“Starcraft II” by Mazer

So, Mr Riddler has been on my back about writing this and I guess it’s time to give in. I love MMOs and RTSs, long walks on the beach, and a nice day in front of my computer. Now that we’ve got all that out of the way it’s time for the behemoth that is Starcraft 2!

What I Expected:

I expected that this game would be the epitome of the RTS genre: it’s Blizzard and Starcraft, what more could you want from a game? Now, to be fair, I’m not all that great at Starcraft 1; in fact I only really like the custom maps. My cup o’ tea would be macro-games such as the Age of Empires series, Empire Earth, and Rise of Nations but I’m always one to give a new RTS a try. So all in all, I expected a great story with decent game play plus an amazing map editor.

What We Got:

Where to begin? Blizzard struck gold again by giving us EVERYTHING that we wanted. We got an amazing story, some of the best RTS game play I’ve had the pleasure of playing, and probably the best map editor ever. I’ll get to that stuff later, but first, I have to gush over the way the game plays.

Unlike its predecessor, SC2 is a game that not only combines both macro and micro play style but also streamlines both into one flawless motion throughout the game. Can you beat the game (or another player) with just one? Sure, but where’s the fun in that?

The Macro elements of the game are amazing: you have to control a strong economy while producing units to increase your army. Then you utilize those armies by placing them in strategic locations around the map. Then you get some Micro in your Macro, where you need to use individual unit’s abilities to turn the tide of a fight or keep your economy stronger than your opponent. This is where SC2 really shines: there isn’t really anything in the game that requires you to do one or the other. There’s just this perfect unity of Macro and Micro. Even the Micro is well maintained: your control over each unit in a group is outstanding, several unit types allow you to utilize they’re special abilities while selecting an entire group of units, and even a small amount of Micro play gives a great boon to the player. No matter what type of RTS player you are you will fall in love with this game’s game play, I guarantee it!

Single Player Campaign:

Before I get into the storyline and how the campaign itself works I have to say that I loved everything about it. There are a few nay-sayers who have said that Blizzard’s writers seem to have forgotten certain events in Starcraft 1 but I say that the ignorance is more from not needing to mention them than flat out forgetting them. The story is beautifully written, in a similar vein as other Blizzard stories.

The campaign follows the life of Jim Raynor who’s just trying to get from job to job but then starts to go out of his way to do what’s right at the same time. We’re introduced to a variety of new characters: a hick Marine, a geeky scientist, a grumpy engineer, an overly optimistic doctor, and a creepy Ghost/Spectre. You get two choices throughout the campaign that each lead to one of two different missions depending on your choice, but you can always go back and play the missions you didn’t do. The choices themselves have little weight on the story as a whole: the characters leave/enter either way. Also, you always choose the ‘right’ decision making the story alter slightly so that Raynor is always in a good light. Oh and there are some fun Protoss side missions where you play as Zeratul.

The story ‘ends’ during the final confrontation against Mengsk first and Kerrigan second. There are some great side characters along the way and some good storyline elements as well. The story concludes with an amazing ending that makes you wonder what will happen next. You see, once Raynor defeats [SPOILER WARNING, SERIOUSLY DON’T READ THIS] don’t be crazy: I’m not even going to give you specifics; go buy the game [END OF REVEALING SPOILERS]. But I will tell you that the ending lines up the first expansion perfectly and I cannot wait until we get that in our hands.


Remember all that gushing I did about the game play? It all comes together in multiplayer, regardless if you just like killing the computer AI or throw down with the Platinum ranked players. Speaking of the AI, Starcraft 2 has a really amazing AI. Sure it can be beaten quite easily once you get to a certain point in a game, but it really knows how to lay on the hurt early to mid game.

The multiplayer really shines in the counter system that is innately in the game mechanics and unit interactions. You really have to know what strategy works with what unit comp and what unit comp works against other unit comps. If you don’t do a good job of advanced scouting, then you could easily find yourself losing a winning battle or even the game. Every game, against an evenly skilled player, is a giant battle of tug-of-war with hints of espionage, strategy, and mind games. The only way to really get an upper hand is having the ability to predict what your opponent will do and then counting it before he has a chance to figure out what you’re trying to do.

Map Editor:

The bread and butter of any Blizzard RTS; the reason why anyone still plays WC3 (guess who doesn’t like how that game plays?) and the Starcraft 2 Map Editor doesn’t disappoint! The massive amount of customization that you have access to can easily bring even the best map maker to his knees in amazement, it’s that good. The system is very complex but has very clean, flowing feel to it so that once you figure out how to do one or two things, everything else seems to come naturally. Blizzard really outdid themselves on this one: instead of giving us a map editor they basically gave us an amazing mod creator.


The game is an amazing example of both Blizzard’s great game creation and an outstanding RTS. I’d suggest that anyone who is even a little bit a part of either camp should buy this game ASAP. Even if this type of game isn’t your cup of tea, I’d suggest at least giving it a try to see if it entices you into the genre.

Overall Rating






3 Responses to ““Starcraft II” by Mazer”
  1. Jenny says:

    It will be hard to find practiced individuals on that topic, nevertheless, you seem like you no doubt know what you are posting on! Bless you

    • Mazer says:

      Thanks Jenny, it’s nice to hear stuff like that every now and again. My next two reviews (one of them posted today) are over RTSs as well, so you might want to check them out!

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