StarCraft 2 may not be out in its full form yet, but thanks to Blizzard and their open beta, we’ve had plenty of time to make a judgement on the game. Now that the beta has been closed and the game is nearing its release though, we’re sure some things will be changed if the community’s feedback during the testing period is to be of any indication. Nevertheless, it proved highly successful while it was out, and everyone’s eagerly anticipating the actual release.
The basic gameplay hasn’t changed that much since the first game – of course, the races have received new units and buildings, and on the other hand, some of the old things were removed – but apart from that, the basic premise remains the same. One notable aspect is that the grid-like nature of levels has been preserved, instead of going for a completely free building placement as some other modern strategies do.
Everything feels all around more balanced now, there are fewer “perfect” tactics and more freedom for the player to choose their own style of play. Of course, you’ll still have to learn some basic builds if you want to get good, but that’s in the nature of StarCraft anyway. Races have been made more heavily reliant on the micromanagement aspect, each with a new ability – for example, the Terran can use their upgraded Command Center to summon a special SCV-like unit, which gathers a lot more minerals in one go, but can only be used for mineral gathering and self-destructs after a set amount of time.
As can be expected from a game by Blizzard, art is very heavily played on here – it’s obvious that there have been thousands of work hours put into designing everything from the menus to the units and environment. The game makes you feel like you’re watching an epic movie right from the main menu, and that feeling is reinforced further on, with the way the music is combined with each race’s style.
Despite that, StarCraft 2 can run on some pretty old machines (for today’s standards), if everything is set to low – despite some occasional slowdowns, it’s still playable even under such conditions, which speaks greatly of the optimization work that’s been put into it.
LAN play was missing from the beta and will likely not be present in the final version, at least not in its classic form – you’ll probably have to authenticate through Battle.net first, and then you’ll get access to the option of playing on a local area directly – which is kind of inconvenient as you’ll have to provide an Internet connection to all the computers that’ll be playing.
Blizzard knows how to make a competitive strategy game – and this is an upcoming guaranteed hit – if you’re tired of the mediocrity that we’ve been seeing lately, buckle up as in just one month that’s about to change.