Game review on
Eamon Ward / Mon 25th Sep 2017
142 views / 3 bites
OVERVIEW On March 31, 1998, the gaming world changed forever. StarCraft, the sci-fi strategy title developed by Blizzard Entertainment landed on shelves and the way things were done would never be the same again. A few months later the acclaimed expansion, Brood War, was released and gave birth to modern e-sports. Like its insectoid race, the Zerg, StarCraft infested the world, and now, after almost 20 years, it has returned. For the sake of this review, both StarCraft and Brood War will be considered as a single entity within the remastered game.
The campaign is divided into three pieces, one for each race: Terran - humanity of the 26th century, Protoss - a group of tech-savvy religious warriors, and Zerg - an insectoid alien race that aims to consume the galaxy, with each campaign following off the last. The Terran stories follow the exploits of Jim Raynor and Arcturus Mengsk as they overthrow the dictatorial Confederacy, but soon find themselves trapped between the Zerg and the Protoss. Going into the other campaigns will involve spoilers so I won't talk about them, but rest assured the story-telling, characters and voice work is solid, some of the best around in fact.
As for the remastered content, what used to be nothing more than text is now replaced with nice artwork and narration. While I would have liked to see some remastered cutscenes, or even some new ones, the originals look decent in high resolutions, though they certainly show their age.
Of course, strategy games are all about the, well, strategy, and you won't find much better. While the gameplay remains unchanged since 1998, Zealots are stupidly powerful, Hydralisks will decimate light forces and Siege Tanks can hold down huge areas with ease, there's a number of issues that should have been addressed.
The number of units you can control at any given time is locked to 12, making long engagements more arduous than need be. There are a number of quality of life things ranging from how rally points work through to the way units move. While I understand that Blizzard wanted to preserve the original experience, having the ability to switch between what is little more than a graphical update to a 19-year-old game and a truly modernised version of that game would have been nice. As it stands, if you enjoy the gameplay of Brood War you'll enjoy this, but I cannot recommend it for those more used to modern strategy titles.
GRAPHICS The visuals are really the only noticeable difference within StarCraft Remastered and, at first, they don't seem all that impressive. That is until you discover the ability to revert to the original settings, at which point you realise how far they have in fact come. Units that used to be nothing more than a blob of pixels now have detail, not a lot but enough to make them distinguishable. This upgrade really is the remastered editions only selling point. So if you're tired of eye bleed, it's worth checking out.
AUDIO I don't think Blizzard has ever had trouble creating great audio. From each races' themes through the various unit and building effects, StarCraft Remastered sounds great. They've redone much of the old music and while some aren't fans of the new stuff, I find myself grooving along with it constantly.
VERDICT Ultimately, your purchase of StarCraft Remastered comes down to one thing. Can you justify spending $20AUD on a twenty-year-old game for what amounts to higher resolutions and a visual upgrade, not an overhaul. If you were never a fan of the original game, this won't change your mind. If you're after StarCraft with modern mechanics, look to the sequel. But if you enjoy the original so much that you don't mind dropping the money, well, the original is free but it really does look awful.