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Starcraft II Reviews: 2.8 Out Of 5

Users impressed with graphics and gameplay, but slam publisher Blizzard for greedy pricing decisions.

Blizzard Entertainment released the long-awaited Starcraft II: Wings Of Liberty real-time strategy game Tuesday to mixed reviews. Many users praised the game for its action-packed gameplay and cool graphics, while others decried its limited campaign options and lack of LAN support.

The upshot: users who ranked the game using Amazon's scoring system gave it a so-so, average score of 2.8 out of 5 stars as of early Tuesday.

Many were impressed with Starcraft II's graphics, which bring state-of-the-art 3D to the franchise, now more than a decade old. "I have to say that the game has definitely passed my expectation of what I would consider a game of 2010 to be," wrote A. Chacko, on Amazon's review board.

Others welcomed the fact that gameplay is similar to the original Starcraft, but faster and with some new twists. "Seasoned and new gamers alike will appreciate the simple yet highly enjoyable gameplay. The factions are well balanced and the units are perfectly valued," wrote NeuroSplicer. "And because the game is richer and deeper, the tension keeps mounting," NeuroSplicer added.

"Blizzard has released yet another wonderful product," gushed Leetelite1427.

But Starcraft II is also drawing plenty of barbs from users unhappy with Blizzard's technical and pricing decisions. Unlike with the first Starcraft, players cannot go head-to-head over a LAN. Instead, they must play over Blizzard's Internet-based Battlenet service.

"LAN play isn't dead, Blizzard. Some of us like having the ultra-low latency of getting together face-to-face with our friends," complained Candace Beauchamp, on Amazon.

Others said Blizzard's plan to limit the first version of Starcraft II's campaign play to the Terran race (users must wait for future editions to play as the Zerg or Protoss) is nothing more than a money grab. "So basically it's, 'Here, buy this game three times and then never play it in the same room with your friends," complained a user going by the name Confucius.

Still, Starcraft II is bound to be a massive seller despite the grumblings. The basic $59 title, available for Macs and PCs, was the top-seller in Amazon's video game category as of mid-morning Tuesday. A Collector's Edition, which includes a 176-page book of original Starcraft II art and other extras, sells for $99.

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