STARCRAFT II A hot alien chick and she has a badass dog? It's a win-win!

IT WILL BE HARD to find a review of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty that could be described as less than glowing, so finding a novel way to compliment Blizzard's latest is no easy task. It's gorgeous, perfectly balanced, and contains all the polish and extras Blizzard is known for. It's the finest real-time strategy game ever made and everything, right down to the between-mission cutscenes, sets a new high-water mark for quality in computer gaming.

StarCraft II is like Jesus, only way more fun.

That should cover the requisite hyperbolic praise, but what is it about the game that drove me—a self-described Warcraft geek who is terrible at strategy games and has never had any overwhelming fondness for Blizzard's sci-fi series—to forego sleep last night in favor of 12 straight hours of Zerg hunting? As stereotypical as that sort of thing is, I haven't passed up a night of sleep for anything since I was 16. What makes StarCraft II so special?

In a word: flavor. It's easy to design a cool-looking tank or a badass space marine, but the characters and units that make up the StarCraft II universe are so individually rad, so invitingly cool, that I now want to play games based on each one individually. A shoot-'em-up starring the Terran Viking? Hell yes (and, much to my surprise, a thought Blizzard must have had as well, judging by a certain in-game arcade cabinet)! A stealth-action game starring the Protoss' Dark Templar? Awesome! An adorable platformer starring an anthropomorphic zergling named Zeke? I'm all up on that!

The level of personality infused into each and every being within the StarCraft II universe elevates it above not only other strategy games, but any other game you'll play this year. StarCraft II is an instant classic, and deserves a spot in the collection of any gamer. Strategy games—hell, gaming in general—just doesn't get any better than this.