StarCraft 2 after a few days

On July 26th right before midnight, I went to my local EB Games store to get my copy of StarCraft 2: Wings Of Liberty. After waiting an hour to get it, I got back home and launched the installation right away. It took another hour to copy the 12GB required.

I was a bit anxious that the game wouldn’t run smoothly on my modest computer. But it was perfectly playable in high settings. The only slowdown I experienced was during a huge battle with many units on the screen. The game looks good. As usual Blizzard relies the skill of its artists and designers to make a beautiful game; unlike others that rely on fancy visual effects and raw processing power.

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StarCraft 2 takes a lot of time to load. Each level, and each cut scene loads for 10 seconds or more. It would be fine if this was just once in a while, but it happens quite often when playing the campaign. This spoils what would otherwise be a great single-player experience. The loading screen is not Alt-Tab friendly. Each time you switch from the game to another application it takes 10 seconds or more to switch to the other application. Switching back to StarCraft 2 is even longer. I don’t know if that’s because I don’t have enough memory or if it’s the game.

Update: Lowering the Textures detail or/and the Graphic settings decreased loading time a lot. The problem might be that I only have 2GB of memory. With textures at medium and graphic details at low the game loads very quickly, but it’s not pretty to look at.

I played 15 hours, and experienced 3 crashes. That’s a crash every 5 hours. This is disappointing; especially from Blizzard, which usually releases high-quality products. I think they could have spend more time polishing the code and getting the last bugs out instead of working on all those fancy cut-scenes during the campaign. Those crashes and bugs should be fixed by future patches, but it’s still annoying when you have to reload the game after a lengthy loading screen.

The campaign

I played the campaign with the normal level of difficulty. It was a bit too easy: I didn’t fail any mission. I’ll probably replay the campaign in hard soon.

Overall the campaign is much better than what was in the original StarCraft and WarCraft 3. Blizzard must have spent a lots of time and resources on it. The story is good, there are no “filler” mission, and the cut-scenes are gorgeous. Even if you don’t play online, the game is well worth it.

There are a few bonuses, like challenges that will help you improve game. The first set of challenges explains you which unit to use to counter other units. It’s a good way to get ready for the online game.

I have yet to play online. Blizzard now have a new system where players are divided into leagues. This way if you’re a beginner you are very unlikely to play against somebody much stronger than you.

Overall I am a bit mixed about StarCraft 2. That’s mostly because I had such high expectations for it. The game is great, but the glitches are hard to ignore.