The return of the Protoss, Terran, and Zerg races
Review by Alexander
StarCraft II is a game that launched with tremendous expectations. As a fanboy of the original I of course had pre-ordered my copy, with occasionally obsessive checks on the merchant’s website to ensure the delivery date hadn’t slipped. Weeks before the game was released a lot of negative comments had been posted, but of course that didn’t shake my resolve one iota. They couldn’t possibly be right about a game which hadn’t been released yet… could they?
Before trying to answer that question, I would like to quickly reminisce over the original game, and what made it quite so genre defying. The original StarCraft had little that was unique or special about its interface, the graphics were good, but Total Annihilation was always better. What had made it so special was the focus on strategy. This was a time when the entire RTS genre had little differentiation between the opposing forces, StarCraft forever changed that.
StarCraft arrived on the scene allowing gamers to play one of three different species. The human like Terran, the creepy insectiod aliens the Zerg and the devoutly religious Protos.
The fact that Blizzard was able to create a game with such wildly different species with different strengths and limitations, yet still allow for balanced game play, is nothing short of excellence. In comparison every other RTS seemed to offer as much in the way of variety as the salad crisper in John Prescott’s fridge.
However one change, no matter how great, does not make a revolution alone. The other two miracles were, whilst simple by comparison, desperately needed at the time. There was a storyline. It appeared that game developers of the late 90s had been raised solely on 80s television shows, and decided that only gratuitous action spiced up with Bond-like dry wit were all that was needed. Some of the cut screens in Command & Conquer were about as grimacing as an after school special about the perils of narcotics; sure they got a story across but it was hardly fun and it was strangely condescending.