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- All sorts of missions during the campaign

- Old school while offering new challenges

- Looks great



- Occasionally flat writing during the between-mission dialogues



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StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

(Single-Player Only!)

Score: 9.0 / 10


starcraft ii          starcraft ii


There's something so retro about StarCraft II. Churning out hordes of units, lassoing them, then throwing them pell-mell against a far more organized AI opponent, it all feels so good. It's the kind of play that hooked me on these kinds of strategy games.


While I revelled in the few missions that seem to encourage such "strategy" the




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variety of mission types don't typically reward such blunt force.


Take, for instance, a mission that constantly pushes the player forward with a wall of fire that obliterates everything it touches. It brings about some tactical and strategic thinking. Waiting until the last possible moment to give the command to get your main structures into the air and moving to the


next landing zone, while pushing forward to secure the landing zone after that, and managing combat units effectively enough so that when the building's arrive they aren't greeted with an aerial assault, is much trickier than simply turtling for a while then overwhelming the opposition with numbers.


starcraft ii          starcraft ii


It even goes beyond the way some of the levels are designed. Many of the locales have optional objectives that can be pursued. Complete them and you may acquire tech upgrades that will help further down the line. This might mean committing a sizeable chunk of resources to acquiring a Zerg research point or maybe it just means exploring the map with a small group of mixed units.


Spending those research points and all those credits you earn are spent during the down time between missions poking around a few locations with Jim Raynor taking point in what can only be described as an ode to Wing Commander III. It's here that most of the plot points, characters, and background information are explored, and likely where most of the comedy is found. In fact, laugh-out-loud comedy moments. Plus, a few moments where I suddenly remembered 2005 and 2002. The developers succeeded in engineering the between-mission vignettes in such a way that even at 3:00AM and I'm thinking I should really go to bed, I want to see what happens next. It's entertaining!


starcraft ii          starcraft ii


I've successfully steered clear of the multiplayer part of StarCraft II, though that's mostly because I enjoyed the single-player campaign at a leisurely pace and now it's time to spend some time away from the computer (i.e. vacation time!). Expect a review of the multiplayer aspects in the latter part of September. But you shouldn't wait that long to buy StarCraft II -- even if you never played multiplayer, the game's campaign is good enough to warrant a purchase.


- Aaron Simmer

(August 10, 2010)


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