Here at the Versed, we like to try and bring our readers all the best information about everything eSports related and with a view to doing that we have been producing an ongoing series chronicling the best eSports games available.
This week we delve into the world of Real-Time Strategy (RTS) to take a look at one of the genres most popular titles and an eSport with huge pedigree, especially in Asia, Starcraft.
From the daddy of eSports
Nobody does eSports quite like Blizzard. The company behind the world’s biggest MMORPG, World of Warcraft are also renowned for their top quality eSports titles such as Overwatch and Hearthstone, two of the biggest titles in the industry right now. Starcraft 2 sits proudly alongside the titles even though it is a very different animal.
So what is Starcraft 2?
It is a real-time strategy game where players take control of one of three rival factions. There are the human-like characters called the Terrans, The Zerg who are a rampaging alien species that have a little in common with the creatures from the Alien series, and finally the Protoss, who are technically advanced aliens who rely on their tech to do the damage. Each race plays quite differently from each other.
Unlike the aforementioned Hearthstone and Overwatch, Starcraft has a robust and very enjoyable single-player campaign. In fact, it is so big it effectively spans three games! Each new chapter of the campaign sees you lead a different race. The acting is surprisingly decent and the visuals were impressive at the time and still hold up okay in today’s world. If you have played strategy games before, the format of the campaign will be pretty familiar. The story unfolds and requires you to play through various scenarios. Some result in fairly standard skirmish missions, other missions take a slightly novel tact but it is all fairly basic, though that doesn’t detract from the experience.
Graphics and sound
As touched upon before, graphically the game holds up nicely. When you play it it’s hard to believe that the title is almost a decade old. The anti-aliasing is terrific and the textures are great. In terms of sound, the in-game sounds work well and compliment the action, but it really comes into its own during the cutscenes with some terrific voice acting.
Not unlike a lot of RTS games the idea is to gather resources to help produce units and advance technology. All the while protecting your base from enemy players. If you have played a game such as Command and Conquer or Age of Empires it doesn’t stray too far from this sort of formula.
StarCraft as an eSport
Starcraft is a massively popular eSport, especially in Asia. In fact, it was somewhat of a trailblazer as the game appeared at the Asian games in 2018. Blizzard has been canny in how it has handled the game, carefully monetising it to bring it more in line with more modern titles and the way they operate but dedicating a percentage of the profit they make from the game to developing it as an eSport. This business model has allowed the game to flourish.
So should I buy StarCraft 2?
If you are dreaming of being the greatest player in the world, then possibly not! Just take a look at some of the eSports bouts on YouTube and you will see the speed at which competitive games are played. It is insane! However, if you just want to play a few skirmish games and enjoy a well-acted campaign then absolutely. I have personally sunk a lot of hours into the title and would recommend it to anyone and because it is an older title most modern gaming PC’s handle it with ease.