Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Comparing Apples and Oranges Part 1

by Ishamael

So, this is going to be a quick overview of what I've experienced so far playing a little trial of Star Craft 2. Once I purchase the game and get some time under by belt, I'll be expanding on this.

So, I've decided to bring myself to do a difficult thing, as has been shown in the title. How do I compare two fruits of different variety? Since this is a preliminary consideration, this is going to be very rough. For the purposes of consideration, I'll be breaking this review into two sections: Campaign and Multi-player. For Dawn of War 2 it will be the Chaos Rising campaign.


When it comes to a recap of what happened before one begins either campaign, the presentation of Dawn of War 2 feels as if anyone can pick up the game and know what is happening. For Starcraft 2, however, the backstory is told during the installation process with a voice-over, and the subsequent cinematics don't do much to get someone that did not play the original game (me) fired up about playing. Some spesh mehreen doing something...space rednecks. Yet, when the campaign finally begins, Blizzard's powers of presentation and characterization come forth in a huge way. You're an outlaw in a bar, who is sitting drinking, and there is a T.V., video box, and a few other random things to click to get information. Also, Blizzard's ability to make jokes shines through with a Tyrazerg's skull hanging on the wall...with festive lights dangling from it. When it comes to the way DoW2 handles this...you've a planetary overview, with your various options of deployment and wargear shown, and there's a newer feature with the option of hearing what your brothers think on the situation you're being thrown into. It's far better than the way it was done in DoW2's first campaign, but the inside of a Battle Cruiser would be better...or the inside of a Drop Pod...or a Thunderhawk...or anything. Straight up, the mission selection window in Starcraft 2 far surpasses what was done for Chaos Rising. Did I mention you get to go to different levels of the ship in SC2? Y'know, to the bar to buy mercenaries? Unfortunately, until I purchase the full game I can't go much beyond this, but so far the presentation of Starcraft 2 is by far more immersive than in Chaos Rising.


I can speak a little more on this than the campaign. And by that I mean compare. For the reader, ask yourself this: when it comes to the Real-Time Strategy genre, do you like resource gathering and base building, or do you prefer getting into the action immediately, where battlefield control is how you gain resources? This is the first hurdle for the gamer trying to compare these two very different games. Let me start with declaring that what little I played of the Starcraft 2 campaign does, in NO way useful, help me play the multi-player. At least I play with the same units in the Dawn of War 2 multi-player. Anyway, let's start with how each game begins. As soon as you're in DoW, you send your units to capture two forward points, and make another unit to help capture/fight another point. In SC2, you send your builder units to start harvesting, and make another builder to help your resource rate. Then you build your barracks, then build your basic infantry, and let me tell you, it takes a long time to build any unit in this game. This holds true to everything, especially when one researches unit upgrades. Once those units get produced, when combat finally happens the player notices one major thing: units die really quickly in SC2, and certain units are Super Effective! against others. Also, only certain units can fire at flying units. It's like playing Pokemon with paper cutouts. In DoW2, there are weapons that give advantages against certain other units, but at least you have the option to purchase a flamer or missile launcher. Along with this, regardless of whether you've Space Marines or Guardians, there's at least a feeling that the unit can survive a bit of combat, which is a farcry from the squishies of SC2. Also, DoW2's cover system greatly affects this, extending a squad's potential lifespan greatly whether or not they're in heavy/light cover, or within the confines of a building. At any rate, I think this basic overview of the Campaign and Multi-Player will suffice for now.

Next time I'll talk more on analyzing the multi-player, with emphasis on the character/suppression system for DoW2, and the importance of build-order in SC2.

Non-sequitur: Brandon Sanderson has completed Towers of Midnight! On November 2nd, the real lead up to Tarmon Gai'don begins!

Messias non est,


  1. As someone who has the game (and has been waiting on it for well years now) I can say that Starcraft 2 follows what is par for Blizzard. Starcraft 2 is what warcraft 2,3, world of warcraft, and Diablo 2 (hopefully 3 as well) are. The campaign mode is the next book in the series. While yes this may cause confusion with some of the new players, it remains true to the people who have played starcraft.

    As far as the multi-player goes. Yes the resource gathering can be somewhat tedious, but its worth it to remain true to the game. The game mechanics for standard games are the same mechanics as the original with more utilities and new units. (I love the new Zerg Queen btw) If you prefer DOW2's way of doing things in the standard multiplayer matches....You probably should stay with DOW2.

    Now where the multiplayer for SC2 really shines (as well as where you'll find me when I finally get around to finishing the campaign) is the custom games. Want to play tower defense? Risk? A First Person Shooter? How about an RPG or a Survival horror game? Its been less than a month and most of these custom game options (along with many others) are already being implimented with more on the way. Starcraft 2 has remained true to its player base with the sheer amount of customizable gameplay that can be done.

    Oh and as far as the unit survivability goes.. a terran marine (no they are not space marines) does not get a 3+ armor save, nor does it get a cover save. The mechanic is really simple if a gun does 10 damage to a unit that unit will take 10 damage - whatever its armor is. The so called super effective units are the ones that have a high damage output nothing more.

    Overall I personally give Starcraft 2 five stars out of five.
    and I give my old as crap computers ability to play it 3 stars

  2. Wouldn't quite say all of Blizzard's games are the same. The RTS series (warcraft and starcraft) all feel similar, while WoW is a mmorpg, and unfortunately one of the only real expansive ones around at the moment. With all the problems this game has with aging (Wow btw) it won't stand up long in my opinion when other new MMORPG's start releasing over the next two to three years.

    Ast for the topic at hand, my vote goes to DoW2, not only for the simple fact it is 40k related, but also the game mechanics feel more fun. I hate building a base, and the tedious hours spent building a base is boring and leaves me wanting to find a game that is fun throughout the entire game, not just after all the stupid required base building.

    Starcraft 2 is pretty, but still suffers from the boring old rigmarole of the old RTS. Classic, inovative menus, but the game itself is still just the first game with a pretty new look.


  3. I appologize for the confusion Loki what I meant was that Blizzards games tend to follow a linear story arc. Thus a later game in a series (WOW is technically Warcraft 4 from a story line point of view) will always start close to where the last game left off.

    As far as the dislike of base building.. I highly reccomend you guys try out some of the custom games. Who knows (I haven't checked the custom games list in a couple of days now because of job hunting and doing the campaign mode) there may even be a Dawn of War custom game going through its first couple of versions as we speak.