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Starcraft Single Player Campaign Preview

August 18th, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 7 Comments · Blizzard, Preview, RTS

I think that if you are using the word “fuck” four times in a preview that you really need to find another way of expressing yourself. And writing that something “screams Blizzard” isn’t very helpful considering they haven’t done an RTS in half a decade and I don’t see anything in the screenshots that scream much of anything.

But Garratt’s Starcraft II preview does have a helpful rundown of the first few missions in the campaign, none of which seem especially original or surprising. The videos and screenshots of the game convince me that it will have nice colors and explosions, but I’m still a little cautious about embracing it.

Part of the problem is the first Starcraft. It was the RTS that changed everything. Given how much the genre has changed over the years, it will be much harder for Starcraft to have that kind of impact. Blizzard is one of the most talented studios in the business and I have little doubt that it will be a shiny and impressive piece of programming.

I haven’t read much beyond the name itself, though, that makes me sit up and take notice. Maybe I need to get a hands on to be sold (and I wasn’t invited) but this is one of those all to frequent instances, I think, where nostalgia is fueling gamers’ attention.

Sometimes a shiny and impressive piece of programming is enough, of course.


7 Comments so far ↓

  • SwiftRanger

    I don’t know how StarCraft changed everything but it did have the best linear RTS campaign ever, a brilliant atmosphere and some very diverse yet balanced races. That was pretty much it though; archaic UI, cheating AI, 2D gameplay mechanics, lots of stuff to get irritated about, even in 1998. In other words: the genre had already changed a lot by that time. StarCraft would have received more criticism were it released in the same year as Dark Reign and Total Annihilation.

    I agree these missions don’t look that thrilling in SC2 but the excitement seems to come from what happens between them (the 3D adventure part, the starmap, upgrading stuff, etc.).

  • Troy

    “Diverse yet balanced races” was the big thing SC did, as well as making online multiplayer viable on a scale that no one had really tried. And its very popularity led to a boom in the genre. None of these are small things.

    Did other games come out soon after that changed other things in the genre? Sure. But SC is the big one and even if it has not aged well – it really hasn’t – its importance cannot be understated.

  • Tom Grant

    Troy, I really appreciate your approach to reviewing strategy games, including your skepticism about Starcraft II. I get a lot more out of reading your blog, or listening to your podcast, which help me spot good games I might have missed (AI War and Dominions, for example). I also appreciate your willingness to stick a pin into the hype-balloon created for better-known games, such as Empire: Total War and Blood Bowl. Keep up the good work.

  • Troy

    Thanks, Tom. But I actually liked Empire: Total War quite a bit. I was a consensus opinion there.

    My colleague Tom Chick, though, did not.

  • SwiftRanger

    Well, my point was that when StarCraft came out it was already very aged, you don’t even need to look at RTSs which came (shortly) after it. DR and TA both came out in ’97, more than six months prior to SC’s release. I’d even go as far as to say 1997 saw the biggest boom in the genre because that year literally everyone came out with their own RTS project and the market became bloated with good, inventive stuff and miserable clones, mostly the latter unfortunately. It’s much easier to shine when a game like SC gets released without any real competitors.

    I agree StarCraft changed several things, not all small stuff sure, but being so popular online (till this very day no non-Blizzard RTS has come close to it, it’s still an anomaly in that regard) doesn’t make it that much more of a revolution than earlier titles if you ask me. It is still a revolution in a way of course but I just can’t bring myself to say it changed “everything”. SC proved you need decent balance, not just the diverse races (like in War Wind), a dedicated matchmaking service and a recognizable twitch (WarCraft-in-space) to go big in the online space. And being released right when South-Korea discovered the internet of course. Lots of cool CGI scenes probably helped its cause as well. :)

    If we’re talking about pure game mechanics though then its “balanced race diversity” (emphasis on balanced, serious race diversity wasn’t new) is really the only feature that impacted the genre as an ideal every developer should strive for. Even for a 1998 game I think that’s a bit too slim when it gets so much (if not all the) praise now.

    Again I wonder whether it’s just the success factor. It’s nice to see you pierce through the StarCraft II bubble from time to time, Troy, but as you’ve now read yourself in VG247’s piece, some folks want this game to be big just because the first SC carries so much weight (read: sales).

    I am very curious how SCII will be judged in a year which is gonna be massive in terms of strategy games and whether polish is going to be enough this time around. Makes you wonder what is still left for 2009 actually…

  • Quinten

    The RTS that changed everything (today) is DoW2 in my opinion. I think Starcraft 2 being a traditional RTS with base-building seems outdated now. Even C&C4 is trying to change things up by having a base that is an unit. I will play Starcraft 2, only because I like the stories blizzard tells.

  • Punning Pundit

    Quinten : I’ve played maybe an hour now of DoW2. I have to say, thus far I’m really not impressed. I _like_ base building. Also: the unit AI is kind of awful. Beyond that… I’m not at all sure what is going on with my units at any given time. I don’t seem to be able to issue orders that my units will follow. _very_ frustrating.