StarCraft II - hands-on

When Blizzard announced StarCraft II in May at their Invitational in South Korea, it was greeted with a cry of joy around the world. Even the recent announcement ofa second expansion to World of Warcraftcouldn't take the wind out of StarCraft II 's sails. BlizzCon attendees were the first in the world to get a chance to see and play the updated Terrans (as only the Protoss were unveiled in May).

Meet the older, wiser, and drunken Jim Raynor. From the bridge of the Hyperion, the bitter and hung-over, Raynor leads a band of mercenaries across the universe in search of aliens to blast to bits for compensation.

The Hyperion is laid out in a style reminiscent of Bioware's Knights of the Old Republic. A central star map lets you choose which planet, and therefore which mission you want to take on. And characters hang about waiting for us to speak to them including Tychus, a Reaper, and Matt Harner, Raynor's second in command. Entering new areas of the ship, or talking to certain characters can start a cut scene where subplots are introduced or developed.

Dialogue trees, one of the many new additions in StarCraft II, allows us different options for discussion, as well as a way to develop not only the character and story, but also the subplots that abound on the vessel.