For more than 20 years the titles from Blizzard Entertainment have reigned supreme atop the RTS hierarchy. Starcraft 2 released in 2010 as the latest installment in that long lineage, which was established with Starcraft 1 in 1998 and confirmed with Warcraft III in 2002. Among the engaging gameplay, dramatic single player campaign writing, smooth graphics, and polished experience, Starcraft 2 delivers an unforgettable real time strategy game. It offers something for every gamer. Newcomers to the genre can play the single player campaign on easy to absorb a galaxy spanning space opera with heroes, villains, twists, and turns. The cut scenes are beautiful and voice acting superb. Veterans can continually increase the difficulty and master the Terran, Protoss, and Zerg races for some seriously tough AI battles and in-game achievements. And then multiplayer addicts can battle against one another and climb the ladders to eSports fame. Blizzard&'s intellectual property is certainly old and Starcraft II may not be the flashiest title around, but it's certainly a timeless one.
A top-class game from every angle
A gripping sci-fi story with high fun-factor gameplay in one of the most polished packages in the RTS genre. Starcraft II has so much to love.
To get started you'll need a Battlenet account with blizzard. It's a seamless experience that sets you up with the Battlenet client which is where you can play all games from Blizzard. Starcraft II doesn't need to fully download to play, instead there is a minimum amount to install and then you can get started, meanwhile streaming data as needed.
In the free trial version you can play through the entire Wings of Liberty campaign focusing on the Terran (humans) storyline. It's the first of three. The second campaign focuses on the Zerg (insect-like swarm aliens) while the third finishes the entire arc with the Protoss campaign. They're humanoid psionic warrior-monks. Blizzard allows you to play the prologue of the Protoss campaign, which brings you into the story of Zeratul, one of the most famous and important characters in the Starcraft story.
Starting with the tutorial is always the best option for newcomers. It takes you through the mechanics of moving units, attacking, resource management, creating buildings, and achieving each mission's objective. Veterans of the genre can probably skip the tutorial. Once you get the hang of the basic gameplay you can start the Wings of Liberty campaign on casual, easy, medium, or brutal difficulty. Now you get to dive into the first of a three-part epic saga of sci fi prophecy and power.
The game is a blast to play
It weaves a wonderful blend of game mechanics that make you think of how to optimize your resources, units, and attacks. Then when it feels like too much work, you get to sit back and watch beautiful scenes unfold as the story progresses. Each mission feels like it has a purpose and Blizzard varies the mission objectives to keep it interesting the whole time.
Co-Op missions help maintain the replay value of Starcraft II. You can choose to play with an online friend or an AI in shorter, objective based missions that aren't part of the story campaign. What's cool here is that you get to check out all of the playable heroes in the Starcraft II universe. Jim Raynor, Kerrigan, Artanis, and many others. These story-important characters have special abilities beyond the typical units in the standard game.
Multiplayer delivers the highest replay factor if you want to test your skills against other players. It's a very different experience from single player. The way to beat your opponent is often a frantic pace of resource gathering, expansion, constant attacking, and requires a deep knowledge of the three factions. to make the best attacks, counter-attacks, and adjustments. Competitive RTS games aren't for everyone, though, and it can feel like more work than fun.
Custom games are another way to change up the standard game. Between Melee and Arcade custom games, you can play on altered rules, custom units, and user created maps.
The Collection tab houses all the different items, skins, voice bundles, premium maps, and other purchased custom enhancements you can collect for the game.
Where can you run this program?
Given its age, Starcraft II should run well on any modern PC. Recommended requirements are for Windows 10 64-bit, Intel Core i5 or AMD FX processor, GTX 650 or Radeon 7790, and 4 GB of RAM.
Is there a better alternative?
You can't go wrong with any of the other Blizzard developed real time strategy games. Starcraft I and its companion expansion of Brood War is widely considered the greatest RTS of all time. It's still played as a professional eSport in South Korea and while the graphics are outdated, the rest of it is timeless. Warcraft III is another strong contender. It's a fantasy setting as opposed to sci-fi, and the feel of the massive armies in Starcraft take a more focused approach with fewer units and a bit slower pace.
Blizzard has a knack for making the highest quality games in the industry. They haven't made a dud yet. From the slick Battlenet client to the first of many movie-quality cinematics you see once the game opens, you know Blizzard poured their heart and soul into this game. But calling it a game misses an important point & Starcraft II is ostensibly three games in one. The free version gives you loads of content from the first game with many modular options to add content as you want. The gameplay is incredibly fun but demanding and the combinations to winning missions and multiplayer games are endless. The cinematic feel of the storyline puts some movies and television shows to shame. The maturity of the game, now almost a decade old, means that bugs are few and the community established. Starcraft II may not grab you for life, but it certainly deserves a place on a list of games you must play before you die.
Should you download it
Yes. Considering how much content you get for free, it's a must-download if you're in the market for an RTS or an incredible story driven game. Blizzard gives you tons of options for how to spend money to further the experience.