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    jp's GameLog for Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty (PC)

    Wednesday 1 September, 2010

    I'm about 2/3rds through the campaign and I'm still impressed. What's surprised me the most, so far, is how rich and relevant the game's interface is outside of the game. Well, outside of the missions, but inside the campaign. The main character is Jim Raynor (from Starcraft) and everything revolves around his flagship. There are different fixed locations which serve as the menus from which you can choose the next mission you want to face, purchase upgrades for your units, research new upgrades, and so on. Generally speaking, it's quite simple, it looks good and is easily understandable. However, my experience using it highlights what I feel are its greater achievement: getting me interested in the story.

    After all those hours playing Starcraft, I don't think I really understood/remembered the (major) plot points of the game until Starcraft 2's install sequence reminded me (great idea, by the way). I've been thinking about that..why can't I remember anything about the original game's story? I do remember what happened to Kerrigan, but not much else. There simply weren't that many places to pick up on the narrative. Mission briefings and so on and the (for then) gloriously pre-rendered cut-scenes. There weren't that many of them and now that I think about it they served mostly as rewards. At least that's how they felt to a certain objective or reach an important part of the story and boom!, awesome cut-scene.

    This time around, not only are there many more cut-scenes (some pre-rendered and others not), but the menus themselves contain more tid-bits of information that provide more context. There are characters you can talk to (for no reason other than to hear what they have to say), things you can click on (watch TV news broadcasts) and places you can look at. Sure, there isn't THAT much detail or stuff going on, but just looking out for the changes is novel. All the short little conversations with the characters add up and provide greater depth of character, narrative context, and also some sense of incentive and reward. I genuinely wonder when I'll get some new thing to click on in the ship.


    Definitely agree with you about the greatness of the interactive menus. The TV, the characters you can chat with, and all the rest, really contextualize events and bring me into the story. When I walk into a room in RL, I see what's on the TV, pick up a magazine, notice what's on the walls, etc., to get a sense of where I am, so it feels very good to be able to do that in a game as well.

    Saturday 4 September, 2010 by dkirschner

    Additionally, other than the loading times, each of the elements are remarkably unintrusive. If you don't care for any of them, they don't really get in the way either.

    Thursday 9 September, 2010 by jp
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