on 8 June 2011
Battle.net account required to register the game & play. Also takes quite a while for a first install, for all the patches & updates to be downloaded & installed, all in all took about 40 minutes to install & update in order to play.
This is my first time playing this series with SC2, my only previous experience with modern/futuristic RTS games has been the old Command & Conquer series, although i have played a lot of WW2 RTS games like Company of Heroes, Men of War & RUSE etc... so i was quite skeptical coming into this, but happily my doubts & concerns about if i was going to like this game were soon quashed, as i settled into it & that this is a really good game actually. If you haven't played the original, like me, then its okay as the game still eases you into the game, as it slowly introduces you into how to play(pretty simple) and gradually drip feeds you new units as the missions role on.
I was expecting this to be a simple RTS game, but i was soon pleasantly surprised by the, RPG , i suppose i would call it, element of the game. You don't just roll from one map/mission to the next, the game has intervals where you, Jim Raynor, can talk & interact with your crew in a point & click game style interface, upgrade your units, research, watch the t.v news about your mission affects or hire merc units to buy in missions etc... later on in the game there are also some points where in a, Mass Effect , game style you get to choose out of two options who to side with/to help. I've done about half a dozen or so missions & playing on normal difficulty, and i have to say the learning curve is quite easy to get into this game, so don't worry if you haven't played anything like it before.
The games vibe to me, as a noob of the lore, seems to be something along the lines of a futuristic take on the American Civil war period(apologies if i am off the mark to the experienced players), the characters have a mix of regular American & Southern accents, and at one stage were in a struggle to overthrow the Terran Confederacy(a bit like a roles reversed of the Union). So maybe this is right or not, but from the accents, western style bars, and the main character sipping bourbon while his mate Tychus Findlay(a prisoner released by a company to find alien artifacts, all the while imprisoned in a set of armor, until the job is done) seem to have an old western style friendship.
So basically, the jest of SC2 is that in SC1 you, Jim Raynor, were a Marshal for the Confederacy, but events occured where you joined in the rebels, Sons of Korhal. fighting against the oppressive Terran Confederacy(the most advanced human colony) and soon the Zerg too, an alien, starship troopers, bug like enemy. And you did win that battle at as cost, as the leader of the rebels, Mengsk, used a powerful weapon to draw the Zerg to destroy a large confederate city, which made Raynor question Mengsks abilities. but more than this, your love, Kerrigan, was captured becasue of Mengsks betrayal, & turned into an elite human/Zerg hybrid, the Queen of blades, now leader of the Zerg. The confederacy folded though, and Mengsk, announced himself emperor over the Dominian, so Raynoe stole Mengsks flagship the Hyperion, and escaped to plot his revenge. So as events carry on, in SC2 your start out as a rebel/outcast, and an opourtunity arises to start stirring up a rebellion against Mengsk, but things soon spiral into a mixture of goals. Your old buddy Tychus turns up with an offer of going after Alien artifacts, and the Zerg return with the Queen of blades, so you certainly have your hands full.
The voice acting is very good, each character has their own unique personality & it comes across well in the game. The music is also top quality, a range of songs that you can play via the cantenas jukebox, as well as the music which accompanies the cut scenes in the game, which are simply spot on, on all occasions, fantastic. The graphics likewise are good, I only have an ATI 5850 and i can play this with Ultra settings enabled, and it doesn't stress my graphics card like other games, eg. The Witcher 2. Although multiplayer maybe a different kettle of fish.
In conclusion, firstly my apologies if i have the lore wrong in some way. I have really enjoyed playing the SC2 campaign to date, i know the multiplayer has a lot of support, but i prefer SP mostly in games. So i can at least say the campaign is very enjoyable, there is a lot to do, different approaches to each mission and you get to have a say on a few occasions on which course you get to take. No need to be an RTS player to enjoy this, as it has an easy learning curve to get into the game(more so if you understand the lore better than me ;-p). Highly Recommended for the single player campaign alone, well worth the money.