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Thread: Critics on WOL's Plot

  1. #1

    Default Critics on WOL's Plot

    The most critical ones are those who indicate they played SC1 before:

    1. GameSpot:

    Gamespot has a review system whereby a game receives special achievements for its particular strengths and dubious-honors for its weaknesses. The icons reflect the "Good" and "Bad" bullet-points written in the beginning of each review. The cartoon-icons on the right of the written review indicate respective strength or weakness.

    E.G. See "World Of Conflict" - 2007 RTS Game review - - note the "Great Story" strength indicated as an “open book cartoon icon”. Such icon is standard procedure for games that GameSpot believes deserve to be awarded with the achievement.

    For WOL, while Gamespot gives 9.5 awesome overall review, noting numerous achievements, the usual "great story" cartoon-icon is NOT present. They don't say the plot sucks, but it clearly indicates that despite the game’s overall acclaim, the narrative has not been deemed worthy of their usual award.

    2. IGN -

    "Regardless of your level of exposure to the fiction, it's difficult to ignore the eye-rolling cliches and talk of prophecies being fulfilled, and the overabundance of 1980s action movie-style macho posturing and cheesiness

    On the subject of the actual story, it takes a little while to get to the interesting stuff. No doubt franchise fans will eat it up, but newcomers may be wondering what all the fuss is about while going through the early missions that lack the kind of urgency you would hope when the fate of civilization is in peril. By the end, it certainly makes you wish the second installment, called Heart of the Swarm, was available so you could move past dealing with Raynor's personal regrets and vendettas and focus instead of the larger issues facing Terran, Zerg, and Protoss forces. It's not all serious, though. There's plenty of humor injected into the story, from Blizzard in-jokes like the dancing Night Elf in the Cantina and the Lost Viking arcade game to Marine Tychus Findlay's insistence on smoking cigars inside his suit to the huge range of unit acknowledgements, it's a welcome counterbalance to the grim future all the races will eventually need to face."

    3. -

    " One thing that irks me a tad—and this is just me getting on my soap box so feel free to skip this bit—is the trilogy bit. I hope I’m wrong here, but for any of you who played WoW long enough to know that it needed to end a long time ago (which for me was after three months), you'll get the same sense during the last cut-scene in the main game that Blizzard is going to milk this for all its worth when there will probably be only enough strong plot in the entire trilogy for one game. There were plenty of side stories which gave value to the game’s many missions, but these plots themselves and characters they introduced seemed fairly pointless, especially when those characters may never be seen again. “

    4. -

    "...Unfortunately, the campaign contains the one area where StarCraft II (or at least Wings of Liberty) truly fails: the story. I realize that a poor narrative is an odd thing to criticize an RTS for, but the story of the original StarCraft was something that impressed me. The game universe felt massive, and the lore surrounding it painted an intricate backdrop for the events to come. Most other RTSs of the time had plots that were little more than pieces of yarn stringing the missions together, but StarCraft's featured struggle, duplicity, tragedy, and other dramatic terms. The modern sci-fi setting was built to a tee with a race of psychic aliens, a monolithic threat to all life in existence (complete with a tragic villain), and lots of cool technology. This world lent itself extremely well to the StarCraft experience, with the battles actually feeling like part of an epic struggle against annihilation. The scope of the story matched the scope of the game itself. By comparison, I was disappointed to see Wings of Liberty's story devolve into an awkward space western with far too many meandering subplots and a cheap "save the girl" arc thrown in.

    By comparison, I was disappointed to see Wings of Liberty's story devolve into an awkward space western with far too many meandering subplots and a cheap "save the girl" arc thrown in. There are a lot of head-scratching plot points and a particularly curious retcon of something established from the first game. Then there was the ending....I like to keep my reviews as spoiler-free as possible, so I won't mention specifics. However, I will say I was feeling a Star Wars prequel-level of betrayal when the credits started to roll. It takes a special kind of failure to screw up a character like Darth Vader, and it takes a similar type of failure to screw up Sarah Kerrigan. There are of course the other two campaigns still to be released, so it's entirely possible Blizzard might redeem themselves in this department. However, this story with this ending in particular felt very hollow.

    My qualms with the writing aside, the way the story is presented is actually pretty well done. The RTS genre isn't the most conducive to good storytelling, and the originalStarCraft broke the mold in this regard. Now instead of watching almost everything unfold through video screens, I can interact with the rest of the cast in a Wing Commander-type setting by visiting different parts of the ship. This is also the way to get unit upgrades and some new items, so weaving in some minor plot development into these instances works very smoothly. It's a shame that the writing doesn't live up to the presentation.”

    5. InsightBits: -

    "My one and only major complaint is the story. To start off, the installation offers a history lesson, but it's all too brief and devoid of emotion. Considering the sequel is released after 12 years, one would have expected Blizzard to do a better job on this area.

    Secondly, as I said earlier, this is a trilogy, so the main story arc isn't completed. Heck, it's only very briefly teased at, ironically by the four Protoss missions. Many of the missions including the main quest of a Terran revolution feel like side stories and quests compared to the major arc that lies ahead. For story points, Warcraft 3 and even the original StarCraft were more epic and left the player well satisfied in the end. On the contrary, Wings of Liberty ends rather abruptly."

    6. -

    "The story itself has echoes of Firefly, with a snarky captain and a Western twang to the music. There's even a train robbery mission. Jim Raynor has the cowboy swagger and ex-con Tychus has a bit of a Texas drawl going on. It's not a very good story, or an interesting one, but it is well produced and well delivered through a remarkable variety of missions."

    7. -

    "[T]he dialogue often falls flat and the characters are either clichéd, banal or both - Raynor in particular, sadly. Still, Blizzard has always pitched its storytelling tone broad and refused to take it too seriously, and the spit-and-sawdust aroma of the Wild West ambiance helps disguise the whiff of cheese."

    8. Destructoid-

    "I also felt that the story, while decent, wasn't spectacular. This is probably because I'm comparing it to the polish and shine of the rest of the game, but it felt like it was slightly lacking."

    9. -

    "Fractured Fiction

    RTSs aren't exactly known for their engrossing, well-orchestrated narratives but the original Starcraft hit it out of the park as far as video games go. The characters and world seemed grander and more important than they really were, a major component that helped raise it above and beyond the typical RTS. This is not fully reproduced in the sequel.

    The vast majority of the cutscenes and the time in-between missions takes place onboard the Hyperion and most of it consists of Raynor simply talking to the main characters cruising around with him. The characters themselves could fall into stereotypes and most of them don't even seem to serve any purpose other than as an excuse for more missions. Even Raynor himself comes off as an outdated Old West archetype. Instead of getting a grand view of things from multiple points of view like you did in the original game, with Wings you're told things solely from the Terran perspective, and to narrow it down even further, Jim Raynor's. Though that's an obvious side-effect from Blizzard's planned trilogy, you nevertheless are robbed of what could've been a more epic, all-encompassing story.

    Some people may tire of the story quickly, wishing for some time away from all the metal corridors. If a game's story were to ever give you cabin fever, it's this one. And when it actually does give you a new setting, such as the forward base of a recently-invaded planet, or throw in new characters like a young, upstart prince, you wonder why Blizzard didn't do more of that to switch things up. Apparently they centered all their creativity on making the missions varied and not the setting, but hey, I guess it could've been the other way around. Nevertheless, with two more parts of the story left to tell, and with some plot threads heading into a more interesting direction, I trust the developers will start to pen a better tale."

    10. -

    "The Terran only campaign was both fun and well played out, however the lack of any substance filled story can turn off diehard lore fans. With that said even if you can get past the lifeless story the ending will leave you frustrated with Blizzard's writing team...The best way to decide to purchase it or not is solely if you want to play multiplayer, because there are hundreds of better games with stories that are both complete and do not require an internet connection to play".

  2. #2

    Default Re: Critics on WOL's Plot

    Hell, it's about time.

  3. #3
    TheEconomist's Avatar Lord of Economics
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: Critics on WOL's Plot

    Despite 90% of those sites being jokes, it's pretty much common opinion that the SP was disappointing compared to the original.

    What is this topic's purpose?

    Rest In Peace, Old Friend.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Critics on WOL's Plot

    So that I'd have a thread to say, "Writing in a team environment is an abomination."

    Or, maybe not.

  5. #5
    TheEconomist's Avatar Lord of Economics
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: Critics on WOL's Plot

    You can say that anywhere

    Rest In Peace, Old Friend.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Critics on WOL's Plot

    Quote Originally Posted by TychusFindlay View Post
    Despite 90% of those sites being jokes, it's pretty much common opinion that the SP was disappointing compared to the original.

    What is this topic's purpose?
    I know Im bringing that old debate again but... Nostalgia also makes people believe the original game storytelling was good.

    If StarCraft 1 would come out this year, with awesome graphics and stuff, we would say that the story is very basic compared to what we can get now out of a video game.

    Although, I agree with people that think the story of SC2 didn't make the cut. It actualy didn't on alot of points.

    -close to no attatchment to any of the characters.
    -Space war turned into a Harry Potter story, with a prophecy, with dead people talking.
    -Nearly no story development for the 90% of the game.
    -Absolutly NO tension.

    We actualy got "used" to epic story//action in videogames.

    But sadly, SC2 story didn't get better or worse, it just changed to something else. Which is a dissapointment for alot of people.

    Back on the SC1 topic, go play the game again, if you don't see what I am trying to bring up, play it AGAIN. Every mission you can hear a character failing at being believable, but it was in the 90' we were cool with it.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Critics on WOL's Plot

    Actually, Starcraft 1 was good and convincing and all that. It's BW that was badly written and unconvincing... people just didn't realise back then.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Critics on WOL's Plot

    I see your point Bisso.

    Speaking for myself though, I have recently replayed SC/BW and still find both campaigns to be very good. Perfection cliche-less classic-novel style? Of course not!

    Some Campaign Creations campaigns are written better. However, the story, the dialogue and the way it was all structured and pulled together was very fun and made all of us in love with the lore.

    Let me try to point to an analogy. I'm totally making this up of course as I go along.

    Say in the 90s (or 50s), girls were more conservative and it was a rarity to find one who liked hooking up, while also being intelligent and adventurous. Most girls around that time were not up to par. Your girl was cute, however, wore the same fashion and style of the conservative times but then had so much passion on the inside, that you totally fell in love with her.

    Your girlfriend leaves for a foreign country. Time passes, girls get into liberalized Victoria Secret style, start dressing up like models and keeping up in shape and with fake chest, though they're much more silly and can't maintain a conversation past "lol" on a regular basis - before you know it, all of them are hooking up. You get excited about seeing your gf after many years're considering proposing to her because A. You expect her to be wearing the latest exposing trendy clothing and be open-minded and at the same time B. Be as epic and fun in her personality, creating all the beautiful tension between you guys... as before (or better).

    You meet. She still looks the same, is dressed beyond believe and looks like Angelina Joulie - but has degraded to the point of not being able to keep up a conversation.

    She may be good for parties and various other multi-player, but long term - you and her...ehhhh. You get depressed and disappointed, lock up in your room and take out a novel.

    So, was the girl perfect the first time around? No. You can think back and feel "well, yea she was kinda cliche when it came to chick flicks"...but seeing the degradation subsequently would still make you feel like the second version is incomparable to the first one.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Critics on WOL's Plot

    Is it the best game story ever, or even from Blizzard? No. It has flaws, and the pacing (thanks to the semi-branching structure which, IMO, was a failed experiment) was poor. But it wasn't terrible. It was still an enjoyable experience, and the gameplay itself was fantastic. I each mission was distinct and enjoyable. I hate how everyone treats this as a binary of "good" and "bad".

  10. #10

    Default Re: Critics on WOL's Plot

    Indeed, the parallel side story/mission structure of WoL did not lend well to storytelling. For instance, the cinematic 'Escape from Mar Sara' lent well to leading into 'The Evacuation (of Agria)'. However, by allowing players to proceed instead into 'Smash and Grab', Blizzard destroyed all the tension and sense of urgency that the new Zerg invasion set up.

    Speaking of which, the story structure doesn't really keep with Raynor's character. I mean, are you telling me to believe that the 'one last honest man in the universe' (Blizzard's words, not mine) is perfectly willing to run to the four corners of the galaxy in search for Artifacts for some mysterious employer with an unknown purpose or to hang out with known pirates as they together try to steal some stuff instead of doing his hardest to rescue those worlds hardest hit by the Zerg invasion? Even pursuing his agenda against the Dominion in the face of an alien attack seems inappropriate. Sure, he does help the Agrians. But are you telling me Raynor is satisfied just helping one colony again and again and not the dozen (or hundred) others out there?

    To summarise, the story itself was so-so. However, its execution was not as good as it should have been given (due, at least in part, to the story structure) and when applied with some Fridge Logic, doesn't really make sense given what we know about the main protagonist.
    Last edited by mr. peasant; 11-30-2010 at 04:55 AM.

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