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Starcraft II Single-player Review

Aug 1, 2010   PC Gaming   Nick Vogt   Comments
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Starcraft II offers a very refined and lengthy campaign mode with wholly unique and fun to play missions. For those upset about only having a Terran campaign (with the Zerg and Protoss campaigns saved for future expansions), let me quell your distress by saying that the campaign mode is easily more in-depth and lengthy than all 3 campaigns from the original combined. Each and every mission feels as though it was given individual attention, and most missions will take you between 20 minutes to an hour to complete, depending on your skill level.

The time spent in-between missions allows you to dive into the Starcraft lore a bit, without requiring you to. You also access new upgrades and techs during this time, and can take on missions in the order you choose (mostly). The campaign has 4 difficulty levels, and you can change the level for each mission. I completed the campaign on Normal difficulty, and found it to be fairly easy with a few later levels having some tough parts. Veteran Starcraft players may want to play on Hard or even Brutal (Brutal will require exceptional skill and planning to beat each mission).


Single-Player Skirmish


As with the original Starcraft, there is a skirmish mode with the AI. You are limited to the same 8-player limit as before, and the whole process has remained mostly the same, with a number of improvements. The AI has several difficulty levels and will use more unique strategies as the level ramps up. I think the AI is a bit predictable though, and will generally follow specific build orders for each difficulty level. For example, Very Hard Protoss AI will predictably do a Colossus rush. Once you're gotten good at macro it shouldn't be difficult to beat down any difficulty level AI, so unfortunately it doesn't prepare you very well for human opponents. Replays are saved automatically into a temp folder and are deleted automatically as new replays are generated. You can choose to save any replay, which moves it into a permanent folder.

A new feature in Starcraft II single player is the challenges, which are short missions designed specifically to teach you about unit combinations, counters, and tactics. They are a nice addition and should help new and veteran players get used to the Starcraft II units.


Interface Changes


There are many improvements to the interface and intuitiveness of gameplay in Starcraft II. Control groups can now be any size, allowing you to control large armies with ease. Multiple buildings can be selected and put into control groups as well, making it easier to macro units while away from your base. Rally points are improved and workers can be rallied directly to mineral fields, where they will automatically start harvesting. The Zerg Hatchery can have two rally points set up, one for harvesters and one for other units. SCVs have an auto-repair ability, and will automatically repair nearby mech and structures (this ability can be turned on or off, and defaults to off in multiplayer, on in campaign).

For Starcraft veterans, the first thing you will notice is that the hot keys have changed for many units and structures. Blizzard changed them to keep them to the left side of the keyboard so you don't have to move your hand as far. It takes some time to get used to, but you will like how much quicker it is once you do.


Conclusion


Overall, Starcraft II will be very familiar to players of the original Starcraft. It is by all intents an evolution of the original. This I hope will be welcome news to every player, since the original Starcraft certainly didn't need any major changes. Starcraft II gets a perfect rating from me... if I had a rating system for game reviews.
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