StarCraft II Gameplay
StarCraft is a real-time strategy game (RTS), and puts the player at the head of humanity’s futuristic army, the Terrans. In the campaign mode, players guide the Terrans through an intergalactic rumble, meeting interesting characters along the way that aid (and/or sabotage) their efforts.
It plays out like any other campaign: on a mission based format. Players take a birds-eye view of the map, and at the beginning of each mission, are tasked with setting up a formidable base of operations.
From their base, the player can assign SCVs (Space Construction Vehicle) to build more buildings around the base. As the player starts to build it their presence on the map, they can start to erect a military and dominate the map with force.
SCII Game Overview
Starcraft II’s gameplay offers some choice to players stating to build up their base. SCVs can build any number of the general buildings available to the player. Although each playable race has a different set of structures at their command, they all have the same function, so the basic Terran buildings are essentially same as the other race’s structures.
In detail these structure are:
- Refinery – A small factory that increases the production of gas miners controlled by the player, allowing for more resources to be attained quickly. It also contains a nuclear core, which is destroyed, will lead to the whole refinery exploding.
- Missile Turret – The Terran defensive turret that will remain in the position it was built until it is destroyed. It acts as a sentry and will shoot any enemies that come into its range.
- Bunker – Exactly as it sounds, the Bunker is a Terran defensive structure that allows the player to house up to four basic military units inside. You won’t see these used much in competitive play, as most players elect to be more mobile with their units.
- Factory – Maybe the most important single structure in the Terran catalogue, the Factory allows the production of vehicles and ammunition. One of the Terran’s main strengths (more on alternative playable races later) is their airborne military might, so the Factory is a “must build”.
- Engineering Bay – This structure gives the player access to weapon and armour upgrades. These aren’t necessarily needed in any single player campaign (although they’ll definitely help), but in competitive play they can turn the tide.
- Tech Lab – this structure provides upgrades for units and their building capabilities. It’s also essential for optimising the medics.
- Planetary Fortress – This is an upgrade for the Command Centre. It’s capable of defending itself without any unit support, but if put under immense military pressure it will buckle.
It is important for the player to tactically decide which order they will build these structures, as more often than not, an overarching strategy hinges on quick construction.
There are alternative structures available at certain points in the campaign, but these buildings are core to the gameplay of StarCraft II.
While the Terrans serve as the protagonist race in StarCraft II, multiplayer games offer a wider choice.
There are three total playable races in the game, each with its own unique style, structures and units. The individual units controlled by each race are designed to counter popular tactics of other races, resulting in a fairly balanced game regardless of races played.
Descendants of an Earth expedition gone wrong, the Terran’s are StarCraft’s version of humans. Their units are set up to overwhelm their foes with massive amounts of firepower. This kind of all-guns-blazing approach works perfectly when they’re facing down a horde of Zerg.
The Zerg were one of the antagonist races of the original StarCraft game, and focus more on their numbers than their firepower. Hardly intelligent, these monsters dogmatically follow the orders of a single “Overmind”, and fuse to halt their endless march until they have conquered – or assimilated – the entire universe.
The big bad guys, the world eaters, the mastermind antagonists of the whole Starcraft series so far is the Protoss.
They are a race of exceptionally advanced beings who combine unimaginable technology with psionic powers on the battlefield.
The Terrans are described as “the masters of survival”, mainly because of ancient lore telling how the Terran’s managed to continue reproducing despite being native to a barren planet with hardly any resources. Their Widow Mines are constantly utilised in high-stakes gameplay, as they have the ability to hide from opposing players on the map, and the Terran’s also have access to some seriously scary mechanical warriors.
The Zerg Swarm does not use weapons or armour in their fight – rather, they mutate their own bodies to fit the need of the swarm. This unlocks abilities and functions as the player progresses with his Zerg army, which goes some way to replacing the heavy machine guns they could be holding. Sure, it may sound like the Zerg stand very little chance up against a heavily armoured Terran tank, but their later mutations – the Brood Lord springs to mind – are gigantic beasts of war and are well capable to making more than a dint in the armour of any opponent.
The Protoss (a.k.a. Firstborn) were considered to be the most powerful beings in the Galaxy, until the Zerg invaded their home world. The desperation of the Protoss though has made them probably the most powerful race of all in StarCraft II universe – each individual Protoss soldier could definitely kill any other equal singular combat unit. Their fleet is insanely well developed, and once a Protoss player manages to fully upgrade their technology, it’s their game to lose. Some of their ship units – Phoenix, Void Ray, Mothership – are basically unmatched in the StarCraft II gameplay, and have the ability to completely decimate entire legions of standard troops.
StarCraft II Expansions
In addition to the standard campaign and races, there are two big expansion packs for StarCraft II that add plenty to the gameplay and available arsenal. This is great news for anyone looking to expand their Starcraft experience, and without insisting, we really do recommend you to have a look at these packs to give yourself the most authentic experience.
Here’s a bit about both of the expansions and what they offer.
Heart of the Swarm
This expansion pack focuses mainly on the Zerg race, and adds a completely new campaign in that vein. It directly continues the story from the base game, adding a whopping 20 missions to the total campaign.
This time, you’ll be playing as the Zerg, desperately attempting to conquer enemy space with massive hordes and determination. We probably don’t need to explain you that this adds a great change of pace to the game.
Several units were added in this expansion, and they are only usable in the core game if the expansion pass has been purchased. The Terran’s received their famous Widow Mines, which are used incessantly in competitive gameplay.
Protoss were treated to the Oracle, the Tempest and the Mothership Core. The Oracle is used for stifling the opponent’s production while providing surveillance, while the Tempest and Mothership Core are two ridiculously powerful aerial combatants.
The Zerg get the Viper, and the Swarm Host. The Viper functions very much like the Protoss’ Oracle, while the Swarm Host burrows underground and spawns ally locusts to attack for them.
If you’re the kind of gamer who really gets into their experiences, we’d say that Heart of the Swarm is a must-get. It adds so much to the game in terms of combat units, that aren’t just more powerful versions of the core game’s offerings, but utility options that provide a different tactical approach when you’re in a mess.
If you’re not that kind of gamer, we’d still highly recommend you buy this expansion back. It’s universally and critically acclaimed, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a Starcraft fan who disapproves of this add-on.
If you enjoy the main game, definitely pick this up.
Legacy of the Void
This expansion adds a similar number of missions to the campaign as Heart of the Swarm, and concludes the trilogy of stories the developers originally intended to tell.
In this pack, the Protoss received the Adept unit, which has proven to be near invaluable in tight games due to its hit-and-run style of attacking. They have excellent mobility and definitely strengthen the Protoss ground-game. They also received the Disruptor, which requires the Robotics Bay to build and can deliver massive damage in a single shot.
The Terran’s got the Cyclone missile mech and the Liberator, which has the ability to fight on the ground or in the air. Much of the Terran arsenal remained unaltered, although there were small tweaks to the Widow Mines and the Battlecruiser.
As for the Zerg, the only new unit added was the Ravager, which serves as a quasi-artillery unit used for taking on mechanical enemies on ground or in air. It can also melt force fields with its corrosive bile.
It’s pretty much the same deal as Heart of the Swarm – if you enjoy StarCraft II’s gameplay, you absolutely need to have Legacy of the Void. While the new units are fun, it’s the campaign closure you really need from here. The final part of Starcraft II’s story is contained in Legacy of the Void’s Protoss based story missions, and it’s basically a no brainer.
Once again, the expansions received immense critical acclaim and has continued to be utilised in esports competitions throughout the world since its successful release.
Our Conclusion about StarCraft II Gameplay
StarCraft II is one of the greatest real time strategy games ever made. The diversity in its playable units and the lengths to which it forces players to make quick decisions in the heat of battle make playing this video game an absolute joy.
The expansions packs add more of the same greatness, and while it would have been nice to see a whole encyclopaedia of playable races, the three we have in StarCraft II are comprehensive and stylistic.
We have no doubt that this game will be continued to be played at a professional level until it is replaced by a sequel, and fully endorse it as a worthy purchase for any gamer.
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