After many years and much anticipation, I finally got a chance to sit down and play through the campaign Wings of Liberty. I am/was a hardcore Starcraft fan. I played Starcraft from the day it was released. I still occasionally play a few games! I am a good Starcraft player and a hardcore fan who has really looked forward to a sequel.
10+ years later and I beat the campaign in two days. The missions were not difficult, challenging, and mostly not even interesting. They created a few novelty missions, notably controlling a single hero and dodging environmental effects. These were essentially the only changes to the game-play within a campaign. On the whole though, if you enjoyed the Starcraft campaigns you will enjoy this.
The heralded innovations in story-telling for RTS are uninspiring. It is very similar to the way in which Mass Effect fleshes out its story. You are on a ship and you travel to different parts of the ship and talk to people. These people will give you upgrades, missions, and help enthrall you. Honestly, it is almost exactly a copy of Mass Effect. It is new to see for RTS though, but I think it is a positive addition. I felt like it improved upon Starcraft's story delivery, but did not improve much upon Warcraft III.
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The actual story, however, is premised very similarly to Mass Effect. A mysterious force (Reapers/Xel'Naga) that has been hidden away is acting on the universe from the shadows (literally in SC, figuratively with the collectors and saren in ME) and will eradicate all life. You play a rebel hero who goes out on his own to stop the threat (Raynor is a hold-out rebel against Mengsk and gets entangled with the Xel'Naga; Shepard believes in a Reaper threat and goes rogue to save the galaxy at all costs).
The characters are very weak. Comically weak, even. Raynor, Zeratul, and Kerrigan are the only characters who feel developed--but they had two other games and literature to do most of the legwork. The rest of the characters are unmemorable and comically random.
At one point, there is a budding romance between a Doctor and Raynor. The doctor, for reasons I do not know, disappears from the story. She leaves the Hyperion after kissing Raynor to "cure" the Zerg? She is said to have hidden motivations as well. What was the point of creating a romance interest when Raynor later rescues Kerrigan (and is still in love with her)?
Another character Tosh shows up to give a mission. He we stay if you take his side in a mission, although he honestly adds nothing to the story. His story trait mysteriously alluding to facts he has no reason to know of, but oddly he never knows enough about those facts to be helpful. I think his primary addition to the story is his accent.
A friend from Raynor's past, Tychus, is clearly going to betray Raynor. You know this almost from the moment he is introduced. Your captain says this, Tosh says this, the Doctor hints at this, the other crewmembers hint at this. You even know his suit can blow up at any time and kill him. Its very obvious he is going to betray you. But he does not betray you. Not until the final mission. While I expected who he was working for, he had ample opportunity to betray you for Mengsk at more opportune times, Mengsk finally wants Tychus to betray Raynor in the last mission by killing Kerrigan. I do not get this. It would be understandable if he had tried to kill Kerrigan without the Mengsk part, so why add that in? It seemed so random when it happened that I laughed out loud and go looked at funny by my girlfriend. At that point, I thought he HAD to be working for the Zerg or the Xel'naga or that he was really Samir Duran. Nope, it was just Mengsk. Mengsk didn't want to stop Raynor from broadcasting the ugly truth about him, but he'll be ****ed if he lets a powerless Kerrigan live for her crimes!
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The story was very weak and very disappointing. The finish feels forced It just lops off at a poor time. All three campaigns should have been included, the quality noticeably suffers. Let me quote another summary...
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