Starcraft was a gem. It came out in 1998 as a possible hit following Blizzard’s successful Warcraft franchise. The game literally had an earth shattering impact, practically becoming the national sport of Korea, with millions of gamers witnessing the arrival of the perfect RTS.
Critics gave the release of SC1 a warm welcome, with an aggregate score of 88 (out of 100) for Blizzard’s magnum opus. Users gave the game a near perfect score, with an aggregate of 9.4 (out of 10) on Metacritic.
A different story is told with the reviews of SC2. The aggregate score by critics is an amazing 97 of 100, but the aggregate from users is a far weaker 8.6 of 10 (link).
And perhaps this is the curse which Blizzard has created for itself. An almost impossible expectation now awaits each and every Blizzard release for something revolutionary. One can look at the scores garnered by the relatively recent release of Wrath of the Lich King. Critics game the game a 91 of 100, while users panned it with a poor 6.4 out of 10. An expansion which was widely recognized as the third best game to come out of 2008 was criticized for falling short of perfection.
And I believe that’s what embodies the current criticism towards SC2. This game was expected to be perfect – Blizzard had 12 years to take a working formula and package it into three flawless $60 portions. And perhaps that was where they erred. They took 12 years, they broke the game into three expensive and delayed portions, and crafted what can honestly be called an excellent title. But it’s not perfect. Users hate that LAN gaming was removed, not because this necessarily effects gameplay so much, but because many of us grew up playing SC1 on lan. We have a sense of nostalgia towards our favorite title of the decade, and were hoping for 10 years more of pure gaming pleasure.
Perhaps we hoped for too much.