StarCraft 2 Beta Impressions From A StarCraft Fanatic
Posted April 25, 2010 by (269)
The masterminds at Blizzard have taken about 12 years to bring us the second installment of the biggest RTS game ever. Were those years used to bring us a great experience or were they merely used to torture and release a high-ass product?
10 patches, 3 server wipes, and over 100 games played, I can safely say every game played has been a fresh experience. 10 years ago, I would go home after school or work to play on StarCraft with my friends. All our time was devoted to the game that would ultimately be the top selling RTS game in the world. We would discuss rush strategy’s, mods, new maps, and what units were our favorite. No other game had this big of an impact on me and I still time from time ponder why it was so addicting. Was it the extremely balanced classes, the endless amount of ways to take on your opponent, or the soul of each unit you controlled?
Well all of the goodness from the original Starcraft has successfully carried on to its successor. Before the beta, I would look at all the new units and wonder how Blizzard can keep it balanced with larger, stronger units? In some way, they succeeded. The three races in the game all have their strengths and weaknesses. The Protoss is still the strongest race but it comes at a very expensive price. The Zerg is the mass number race, capable of reaching 200 units cap before any other race. And the Terran is a mix of both. All these races can beat each other and lose to each other. The skill determines the winner, not which race is chosen. Although I will say that some units are still overpowered, such as Immortals, Marauders, and Broodlords. But there’s always a counter to them if you play your cards right.
There is finally matchmaking in the second Starcraft. Upon creating your account, you have to play 5 (for experienced and veteran) or 10 (for beginners) games so the game can rank your skill and find players that are similar to you. Noob players will no longer be matched up with pro players. The system selects your wins, losses and win/loss ration, creates a rank and tries to find someone similar to your rank. This is greatly appreciated because I don’t have to be paired up with a pro that will destroy me in a minute. Games are much more fun because of this simple feature. Replays are neat and in order so you can find a specific game with ease. Ladders and tourney’s make the game a lot more compeititve.
Some new additions to the gameplay are richer upgrade systems. In the first game, if you wanted to put your tanks into siege mode, all you had to do is press a button. But now, you have to be sure to build a tech lab and then upgrade the siege tech to do so. I personally like the change very much, as it offers depth to an already very deep game.
The core gameplay of Starcraft is still there. Start with a few drones but each race has a "booster" to help them progress quicker. Protoss have a speed boost to any building so upgrades and units can be quicker. The Zerg have Queens(not the same one from the original) and they help out with expanding creep, allowing 4 more larvae to hatch, and healing buildings. A pretty useful unit for the weak but numerous race. The Terran have a similar "booster" like the Zerg Queen but in the form of buildings. The human race can drop MULEs (which collect 6 times the amount of regular SCVs), along with radar scans, extra supplies which increase unit cap, and allows most infantry buildings to build 2 units at once. Also, all three units have some sort of "super unit". The Terran have Thor, a giant Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator. Extreme damage to both air and ground is a plus but it’s very slow. The Protoss have the Mothership, which offers little in terms of attack but can cloak any unit and has some useful stopping powers. The Zerg have the Queen and the Ultralisk, both of which kick ass. But even with all these boosters and super units, the game still remains completely balanced.
The main problem of the beta is the lag. It is very rare but when it does strike your opponent, you can be playing in a slow 1 frame per second game with the game freezing every two seconds. Sometimes you’ll have slowdown and you can’t see your mouse pointer so you can’t give instructions out fast enough. But as was stated before, it’s rare so it won’t ruin the game for you.
The graphics are a huge step up, as is expected with a sequel of a decade old game, but nowhere close to the technical level of games today. But seeing your ghost shoot down a nuke on an enemy base is a great sight.
When balanced gameplay, rich upgrade system, and a great multiplayer lobby is considered, then the only conclusion that can come to mind is that Starcraft 2 will not only follow in its predecessor’s footsteps to greatness, it will raise the standard of excellence all together.
Release Date: Your guess is as good as mine.
Console/Platforms: Exclusively PC
Get access to the Beta by pre-ordering the game at your local Gamestop.
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