“Hell, it’s about time!” – this is the best phrase to complement the epic comeback of the original StarCraft. Everyone was asking for a StarCraft remaster and now, Blizzard listened and they delivered. We have been given lots of remakes and remasters this year such as Patapon Remastered, Voodoo Vince Remastered, WipEout Omega Collection, Crash Bandicoot, and there are still more mention.
2017 is the year for remasters and remakes and that does not leave Blizzard’s critically acclaimed StarCraft and its expansion – StarCraft: Brood War – from the mix.
The battle among three races continues: Terran, Zerg, and the Protoss – in high-definition!
Platform Reviewed: PC
Platforms Available: PC
Release Date: August 14, 2017
Price: USD $14.99 (appx. Php. 771.42)
This review is based on a review copy provided by Blizzard.
Initially announced earlier this year, Blizzard took the chance to reveal StarCraft: Remastered. While it’s a given fact that there has been a lot of remaster/remake releases lately, the unstoppable giant studio wants to also make its place in the world of remasters. Given StarCraft’s popularity especially in South Korea, StarCraft is the suited choice for a remaster. With Blizzard’s decision to retain the original mechanics and coding, everyone went crazy. In my opinion, it was the right thing to do. Since the balance in StarCraft is already exceptionally great, altering any core gameplay would destroy all of the hard-work done to get to the game’s current state.
Granted that this is a remaster of a 1998 real-time strategy game with the core gameplay kept preserved, the improvements were solely on its multiplayer, visuals, audio, and additional features like custom hotkey mapping and the Battle.net 2.0 integration (yes, it’s not Blizzard App anymore, it’s Blizzard Battle.net). Players can also switch from the upgraded look to the classic one by just simply pressing F5. Just like other remasters such as Halo: The Master Chief Collection, I love the ability to switch from modern to classic view. It is one great feature that gives the player the freedom to choose if they want to go back to the game’s visual roots for nostalgia or stick with its modern look.
From the blurry and jagged-edged sprites to a newly improved full-blown 2.5D aesthetics, StarCraft: Remastered is unbelievably beautiful. With the jagged-edges ironed out plus the 1080p and 4K add-on, the game looks a lot sharper and crispier. You can already spot how accurate the Hydralisks and Zerglings look on 1080p and 4K. Plus the revised unit portraits looks damn amazing!
In addition, the APM counter is turned on by default, and you can disable the feature from the options menu if you don’t feel like having it around. For those who don’t know what APM stands for, it means actions-per-minute. That’s the indicator of how fast you play the game. Further complementing its step-up in graphics and the game’s new additions, the soundtrack also got the same remaster treatment.
But one thing lacks for sure, the cinematic intro and also from the campaign were kept as it was. While players were given the ability to switch versions by just a press of a button, one would safely assume that, with the likes of other remasters, the scenes would also get some rework – sadly, it did not. Although I don’t agree with Blizzard leaving out the game’s CGI improvements, it’s not an awful decision but rather a lazy one. Because even something as little as that could make a difference – give total justice to “high-definition”, if I say so myself.
With its core gameplay completely retained, StarCraft: Remastered still feels the same and longtime veterans and fans will feel right at home; which also means the utterly horrendous unit pathing is back. Players can relive the classic funny moments of the erratic movements of Dragoons! Some may say that it’s a dreadful choice for not fixing the pathing problem, but that’s what makes StarCraft: Remastered… StarCraft. I like it that way and it should stay that way.
Multiplayer is the most important aspect in StarCraft and without it the game would already be dead by now. With the strong community and fanbase, especially in South Korea where it is considered to be the country’s national sport, the migration from Battle.net 1.0 to Battle.net 2.0 was a great move. Lags and delays were nonexistent despite playing outside the Asian server. Furthermore, features like leaderboards, a newly improved lobby user interface, and the most awaited Ranked play with assigned Leagues were also added. Servers are still separated through regions: U.S West, U.S East, Asia, Korea, and the Fish Server. One thing to note, the South Korean dedicated Fish server sticks with its classic approach in ladder matches which means Ranked play is not available.
My main concern right now is with the Ranked feature. At launch, there were lots of players going for Ranked play and the average wait time was about 9 to 11 seconds. But that drastically changed over the course of just a few hours.
Ranked mode felt like a ghost town afterwards, no one was playing, and having the wait time go as high as 177 seconds, I decided to look for public custom hosted games instead. This happened on U.S West, U.S East, and Asia. However, in the Korean server, the wait time was about 19 to 21 seconds long. Since most StarCraft veterans are used to finding games manually on public games, it might take a little while for them to conditionally use the Ranked feature. With a big StarCraft: Brood War community, Ranked will be filled with players as days go by.
Fortunately, knowing StarCraft’s age, potato computers can run this bugger without any hiccups. Ever since my AMD R9 290X died almost 2 months ago, I’ve been running on an HD4400 onboard graphics unit. I told myself, let’s try this out and see how well my computer can withstand StarCraft: Remastered. The result was phenomenally great – the game ran smoothly without problems at 1080p. However, due to my crappy onboard graphics chip, there was only one graphics setting that I was unable to turn on and that was the Real-Time Lighting.
I gotta hand it to Blizzard though, they made a great remaster and definitely met my expectations. I loved the newly improved multiplayer system and especially the strong community. Despite the lack of improvement with its CGI, StarCraft: Remastered is a remaster done right and it will live another 12 to 13 years before we get a new StarCraft installment.