Going Beyond The Call : Starcraft II

Welcome to a new kind of blog experience.  As a gamer, I always wish to try new and interesting things, and as a writer, I wish for you to experience many different types of columns.

The experiment:  Play/buy a video game that I know NOTHING about and have zero prior experience with.  Write about my experience and how I would rate the game/story/series!  Profit?

This week’s experiment took me into deep space, and the tactical RTS game known only as Starcraft II.  Join me after the jump as I talk about my experiences with Medusa Clones, a cliche’ story and surprisingly nice multi-player experiences.

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Day 1:  Campaign

Ah yes..  The campaign.  The very MEAT of the video game.  Seeing as I’m playing the sequel, the story was able to be summarized from the installation screen, so I was able to be kept up with the story to a certain level of detail.  THANK YOU STARCRAFT II.  +1 point.

Now I got into the game.  The first mission…  Err….  ALL the missions, save for the last one were all tutorial missions that I later realized was to teach us how to play multiplayer at a more competitive level.  I was actually fine with that.  Each mission was REALLY unique and utilized different types of troops and had completely different scenarios for me to explore.  I was actually really enthralled by the experience, and felt like the difficulty curves for each difficulty [difficulty levels can be chosen before missions ranging from child’s play to demonic evil] was balanced fairly well.  +1 Point.

Gameplay is a TAD confusing for me.  Veteran Starcraft players probably wouldn’t have any issues with it, but as a newcomer, it took quite a while to memorize where all the options for each troop/building/barracks were.  By my 6th or 7th mission, I was clicking more quickly and able to better manage my troops.  Moving the troops, on the other hand, was a tad more difficult.  Often times, I would select many troops and begin violently charging enemies, only to realize one of my builders/gatherers with no combat ability was with it, and I lose a small investment.  Not saying that it’s not user-friendly [it is user friendly.  General exploration will get  you to where you need to be.], but I think it could be a tad more streamlined.  

Let’s talk about the story next.  I’m an ex-English major.  I’m a literary critic, and find stories to be the highlight of the human experience, with books to be the very SYMBOL of our cultures.  Needless to say, I’m hard to please.  That being said, Starcraft II’s plot was enjoyable, cliche’, and lacking in depth.  There’s nothing wrong with the story.  Save the universe.  Ok.  Save your lover.  Ok.  Predictable stab in the back.  Ok.  Lacking going into any real development?  Not ok.  Having a cliche and overused plot is not a bad thing.  Final Fantasy reuses the same plot for each game, but each time they’re able to make it interesting and enjoyable by making us love/like/hate their characters and setting.  Starcraft II doesn’t do this.  We don’t get extensive backstories, we don’t get any real “emotion” from the characters other than what is on their faces, and the plot twists are easier to spot than a old man in a Best Buy.  Like I said, it wasn’t bad, so take down your Protoss forces Starcraft fanboys, I’m just saying it was dissapointing because it could have been MUCH MORE.

The final thing I was really saddened about was that the game is FAR TOO SHORT.  This is still day one, and I was able to finish the game.  WHAT?  Yes, there are bonus challenges, extra missions and naturally the multi-player, but the story had come SO FAR and we get such a terrible cliffhanger.  Considering how long it took to come out, I wonder what they designers were really doing all that time?  Probably playing tennis with the Duke Nukem Forever team.  There’s obviosly going to be expansion packs, but…  BLAH.  I shelled out nearly 60 bucks for this thing!  I WANT MORE FOR MY MONEY!

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Day 2 : Multiplayer

Oh.  Here’s where more for my money comes from?  My bad guys.  My bad.

Online multiplayer experiences have been bad for me.  Playing Halo, I get 12 year olds swearing.  Playing Modern Warfare 2, I get  angry foreign speaking.  Playing Mario Kart Wii, I get innapropriately named Miis blue shelling me at the last second.  BLARG.

Needless to say, I didn’t have high expectations.

To say I was BLOWN AWAY would be an understatement.  In the span of my Labor Day, I played roughly 20 matches.  Each match began with a lovely chat, and each ended with respectable “gg”.  I especially loved this chat I saved with one of my first 10 matches, where I was devestated in under 8 minutes of my ENTIRE forces.

Me:  OUCH!  well, good game!

Them:  yea.  u gotta really build up those barraks and turrets or theyll fry ya

Me:  I guess so.  I just didn’t get prepared enough.

Them:  yea.  also, u need to build more ccs or play a differnt race.  check out [link here] for sum basic strats.

Me:  Wow!  Thank you so much!  I’m really new to all this.

Them:  no prob.  good luck!

They didn’t’ have to be nice.  They could have just sat there and pretty much devastated me, gloated and said a lot of inappropriate things.  But they didn’t.  I got a lot of that too.  I won 2 matches of my 20, and the losers were just as civil.  Talk about an amazing online community.  I’m sure that there are naturally exceptions to this, and there will probably be rude people, but they [in my short experience] seem to be few and far in between.

Gameplay is the same as the campaign, just scaled down. You don’t get pre-made troops except for the 5 or so gatherers/builders you get.  You start from scratch, which is fine with me.  It’s really a tactical experience, and it takes a lot of brains/strategy, or you’ll be dead faster than you can say PIKA—.

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Final Words

Starcraft II is my first jump into a REAL real time strategy game other than Fire Emblem.  Needless to say, I’ll be back.  It’s hooked me, and I’m now a total fan.  I’m gonna pick up the original Starcraft in the upcoming month and check out what started it all.

The game-play was fun, the story was acceptable, the multi-player community is friendly, and my overall experience is A++.  I highly recommend this to everybody that hasn’t tried it out, or anybody that is on the fence about it.  It’s totally worth it.

Story:  B

Graphics:  A+

Gameplay:  A-

Online:  A+

Experience:  A++

Recommendation:  YES YES YES

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Join me the week after next as I explore yet another new territory for me….  This time, however, it’s your call!  What would you guys like to see me experience for the first time?

Resident Evil or Katamari Damacy?

Vote in the comments!

Certain Images Courtesty of IGN

6 thoughts on “Going Beyond The Call : Starcraft II”

  1. You should do stuff like this more oftend. Maybe if there is some one who contributes to the website who never played an Halo game do something simulacra with Halo reach or have some who never played GoldenEye 007 new GoldenEye when it comes out. That would actually be a great way to judge how good it will be. Have some one who never played the first GoldenEye to review it.

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