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StarCraft: Remastered Review – Jacked up and good to go

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When I first selected a Terran Marine in the opening mission of the original StarCraft campaign back in 1998, almost two decades ago, he said: “Jacked up and good to go”. Today, I think back on that awesome one-liner, as it makes perfect sense for StarCraft: Remastered.

I wrote my first article about StarCraft and indeed, my love for esports was born from Blizzard’s StarCraft: Brood War released later in 1998. It has been 19 years and for me, the game still holds up as the best RTS ever created. Although StarCraft II is an exceptional game, it simply couldn’t match that feeling of the original in some aspects.

StarCraft: Remastered brings the original title and Brood War into the modern era with enhanced graphics and sound, as well as some neat Battle.net functionality like matchmaking.

However, the most important part for me was that the developer left everything else exactly like it is, from gameplay mechanics to every single player mission. The result: The perfect RTS just got a facelift, and it is glorious.

Multiplayer from South Africa

At the launch of StarCraft: Remastered, the matchmaking system ran into some issues. I constantly got an error saying: “An error occurred while trying to find a match” so for the first few days, I couldn’t play a Ranked Match. Even so, I finally found some matches over the weekend and I was simply amazed. Connecting to the European servers was a breeze and when I got into a game, it felt perfectly smooth.

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There were no latency issues other than a very slight delay, which meant I could compete to the best of my abilities without having to worry about lag. I took it one step further and joined the Korean server and to my surprise, I encountered very little latency. The original never had big latency issues for me, even on dial-up. Even so, there is no doubt in my mind that the net-code is improved, as the experience was flawless.

The only real issue at the moment is that you wait about 10 minutes to find a match in Ranked 1vs1 play, but that isn’t the game’s fault, but rather simply because there probably isn’t that many players enjoying StarCraft: Remastered yet.

A triumphant return to the Koprulu sector

In the outskirts of the Milky Way galaxy lays the Koprulu sector, the battleground of StarCraft and its expansion, Brood War. Three factions fight for the survival of their species in six epic campaigns spanning over 50 missions and well over 50 hours of brilliant content.

In StarCraft Remastered, the amazing story of Jim Raynor, Sarah Kerrigan and Tassadar have remained intact, bolstered by enhanced visuals, sound effects and the stunning soundtrack we all know and love. The story is further exemplified by themed comic book interludes and beautiful 3D models during mission briefings. It is truly a space epic that needs to be remembered and retold.

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The story, throughout the original three campaigns and the three Brood War campaigns, holds up extremely well to today’s standards. Multiple times during the opening missions, I couldn’t help to get, what I can only describe as “nerd chills”.

In both the campaign and the multiplayer experience, you can see that Blizzard has kept everything intact, from the movement of each unit, the way they attack and even the way the Zerg’s creep “creeps” outward, everything is exactly as it should be.

For some, it might feel a bit dated, but for someone like me who spent thousands of hours in the original, it felt like the game was giving me a warm embrace and welcoming me back to its mechanics every step of the way.

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The only thing I can see that could be a negative for some is that it is not exactly friendly to newcomers, as the game’s tutorial is somewhat lacklustre, especially if you plan on competing in Ranked games.

But that’s the thing about StarCraft, it is all about learning and every loss makes you a better player if you spend some time analysing your replays and what your opponent did. Therefore, I implore new players to not give up after some devastating losses, because it will happen.

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If you push through and learn the game and all its intricate mechanics, it will result in the most rewarding experience a video game can ever offer.

The Verdict – The Merging is Complete

Just like when two Templars merge to form an Archon and acknowledge that “the merging is complete”, the merging of graphical and sound enhancements with old-school mechanics, razor-sharp balance and a story that stands the test of time has arrived. StarCraft: Remastered is the perfect real-time strategy title of old, the one we all know and love, it just looks and sounds better than it used to; and that my dear readers, is what I call absolute perfection.  

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As you might have noticed, we recently moved to a scoring system out of 10. Since StarCraft: Brood War was already the perfect RTS, I should probably give it an 11/10, but I will settle for a perfect 10/10 instead. StarCraft: Remastered is the ultimate RTS experience, propelling the brilliance of the original game and its expansion Brood War into the modern era with graphical, sound and other enhancements.

For anyone who loved the original, it is a must-buy. For those who never played the game, get ready for the experience of a lifetime.  

Available On:  PC | Reviewed On: PC | Release Date: 14 August 2017 | RRP: 15 Euro (R233.50)  

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"It is truly a space epic that needs to be remembered and retold"

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