Hands on: StarCraft II limbering up for world-wide assault - Gaming - Gadgets and Tech - The Independent

Hands on: StarCraft II limbering up for world-wide assault

Format: PC

Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment

Price: £44.99

Release: 27/07





‘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.

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
i100
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Project Manager with some Agile experience

    £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

    Data/ MI Analyst

    £25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...

    Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

    £40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

    Project Manager (upgrades, rollouts, migrations)

    £350 - £425 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project Manager - 3 mont...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week