Posts Tagged ‘Strategy’

The choices in Starcraft II

August 16, 2010 29 comments

Warning: this post contains spoilers about both the story and gameplay of Starcraft II single player

There are three choices during the Starcraft II campaign and one of those greatly impacts how the final mission plays. The ending, however, is not affected. It is possible, however, to still play the mission you did not choose through the Mission archive even after finishing the campaign. Interestingly enough, these are not choices like Mass Effect, but instead it seems like Raynor always made the right decision even if the consequences are not all good.

Safe Haven / Haven’s Fall

Dr Ariel Hanson’s colonists set on Haven after you rescued them earlier, but it turns out that some of them are infested and the Protoss wish to wipe them all out. Dr Hanson wants to save as many of them as possible while she looks for a cure to the infestation. Both mission are about using and defending against air units. Either mission gives you access to Vikings.

During Safe Haven you side with Hanson. The Protoss send a Mothership that is made completely invulnerable through the power of three Nexi. The goal of the mission is to help evacuate the colonists while the Mothership slowly flies from one site to another and then destroys it completely until it finally arrives at your base. Meanwhile, Protoss air forces attack the colonist settlements (saving them gives bonus resources), while there are occasionally ground forces that directly attack your base. This mission is timed more strictly than the alternative.

Consequences: Raynor’s actions during Starcraft I have given him enough respect from the Protoss. They take their loss sportsmanlike. Ariel Hanson leaves the ship, but not before making clear she has feelings for Raynor.

During Haven’s Fall it turns out the Protoss were right: Zerg are quickly infesting the whole colony. This is also a mission about air attack and base defense. Every colonist settlement that gets infested results in more Zerg forces attacking, which eventually leads you to being overrun, making it a timed mission as well. Your base has to deal with both air and ground forces, but not too many. If you have access to Banshees and or Science vessels, then the mission, even on Brutal, is trivial.

Consequences: Ariel locked herself up in the lab to work on a cure, but it turned out she was infected herself. Raynor is forced to kill the monster she’s become.

My verdict: I like the gameplay of Safe Haven more and the ending is a bit happy, at least.

Breakout / Ghost of a chance

Nova or Tosh? Is Tosh a dangerous psychopath that has been manipulating you or is it Nova who’s doing the manipulating? In either case, there follows a mission with no base building. Instead you control a cloaked unit that has to sneak through an enemy base. There’s a slight difference in the unit you get at the end, but neither is necessary to complete the campaign. Both can cloak and drop nukes.

Breakout shows how Raynor backs up Tosh in breaking out all rogue Spectres. While Tosh clears a path, there are endless waves of both friendly and enemy units that clash with eachother. It’s up to Tosh to make sure Raynor’s troops progress.

Consequences: the cinematic shows that Tosh is indeed a dangerous psychopath. You can now build Spectres who have an Area-of-Effect stun.

During Ghost of a Chance it turns out that Tosh has already freed a few Spectres and is preparing to create more of them. You guide Nova and a limited number of normal units throug three puzzle sequences to destroy three key parts of Tosh’s equipment.

Consequences: Nova does not join your cause. It turns out, again, that Tosh is indeed a dangerous psychopath. Nova assassinates him, but some hilarious things also happen during the cinematic (that I am not going spoil). You can now build ghosts have the Snipe special ability that allows them to do heavy damage regardless of armor.

My verdict: Tosh had been annoying me to no end because he sounds like a World of Warcraft Troll. The unit you get matters little and Nova’s cinematic is a lot more fun than Tosh’s.

Belly of the Beast / Shatter the Sky

This is the most important choice you will make during the game, because it completely changes how the final mission plays out. Either way keep a save game before you make the choice so you can play the other scenario of the final mission as well.

During Belly of the Beast you lead a team of heroes through the underground of Char to disable the Zerg’s Nydus network. Playing with Raynor, Tychus, Swann and Stettman, who each have special abilities, you navigate through the caves occasionally rescuing normal troops. There is no base building in this mission.

Consequences: There will be no Nydus worms during the final mission. There will still be Zerg ground forces attacking as well as Mutalisks and Brood Lords.

In Shatter the Sky you go back up into space to destroy a platform that houses most of the Zerg air force. This is a regular base building mission. There are some attacks on your base, but the mission is mainly about destroying several key points of the platform that will cause that whole part to be destroyed.

Consequences: There will be no Zerg air attacks during the mission, but Nydus worms will constantly spawn everywhere over the map that will result in heavier ground waves than in the other scenario. Note that the Overlord drop about halfway through the mission still happens.

My verdict: Shatter the Sky was a fun mission, but I liked Belly of the Beast better. There’s enough base building in the final mission and this is the only mission that you get to play with a group of Hero units. However, the choice of playing this mission comes down to what you want to fight against during the final mission. I played the Nydus variant on Brutal and the air variant on Hard. For either mission it seems quite hard until you place your defenses right and then it is quite easy. The Nydus variant seemed more frantic, because every one of them shows up on the mini map. but Brood Lords can really sneak up and destroy a large part of your base if you do not pay attention.

Categories: Starcraft II Tags: , ,