Huge news for all the strategy fans
Spring 2017 has brought some great news for StarCraft fans. Blizzard Entertainment announced that it is working on a remake of the original game. The revamped version will be released in the summer by the name of StarCraft: Remastered. In the meantime, the developers delighted the lovers of the franchise by enabling the original and its Brood of War expansion free for download on their website.
What Is StarCraft?
I do hope that most of you have heard of Blizzard’s real-time strategy first released over two decades ago, but let’s give some necessary information for those who might need it. Everything started in 1998 when Chris Metzen and James Phinney thought of a futuristic story about the battle for galactic dominance. Four species all had the same goal – to rule the Koprulu Sector, one of the distant parts of the Milky Way galaxy. The races include:
- The Terrans – humans of the future. Aside from the fact that they have to fight other races, they are known for fighting each other.
- Protoss – the species originating from the planet Alur is expert in technology and a physically strong race
- Zerg – these insectoid superorganisms are bad news. They use direct mutation to keep track with the advanced technology of Protoss, and they are striving to create the genetically perfect race (sounds familiar?)
- Xel’Naga – or “wanderers from afar.” The ancient race which created Zerg and Protoss, but that backfired and almost resulted in their destruction
The creativity of Metzen and Phinney brought us a great story we first got to play in Blizzard’s Entertainment game StarCraft released in March 1998. Ever since then, the franchise produced a number of other games (although most of them were expansions, officially there were only StarCraft I and II), as well as a board game, eight novels, and a number of toys and statues.
What’s the Secret of StarCraft?
We all know that computer games often have the destiny of toys that a child deems as uninteresting. You play for a month or two, and the game ends up on your shelf collecting dust (or, in modern times, deleted from your PC). So, what contributed to StarCraft lasting so long?
One of the main reasons is that it brought revolution to the real-time strategy genre. Although Warcraft (also made by Blizzard) and Dune II had a big success, it wasn’t until StarCraft that RTS genre established itself as choice number one for a significant number of fans out there. The game offered us different races with unique units, spells, and upgrades. The beauty of it was that the experience varied depending on the species you chose to play with because they all had different strengths. Despite their differences, no race had a significant advantage, and balance was crucial.
Considering that the game was made two decades ago, it’s understandable that most of the story is told in cut scenes. However, the plot is pretty much perfect, as well as the mission objectives you need to fulfill while playing. The tasks vary and often get more creative than just destroying your enemy. You will play maps where you are not allowed to attack or when you have a certain amount of time to complete the objective. Overall, you can see that Blizzard put in a great effort in every step of the way, and especially when it comes to gameplay.
Naturally, all this wouldn’t have much sense if your opponents are not a challenge, but Blizzard knew this, so they made the AI so strong that it just gets notoriously difficult at times. It’s like the developers were aware that the game will have a long lifespan and made the AI in a way that it can compare to some of the today’s most challenging RTS games.
The graphics are not the best part of StarCraft, but they shouldn’t be a priority anyway. Yes, the game was made in the previous millennia, but even for those standards, they could be better. However, the universe of the StarCraft comes with so much uniqueness that it’s hard to believe the game was made in 1998. The terrains have one or two level grounds and even open areas where you can use your flying units. One thing missing are the naval units, so the rivers and seas on the maps could as well be open space. Your smaller units can use trees as a cover, but other than that – terrains are just backgrounds with a bunch of colors. However, you can see below that the Remastered version adds plenty of details to everything.
There are a couple of things that could have been included, such as the key to use as a shortcut to the next idle worker. Also, you are limited to twelve units in a single group, which can be annoying at times. Perhaps StarCraft: Remastered that comes this summer will listen to fans’ feedback and add a couple of new things along with revamping the game.
Try Yourself against Other Players
Once you complete all the missions and think you are good enough, you can test yourself against other real players in StarCraft’s online multiplayer mode. A large number of scenarios and maps, as well as campaigns created by third party guarantee a lot of fun. Believe it or not, people from around the world never stopped playing StarCraft online ever since it first appeared.
The fact that the original game is available for free also brought an increase in the number of available players online. Event he StarCraft: Remastered will have perfect compatibility with the original game, and you will be able to participate in internet combat against players with the older version of the game.
Testing yourself against other in SC is easy. All you have to do is visit the website battle.net, which is the official Blizzard’s website for multiplayer play, and you will find thousands of servers available.
Can I Really Play StarCraft for Free?
Yes, Blizzard Entertainment decided to celebrate the two decades of franchise’s existence by enabling the fans to play the original game for free. The expansion pack called Brood of War that comes with a bunch of new maps, campaign, units, and upgrades is also available. Blizzard also released a patch from BW, for the first time in eight years. The patch fixes some bugs that have been annoying us for a long time, and it improves the compatibility with newer Windows operational systems (7, 8.1 and 10).
You can download the free version of StarCraft from the official page of the game here.
StarCraft: Remastered – Tell Me More
The developers have a plan to attract new fans to the game by modernizing it and giving it a complete revamp. A complete graphical overhaul should give a modern look to this timeless classic.
The biggest new addition will be support for Ultra HD resolution (a.k.a. 4K TVs). SC: Remastered will include high-resolution units, maps, buildings, and upgrades. Blizzard promised they wouldn’t make any changes to the story and the gameplay. It will still be the good old fight of the Terrans, Protoss, and Zergs, and the campaign will still take you through more than 50 single-player missions.
The new graphical illustrations should improve the storytelling section of the game. Mission introductions and interludes will feature comic-book styles animations, while all the cinematic will be enhanced to 1080p resolution.
Aside from improving the visuals, the developers will also modernize the audios of the game. We know that Blizzard pays a lot of attention to sound. It was the case in the original StarCraft, and it will be the case in the remastered version.
Some other new features also include enabled cloud saves for your campaigns and custom maps, as well as key binds and replays. However, I would like to emphasize that a new matchmaking feature will also be implemented. SC: Remastered will automatically connect you to the players of the similar skill as yours (based on the race selected), but for all the lovers of the original non-existent matchmaking system – you will still be able to connect to the servers and start playing against a random opponent.
Blizzard decided to surprise millions of fans of the StarCraft franchise for the 20th anniversary of its release. They enabled the original game and the Brood of War expansion to be free for download from the official website while making sure that they improve the compatibility with newer OS and iron out a few annoying bugs.
They also announced the release of StarCraft: Remastered for later this summer. The new game will present the complete graphic and audio revamp of the original. It will include new animations and sounds, as well as better online support. At the same time, it won’t mess with the familiar gameplay mechanics at all – it will still be the StarCraft we know and love. Also, if you’re intro strategy, you should check out our Dawn Of War 3 Review as well.
Knowing Blizzard’s reputation and dedication to every game they make, I believe that we can expect that they will do a great job with SC: Remastered. Up until then, you can find me on battle.net servers trying to wipe those annoying Zergs of the map once again!