Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Comparing Apples and Oranges Part 1
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,