maturity can only be judged by you)
ESRB Rating: Teen
ESRB Link: http://www.esrb.org/ratings/search.jsp?title=Starcraft+2&fromHome=fromHome
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