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Starcraft 2 Wings of Liberty

Product Review

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Reviewer: Garrett Rudisill
Product: Starcraft 2 Wings of Liberty
Company: Blizzard Entertainment
Price: $59.99
Pros: Skill matching for multiplayer; Story of past Starcraft games in manual for players who missed pass games
Cons: Lacks LAN play


Product Rating: 5/5 Excellent!

by Garrett Rudisill, Alaskan Apple Users Group Member

Conflict of interest disclosure: Blizzard Entertainment provided a free copy of Starcraft 2 Wings of Liberty to me for the purposes of the review.

Starcraft is 2010’s best selling PC/Mac Strategy game…for obvious reasons. This game is worth your hard earned cash, let my review show you why.

I myself have never been a serious fan of real time strategy games, but this game changed my opinion. To start out, even though you have to make an account and spend 20 minutes installing the game’s 12 gigabytes of data (you can play without the disc after installation), the game takes this time to explain the story, without lengthening the install time. This game was made for the Beginner and the Hardcore fan, which is now rarely seen in the gaming market. As soon as you are done installing, registering, and patching (done automatically) you are prompted to do the tutorials to explain everything. They took under 5 minutes, yet made perfect sense and taught working methods to win. No complications. The graphical settings should be checked under the options tab before playing. The settings will have a basic setting depending on your graphics card, but are slightly lowered in some areas to make sure that the game will run smoothly for sure on your first play session. The menu clearly explains the main parts of adjusting the settings and what component will be affected by the setting. For example, my settings for textures are based on graphics card installed were on low as default, but when I click the change button beside each setting (low,medium,high,and ultra in this case) low has 128 megabytes next to it, medium has 256 megabytes, and etc. My graphics card has 256 megabytes, so I picked medium. Most panels are like that. No madder how much you love to multitask, be forewarned, this game will heavily bog your processor, and all other apps should be shut down, and the game will not run as smoothly in windowed mode, ALWAYS use fullscreen.

As long as things are set right, everything is smooth sailing from there. Gameplay is a mix of action and resource management, filled with tactics and just plain fun. The story is very interesting too. The game is simplified at first, and then things slowly and steadily are added on. The game also relies on tactics for each different race. There are the Zerg which are great in numbers but lack individual strength and make up for it in speed. The Protoss are strongest, but are slow to battle, and the Terrans are the best of both, having medium strength and speed.The multiplayer online is very long,intense, and entertaining. Games I played online literally ended 2 hours later because of how intense it was. Others ended in less than 5 minutes because of the opponent’s skill (the online multiplayer gives you the option for the first 50 games to be unranked but not skill matched). The skill matching is very good and the AI in the story are very smart.The story has many twists and turns, especially as it adds critical story choices to the mix. I won’t spoil the story, but will just say the choices are very hard to make, but luckily you can save before that choice and make both to see what happens without playing throughout the whole game again. Minor issues are occasional lag spikes when starting a cutscene, loading a level, or quitting, but are perfectly normal. I also couldn’t get the in-game voice chat to work, but managed to run Skype in the background to talk to friends.This game looks brilliant even on low settings. There are better looking games, but they lack the scale and depth of Starcraft. The environments, enemies, and minor details are vividly detailed.

When you add all the stuff together, you have a really great game. It has huge community support, quick and precise matching for multiplayer, supported mods and mapmaking, well designed and balanced gameplay, and eloquent character design and beautiful environments. It’s a great game, and the boxed version includes two 10 day passes for World of Warcraft, and two seven hour demos to Starcraft 2 with full access to all features. The new online integration when logged also gives some great new content to add replay value. A must buy.

This game runs on:
Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows 7 and Mac OSX 10.5.8, 10.6.2 or newer. Requires 12 GB Hard drive space; Windows: 2.6 GHz processor Intel or AMD and Direct X 9.0; Mac: Intel only, no specific speed needed (runs fine on 2.1 GHz processor); Mac/PC: 2GB of RAM; Mac/PC: 1024X720 Minimum screen resolution; Mac/PC: At least 128MB Graphics card (Nvidia and ATI Recommended, Intel GMA’s are not specified whether they work or not, so assume not). Internet required for registration to play game.


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