Hands on: StarCraft II limbering up for world-wide assault
Friday 11 June 2010
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
‘We’re dedicated to creating the most epic entertainment experiences…ever’ opines Franck Pearce, co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment and Executive Vice President of Product Development, ahead of a presentation of the (more-or-less) final build of ‘StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty’ for PC. It’s a motto which screams all-American razzamatazz, enough to make the more derisive of the assembled British games press have a wry chuckle to themselves but, when push comes to shove, it’s impossible to knock Blizzard’s track record (‘World of Warcraft’, ‘StarCraft’, ‘WarCraft’), so why not flaunt it?
Blizzard’s latest is the long-anticipated sequel to real-time strategy smash hit ‘StarCraft’; boasting in excess of 11 million copies since its 1998 debut due to an unlikely, yet mammoth, South Korean. In the Far East multiplayer ‘StarCraft’ competitions are a competitive sport, upon the results of which huge sums of money exchange hands. Though the multiplayer side of ‘StarCraft 2’ has been in online beta testing for a while now, the single-player campaign has been restricted to just a few airings in public.
‘Wings of Liberty’ single-player action focuses on the Terran’s, the blanket term for the scattered factions of humanity still left in the universe. Expect their campaign to encompass internal squabbles as well as war with rival species the technology obsessed Protoss and the Zerg, a mishmash of ‘Star Trek’s’ Borg and ‘Alien’s’ xenomorphs. It has already been revealed that both Zerg and Protoss will eventually receive their own expansion sets as Blizzard concentrate on one species at a time; whether that’s a cynical move to squeeze consumers of every last penny or a genuine attempt to create distinctive, imaginative content remains to be seen.
Pearce confirms that ‘Wings of Liberty’ comes with some 29 missions in the box, each part of a branching storyline which sees the game’s protagonist, Jim Raynor, undertaking some tough moral choices. Graphically the game hits the high notes too, the in-game engine not only depicting the ensuing battles but also flexible enough to be impressively utilised during story revealing cut-scenes. We are also guided around Raynor’s battle cruiser, the Hyperion, from which campaigns are selected, upgrades researched and mercenaries hired. Clicking on the various passengers allows the player to enter into a story-revealing chat with them, there’s even an onboard cantina replete with TV tuned into the latest broadcasts so you can see exactly how your campaign is affecting the universe at large.
The highest presentation levels in the world would of course be for nought if the gameplay itself was turgid and lacking. Luckily Blizzard are well aware of this, Pearce explaining that the development team has gone to great pains to make missions as varied from each other as possible. Some of the levels present to play through illustrated that, one taking place on a volcano ravaged world where players must plan for constant lava flows as much as their enemy. Another mission sees the player protecting a giant laser drill from Protoss forces while it bores into an enemies stronghold. Luckily the drill can be ordered to attack the heavier Protoss units, the trick being to reach a compromise between forcing the drill from it’s main target and using it as a artillery unit.
The gameplay won’t be anything revolutionary to anybody au fait with the RTS genre but the interface has a sheen to it which makes ordering troops all the more intuitive. Keyboard shortcuts are also present; their use actively encouraged by tutorial missions which force the player to use them; a must when eventually taking to the competitive Battle.net hosted multiplayer field. Expect more on StarCraft as it inches its way to release, including a closer look at multiplayer.
Co-creator Mark Gatiss dropped some very intriguing hints ahead of the BBC drama's return next year
London 'needs affordable housing'
Life & Style blogs
World’s largest chocolate manufacturer adds voice to warnings of 'potential cocoa shortage by 2020'
We can't easily shut down Russian webcam hackers, admits Information Commissioner
GTA 5, Xbox One review: Next gen Los Santos is beautiful chaos
Unpaid make-up artists reveal the ugly side of Miss World
Google launches subscription service for the internet to replace ad revenue online
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
- 4 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 5 Pastafarian former porn star Asia Lemmon allowed to wear colander in driving licence photo
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...
£37000 - £39000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: SQL Database Administrato...
£26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Expanding creative studio requi...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Argyll Scott International: Senior Perl...