StarCraft: Remastered Review

StarCraft: Remastered Review

The Terrans have reigned supreme over the Koprulu Sector for a decade following the Guild Wars, but now a new threat has emerged and is picking off the Terran worlds one by one. The Zerg swarm is causing havoc, not only by devastating worlds, but by leading the Protoss to the Koprulu Sector too. A Great War has just begun. How will you respond to it?

StarCraft: Remastered is the resurrection of a timeless classic, modernised with HD Graphics; the return of the original StarCraft game, as well as the expansion pack; StarCraft: Brood War, made by Blizzard Entertainment, first released in 1998. StarCraft gained a cult-like status in the PC Gaming world as a result of its popularity, and has remained so long after its original release. It was among the first games to be televised in the eSports community, specifically in South Korea, where StarCraft was the most popular, having sold more than 4.5 Million copies, which is just under half the total copies sold world-wide, which was a staggering 9.5 Million. Many fans still have their original discs and have kept them safe as a fond memory to hold on to. As an RTS (Real-time Strategy) game goes, StarCraft is and will always be on top, seeing as that even the Guinness Book of World Records recognised it as the “best selling RTS game” and “longest serving eSports game”.

Nostalgia Incoming

Old vs. New

I can still remember the days watching my brother play StarCraft. I was too young at the time to understand the complexities of the game, but I was fascinated by the way he played it, and curious to find out where the story would go. Playing the Remastered version brings back loads of those memories, as I’m sure it will for all of the other fans who played the original! I was a little late to the StarCraft party, only really getting into it shortly before StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, but I made sure to find a way to play the first StarCraft so that I can appreciate the story and gameplay as it should be. Getting to know the history of the fall of the Terran Confederacy, the betrayal by Arcturus Mengsk, the birth of the Queen of Blades, and the loss of Aiur and Tassadar. The nostalgia gets heightened by excitement, now being able to see this amazing classic in higher detail than ever before, giving the missions a new charm to them. The missions and mechanics have been untouched, leaving it the same way as we knew and loved it, only giving us a major graphic overhaul and even with widescreen UHD support for up to 4k resolution! Ever wanted to see the scales on the Hydralisk’s tail? Do yourself a favour and zoom in with HD-Mode activated.

Yeah, that’s right, you get to switch on, and switch off, HD-Mode, without needing to restart the game even! Play in the old style with the pixelated soldiers running around to complete the objectives, or give to them a lot more shape and life as they destroy your enemy. It’s quite amazing to see the difference between the two. You can play around with this by going to the main StarCraft site and scrolling down to the “Remastered in HD” section, where you can select from a few different environments and races, and using a slider to compare old versus new graphics. The graphics weren’t the only thing to get an improvement. The original soundtrack and sound effects have been remastered as well, without compromising the classic StarCraft style. Even the voice acting and dialogues have been rejuvenated.

Robust Classic Gameplay

Check out Jim’s buzzcut!
As mentioned before the game has been remastered, but not changed. The original gameplay that the fans know and love has been untouched, preserving the old balance from the original game. All of the old gameplay characteristics and exploits have been preserved, such as Mutalist stacking and Magic-boxing, the sometimes quirky unit pathfinding. The one thing I wondered about, was the control-group limitations, and yes, even this is the same as in the original StarCraft. In the new StarCraft 2, there were no limitations to how many units you could select in a control-group. In the original StarCraft, you could only select about 12 units per control-group, forcing you to strategise and manage multiple control-groups. This gets done by selecting the units you want in a specific control-group, holding in the Ctrl button, and then pushing one of the numeral buttons on the top of your keyboard. This will organise the units you selected into a control-group, and when you push that number on the keyboard, you will have selected those units in that control-group. This is a much more complex mechanic to manage and a skill that gets better over time and is essential to every mission in StarCraft and especially in Multiplayer. You need to strategise properly during missions, meaning that you can’t rush a mission and expect results. You need to do reconnaissance and plan your moves carefully depending on the units that your enemy has at their disposal.

And speaking of Multiplayer, the Multiplayer in StarCraft has made a return too in this Remastered version. There are multiple servers to which you can connect to on Battle.net, like in the good old days. When you select a server, it shows how many players are online and looking for a match. Matches are made much the same way as it was in those days. You create a lobby with the settings and preferences you desire, and then wait for the opponent(s) and/or teammate(s) to join your lobby. I chose to go with the European server, which has the least latency issues for South Africa. I managed to find opponents relatively quickly with this method, sometimes not waiting for longer than 2 minutes. If I had joined the Korean servers, I would probably have found an opponent instantaneously, but we all know that would have been e-suicide if I even attempted a game against someone from Korea. Their mad-skillz would put me to shame. There is also an accurate Matchmaking system, which is naturally the preferred method for most, and it works really well. The people I’ve had games against were friendly, so it made the Multiplayer experience enjoyable. I was pretty nervous in my first match, but it ended up going pretty well. I had some latency issues, but I managed to compensate for that by “grieving” my opponent early game with an early rush of zerglings, and sometimes a Creep Colony if I was up against a fellow zerg player (I think it’s obvious now what team I support… For the Swarm!). Other players were so skilled that I wasn’t even mad when I lost, allowing me to learn something from the replays.

Protoss up close!
Thanks to the game being linked to the Blizzard App, any and all saves get saved both locally and on the Blizzard Cloud, allowing you to keep custom settings, custom maps, replays, and keybinds; quite a relieving improvement, to be sure! And what’s more, the game has been localised to 13 languages, so you can now enjoy the game in the following languages: English, German, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish (LatAm), Spanish (European), Polish, Italian, Russian, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Japanese.

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Conclusion

StarCraft: Remastered has successfully revived the original game by giving it the graphic overhaul it deserves. We get to experience the good ol’ chapters of the Terran, Zerg, and Protoss, with a new paint job and revitalised audio tracks. The game was flawless back in the day and still is today. StarCraft has and will always remain a timeless classic, to be enjoyed by any and all generations. The story is captivating and the gameplay is gripping, forcing you to strategise and coordinate your units, no matter what situation. The Multiplayer is fun as always and with a UI that is easy to navigate. Thank you Blizzard Entertainment for giving back to us and letting us relive a fantastic game. At the time of this review, you can get your own digital copy from www.starcraft.com for USD 14.99 or roughly R200.00.

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