The Good: Excellent production values, keeps RTS simple, lots of variety in missions, upgrade system really works out, gripping story, astounding multi player
The Bad: Units take forever to build, too simple for some, no extras, no huge changes over the first game
RTS games of old were just all about buildings units and killing the enemy, and thankfully StarCraft II keeps this in mind, and let’s RTS fans of the 90′s get another taste. Liberty has you playing as James Raynor who is an outlaw to the Dominion Republic, and must stop the alien Zerg, the Dominion forces, the Queen of Blades (Sarah Kerrigan), and the Protoss all at once. The story is pretty riveting especially for an RTS thanks to excellent voice acting, dialog, and plot twists.
I’m not going to explain how an RTS is played, and if you played the original game you know what you’re getting here. The game is very simple with the premise of just building you army and completing objectives. There are only two resources in the game: Vespian gas and minerals. Don’t like it then go back to Company of Heroes or Dawn of War (I’m not saying those are bad games). You gather these with SCVs, and you build you main buildings such as factories, starports, barracks, and anything that other units require and have at it. Yes it’s that simple, but there are many changes and enhancements from the first game.
Firstly there are a ton of different units, and you really have to think and strategize how to beat each mission. Each building has several units, but the game focuses on air and ground units. There are weaker units such as marines, reapers, and firebats, but then maruaders are the strongest. The factory holds goliaths, different vehicle units or the strongest one being a Thor which is a giant mech. The starport has several different types of ship units with the biggest being the battle cruiser.
There are also defensive units that SCVs can build such as missile turrets, detectors, and mind control units for the Zerg. There are so many units you have something for every situation and you end up using every single one quite often since they are perfectly balanced. Some units have special attacks that do extra damage, but use up the units’ energy supply. Some units can transform from ground to air, or turn into defensive units. There is so much when it comes to this that it would take forever to describe them all.
The missions are great and varied and you will never get bored. They offer a fair challenge and even the later missions were fairly balanced. The game is just full of so much variety, but it’s so simple and easy to play and understand that is really pulls you in. Throughout the 26 missions you will slowly earn more units to build, and be able to build larger stronger armies. The literal goal is to just build dozens upon hundreds of units and attack or defend, and complete the objectives.
The game’s only real flaw is that building units takes forever, but this also balances the game out so you really think on what units you need and use them wisely. There are small band-aids for this such as the mercenary compound. You can instantly call down highly skilled units for a large price, but there’s cool down time. You can also build multiple buildings or build a different lab to build two units simultaneously, but you can’t build more advanced units without the tech lab.
You can upgrade most units with credits earned during missions, but you won’t ever be able to by them all so choose wisely. You can also use research points to pick one of two upgrades on a ladder. One side helps your army and the other is research against the Zerg. Choose wisely since you can’t pick the other or go back. This upgrading system is great and adds lots of strategy even off the battlefield.
Aside from all this you can click around and listen to dialog from key characters, and this adds to the story and interactivity of the game which is excellent. There are no extras, however, such as behind the scenes footage or anything which would have been great. The game just has so much variety and content, and is so perfectly balanced it really feels those 12 years were put to good use.
The multi player is what will keep you coming back. I’m not a huge fan of RTS multi player, but Liberty really shines in this area with Battle.net. With the human opponents and four different factions to play as you will surely pour dozens of hours into this part of the game.
The game also looks amazing. If you have the rig to play the game with all settings to their highest you will be treated with beautiful visuals, excellent lighting, and well done animations and effects. Everything looks amazing, and the game just plays brilliantly. I highly recommend this for StarCraft vets, but people who like their RTS complicated and with a lot of depth will be disappointed, but there is something here for everyone.