For those of you who don’t know, the sequel to one of the biggest real-time strategy (RTS) games of all time, Starcraft, has been 12 years in the making. The game is made up of three races: Terran (humans), Protos and Zerg.
The three races are three versions of popular science-fiction race types: humans in cool space-suits, Zerg (like the aliens in the Alien movie series) who are a hive like breed of species, and the Protoss, who are kind of like the Predator with an intelligent, elderly statesmen kind of feel.
The first game has a single-player version with just the Terran storyline and then the multiplayer with all three races. The Zerg and Protoss single-player versions will be released as expansion packs.
Now firstly, you’ll need a PC that can play the game. This requires something in the region of a Dual Core 2.4 GhZ Processor, 2 GB of Ram and GeForce 8800 GTX of Radeon HD 3870 graphics card.
If you’re wondering what’s the attraction of the game, well firstly the videos cut scenes in the game and the actual characters in the between missions segments are so life like, you could almost be watching a movie.
Check out this video clip below to see some of the people and aliens they have created.
Then the single-player Terran campaign is so easy that anyone can really pick it up. Obviously you can scale up the difficulty and this can be done at the start of any mission, but the point is, this game is very accessible. And if you’ve never played an RTS game, then there are tutorials to help out.
In the game you’ll start off with easy missions to get used to controlling units and then move onto building bases and using the various upgrades in game, acquiring cash and using it to purchase more upgrades in between each mission.
The game is well-paced as well so you still get a RTS feel of building up a base and different units with different upgrade options, but you won’t have to spend too long getting things ready either before you take on the enemy.
The storyline diversifies nicely giving you various options to pursue making it feel less linear. You build up from marines and firebats to tanks and ships and ultimately nuclear weapons.
The real ground-breaking part of this game is the multiplayer aspect. Firstly, despite South Africa being miles away from most other gaming nations, you can now finally play gamers from overseas without the game lagging.
Furthermore, Starcraft II connects to Blizzard’s BattleNet servers which will rank you and pair you off with appropriately skilled opposition. Though this has been tried before, Blizzard looks like they are finally getting it right too.
This will extend the game’s life into literally hundreds of hours of gameplay. And while gaming is bigger than movies and music globally, it’s games like Starcraft II that are going to take gaming to the masses.
So don’t think you need to be some brilliant 23-year-old who can click faster than you can think — now gamers of all ages and experience levels will be able to slot in and play with other gamers at the appropriate experience levels.
You’ll also be able to add other gamers to your friends list and interact with them. It’s like rolling Facebook, watching a DVD and gaming all into one. And all for under R500.
If you’ve never gamed before, spend the couple of thousand rand to buy or upgrade your PC, buy the game and start playing it. It will open up a whole new world to you.