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What if it was possible to experience something again for the first time? Barring some unexpected new discoveries that upend everything we know about how time, space and human memory works, this will always remain a theoretical question, one for the sci-fi movies.

StarCraft Remastered, however, comes as close as is possible to answering that question for those of us living in the real world. It drags into the present one of the all-time classics of gaming, giving it modern graphics and features while keeping it unabashedly a creation of its own time (that is, 1998).

Time goggles

Everyone who’s gone back to a beloved game many years later will know just how treacherous memory can be, specifically visual memory. We always remember old games looking much better than they actually did. If you don’t believe me, just go boot up Warcraft 2 or Jedi Knight right now… it’s not a pretty sight, is it?

As graphics have advanced, our memories have retroactively improved the graphics in older games to make them appear much more modern in our thoughts than they ever were in reality.

The result is that try as we might, it can sometimes just be impossible to enjoy these older classics today, as the little voice in your head reminding you just how outdated the visuals are refuses to stay silent.

StarCraft Remastered solves this problem by making the game look exactly how you thought it looked. Say goodbye to the pixelated mess that is the original StarCraft when viewed through modern eyes, and say hello to remastered ultra-high-definition visuals in widescreen.

You can switch between the remastered and original visuals with a simple click of the F5 key, if you want a reminder of the tricks memory can play on you. I can’t imagine too many people will choose to play with the original graphics for very long, but having the option to do so is something all remasters should ideally have, even if it’s only to serve as a showcase of how much work the teams behind these projects have done.

Something for everyone

But what if you’re a StarCraft noob? Does this game have anything to offer to those who have no idea what an SCV or zergling is, or respond with blank stares to cries of “my life for Aiur!”?

Yes, because this genre-defining effort is that rare classic game that still holds up today, and it’s an experience that any fan of strategy and space marines should enjoy.

The full original campaigns, including those of the Brood War expansion, are included, and are definitely worth at least one play-through. It’s a solid sci-fi yarn with enough twists and turns to keep you interested, even if most of those twists are well known by now, even by those who have never played it, thanks to how aspects of the game have entered popular culture over the years. The missions do a good job of teaching you the ropes and preparing you for the online multiplayer.

And we can’t talk of StarCraft, after all, without talking about its multiplayer. It’s what has kept the game alive to this day, even after the release of its sequel. StarCraft Remastered brings the full modern Blizzard matchmaking suite and features to the game, meaning that finding a game has never been easier. And yes, there’s still a lot of people all over the world who are playing every minute. Other modern luxuries, such as cloud saves and social integration, are also included.

Buy or not?

Real-time strategy (RTS) games have become something of a niche genre these days, but things used to be very different. There was a time when the biggest RTS franchises went toe-to-toe with the biggest first-person shooter releases, something that is unthinkable today. StarCraft Remastered provides a glimpse back into that time, and it’s a time machine that’s available for a very reasonable price. I highly recommend signing up for the journey.

Score: 10/10

Platform: Windows, MacOS