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StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty. © Blizzard Entertainment

StarCraft has been for more than a decade the flagship video game created by Blizzard Entertainment, rivaling the popularity of Warcraft. The Brood War standalone expansion quickly followed but it took the developers an additional 10 years to come up with a sequel. StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty is the first chapter in this epic story and it stays true to the celebrated gameplay of the original, while taking advantage of all the advancements of technology.

Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan are the protagonists of this chapter, this time fighting different wars, but their fates are inexorably intertwined. The loyal fans will celebrate the return of other characters they grew to love and use an eclectic mix of classic units and new additions. The single player campaign of Wings of Liberty sets the stage for an epic confrontation, while the multiplayer is the place where the pro-gamers of tomorrow are born.

Key facts about StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty

  • An amazing single player campaign centered on Jim Raynor and the tough decisions he has to make.
  • The best looking Starcraft game so far, with stellar animations and the same immersive gameplay.
  • Units are less expensive, faster to build and less resilient, which results in fast-paced action.
  • Micromanagement gives way to macromanagement, as keeping units alive is less important than keeping the economy going.
  • Brand-new units are introduced to all three races and a bundle of new abilities are added.

The StarCraft games

Brood War brought a couple of new units into the fray and turned StarCraft into a perfectly balanced game. Many of the units offered in the single player campaign were not available in the multiplayer games and Blizzard Entertainment sticks to this strategy. StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty has immense replayability, as strategy fans actually have the chance of playing two different games against the AI and human players.

Wings of Liberty picks up where the story stopped in the Starcraft standalone expansion, and brings back into the spotlight the seemingly endless conflict between Terran, Zerg and Protoss races. Better than ever cinematics and cut scenes spice up the storyline, with dazzling beautiful graphics and special effects. As all StarCraft games, the first chapter debuts with a fascinating video that marks the moment when the long wait for a new installment has ended.

What is StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty?

Dedicated fans of the franchise need not to worry because Wings of Liberty is actually not the beginning of the end. The developers have promised that the epic storyline doesn’t end with StarCraft 2, but the upcoming three chapters will only tie the loose ends into a compelling narrative. The first chapter focuses on the Terrans and has a two-pronged effect, on one hand helping players get familiar with the race and the new unit added.

Screenshot of StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty. © Blizzard Entertainment
Screenshot of StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty. © Blizzard Entertainment

At the same time, it follows Jim Raynor on his endless quest to save Sarah, after Kerrigan succumbed to the Zerg and turned into the murderous Queen of Blades. Familiar characters such as Arcturus Mengsk are back and both the Zerg and Protoss have their own agenda that frequently interferes with Jim’s endeavor. Compared to the original game and the Brood War expansion, StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty features more cinematics witch look better than ever before.

Gameplay of StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty

  • Multiplayer games are played at an even faster pace, as units are now more fragile, less expensive and inflict more damage.
  • StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty has a fully fledged ranked leaderboard, with players starting in Bronze leagues and can go as high as Grandmasters.
  • Micromanagement is more difficult, but in Wings of Liberty the larger army almost always wins, so micromanagement is at the core of the successful gameplay.
  • All three races now have special abilities such as mules and chronoboosts that increase the economy output.

Those who were lucky enough as to play the original StarCraft game will find more similarities than differences between the two titles. Blizzard chose not to walk the less traveled paths and instead built on the tremendous popularity of its flagship game. The drill is the same, with players building bases, gathering resources and amassing large armies in an attempt to overpower their rivals.

Micromanagement has always played an important role in StarCraft and Korean professional players push the boundaries of what was regarded as humanly possible. In StarCraft Wings of Liberty you will once again have the chance of outplaying your opponent by keeping the units alive during intense battles. Micromanagement plays a smaller role and the actual challenge is to outspend your opponents.

Screenshot of StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty. © Blizzard Entertainment
Screenshot of StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty. © Blizzard Entertainment

StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty has new units and special abilities that serve the sole purpose of boosting the economic output. Mules and chronoboosts are more than gimmicks and using them at cooldown will make the difference between victory and defeat. It takes less time to construct troops, they are less expensive but also die faster in combat, so players will have to keep the flow of units constant to prevail.

Plot of StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty

Wings of Liberty is mostly about Jim Raynor and his relentless campaign against the Sons of Korhal and Emperor Arcturus Mengsk. As the campaign develops, players will realize that Jim never truly gave up on Kerrigan and is willing to go to the bitter end to save her. The constant interferences of Zerg and Protoss troops further complicate matters, but also spice up the single player campaign.

Iconic characters, such as Zeratul make a frequent appearance informing Raynor about ancient Protoss prophecies and impending doom. The single player campaign in Wings of Liberty is also setting the stage for the events of StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm and the final chapter in the trilogy Legacy of the Void.

Development of StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty

The advancements of technology make it possible for the development team to offer better graphics, destructible environment and fascinating animations. The units in StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty closely resemble the original troops, but the fine graphics make them visually delightful.

Battles are also more intense and whenever units are destroyed they go down in a blaze, turning even a skirmish into an epic fight. The building orders have also changed slightly and new units are now assigned to different structures, cost less money and built over a shorter period of time.

Screenshot of StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty. © Blizzard Entertainment
Screenshot of StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty. © Blizzard Entertainment

Where can I download StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty?

The official Blizzard Entertainment website is where StarCraft 2 fans will find the related content and also informative tutorial for beginners. Unlike other games developed by the prestigious company, StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty doesn’t have a recurring subscription, so a one-time payment will do the trick.

As always, prospective customers have the option of purchasing both chapters already released at a discounted price and even preorder StarCraft 2 Legacy of the Void. Blizzard was kind enough as to offer a free version of the game that includes a couple of single player missions and allowd the fans to play custom games against the AI.

What are others saying about StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty?

When loyal fans have to wait more than a decade for a game, one would expect them to be extremely demanding particularly when the anticipated game is StarCraft 2. The original set the bar so high that Wings of Liberty had to be flawless to exceed expectations, but Blizzard Entertainment did it again.

It’s hard to find a fault in the first chapter and the huge advancements in terms of graphics make the gaming experience truly amazing. Savvy players might have a couple of complaints regarding the cost of the units, their durability and the overall shift from micromanagement to macro management in StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty. Those who played the game for the first time gave the development team full credit for the efforts and professional reviewers rate the game as excellent.

StarCraft 2 tournaments

Multiplayer is truly the final frontier in real-time strategy games and StarCraft was always famous for its unmatched competition in this virtual arena. Once players pick up the basics and hone their skills in both the single player campaign and custom games against the AI, they move on to rank games. These competitions are as close as it comes to a tournament, as players make incremental progress en route to promotion and they are pit against increasingly tougher opponents.

The StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty leaderboard is divided based on regions and occasionally Blizzard hosts online and land-based tournaments. Some of them are invitational only and in order to participate in such events players need to make their way to the top of the ranked tables. National competitions are also running throughout the year and the World Cyber Games tournament is the toughest tournament worldwide, second only to the Korean Star League.

StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty Jim Raynor. © Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty Jim Raynor. © Blizzard Entertainment

My rating of StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty

I’ve been playing StarCraft since 1998 when it was released and I absolutely loved both the original and the standalone expansion Brood War. Now that the wait is over and StarCraft 2 continues one of the best storylines in videogame history, I’m proud to rate it 9.5 out of 10.Wings of Liberty is a proud heir of a game that set the quality bar extremely high for both single player and multiplayer.

The campaign is every bit as immersive and the storyline of the original StarCraft, enhanced by gorgeous cinematics and cut scenes. The transition to multiplayer is silky smooth for anyone who has played Starcraft before, but the learning curve is not that steep even for beginners. The new units complement the classic ones without hurting the balance, so Starcraft 2 is just as exciting for amateurs and professionals.

StarCraft 2 expansion Heart of the Swarm

Good things come to those who wait and with StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty meeting and exceeding even the highest expectations, the enthusiasm for StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm is fully justified. Despite his best intentions, Jim Raynor is bound to fail and the Queen of Blades will sooner or later return on her path to destruction. The strong bound between the central characters won’t be broken and the rebel leader will have to make increasingly difficult decisions as the campaign progresses in Heart of the Swarm.

Blizzard Entertainment proved once again that its first concern is to maintain the fragile balance between races, so that players won’t have an upper hand against opponents. Starcraft always had a fascinating storyline and the single player campaign was reason enough to play the game, but the thing that made it truly special was the multiplayer. The new units of StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm and the slight adjustments made to existing troops keep the game fresh and compel professional players to adjust their strategies all the time.

For more information, check out the full StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm review.

StarCraft 2 expansion Legacy of the Void

Even the best things eventually come to an end, something that StarCraft players are surely aware of. 17 years after the original game hit the shelves, StarCraft 2 Legacy of the Void release date was announced and by the end of 2015 the story will reach its conclusion. Dedicated fans don’t actually have to wait until November 10 to play Legacy of the Void, as they can already download StarCraft 2 and experience the third installment in beta games.

For years Blizzard Entertainment had the motto “it’s done when it’s done” and players had no problem in accepting all the delays. StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty delivered and the second chapter was every bit as inspiring, so it is only fair to assume that StarCraft 2 Legacy of the Void will not fall short of meeting expectations.

Fans already caught a glimpse at what’s coming and the official announcement was made in regard to the new units and their abilities. Developers are guaranteed to work on this product until the very last day, but only minor adjustments will be made. When it comes to StarCraft, it is all about fine tuning, because with all the hype generated by the StarCraft 2 Legacy of the Void release date, there is no room for error.

The StarCraft 2 Legacy of the Void announcement trailer is the perfect combination of the first two cinematics in Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm. Epic in scale and touching, it captures the very essence of the StarCraft saga and will make every minute spent waiting worthwhile.

For more information, chek out the full StarCraft 2 Legacy of the Void review.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Score
9.5
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