StarCraft 2 - Stripped
Updated: Mar 27
StarCraft 2 has been the front-runner in the RTS genre since 2010. With several expansions, and countless balance updates Blizzard has kept this games competitive integrity alive. I feel StarCraft 2 has achieved a strong balance for casual and competitive players with the Arcade mode, vs. AI, and the ranked ladder. With the base game being free to play now it's definitely worth taking a look, even if you were on the fence before!
This is StarCraft 2 stripped.
With it’s two expansions SC2 has three main campaigns that follow the three races of the universe: Zerg, Terran, and Protoss. The first two campaigns follow smaller goals: Kill Mengsk, Find Kerrigan, and Find Raynor. The main plot is revealed in Heart of the Swarm; stop Amon, the fallen Xel Naga. This main plot culminates within the last expansion, Legacy of the Void.
In my opinion all three campaigns were well crafted. They all had variable interesting missions where the player could use a variety of strategies to complete them. Smaller mission objectives allowed you to upgrade your troops in various ways to fill out your armies with different strengths. Giving you meaningful rewards for completing side objectives.
Heart of the Swarm stands out the most with it’s incredibly interesting Zerg characters. The Zerg are personalized exceptionally well within it to help justify their behavior we’ve seen throughout two games. The evolution missions were always exciting, Kerrigan becomes more than the heartless Queen of Blades, and between-mission dialogue keeps you invested in the characters.
Wings of Liberty is the first installment and the one that got us hooked. With characters like Raynor, Tychus, and Swann you’ll find yourself exhausting the dialogue after every mission. The upgrades Swann gives makes doing the bonus objectives almost a necessity and always being one step ahead of Mengsk gives us that the best kind of erection: the sweet Justice Boner.
Legacy of the Void is a little more dull personality wise but only slightly. Personally the Protoss have always fascinated me. It’s always been my favorite StarCraft race, and this campaign did not disappoint. Post campaign Artanis became one of my favorite StarCraft characters. Alarak provides an amazing counterbalance to Artanis, and Karax reminds me of a Protoss Swann. The missions were fairly interesting although there was definitely more of a base defense focus on a lot of the missions. It’s a fun and exciting end to the StarCraft 2 story.
StarCraft 2 is no exception when it comes to Blizzards amazing Cinematics. In fact, Legacy of the Void’s cinematic is my favorite Blizzard cinematic to date; it tops even World of Warcrafts stunning cut-scenes. They’re well rendered, emotional, and always provide to the story. I’ve never seen one and thought it was unnecessary, ugly, or unwanted. I don’t know anyone who can say they don’t at least find the cut-scenes visually enthralling.
Arcade mode is a fun alternative to the standard gameplay of StarCraft. There are alternative options to play that provide a break from the Standard RTS formula. Tower defense and a plethora of others like Starbattles and Monobattles can provide an interesting break from the intensity of a standard game. Most of the Arcade games get exponentially more fun with friends, and with the base game being free now it’s worth getting your friends in to try.
StarCraft 2 has the classic gameplay style of an RTS. There are 3 different playable factions: the Terrans, space faring humans, the Zerg (I’m going to have to quote the wiki here), a terrifying and ruthless amalgamation of biologically advanced, arthropodal aliens, and the Protoss, the first Xel Nega creation and a powerful Psionic species.
With each race having a plethora of different units with different abilities the gameplay and strategic differences are endless. Animations are smooth, and units are easy to command with different hotkeys. The game is constantly being competitively balanced so there shouldn’t be too many things that are glaringly overpowered.
If you’ve got an itch to try your skill against other players there is the ranked ladder where you can test your mettle against the others players.
For more casual players you’ve got unranked, vs. AI, and Archon mode. Archon is a newer game mode released with Legacy of the Void that allows to players to control the same team. This is a fun option for players that might not be so great at managing both the micro and macro of StarCraft.
StarCraft 2 is exceptionally well rendered and there is plenty of detail in the smallest of units. The landscapes are vivid and contrast well with the units to provide easy recognition of what you are actually looking at.
The designs are coherent and every faction has very distinct looks that coincide well with all other designs within itself. The visuals of this game still look great 8 years after the release. Most animations are incredible smooth and you never feel it looks clunky.
StarCraft lore goes back quite a ways and the world is fleshed out. The characters have meaningful backstories and the conversations within the campaign make you care about them individually. It’s easy to get immersed in the world of StarCraft and think about the lore even when you’re just playing a quick match. For a strategy game I have no complaints about the world-building Blizzard has done.
With great campaigns, an Arcade mode, competitive balancing, stunning cinematics, interesting lore, and great visual design, StarCraft 2 has held its place being my favorite real time strategy. Blizzard did not cut corners with this game and with it’s continued updates it holds my attention even to this day. Buck Naked Gaming gives StarCraft 2 an 8/10