By Michael Fontanini / May 4th, 2015
|Title||Homeworld: Remastered Collection|
|Release Date||Februrary 25, 2015|
|Genre||Simulation, RTS, Strategy, Sci-fi|
|Age Rating||ESRB – Everyone 10+|
An ancient relic has been found on your home world of Kharak. It is a momentous discovery, as it has a star map inscribed on it that provides the location of your peoples’ original homeworld. The people of Kharak (known as the Kushan) build a great mothership and prepare to set out in search of this world, but that will prove to be much harder than they realize. A shockingly terrible price will soon be paid, as a brutal galactic war is about to erupt. Along the way you will discover the history of your own people and how they came to inhabit the world they now call home. Will you persevere or be destroyed by the dark powers that threaten you?
Homewold: Remastered Collection includes remastered versions of both Homeworld and Homeworld 2 (which continues the story from the first game), as well as the classic versions of both games. At their heart, the Homeworld games are RTS (real-time strategy). You manage your fleet by giving them orders and collecting resources using your resource collectors. Those resources can then be used to build more ships. Each ship type has a population limit, so you can’t build as many as you want with impunity. Even if you could, the game scales the enemy fleet in each level based on the size of your fleet and your stockpile of resources. Homeworld: Remastered Collection also includes a multiplayer mode accessible from the launcher, though it is currently in Beta. Aside from the single player campaign missions, both of the remastered games also give you the option to play skirmish matches against CPU opponents. The game also already has some modding and workshop support.
As you can see in the comparison screenshots above, there is a huge difference in the visual quality of the remastered games compared to the original games. Also, the planet Kharak seems a bit misshapen in the first image due to technical problems (I tried various resolutions, but none fixed this). You can tell because the mothership in the foreground is not distorted, only the background is. In the image on the right, we can see a much more detailed mothership and its cradle orbiting above a much more spherical Kharak. You can even see the blueish haze of the planet’s atmosphere. The small yellow ship in front of the mothership is a resource collector. The smaller ships sitting in front of it are a squadron of scouts. Even the asteroids are much more detailed and ready to be mined for resources. You can see that they really did a good job with the remastered versions of the games in Homeworld: Remastered Collection.
The original games are a bit old, though, so some issues aren’t unexpected. If you want to run them, they are available on the launcher, but, for me, the launcher crashes whenever I try to run the original game. So, I have to go into the game folder and start the original game myself. I also had to set the original games to run in compatibility mode for Windows XP. The game works without this, but it will crash the instant I destroy an enemy ship! For the original version of Homeworld 2, you have to force VSync to be enabled for the game via your video drivers (so, for me, I did this in NVIDIA Control Panel). You may encounter other issues depending on your hardware, but the game’s forums can help (remember, this is for the original games, not the remastered versions).
The image above shows just how good the backgrounds look in the Homeworld: Remastered Collection. That background just jumps out at you, but without overwhelming the rest of the scene. In some levels, there are nebula clouds you can move through and use as cover to prevent the enemy from becoming aware of your presence. The large ship on the left is the Bentusi, a people who have befriended you. Their ship looks a little different in the first game, but still rather similar to this. The Bentusi will sometimes trade with you when you encounter them, providing you with a new technology, or helping in other ways. The green markings in the distance are indicating the positions of your ships, and you can see the mothership, as well. The different shapes of the markings help to differentiate ship types from a distance. Triangles are fighter-class ships (the smallest ships), and the biggest are Mothership-class. There are, of course, many in between, such as Frigates and Capital-class ships.
The stories of both games in Homeworld: Remastered Collection are deep and pull you in. One of the most powerful moments happens early on in the first game, when your people suffer a colossal blow, and the galactic war begins. This event and the accompanying music will leave you in shock, as events in games rarely happen on such a scale. This gets you emotionally into the game and wanting to find out who did this, why they did it and, perhaps, teach them a lesson they won’t soon forget. Each mission begins with a short animation that furthers the story and sets things up for the mission you are about to begin. Voice acting is included, just as in the original game. For the most part, it does its job well and adds to the experience.
The music is quite good in Homeworld: Remastered Collection. It has a strong ambience to it that really helps to set the mood. And there is a rather haunting piece that was created with a chorus. It plays during the catastrophe mentioned above and at a few other points in the game, as well. It really conveys the hopelessness and sadness of your people, the Kushan. They did a very good job on the music in the remastered versions of both games.
Of course, the games aren’t perfect. Most of the flaws are fairly small, though. Probably the single biggest negative is that the gameplay is very slow and methodical. While this isn’t necessarily a terrible thing, sometimes you will find yourself just waiting for your ships to arrive at their destination so you can move on with the next phase of your plan. Your ships move rather slowly, particularly in the first game. This helps increase the feeling of the vastness of space, but it can also be somewhat annoying when you’re just waiting around for some ships to get where they need to be. Of course, you can do other things like manage other ships, such as your resource collectors, if necessary, or build more ships. Waiting on your ships happens somewhat often, though.
The image above shows the map screen in the remastered versions of the games. It lets you see the level from a much more zoomed-out perspective. You can move your ships around on the plane represented by the orange circle. You can move by pressing the M key, then drag to the position you want your ship to move to. You can also move up and down off of the orange circular plane, as well. You do this by simply holding down the Shift key while doing a move operation. You can move when in the map screen, as well as in the normal game view. This movement system is quick and easy to use, though may take a bit of getting used to at first for new players. The large cyan marker on the map indicates the location of a mission objective. This movement system is mostly the same in all of the games in Homeworld: Remastered Collection.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Homeworld: Remastered Collection. Both games were certainly fun, and seeing your ships fly around in 3D space during a big battle is always cool, especially with their little glowing trails. Ships explode with an impressive blast, especially big ships whose blast is temporarily blinding as the screen is blocked by it for a couple of seconds. The games can potentially be frustrating in some cases, but, overall, the difficulty level is pretty good. The game doesn’t go easy on you, but it’s not too hard in most cases. Some levels may take a few tries to figure out how to succeed. The backgrounds are gorgeous, with some deep ambience added by the excellent music, too. Homeworld: Remastered Collection is an excellent galactic RTS game. My playthrough of both remastered games racked up about 35 hours of gameplay. Battles are almost like a scene out of Star Wars (with small ships whizzing around firing at each other with some bigger, more formidable vessels mixed in). Homeworld: Remastered Collection puts you in command of your very own fleet of star ships on an epic adventure of galactic proportions.
Review Copy Provided by Publisher
Gearbox SoftwareHomeworldHomeworld 2Homeworld RemasteredHomeworld Remastered Collection