On July 30th, I woke up and realized Starcraft 2 had been out for 2 days but I didn’t even remember… All these years waiting for the sequel to come out and I had missed the release day! So I went on a quest around the city trying to find myself a copy, and of course, all the shops I went were out of stock except that one next to Pui Cheng middle school. You know that one with the really unfriendly guy who’s overpricing everything?
Anyway, I got into the shop and started looking around for the game I was looking for. I think the shop owner noticed I was looking for Starcraft 2 and he kinda tried hiding the box he was holding… I think he was putting price tags on or something. While he was trying to put it under the counter, I quickly pointed at it and told him I was looking for that particular game. He reluctantly put it back on the counter top so I could see its MOP538 price tag. A bit steep in my opinion but I’m such a sucker I still purchased it. I had checked online earlier and listed prices were around MOP650, so it was still kinda fair.
The box is nicely designed and lets you unveil some nice game art by unfolding its 4 frontal panels. The game itself is burnt on a DVD (thanks for that, was getting tired of constantly swapping installation CD’s) and comes together with a user manual and some “invitation” cards to World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2 (7 hours for Starcraft 2… Come on, WTF Blizzard?)
My first worry came from a top corner inscription I hadn’t noticed at first: “South East Asia Version”. Two things crossed my mind at the time: the first one was that I wouldn’t be able to play with my friends in Europe and the second one that I had to start learning Korean real quick… I looked up the details online and found out Australia was considered to be in the South East Asia region as well (Come on, WTF Blizzard?) so I’d be able to meet some English speaking players. The article I read also explained that South East Asia version owners will have the chance to connect to U.S. server after 60 days from the release date.
My second worry was then I started installing it on my PC and the “OMG you still running WinXP SP2!!” message popped up. According to what I read, Starcraft 2 could still run under SP2 but I may experience lags and slowdowns from time to time. I haven’t upgraded to SP3 yet and have been playing without any problem so far on and offline.
My third worry was to notice my video card was not good enough to match the “recommended” hardware, but again, I’ve been playing the game without problem so far so this may not really be an issue.
So there you have it, installation was easy and after registering the game on my battle.net account and downloading a couple of patches (10 years in the making and there’s a patch after the game’s out for only 2 days? Come on, WTF Blizzard?), I was able to play the game. Unlike in the beta, story was available this time as well as a plethora of achievements.
The story mode is fun to play; it’s not really linear as you can pick which mission you want to complete first. You’ll also gain access to optional goals during the game and will be able to collect Protoss and Zerg relics that will grant you research points needed to develop specific upgrades.
After a few missions, you will end up on board of a battle cruiser where the main deck gives you access to your new (and previous) missions, the canteen is the place to meet mercenaries, the armory lets you chose upgrades for your units and buildings whereas the laboratory gives you options on how to spend the research points acquired during missions. It’s really well done; you can interact with many characters and even play some old arcade games if you feel like it.
Now enjoy the story mode, but be careful when starting online play as the units you can access are different. For example, Terrans barracks do not give you access to medics like they do in the story mode… There’s also a few new tricks that may go against you if you happened to play the first Starcraft, so don’t take anything for granted, you’ll have to learn how to play the whole game again.
One cool thing Blizzard did well was to have PC and Mac version together on the same DVD. So I managed to install the game on my Macbook pro without having to purchase the game a second time or download the whole Mac client from the internet. Well done!