Homeworld Remastered Collection Review | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Homeworld Remastered Collection Review



There are a lot of games that I fondly remember from my childhood, from the brutality of Mortal Kombat to the stealthy antics and engrossing (if somewhat confusing) plot of Metal Gear Solid, there are very few that I hold in such high esteem as the first true RTS that I ever played. Homeworld was released back in 1999 and while I was absolutely terrible at the sophisticated, cutting edge and highly tactical game, I fell in love with it, utterly and completely. So it was with a sense of reverence that I watched eagerly as the “ETA” for my download of the Homeworld Remastered Collection tick towards 00.00.


It’s like Tron Bikes attacking a Star Destroyer.

For anyone that may not be as obsessive about this as I am, the Homeworld Remastered Collection is comprised of the games Homeworld and Homeworld 2. The original game was launched back in 1999 and was a true technological achievement. It featured three dimensional movement, huge battles and fantastic audio. The Homeworld Remastered Collection’s version of Homeworld and Homeworld 2 have been upgraded, in graphics, audio and compatibility, to run with modern machines. They are, fundamentally, the same games that we played sixteen years ago and are like a fine single malt, both games, have aged well, but it is only for a sophisticated palate.

The graphics of the Homeworld Remastered Collection are absolutely stunning. I was unable to play the game on the highest setting (my rig isn’t all that powerful) but even with a few of the options turned down, it looks absolutely fantastic. The use of colour in the game is truly beautiful and watching two fleets of Capital Ships slug it out over the backdrop of a nebula or distant star is almost awe inspiring. I was mesmerised by the flash of laser discharges and explosions as ships came apart. When you have the time to sit and look at the tableau as it unfolds in front of you, it is beautiful, however more often than not you won’t have the time to simply observe the battle.
All of the audio has been redone with original cast and crew working together to recreate the authentic experience. I still get shivers when I hear Adagio for Strings or hear the radio chatter between my ships. It has been done to damn near perfection.

Both games run in the same basic way, each game begins with the construction of a Mothership and the subsequent attacks that force you into exile to build up your forces. The storyline of each game has an incredible emotional charge that shares the dark tone of shows like Battlestar Galactica (global genocide and species survival). It may all sound pretty standard but the way in which Homeworld really stands out, is that you never start from scratch. Each and every unit, each research option and every credit earned transfers with you to the next level. This is simultaneously the best and worst things about Homeworld, It can be impossible to recover from a single bad mission. It adds real weight to the gameplay and fits in with the games theme of “every life matters”. In one mission I lost almost my entire fleet as asteroids pummelled them into oblivion, and after narrowly scraping past the mission I was instantly ambushed in the next, with no ships to protect me I had to reload a previous save. It’s hard to describe, I both “hate” and “love” this system.


Ooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Pretty.

The gameplay is solid and has aged very well but there are some problems that make controlling your forces a bit unwieldy. In Homeworld units are built individually and not in squadrons, there can be literally hundreds of units on the map in later levels and with only the ten pre-set hotkeys, there is no other menu or list to select units, it can be difficult to take full advantage of the advanced tactics that are available. It doesn’t become a problem for some time but in large battles, especially multiplayer or skirmishes, keeping track of all of your units becomes the overriding impulse. There can be so many things going on over a vast map that having the time to admire the fantastic aesthetics is a luxury you can ill afford. Units will regularly break their assigned formation as soon as they enter combat. This was only a problem in Homeworld and not its sequel (also remastered) but with something like this, you just need to take the good with the bad.

I played this on the day it launched and over the week since, during that time I found bugs and game crashes galore. In the first three levels I had to restart the game four times due to problems with instant crashes, Salvage Corvettes refusing to salvage and ships refusing to dock with the Mothership, all of these problems made it almost unplayable. There have since been updates that have improved the performance but there are still issues that are game breakers.

I have tried the The Homeworld Remastered Collection Steam Beta several times and each time I wasn’t able to join or start a match. It is an ambition plan, this multiplayer should allow players to use any race from either of the games and play together flawlessly. I never managed to get a match through this system, one match crashed, another lagged into oblivion and so on. I hope that Gearbox get the feedback from players to improve this going forward. Beta has evolved to mean “demo” over the last few years but this is a true beta and is far from finished.

I was terrified that I was going to be let down with the Homeworld Remastered Collection, I find that when I put so much hope and stock into a game that it won’t be able to live up to my impossibly high standards. The Homeworld Remastered Collection didn’t live up to my expectations, but I wasn’t disappointed by it. The game is one of the best looking games I have seen and the storyline holds true even after sixteen years. The reworked audio and the fundamentally solid gameplay we saw back in 1999 all work perfectly together. The game is buggy and its original flaws have been accentuated through time but ultimately, Homeworld Remastered is still one of the best RTS games out there.