StarCraft II also looks great. The each of the units, from all three sides, are unique and very well animated. And while updated, each of the returning units seems just as I remember. Blizzard is also well-known for some incredible cutscenes, and Wings of Liberty doesn't disappoint. And it's not just the visuals that are top-notch--StarCraft II boasts some of the best voice acting I've seen in quite a while. From the cutscenes to the individual unit responses (including the trademark comical quips received from over-clicking), every bit of vocal work is a delight.
Of course, it can't all be good, and for some, much of what I lauded as praise for the olden days might be a turn-off. There really is nothing new here in StarCraft II. Although it's incredibly well-polished, Wings of Liberty is, at its core, a facelift on a twelve-year-old game. Worker units still gather crystal and green gas resources, bases build in the familiar old progression, Zerglings still rush. By not taking any risks, Blizzard doesn't show us anything truly innovative, they merely showcase how far the RTS genre has come.
Also, for better or worse, players now must rely on Battle.net, and Battle.net alone, for their multiplayer experience. As a gaming recluse and fan of the single-player side of things, this doesn't bother me much at all, but for many the thought of hosting a StarCraft II LAN party will come to naught.
Another concern voiced by many is the choice Blizzard made in creating a trilogy of titles, each focusing on a single faction. Again opinions will vary, but I didn't have too much of a problem with this. The lengthy single-player campaign is among the best RTS campaigns I've played in quite some time, even if it focuses almost completely on the Terrans. Will it be worth the extra cost of buying two more titles, before we have a "complete" game? It remains to be seen, but I will give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt on this, and rely on them to deliver two more high quality installments. In the mean time, players do have access to all three, fully-balanced and fleshed-out factions in the skirmish arena, and with the constant support and fine-tuning for which Blizzard is known, I won't be surprised if each new offering is worth the wait.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is one of the best, classic-style RTS titles I've had the pleasure of playing in years. Slipping back into that comfortable and glorious StarCraft world is was a true joy for me, allowing me to overlook the lack of anything truly "new". Blizzard knows how to make a great game, and Wings of Liberty is no exception.
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* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
A triumphant return to the StarCraft universe, Wings of Liberty offers up old-school RTS goodness in one of the most solid RTS titles in years.
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