Why I don't care about Starcraft IIPosted: March 5, 2010
So College Humor has a cute video involving Starcraft II creatures dancing. By all accounts, I should have gotten into Starcraft. It fits all my criteria, it takes place in the future, has a compelling story line, it is a PC game, and a strategy game. Sounds perfect, but while watching the “Zerg Lord of the Dance” video yesterday, I had an epiphany as to why I never got into Starcraft, or RTS games generally.
First, the units are too few. If I am going to wage war, I want massive amounts of soldiers. This is my rule in life, as it is in video games.
Second, when waging a battle you should be able to utilize the terrain around you. If you are attacking, or defending, you would use hills or buildings differently. I never saw this in any Starcraft videos, yet in any strategy game back to the hex-based days, you know that when you are defending you want to be on higher terrain so your artillery/archers/space marines/whatever have better line of sight.
As far as strategy games go, Starcraft just isn’t that great any more. It was great, back before computers were able to handle the complex task of thousands of units and a 3D battlefield, but looking at it now, Starcraft 2 looks like Bubble Bobble compared to a real-time tactical game like Total War. For those unfamiliar with Starcraft, it is about efficient use of resources more than the tactical use of troops. In rock-paper-scissors-Starcraft, if your enemy comes at you with rocks (siege tanks) you want to counter with masses of paper (zerglings). Real Time Strategy games are to Real Time Tactical games what Skate or Die is to Tony Hawk – an abstraction, for processor’s sake.
Despite its faults, at least Blizzard will make sure Starcraft II is done before they release it, unlike the last Total War game.