The light bulb, penicillin, mathematics, democracy, and porn. They’re all important inventions, testaments to mankind’s collective creativity and ingenuity. But none of them were ever as much fun as StarCraft. Well, maybe most of them. It’s been about 12 years since the first StarCraft launched. The seminal title was a genre-defining game that cast a shadow over every RTS that followed in its massive footprints. But this week, StarCraft fans finally got the sequel they’ve been waiting over a decade for and it definitely doesn’t disappoint.
The singleplayer campaign resumes where the StarCraft: Brood War expansion left off. Players take on the role of Jim Raynor, leader of Raynor’s Raiders, a ragtag group of rebels railing against the unjust rule of Arcturus Mengsk, Emperor of the Terran Dominion. But Mengsk’s autocratic rule is only the beginning of Raynor’s problems.
The Zerg have also returned. Led by the Queen of Blades, the bug-like aliens are wreaking havoc across the galaxy, infesting Terran colonists as they search for a mysterious artifact. It doesn’t help that Raynor still harbors heartfelt feelings for the the leader of the Zerg swarm. Before she sprouted demon-like wings and a thick layer of carapace armor, the Queen of Blades used to be Sarah Kerrigan, a Terran Ghost operative and close friend of Raynor.
Above: After a betrayal by Mengsk, Sarah Kerrigan was transformed into the Queen of Blades
Enter Zeratul, a Protoss Dark Templar and former ally of Raynor. The mysterious warrior leaves Raynor Raynor with a warning, suggesting that Sarah Kerrigan (aka the Queen of Blades), may be the only one able to save the galaxy from a threat far greater than the Zerg swarm.
With the corrupt and irresponsible Terran Dominion to topple, a galaxy-wide Zerg assault led by a lost love, and a mysterious prophecy foretelling the destruction of everything, Jim Raynor has a lot to deal with. But even if you aren’t already caught up with the intricacies of the plot leading up to Wings of Liberty, it’s still easy to settle into Wings of Liberty’s new story arc. There’s lots of expositional cutscenes to catch you up to speed, and they’re all top-notch with the slick high-quality CG work Blizzard is famous for.
A ton of great RTS titles have released since StarCraft: Brood War, but despite all the great campaigns we’ve played since then, StarCraft II: Wing of Liberty still manages to make every mission feel exciting and fresh. Strangers to RTS titles shouldn’t be daunted by StarCraft II. The singleplayer campaign eases newcomers into the game gracefully, but still offers interesting twists for RTS veterans with unique objectives and special scenarios.
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