The standard units in StarCraft II are great and all, but sometimes you want to call in a little extra firepower. Enter: the mercenaries. While you’re in the cantina you can head on over to Graven Hill’s table and check out all the latest guns-for-hire. After you pay a modest fee for one of their contracts you’ll be able to call in your newly acquired mercenaries from the Merc Compound, and they’ll be dropped into the battlefield immediately. Like the upgrades they aren’t game breaking, but they are a welcome addition to an army of any size.
Real decisions [Spoilers!]
We usually want to be the good guy. We’ve tried being the bad guy, but we always end up feeling guilty. However, in StarCraft II you're faced with decisions where it's impossible to make everyone happy.
For example, at one point you're faced with the grim reality of the Zerg infesting some colonists you recently rescued. So we’re challenged with either cleansing the entire colony and upsetting the hot doctor we rescued, or pissing off the Protoss, who've been solid allies of Jimmy Raynor. While we could have just gone for the option that would have helped us get the next tier of our Zerg research completed, we ended up making the call to side with our old Protoss allies.
Above: You’ll find the Lost Viking arcade cabinet in the cantina on the Hyperion
Above: It’s a cute reference to the side-scrolling puzzler, The Lost Vikings, which was developed by Blizzard back when they were known as Silicon & Synapse
Blizzard, always ones to drop references any chance they get, programmed a faux arcade game into StarCraft II (that's right, there's a game in your game so you can play while you play). Lost Viking, a clone of Galaga, follows the adventure of a lost Viking trying to find its way home. On its way, it has to fight waves of incoming units, as well as challenging bosses. Unfortunately, our brain functions seized up during the first boss and we were unable to score anything above 14,000 (very, very low). But let's just keep that between us, alright?
Just like here in the real world, the news network of StarCraft II is out to sell its own brand of information. The talking head of UNN, Donny Vermillion, spouts out information constantly condemning the actions of Jim Raynor (whether he’s done them or not), and his field reporter Kate Lockwell is often cut off for going against the narrative they're looking to distribute. Along with this you'll get press conferences with Mengsk, and commercials advertising the tour schedule of Level 800 Elite Tauren Chieftain. ROCK!
Thanks to their implementation in World of Warcraft (and their carbon copying from Xbox Live), it came as a surprise to no one when StarCraft II released with a full slew of achievements. And while most would see these as needless frill, we actually kind of like them. They help me keep track of all our individual stats and they all but remove the phrase "screenshot or it didn't happen" from skeptical gamers' vocabularies.
July 30, 2010
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