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Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty

Reviewed on: PC

Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Rated: "T" for Teen

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

In an industry where a new Call of Duty or Guitar Hero seems to hit shelves every six months, gamers have grown accustomed to not having to wait very long for their favorite franchises. Not Starcraft fans though, while Blizzard has focused their creative energies on their World of Warcraft games and expansions, it’s been twelve long years since the first Starcraft game’s release.

That all changed when Starcraft 2 finally hit stores last week. Has fan’s long wait finally paid off? The answer is of course an enthusiastic yes. Not only is Starcraft 2 the best RTS I’ve played this year, it could very well be the best RTS I’ve played period. Filled with Blizzard’s trademarked creativity and attention to detail, Starcraft 2 is one of those sequels that we’re going to be talking about for years to come. Every gamer needs to play it and after, they’ll need to own it. In short, Starcraft 2 is pure videogame bliss.

With Starcraft 2, Blizzard avoided many of the pitfalls that face many sophomore editions of popular franchises, they didn’t look to reinvent the franchise, nor did they attempt to release a rehash with a fresh slather of paint on it. Starcraft 2 seems to have found a sweet spot in that difficult balance of accessibility and depth. Those new to the series won’t be overwhelmed jumping in for the first time, while diehards are sure to find the gameplay they love with a few extra challenging curveballs thrown in for good measure.

"...the entire experience is much more streamlined than before."


Set approximately four years after the events of Starcraft: Brood Wars, the game begins in Mar Sara, where series protagonist Jim Raynor is hitting the bottle pretty hard. A shadow of his former self, he sits alone in bars for hours to avoid dreams of horrid Zerg attacks. It’s then that, all spoilers aside he’s approached by an old friend who makes him an offer he can’t refuse, one that gives him the chance to continue his war against the Dominion. If there’s one area where Starcraft 2 makes major strides versus its predecessor, it’s here in the game’s story. Everything here is meant to engage the player into the game’s main campaign, and it’s one that’s sure to keep you interested until the end, a rare occurrence in real time strategy games.

In fact, that pretty much sums up why Starcraft is so damn good, the entire experience is much more streamlined than before. This is evident in the way the game’s single player missions are strung together. Here, you have a branching storyline that adapts to the way you play. Research one of the races more than the others? Expect your game to be loads different than if you were to do things the other way around. Many times during the campaign, you’re going to be faced with a number of decisions that are sure to change the way your game plays out. These features set Starcraft 2 apart from other real time strategy games that treat their single player game like little more than a series of computer VS player skirmishes.

" of the most balanced and addicting multiplayer experiences I’ve ever played."


Let’s be honest though, Starcraft’s legacy is based firmly on its multiplayer experience, and the long awaited sequel continues that tradition. Diehard fans of the series have been participating in an open beta of the game for months, and Blizzard has done a great job listening to fans and tweaking the game as needed. While I don’t claim to be a Starcraft expert by any means and I’ve already found some complaints about the balancing, I didn’t seem to have this problem and found Starcraft 2’s multiplayer to be one of the most balanced and addicting multiplayer experiences I’ve ever played. One thing I loved about playing online was that there never seemed to be a “be all, end all” strategy that can win any game. There always seems to be a viable counter.

That doesn’t mean though that the game doesn’t reward dedicated and skilled players, in fact, quite the contrary - it’s just that the game’s matchmaking system is that good. When you start off, you play in a series of matches to determine your skill and then are matched up with players of a similar skill level. There are a ton of great (some even professional) Starcraft players out there, and I never felt like I was matched up against too many of them. Starcraft 2’s multiplayer system gives players the freedom to grow and find their own strategy.

Years from now, we’ll still be talking about Starcraft 2 and what it did for real time strategy games much as we’re still talking about what Half-Life 2 did for shooters. It’s deep, yet accessible, it’s commercial yet it’s art, but most importantly - it’s a complete blast to play. Starcraft 2 is the type of game which everyone needs to play. Welcome back Mr. Raynor, you’ve been dearly missed. 



CHEATS USED: Ultimate Trainer

Since I started writing reviews for nearly two years ago, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a trainer as big as the one for Starcraft 2 - and it’s no fluff, everything is a great tool for Starcraft players of any skill. When using the trainer, which is only available for single player games (cheating online is bad kids...) you have literally unlimited access to pretty much every resource and item you could think of. Minerals? Check. Gas? You got it.

The great thing about the trainer is that you can literally grow your troops from a small force, to a large, trained force in a matter of minutes with a slew of tweaks and cheats.



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