Starcraft II Updated Hands-On

We get our hands on Blizzard's latest strategy game, from the show floor of the publisher's 2008 Worldwide Invitational.

by

PARIS--While the big announcement at this weekend's 2008 Blizzard Worldwide Invitational was the announcement of Diablo III, strategy fans had plenty to cheer about because the show floor contained a section specifically devoted to Starcraft II. Hundreds of PCs were on hand, allowing attendees to be among the first in the world to play this highly anticipated sequel, and judging by the attendance in the Starcraft II section, it seems attendees weren't disappointed. We had a chance to spend some time with the game as well, and though there wasn't a lot that was new in the game since our last look back in May, every chance to play Starcraft II is an enjoyable one.

The show floor demo featured three single-player modes (each against a different faction), with the single-player Zerg battle set to easy difficulty and the vs. Protoss and vs. Terran missions set to medium difficulty. There was also a multiplayer mode that pitted players against a random opponent from somewhere on the show floor LAN.

Though it had been a while since we'd played the original Starcraft, jumping into Starcraft II was an immediately familiar experience. We spent the majority of our time with the Terran faction, and while the tech tree seems similar to where it has been for a while, Blizzard was quick to point out (during an afternoon press conference) that the tech trees and units for the game are still in flux. A case in point was the Thor unit, which is a massive mech and is one of the largest units available to the Terrans. In our May look at the Terran faction, Thor units were being built by SCV; in the build here in Paris, Thor units are now pumped out from the Factory, along with other ground units, like the siege tank.

As Blizzard senior art director Sam Didier explained in the Starcraft II press conference, the Thor unit has undergone some significant changes since its inception. For example, early in its implementation, the Thor had a lockdown ability, similar to that of the siege tank. Now, the Thor can attack both air and land units but does not lock itself down when attacking. According to Didier, the Thor's final capabilities, like many Starcraft II units, still need to be locked down and will undergo more development as the game continues to come along.

We were surprised to see our vespene gas reserves deplete so quickly during our matches. As Blizzard explains it, it's an intentional choice that adds another degree of macro management to the game. In effect, you quickly run out of the two gas reserves you begin with and are forced to explore the map and expand your territory. That said, like every other aspect of the game, how quickly vespene is mined is still to be finalized. While we can see how it encourages exploration, it can also be frustrating to watch as two vespene reserves are depleted while plenty of crystal is left for mining.

Visually, Starcraft II is a treat regardless of which race you're playing as. The 3D engine that runs the game is impressive indeed--modern enough to render the different faction units with a tremendous amount of detail, while staying true to the game's clean, bold design. When you zoom in to check out the details of your units, you get a feel for the amount of care the unit designers have taken with each unit. The construction animations alone are impressive--as your SCV builds up a barracks, your Zerg larva morphs, or your Protoss probe warps in a forge, there are lots of little details that are sure to elicit a smile.

The game's sound is coming along nicely too. Though some units share the same voice track (such as the siege tank and the marauder), all of them portray that same sense of humor that has come to be a hallmark for Blizzard (we're especially big fans of the Thor voice actor, who does his hammiest Arnold Schwarzenegger impression in the game).

It seems that Starcraft II has lots more evolution to complete before it's ready for primetime, though we can safely say that the game we played on the show floor today was a lot of fun and was true to the original's spirit. We look forward to bringing you more reports on how the game is shaping up in the coming months.

Discussion

204 comments
BenBenBen93
BenBenBen93

2009 GOTY wow high expectations theirs COD 6 !!! in 2009 even games like RE5 and FF13 look and will propbebly be awsome a defo get an starcraft 1 is stil my fav rts probebly fro simplisity

Sergeitz
Sergeitz

It appears its gonna be another decade before the game is released, blizzard should announce its games a little bit closer to the release date, and dont keep us waiting for so long...

progcer
progcer

i hope u can select more than 12 guys...that would be nice

boris_viper
boris_viper

The Protoss Shall Rule the Universe...UHHHHH!!!

HufflePuff-TLH
HufflePuff-TLH

i am a true fan of SC and Sc2 make me worry from waht i have seen and read.

user5689
user5689

People. There's this thing. It's called spelling. Also, it has a twin. Grammar. That is all.

nix3r
nix3r

Haha listen to all the silly koreans and their broken engrish.

klinsi
klinsi

This game gonna rock & create the new dimension of RTS gameplay AGAIN like SC do in 98 ! SC is the god of RTS game so SC 2 too, I believe that considering Blizzard is the one of the finest god of good game too (Diablo ? Warcraft ? Blackthorne? Viking ? totally awesome game in that years even until now) But still hope this time Terran get a new powerful arsenal to combat the increasingly powerful Zerg !

Sorrowman111111
Sorrowman111111

Ai ya...!!! where is the Flamethrower?? when i watched SC2 game play demo i didnt see this unit in the Terran barrack. Do they actually havent put this unit back?

jarule88
jarule88

Ok after reading some comments I came to conclusion......... Most of you didn't even played starcraft, or you are simply an ass :)...... IT WAS THE BESt RTS of all time... and starcarft 2 WILL BE EVEN BETTER if thats possible than SC1..... I played it almost for 3 years...... even when warcraft 3 came out, I played SC.... I think that some people don't deserve to play Starcraft 2.... Do you all agree with me ? :)

VGuzz
VGuzz

I'm so jacked for Starcraft 2 I started playing 1 again. After all these years its still the best RTS game of all time and thousands still play on Bnet. I even just started winning BGH matches again. God I can't wait any longer!!

Sorrowman111111
Sorrowman111111

Complaint for what!!! If u'll buy and play it ....!!!

Azuki
Azuki

This will be the greatest rts ever, I really hope it comes out this year. I must have played sc1s campaign 30 or more times over, not to mention the countless custom maps I made and crazy multiplayer games i took part in. I am so glad that blizz didn't go for 'hyper realism' or 'dark n gritty' because thats just not what sc is. SC is comical stylised sci-fi, its all about humor and fun not about being emo and bleak. Despite that its still easily capable of being taken seriously story wise. SC1s cinematics are STILL just as awesome now as they were back in the late 90s.

S3RAF1M
S3RAF1M

You ar all idi0ts. All blizzard games are great and perfect ,all yoa ass3s go an play generals... or sam other crp.... star craft 1 is still playing all over the world.... and the new installment is gonna shak pc industry like diablo 3 has...allready shaken.....

ThePielord
ThePielord

daaaammn! it looks to childish and cartonish and i think will be a bad game and ruin the great franchise. What I really loved about the Starcraft so far was the whole serious, realistic atmosphere which draws you in to to the game (although i was 10 when i first played Starcraft ) and i think this game is going to lack thats and i'm not sure i will even get the game

HicktownMayor
HicktownMayor

I played Starcraft when I wasl like 10 years old, Lostpower. However, I still agree with you, snoopyfish don't know what he's talking about. I had never played an RTS before Starcraft. I thought it was amazing. I (till about 2 years ago) still played it online every now and then which it still had a lot of players. A game that was at that time 8-9 years old still being played frequently online is a major accomplishment in itself. Try putting in an older PS2 game or Xbox game (say one of the Need for Speeds or somethin like that), you can't play it online cuz there is no one else to play against! Starcraft was one of the best games ever created, especially for the time in which it came out.

LostPower
LostPower

Holy **** I missed snoopyflyfise's retarded comment. The game got bad reviews? Hope they learned lessons? LOL. Lets see.... 1998 release date..... snoopyflyfish is probably.... 12. So he was reading those "bad reviews" when he was like 2 years old or somethen. Indeed!

LostPower
LostPower

I usually don't comment. But after seeing comments like "prototype24red: i agree the first one wasnt that good." I was in disbelief. Unless you HATE rts games you either 1) love SC, or 2) have no idea wtf you are talking about. So im going to go with choice #2 here, and say: STFU, your probably never even played the game. The reason? You were probably 8 years old when it came out LOL.

Maxer9
Maxer9

I giggle with anticipation about how much fun I'm going to have on battle.net. If SC2 can really deliver the constant amount of change bnet has seen in every bnet game to date... oh, I can't even begin to describe how giddy I get when I think about it. Come out already!

snoopyflyfish
snoopyflyfish

I tell you i realy did not liked the first starcraft, i mean that game was not well made at all that is what i think but now that 3 years have gone by think about it, we now have Duo Core Sli and all that, those years ago there was no such thing so the graphics must be god but the game and story well i hope it has improved since the first game, they did get bad readings on the first game let us hope they learned the lesson of what they did wrong in the first game.

commander1122
commander1122

dun really think that dota will happen in starcraft 2.....mabye in warcraft 4...btw i hope....in warcraft 4....the hero inventory will improve and look like diablo.......and not the old hero inventory wif just 6 slot....................btw mabye we need to wait until dead only will c this happen....

commander1122
commander1122

dun really think that dota will happen in starcraft 2.....mabye in warcraft 4...btw i hope....in warcraft 4....the hero inventory will improve and look like diablo.......and not the old hero inventory wif just 6 slot....................btw mabye we need to wait until dead only will c this happen....

bboyart
bboyart

For a sequel that comes every 2-3 years it is normal to be very similar to previous game. After 10 years, alot of things have changed (as exapmle 1st starcraft was 2D), and you whould expect that the developer has come up with interesting ideas. I played Starcraft almost 10 years before. Me and my buddies back then played it on LAN, we had 50m of network cable sprung acros the mall from one store to another to the third (we played it at work, after hours). Then it was a blast. But now I don't know i we would go trough that much trouble again. I hope it won't be just the olg game (no matter how good it was then) packed modern, and that it has great single player campaign.

me_TC
me_TC

i wasnt really in to the first star craft but dis 1 looks good hope coms out dis yr!!

rockutd
rockutd

Well i just hope that Blizzards announces the release date, so we wouldn't be left waiting in the dark.

thatmy
thatmy

good good good i can see a lot of classic games are coming back hehe...Starcraft 2 dun ever makes me wait for another 10 years to play another new edition ok? :P U are on my buying list oredi.

Tentaculat
Tentaculat

Hmmm...in all the vids it seems that units still can't move and attack at the same time, wich is pretty much a must in any RTS now days. I wonder if they are making a new Starcraft or just putting the old one on a new engine.

Draknahr
Draknahr

@ Gwarpup: Actually Gas Powered Games is making a DOTA style game atm called Demigod. www.demigodthegame.com Looks pretty sick.

Gwarpup
Gwarpup

Cant wait to see finally a new DOTA style game with much much better graphics, physics, etc than those from the WC3 engine. Its amazing that no other game developers have tried to create a DOTA style game from the ground up. And yes there will be a Hero system with experience and Inventory built into the SC2 World Creator so DOTA can be done. Though there will probably have to be a WC2 expansion before theres the same huge variety of abilities and Hero types that are playable. Id also love to see some of the Neverwinter Nights 2 community work on a Dota style mod.

stangmar822
stangmar822

no offence to blizzard but they need to make something new besides relying on there preexisting game series, starcraft 2 will be fun but i want soething NEW

gandhios
gandhios

Not going to be revolutionary, just really solid. Nothing about it seems all that new, but I like RTS and seing one become perfect is what I need

MAZ85
MAZ85

I like how Blizzard guys take their time to bring an incredible revolutionary game

hermez
hermez

This is amazing¡¡¡ as a veteran Starcraft player and one of the first to have the title running in a LAN for a real challenge with the friends, I just can say that everything looks great. Let's hope nothing changes and Blizzard comes up as the giant that always have been in the industry. Hermez...

hermez
hermez

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Tharros89
Tharros89

Looking good! @ deathlord98 troll somewhere else. Same to weaselciuy.

rogermao
rogermao

starcraft 2 and diablo3, I cant wait for either, both look great so far

hobobski
hobobski

i seriously doubt my incredibly crappy computer can handle it. looks good though...

Pwnmachine21
Pwnmachine21

Saying EA sucks is one of the most idiotic things I've ever heard, but yea I duno about c&c being better, first off they are all diff. play styles, DOW2 also.. so to say which one is better is really just depending on what kind of rush/strategy play style you like most. Also a big part will be who is most balanced.

deathlord98
deathlord98

Ha who cares Command & Conquer is so much better then star craft

quirkelchomp
quirkelchomp

I wonder if i can make it portable like i've done with the original starcraft...

edx1234
edx1234

What are the system requerments??????????????????????????????????????????????