This might surprise some, but I never got into StarCraft when it was released almost 12 years ago. Back then I was a huge Total Annihilation (TA) fan, and shunned similar types of RTS games like StarCraft and Dark Reign. In my opinion TA was a much better product, and I still stand by that.
Fast forward almost 12 years and here we are. Three years ago TA's spiritual successor, Supreme Commander (SupCom) was a worthy heir to the TA legacy, but this year with Supreme Commander 2 it's RTS ideals were betrayed with the dumbing down of the sequel to try and push for a more 'mass' audience (btw which i think I can say now they've failed at, judging by the reviews and sales figures).
But even though i'm a big TA/SupCom fan, there was no denying that the biggest RTS release of this year, and possibly the biggest gaming release in general, was going to be that of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (SC2). Quite why it took them this long to develop a sequel to the hugely popular original game (especially in Korea) astounds me.
Anyway, i wasn't interested in at all getting SC2, but following the release with all the marketing and friends saying how awesome it was, i succumbed and bought it myself (i'm a sucker for geek-marketing and peer-pressure).
After playing it for the past few days, i've got to say that i'm very underwhelmed at the moment.
Visually i think the game is very ordinary (although the cinematics are spectacular). Gameplay-wise it's fairly average too: whilst Supreme Commander actually advanced RTS gameplay, SC2 sort of feels like the same type of RTS that I played 12 years ago, and maybe that's what they were going for. For me the gameplay mechanics just feels old and outdated.
There are some fairly annoying gameplay quirks too: i don't know how many times i've had an SCV (builder unit) build himself into a corner and not be able to get out without destroying the buildings I just ordered him to build. Very lame. Also, the unit path trajectories and movement AI all seem very 'dumb' after playing SupCom and the SupCom2 demo.
The story is probably the only thing the game has going for it, and although the scripting and voice-acting can get very cliché and camp, the plot is quite immersive. The whole 'on the ship' stuff between missions reminds me very much of my beloved Wing Commander series.
So whilst I can see why SC fans are wetting themselves over this game, for me as an RTS fan it's a very average game.
I do still want to eventually get SupCom2, and i've also totally missed CNC4 which i'll have to pick up eventually too.