The release of Starcraft II not only signifies what's arguably the most notable PC game release in a while, but also marks one of the longest periods of time in between two franchise releases (not counting expansion packs). After 12 years, developer Blizzard Entertainment is finally set to release the follow-up to the 1998 real-time-strategy instant classic, Starcraft.
Set in a far-off galaxy in the 26th century, Starcraft II has three chapters, the first of which (Wings of Liberty) will release July 27. Later on, two expansion packs will add on to the game, fleshing out the fate of other races from within the game's universe. "Heart of the Swarm" and "Legacy of the Void" have yet to receive concrete release dates.
So what can fans of the original expect? CNET's own Dong Ngo has spent ample time with the Starcraft II beta and tells us he's most impressed with the game's graphic engine. While it looks great on a high-end system, it won't necessarily require a heavy-duty gaming rig to perform well. Better yet, Starcraft II does a great job at handling multiple units onscreen at once, so things won't slow down when the action picks up.
Gamers coming from the original Starcraft are sure to notice more strategies and unit classes, while newcomers to the franchise should have no trouble hopping right in. Dong says Starcraft II is "easy to play and have fun with, but gets much more challenging if you want to master it."
Starcraft II will see a simultaneous PC and Mac release Tuesday. So what's the consensus? Will you be picking it up?