Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty - First Impressions
After 12 years, the sequel to the hit RTS Starcraft has finally been released. Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty takes all that was great about the original and builds on it, providing an enjoyable experience for fans of singleplayer and multiplayer play alike.
Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty
Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty is the first part of a trilogy of games which follows up Blizzard Entertainment's hit RTS Starcraft. With a 12-year gap between Starcraft and Wings of Liberty, the continuing popularity of the original game ensured that Starcraft 2 would be met with wide acclaim. As the release of what some considered to be the most anticipated game of all time neared, some fans were left wondering how the gameplay and campaign storyline would stack up against the original. In true Blizzard form, those who were eagerly awaiting the release of SC2 were not left disappointed. The game stands as a worthy sequel to the original Starcraft while adding to both the gameplay and backstory that fans so love.
Wings of Liberty Gameplay
Unlike some sequels which seek to distance themselves from the original game they are based on, Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty manages to maintain the feel and gameplay style of the original Starcraft. In both the singleplayer and multiplayer portions of the game, Wings of Liberty plays very much like Starcraft. This isn't to say that nothing has been changed, of course; Blizzard has made slight changes to gameplay which allows players to expand on strategies which worked in the original and to create new gameplay strategies as well. While many players may feel comfortable playing SC2 in the same way that they played the original game, over time they begin to realize that there are more options available to them than just those things which worked over the past 12 years when playing Starcraft and its expansions.
Expanding the Starcraft Story
Gameplay and tactics aren't all that has been expanded in Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty. The storyline of the singleplayer campaign advances the overall story of the Starcraft universe as well. References large and small abound to the events of previous Starcraft campaigns, ensuring that the story of Wings of Liberty doesn't stand alone in a vacuum. While the story leaves itself open for expansion in the other two SC2 games, the initial story of Starcraft 2 provides plenty of meat for those who have been hungering for more adventures in the Starcraft universe. A number of familiar characters are featured front-and-center in the Wings of Liberty storyline, with their continued involvement in the game's future installments being set up during the campaign. Though some fans may wonder why plot points from certain Starcraft expansions are not touched upon in as much detail as others, it is suggested that some of the events not referenced will influence the plots in the two games which will follow.
Starcraft 2 Singeplayer Options
Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty features an immersive singleplayer experience for fans of the original game as well as players who are new to the series. The campaign for Wings of Liberty follows the Terran army, with Zerg and Protoss campaigns planned for release with the next two SC2 installments. The plot of the campaign unfolds in the years following the loss of Kerrigan to the Zerg. Players will be able to interact with portions of the map more than in previous games, with the Starcraft-style mission briefings being replaced with a more interactive environment. The Terran campaign ends with hints of things to come in the other two campaigns, and packs in a number of different mission types and occasional mini-games so that players won't feel that they've just completed an endless series of skirmish matches.
In addition to the campaign, Starcraft 2 provides players with "challenge" levels in which they must perform certain tasks according to mission specifications. These tasks become more difficult as a player progresses through the challenges, and serve as a much better introduction to SC2 multiplayer than the campaign.
Starcraft 2 Multiplayer
Fans of the original Starcraft will find much that is familiar in the multiplayer mode of Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty. Choosing their favorite of the three available races (Terran, Protoss, and Zerg), players can compete on a variety of different maps using Blizzard's new version of Battle.net. Matchmaking is handled through Battle.net, and many of the more social aspects of the new Battle.net system make adding friends and allies easier than ever before.
Multiplayer gameplay is similar to that of the original game, though Blizzard has expanded on unit options sufficiently so that players can formulate new strategies and engage in even more intense battles than they could in Starcraft. Players will build buildings, work their way through their race's tech tree, and attack or defend to try and claim victory.
Starcraft 2 Galaxy Editor
The Galaxy Editor that was released with Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty provides players with a powerful tool that can be used to make custom maps and missions. Much like with the map maker for the original Starcraft, the SC2 map maker allows players to not only create new maps on which they can play the standard game but also to create new game modes that are coded into the maps themselves. Tower defense games, racing games, and even adaptations of other game titles or genres are possible using the Galaxy Editor tool. Though the tool is quite powerful, Blizzard has made it as user-friendly as possible so that those who are new to the tool can still navigate it and begin making their first maps with ease.