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Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void Review

Legacy of the Void follows the formula of Wings of Liberty for the Terrans and Heart of the Swarm for the Zerg, picking up where the latter left off in the story of the noble Protoss. To sum up the plot in a nutshell, the Xel’Naga void god Amon has taken control of the psionic khala, and any Protoss who has not severed their connection to it (or any Terran Moebius Core military that were studying it) have fallen under Amon’s control and threaten to wipe out the Protoss race and anyone else that stands in their way.

In addition, Amon’s minions have created a hybrid Protoss-Zerg combination last seen in Heart of the Swarm. It is Amon and his group that serve as the main antagonist in the missions and the story development of new Protoss Hierarch Artanis.

Starcraft is widely acknowledged as one of the best real-time strategy games (RTS) of all time. So when Blizzard announced a sequel, there was a lot to live up to, and amazingly enough, Starcraft 2 succeeded.

By keeping what made the original great, taking advantage of improved technology, and making gameplay additions and changes that largely work, Starcraft 2 built on its predecessor’s legacy to become a classic in its own right. And in November 2017, Starcraft 2 became even better when it went free-to-play.

Even though it’s eight years old, RTS games are known for having some hefty system requirements; there can be a lot going on at one time. So we tested Starcraft 2 on 6 different Macs to give you a good idea of where your Mac will stand.

First things first, is the game any good?

As in any RTS, you spend much of your time gathering resources and building and upgrading your base and your army before going out to accomplish the goal of your particular mission. One of the strong points of the original was its engaging story told in short cutscenes, and that continues in the sequel with even more detail and interactivity.

If you’ve already gotten the impression that Starcraft 2 is a pretty great game, you’d be correct. Despite some objections to Blizzard’s original pricing structure and complaints about the lack of LAN multiplayer, Starcraft 2 was a huge hit when it came out.

Starcraft 2 Mac requirements

It’s always better to meet the minimum system requirements, just to be safe, but in this case, that shouldn’t be an issue…

These are the official StarCraft 2 system requirements:

  • OS 10.11
  • Processor Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Memory 4GB RAM
  • Video Memory 1GB Video RAM
  • Hard Drive 30GB of Hard Drive space

It’s unfortunate that Blizzard doesn’t specify the minimum required integrated graphics card, but comparing these with Intel’s solutions, we can conclude you need at least an Intel HD Graphics 4000.

Metal VS OpenGL renderer

A game that properly supports Apple’s Metal graphics API should destroy the same game using the older OpenGL graphics API in terms of performance. In this case, though, Metal support is officially in Beta and clearly not quite ready for prime time.

On the 2016 MBP, tests using the Metal render are slightly better than using OpenGL. On the iMac, results are nearly identical. But on our 2013 MBP, the Metal render displays awful glitches and artifacts. This is why all our final tests use OpenGL. Metal could be faster, but Blizzard’s implementation is not stable enough right now.

And for the record, Medium settings and 1280×800 resolution may seem low but it’s the best compromise when testing both high-end and low-end models.

Strategy Games Deserve Support

Although real-time strategy games like StarCraft and Age of Empires have a venerable legacy in PC gaming history, the genre has been somewhat unsupported by big-budget developers in recent years (save for the upcoming Age of Empires 4, which might change things). Most fans of the genre will tell you that it’s not quite the same as it was during the heyday of the ’90s.

However, that’s just all the more reason why more people should play competitive strategy games in this day and age. If StarCraftII continues to do well and sparks renewed interest in the genre, it might catch the attention of developers willing to fork over the cash to try and capitalize on that interest.

Those without much background in the world of PC gaming often find themselves fretting about what games they can and cannot play on their current hardware. This is understandable because, for those without gaming PCs, playing a video game isn’t quite so simple as inserting a disk into a console.

Thankfully, StarCraft II’s system requirements are quite light, meaning that pretty much anybody will be able to install and enjoy the game. These technical considerations, combined with StarCraft II’s price tag of zero dollars have considerably lowered the bar of entry to the game, making it far more accessible for even those without any experience with strategy games.

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