StarCraft II - part two

Below is the second and concluding part of the StarCraft II feature that we kicked off last Thursday. Should you have missed the first installment, thenthis linkwill send you over to its delights...

The fact that skill and timing beats straight statistical advantage is a running theme. The new Phoenix ship - a fast, flying Protoss unit - has the capacity to Overload. This is a powerful attack, discharging the Phoenix's energy in an explosive burst - but it's balanced by the need to sit down, recharge and have a think about what it's done. Used with skill, the Phoenix can wipe out entire ranks; used at the wrong time, Overload will leave you prone, stupid and dead.

The new Protoss Colossus - a spider-like unit that houses its control center atop four spear-like legs, seems more than equipped to deal with your everyday Zerg Rush, using a beam ray pointed at the floor. Preoccupied with ground threats, the Colossus is hugely vulnerable to air attack.

You get the idea - it's a game of counters, as is every RTS out there. Blizzard's point is that you get good by learning the counters - you get great by developing your reflexes and making eight decisions at once. The Protoss also have access to Phase Prisms - mobile shields that can float around and protect areas as you see fit. When you combine this with the ability to "warp in" your units, you can more or less create a Protoss army anywhere in the field.

Obviously, get too gung-ho and you'll leave yourself wide open to attack.

As for the Mothership, this is the most expensive and powerful Protoss unit, with a Planet Cracker attack to destroy ground troops, a Black Hole to draw in air units and Time Bomb to slow down all enemies in the area. This includes the cool ability to stop missiles, and it's a nice way to show off the Havok physics engine when the missiles drop harmlessly to the floor when the field wears off.