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StarCraft 2 is one of the most highly anticipated games for 2010. After a decade of development, it's finally here and we have the scoop on what's new and what's good with the game.

If you’re old enough to remember the much ballyhooed Y2K scare that turned out to be nothing more than a ploy to stock up on bottled water, canned food, and whole lot of ammunition, you probably remember playing Starcraft in prayers that your Battle.net account wouldn’t implode come 11:59 p.m., December 31st, 1999. For those too young or not nearly as geeky, let us recap.

Developed by software powerhouse Blizzard -- the gaming equivalent to Pixar or Kanye West (the producer, not the MC) with nothing but blockbuster hits -- Starcraft was a real-time strategy game that was based on their Warcraft II engine. But whereas the latter only had two races, Blizzard’s new title would have three: Terrans, Zergs, and Protoss.

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Of the three, the Terrans were pretty much the humans of the group. Albeit, ‘roided out space Marines. The second race, the Zergs, were a swarm of aliens. We’re not talking the green, football-head-shaped questionably friendly aliens that landed on Area 51, but more like the id-driven ones from Aliens or Starship Troopers. This organic species was capable of fast reproduction and attacked in hordes. Protoss, another alien race, was a stark contrast from the Zerg. Using James Cameron movies again, the Protoss were more like the Predator, only less hunter-gatherer and a bit more Zentradi. Of the three, the Protoss had more tech (read: lot more cooler stuff) which was why we played this race the most.

If it sounds like Protoss was the no-brainer race, it wasn’t. To generalize the differences, Protoss were an advanced race with strong tech but at the cost of time and resources to build them. Zergs on the other hand, were weak but cheap and fast to build en masse. It’s the age old debate of quality versus quantity. Would you date one of the opposite sex that you’d rate a “ten” or would you rather date five “twos”? We’d take the single “ten” but that’s just us – we’re not here to judge. As for the Terrans, they were in the middle of the potency spectrum. They commanded resources that was in between the Zerg and Protoss, and their tech was in the middle. Meticulously well-balanced, the three races were a virtual roshambo -- for whatever unit you had, the other races usually had some sort of counter to it. When played online through Battle.net, this polished aspect of Starcraft lead to multiplayer games that could play out in an infinite number of ways. To call us former addicts is like saying Amy Winehouse suffers from a few bad habits. In fact, the game, even 12 years after its 1998 debut, is still played online.

The Protoss were more like the Predator, only less hunter-gatherer and a bit more Zentradi.

So how is it going to differ from the first? For starters, graphically, the new game uses a 3D engine making for sick visuals. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, is the first of three installments and will focus on the Terran campaign. The latter two expansions, Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void, will take you on the Zerg and Protoss front. There might not be any new races but each will have greater enhancements. To quote BIizzard, “Starcraft II includes a number of new units and abilities that make each race even more unique than before”.  And judging by their history, you can bet that’s a good thing.   
 


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