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StarCraft 2

Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2007-05-28 00:50:00

Blizzard Bomb

Last week, Blizzard held a "Worldwide Invitational" in Seoul, South Korea to announce the development of...big surprise...StarCraft 2.

Koreans <3 this game. The original StarCraft killed a Korean man, who couldn't tear himself away from an internet cafe long enough to attend to his physical needs. Another Korean was found to be wearing a diaper so as to be able to continue his RTS passion uninterrupted. Blizzard geneticists must have discovered and exploited a Korean videogaming gene; anyone who played Diablo 2 on the US West servers is familiar with the fanatical influx of Koreans and their rabid behavior as exemplified by Biggs in today's strip. They played transoceanic games on dial-up because their own servers were always filled to the brim. Thank goodness their own World of Warcraft servers have sufficient capacity. As a Korean-American, I've always harbored a great shame of diaper wearing, heart failure inducing, item begging patheticness, but damned if my Korean nature doesn't have me all atitter at the prospect of playing StarCraft 2!

I soured on the RTS genre long ago. At the highest competitive levels, they simply boil down to rote memorization of build order. (I much prefer tactical games where the actual combat is the meat of the experience.) The genre has simply stagnated over the years. Command and Conquer 3 just released, and as slick as it is, there's absolutely nothing new in there but a graphical overhaul and tweak-level refinements. Warhammer was decent, because of its greater emphasis on combat, but it boiled down to shows of force over actual generalship. Warcraft III and Age of Empires III disappointed me, mostly because their pedigrees demanded greatness. Don't get me wrong, they exhibited an extraordinary amount of polish, but little in the way of innovation (anyone else get flashbacks of StarCraft while playing WarCraft III?).

Here's my list of landmark RTS games (I feel like I need to add in a Command and Conquer game, but none of them really meet these standards.):

*Dune II - kicked off the genre

*Warcraft II - first one that was fun

*Starcraft - unparalleled balance and gameplay

*Age of Empires II - revolution in game control (formations!)

That's a short list and it's been a long time since Age of Empires II released, and I'm hoping StarCraft 2 delivers. In the meantime, I did discover Company of Heroes. This game deserved to sell 5 million copies, but it seems no one played it. It takes the Warhammer approach of emphasizing combat, only with vastly deeper strategic/tactical value and an astounding level of polish. With the clarity of time, I may have to add it to the list above.

Also, I really do want a sequel to Rock and Roll Racing. Imagine the Mario Kart combat racing genre with kick ass vehicles like Halo's Warthog with a licensed soundtrack of tunes from AC/DC and Guns N' Roses. You can't tell me that wouldn't be fucking awesome!

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