It took me 9 days to play thru the entire game on Normal difficulty level. Wow what an experience. The story-line of the game picks up where the previous one left-off. There is some explanation of the back-story in the enclosed booklet and some cinematic cut scenes through-out the game that fill new users in on the major details.
The game engine has been totally redesigned. The units are recognizable but much more beautifully detailed than the previous game. The texture of the game is rich and well done. I was really worried about the balance of the game but the individual missions are well designed. There are several that depend on time. The player is forced into acting even when they are not ready. These were the most challenging ones for me. I prefer to build-up defenses first and attach when my technology and units have accumulated, sometimes the game makes this very difficult.
Between missions, players can buy mercenaries and technology upgrades. The mercenaries seem much more useful than the unit upgrades; only a few seem worth the price. Mining vespian gas without SCVs, fire turrets and bunker enhancements are more useful than other upgrades in the game because they get more use. By the time you get upgrades to the high-end units, the game is about over.
You need Internet access and a Battlenet Account even to play the single player missions. The game takes 12 Gigabytes of hard disk space. In addition, a multi-core CPU and good video card are a must. See this link for details.
My son’s computer was scored lowest in all video settings by the game even with a quad-core CPU. I bought a new motherboard and video card for him at Fry’s. I installed the new motherboard with all his old hardware and turned on the computer. With Windows 7 it was able to boot all the way up without a blue screen of death or resorting to Safe Mode. I installed the drive DVD rebooted and then installed the new video card and we went from a score of Low to Ultra high in all video settings. Microsoft definitely got it right this time.
Blizzard—the game makers—have a real winner on their hands. This was worth the almost $60 price tag. Oh, online game play is free unlike World of Warcraft.