StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Rumors of the long-awaited StarCraft sequel have been flying around for ages and the beta version has been out for awhile, but as of last week the full version is finally a reality! After years of development and testing, Blizzard Entertainment released StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.
For those of you not familiar with StarCraft, it came out in 1998, and is hailed by gamers around the world as one of the top real-time strategy games of all time. The first release was so popular it sold 11 million copies. This version sold 800,000-plus just from preorder copies.
“We’ve worked hard to deliver an epic continuation of the StarCraft story line as well as the ultimate competitive real-time strategy game with StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty,” says Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. “Combined with the next-generation online environment of the new Battle.net, we believe players will agree that StarCraft II offers an experience unlike anything we’ve ever created, and we’re excited to finally be able to share it with them.”
Most of your gameplay is online through the recently upgraded Battle.net, Blizzard’s gaming service, but if you choose to go through the solo campaign you’ll see the exploits of marshal-turned-rebel-leader Jim Raynor. You tailor your own experience by choosing your mission path and selecting technology/research upgrades to suit your style throughout this 29-mission campaign.
If you’re familiar with the first StarCraft, you’ll see some familiar faces as well as some new heroes. You’ll also see the return of the protoss, terg and zerg races. The game centers on the clash among these, with each side deploying legions of veteran, upgraded and new unit types. This time around you can do voice communication, stat-tracking, cloud file storage and leagues and ladders.
One of the things I noticed when I first opened StarCraft II was its impressive cinematics and attention to detail. The experience so far has been a balanced multiplayer experience. When you first start off, you play a few matches to determine your skill level and you’re paired up with an opponent the same level. I’m far from done with the game, but from what I see so far I can say it’s highly addictive. I’ve already lost some sleep playing this.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is available for PC or Mac, and you can download it at starcraft2.com without the worry if the store has it in stock or not (Note: It must be done through your Battle.net account). Expect to spend $60, unless you need the $100 Collector’s Edition package.
The extra $40 for the collector’s edition gives you a 176-page StarCraft artwork book, 2GB USB flash drive in the shape of Jim Raynor’s dogtag, a behind-the-scenes DVD with developer interviews, comic book, a StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty sound-track CD and more.