Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty, Initial Impressions

Yeah, it's been 12 years but I'm baaaaaaaaack.

Nearly 12 years after the original was released, Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty finally saw the light of day when it launched yesterday. Fans of the first game, and its resulting expansions, had been eagerly awaiting the launch since rumors of a sequel surfaced several years ago. And after I had played the demo and participated in the beta, I was among those anxious fans.

I received my copy yesterday and quickly made a beeline for my PC when I got in the door. On opening the package, I was pleased to see that Blizzard had included a pad of paper as they did in days of old but instead of the Blizzard watermark, there was a watermarked Wanted poster for the game’s protagonist, James Raynor. It was a nice touch and a timely one since I was running low on my old Blizzard notepads.

I’d been a little concerned that I would have to go back and load up the original game and expansions to get back up to speed on the storyline. While Starcraft was an RTS, there was a great story being told as you fought for survival. But my fears were unfounded as during the install of Wings of Liberty, the backstory was told in a series of slides voiced over by the Adjutant, the AI that served as your tutor when you originally began the first game.

Fans of the original will be happy to hear some familiar voices returning to the second game. Robert Clotworthy has returned to voice James Raynor and the dictator Arcturus Mengsk is once again voiced by James Harper. It was good to hear those familiar voices speaking all new dialogue as the story began to unfold.

After staying glued to my monitor for nearly two hours, I can safely say that Blizzard has managed to capture the spirit of the original game while advancing the gameplay mechanics and the story line as well. When the first mini Zerg Rush came blasting towards my front lines, I felt a surge of excitement. As my marines happily slaughtered the encroaching alien horde, I was surprised by the familiar feeling surrounding it all but rather than feeling like I had “been there, done that”, I was happy to be there again.

There’s been some marked improvements on gameplay, as one might expect after 12 years. Units and buildings can be upgraded between missions and rather than the “tech” advances one makes on the battlefield which disappear between missions, the units carry the improvements with them into each fight. Several of the old units make their return into the fray, marines, firebats, medics, but there’s also new and improved units to play with as you progress through the story.

Unfortunately, I was unable to sample the multiplayer mode due to some problems on Battle.net (no surprise considering everyone was probably trying to play all at one time) but I suspect that it will be as fulfilling as the original. I’ll update our Busy Gamers out there as soon as I am able to get in a game.

All in all, my initial reaction is to recommend this game to anyone who may have been a fan of the first. Single player missions last night lasted anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes so it may be possible to get in a quick session or two before our busy lives demand our attention. I’ll post up a full review as soon as possible.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

Posted By Gritskrieg

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