StarCraft needs no introduction as its reputation speaks for itself. But to give a bit of history anyway, it was originally released in March of 1998 and quickly became the best-selling game of its time, creating a benchmark that many other RTS games have followed since. It holds several world records and still maintains a large following among PC gamers—especially in South Korea. Later on in November of 1998, Blizzard released Brood War, an expansion to StarCraft which added more units, story, and balance to the three different races.
As of April 2017, one can download and play the original StarCraft (with Brood War included) for free, offered by Blizzard through their website. It has been made to be compatible with modern operating systems and offers the same classic gameplay you know and love. But if you want to experience StarCraft with graphics up to 4K resolution, revamped audio and visuals, and the ability to play online, then the remastered version is $14.99. Is it worth it if the game is free anyway? I argue that yes, it is, but it all depends on your previous experience with StarCraft.
Spiritual Content: None
Violence: There are pixelated guns, bombs, fires and explosions. There is blood and a little gore, but nothing over the top.
Language/Crude Humor: The characters tend to say sh*t, da*n and hell whenever something bad happens. There is a language filter in the options menu under Game. It’s rare to see this setting in modern games anymore even though this was probably carried over from the original StarCraft.
Sexual Themes: Clean for the most part. There is some playful banter between the female commander Kerrigan and some of the male characters in the game, but nothing mature.
Positive Themes: The game is neutral as far as positive or negative. The main missions are usually to defend your base and conquer your enemies.
I don’t play too many RTS games. Games such as Clash of Clans became my hobby for a while, but not much else. To be able to play StarCraft for the first time and catch a glimpse of a real RTS was a treat, and made me regret missing it when it was first released. Already, I’ve spent 30+ hours on the first campaign and I love how it doesn’t even feel like it has been that long. At times, the game requires you to find the quickest way to defend so that you will have time to attack as well creating a sort of real stress to be more efficient with your actions and resources. I’m looking forward to pouring more hours into this.
The mechanics are great and the missions require some real thinking as you attempt to defend yourself while seeking to destroy your enemies. Figuring out what needs to be built before you can construct what you really want provides for some trial and error, but this can sometimes lead to your demise if you cannot adjust swiftly enough. At times, you will be required to think quickly and hopefully be prepared for a random attack or risk failing the mission. From what I have read, the core gameplay has been preserved from 1998 StarCraft—only the audio and visuals have been enhanced.
StarCraft Remastered comes with both original StarCraft and the Brood War expansion for a grand total of 6 campaigns: two Terran, two Zerg, and two Protoss. The free version comes with all of this as well, but no HD or online play included. The only other difference between the two versions is the ability to play widescreen, providing a larger viewing area. But upon seeing comparisons of old StarCraft with the HD version, the visuals look much better and have an amazing amount of detail that can especially be seen if playing in 4K.
Right away, the environments are crisp, but still retain a bit of their pixelated origins, giving it an “old, but new” feel. For example, the flames that appear when a building is on fire are clear, yet they still have pixelated movements. The profiles of all characters, like Kerrigan or Raynor, look completely updated and have new motions. You can also quickly switch between classic StarCraft and HD StarCraft in-game by simply checking a box in the options menu.
As far as the audio is concerned, the game boasts updated dialogue and clearer vocals. The voices from units are clear and the characters dialogue sequences are fully animated. The story makes sense and there is continuity between missions. As far as the soundtrack goes, the tunes for the Terran campaign are fantastic and very catchy. They’re the same tunes from the original and you can listen to them here.
If you are deciding whether or not to buy StarCraft Remastered, keep in mind that it is not only a graphics upgrade but a compatibility upgrade as well. The HD version runs smoother and is just all around easier to maneuver. With the remastered edition, you will also be able to play online, but be sure to gear up your guns and skills because some of the best of the best are waiting for you. If you’re new to StarCraft, you are always able to download the original and try it out, but I recommend going all in and buying the Remastered version since it plays the same, but runs better on modern operating systems.
While StarCraft Remastered isn’t an overhauled edition, it is definitely better, with an updated HUD, graphic support for 4K, and enhanced audio and dialogue. For those who don’t care too much about graphics, the free version would be more appropriate. But if this is your first time, dive into the world of StarCraft and buy the Remastered version. Fifteen dollars is a perfect price for what you get and not too hard on the wallet.
The Bottom Line