NERD ALERT: This is just a teaser of a full review of Star Craft II that I plan to write once…well, once I can pull myself away from defeating the Zerg and preserving peace throughout the galaxy.

I am a gamer, which means I am a geek. I have been playing video games since I was a wee lad and have grown up with the industry, watched it evolve and have remained an active participant in each new platform manifestation and release.

Whether is was playing as a pixelated spaceship on a Commodore 64, practically ripping the rubber cover off of my old Atari joystick, awkwardly holding my ColecoVision controller, learning combos on my Nintendo–> SEGA Genesis–>
3DO –> PS1 –> PS2 or playing HD games on my PS3 or tweaked out ‘puter, I love playing games…always have.

Game Consoles: Nerd-Boner

Perhaps it was the age that I was at when video games first gained mainstream popularity, but my interest and enjoyment has carried through to the present. Most people associate the word ‘gaming’ with console systems (i.e. PS3, XBox etc), however some of the best games, best graphics and best gameplay can be found on computer games. Especially with the advent of multi-core processors, increased RAM, high-end graphics cards with dedicated virtual memory and widescreen monitors, PC gaming continues to thrive and take gaming to new levels of realism.

When it comes to computer games, by far my favorite genre are RTS games (Real Time Strategy). This is essentially a game in which you have a “God-Like” overview of the action from above and can command units via point-and-click mouse movements and keyboard shortcuts. The objective is to strategically collect resources, build structures within your base (which in turn, produce certain units like soldiers, tanks, weapons & armor upgrades, experimental weapons etc) and complete multiple objectives per level. RTS games have covered everything from WWII, The Roman Empire and Medieval Times…all the way up to futuristic games that occur in the “not-so-distant” future, space or an alternate reality. Personally, my favorite RTS of all-time was the Company of Heroes series, which was just exceptional and still is, despite being a few years old.

Company of Heroes

In terms of RTS playing style, some people like to “turtle up”, which is to say that their playing style is one in which they create strong defenses first (to protect their assets) and build a substantial force before venturing out on the offensive.

Others prefer to initiate rush attacks in which they produce a small amount of units quickly, in the hopes of overrunning their opponent (either AI / Computer controlled or an actual person through online multiplayer) and destroying or capturing their structures / units before they have a chance to defend themselves.

Personally, I fall into the former category. I really enjoy creating a strong defense while amassing my armies to go on the attack later. There is nothing more satisfying (at least to moi) than to create a bottleneck in which your enemy falls prey to the bunkers, missile defenses, machine gun posts etc that you created to decimate them when they have the audacity to attack you…all the while, sending (a massive amount of) your troops to destroy their (now) undefended base. 🙂

Which brings me to what I am playing now…the long-awaited sequel to the original, Star Craft II! Over a decade in the making, this series has a very loyal and passionate following…so much so, that even 10 years after the original’s release, players were still competing in tournaments around the world. It is also the series that redefined the RTS genre and that all other RTS game developers that followed attempted to mimic.

Hell, it's about time...

Developed by Blizzard Entertainment, who also developed the wildly popular (and ridiculously addictive) WoW (World of Warcraft) series, Star Craft II was well worth the wait for fans of the original.

Since obtaining the game, I have neglected basic daily routines such as bathing, general hygiene, eating (well, assuming Hot-Pockets and Mr. Pibb at the computer don’t count as “eating”…more like sustenance to keep brain and mouse-clicking activity alive) and I think one of my relatives died…but I was too preoccupied to answer the phone…but I’m sure someone will leave a message.

Originally I used a temporary activation key provided by a friend in order to play the free 7 hour trial…of which I blew through in one sitting, if that gives an idea of how immersive the game can be. Needless to say, I purchased the full game / permanent key ($59.99) shortly after and have not looked back.

Blizzard allows you to either digitally download the game, or you can go to the store and buy the disc-based product for installation on your machine.

I can also be a perfectionist when playing, which has led to multiple times in which I completed a mission…walked away…only to return, convinced I could do it better and faster, not to mention gain one of the many achievements that you can earn for performing certain side missions.

As I stated previously in this post, I intended to only write a teaser post simply letting listeners know what game I was currently playing. I plan to write a full review of the game once I have had an opportunity to play through the single-player campaign and log some hours playing the online multi-player with friends…which may take some time, as I am enjoying every ass-numbing minute that I sit glued to my computer playing (and re-playing) missions. However, I will save the specifics relating to gameplay, graphics, storyline, co-op, multiplayer, hardware specs and other goodies for when I write the full review.

So, in the meantime, take a gander at the following videos to get an idea of what all the excitement is about…and certainly feel free to add your own review, comments and impressions of the game if you have already beat it or are also a fan. 🙂

Full and in-depth review coming soon!

– Dana

  • J.D. Luedi

    Company of Heroes is pretty awesome…but I gotta put the Total War series as the best RTS ever