I pre-ordered Starcraft 2 from Amazon.com as soon as I heard that Blizzard issued a release date for it (July 27, 2010). I felt pleasantly surprised when Amazon emailed me a code for the Beta version of the new game. A Beta version is like a prototype. Blizzard has released the Beta to a limited group of users along with surveys so it can fix problems before the general release.
Perhaps it’s not fair to call this a review; it’s more like my first impressions. So far, I’ve only played once. But I want to document how I perceive the game at this moment.
One new aspect I noticed right away is that there are more gas deposits. Each mineral deposit I have seen so far has two gas deposits – one on each side. This makes it easier to build up resources and buy advanced units.
I also noticed many new units. I played as Protoss against a Terran opponent. One of the new units is the Phoenix, an air unit much like the Scout. It can attack air and ground units.
Blizzard replaced the Toss (short for Protoss) Dragoon with a unit called the Stalker. It has a darker look, but it costs just slightly more than the old version (125 m, 50g vs. 100m, 50g) and seems to do the same damage in battle.
Visually, it’s very different. Part of me misses the clean lines and simplicity of the original, but I can appreciate a different aesthetic at play here. It looks more like Blizzard’s Warcraft games and since those continue to be very popular, many will like the changes. The environments are more complex and full of vivid detail. The environments do have natural boundaries and a player will need to build air units to access the entire map. So far, there’s no way I see around that. But that means that a player may have some protection from rushes because the opponent must develop advanced technology.
Blizzard has brought new buildings into the game. One of the many new buildings for the Toss, the Twilight Council features new upgrades, including one that allows Stalkers to teleport.
There are definitely many similarities to the original. The zealot is still a strong infantry unit, effective at ground assault. The Carrier, complete with interceptors, remains a formidable tool for achieving air superiority. But judging by the influx of new air units for all three races, the game isn’t over just because someone has Carriers. Also, the Probe is still a fantastic workhorse, able to hop quickly from project to project.
I’m looking forward to playing again and going deeper into the game. It’s exciting and fun.
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