Splendid Homeworld: Remastered

Homeworld: Remastered Collection – a reissue of the popular series of strategy games from 1999 and 2003. After many years of bureaucratic delays, Gearbox Software finally acquired the rights to the franchise and has been updating and adapting the game to modern realities for the past two years.

Planet: Scenic view

It was so long ago, but I still remember that difficult mission near the supernova explosion, where we couldn’t act without the cover of space debris. I borrowed the game disc from a classmate at school, I played during the day, he played in the evening. Naturally, we unofficially competed to see who would finish faster, and I got stuck on the supernova for two days, which allowed him to win.

If you have never heard of Homeworld before, it is a real-time three-dimensional strategy game that became a revelation for PC gamers who grew up on Starcraft and Command & Conquer. Unlike these isometric games where you fought enemies on a flat map, Homeworld moved the battlefield into three-dimensional space. This way, you could attack enemies from above and below, and often did both.

A unit in the game

When Gearbox Software announced the start of work on Homeworld, fans reacted to this idea with a considerable amount of skepticism and even concern. The fact is that the studio had already been criticized for the failed Duke Nukem Forever. Fortunately, this time Gearbox acted wisely and decided not to make any unnecessary changes to the game apart from refreshing the graphics.

For the most part, this is good: fans may not have liked significant changes to the game they had long loved. However, Homeworld: Remastered has changed for the better not only visually.

The Remastered Collection package includes the “classic” versions of both games, which you will open once, be horrified, and never think of them again. Comparing the classics with the modern HD version, you realize that your memory played a cruel joke on you, making you think that the originals were beautiful.

An image featuring a carrier

The first thing that catches the eye in the updated versions is the redesigned user interface, which has become unified for both parts. The opaque frame, which fans of the series remember well, has been replaced with a semi-transparent one. In addition to this, the multiplayer mode has been merged and essentially turned into a separate game, although you can still battle the computer in each of the games.

There has been a slight change to the soundtrack, as the song “The Ladder” by the band Yes has been removed. Unfortunately, it was cut due to copyright issues. I was really hoping that the game would have updated voice acting. For example, when Fleet Command reports the destruction of Kharak, the words are still spoken monotonously, without any hint of emotion, just like ten years ago.

Scenic garden view

Both remastered Homeworlds now run on a unified hybrid engine, which has had some impact (not very significant, don’t worry, for example, the absence of a fuel parameter for small ships) on certain campaign missions from the first part, which, by the way, can now be played as the Taiidan Empire.

Some old bugs have been preserved. For example, in the mission “Return to Kharak,” there is a bug that will not allow you to proceed to the next level if you capture two attacking frigates or manage to save all six cryogenic containers. It is worth noting that even the game walkthrough guides mention this issue, but 16 years later, the bug (or feature?) still hasn’t been fixed.

I’m not sure if there is a technical explanation for this, but the graphics improvement has had little effect on special effects. In the original, after a full-scale attack on an enemy carrier or mothership, small lights would start running across its surface. Players really enjoyed zooming in and watching the ship slowly being consumed by fire from the inside. Unfortunately, during the explosion, the area around the ship would be flooded with solid white light. It created a kind of theatrical “switcheroo” scene, as the ship model disappeared and pre-generated debris appeared in its place. It was like a digital equivalent of an old trick where a magician would throw a smoke bomb, freeze the camera, and then exit the frame. I’m sure it was difficult for the developers to implement a more modern effect, but it would have been really cool if we could witness the ship breaking apart in agony.

Special effects in Homeworld Remastered

There are no guarantees that Gearbox will release a sequel (unless the Remastered Collection is a resounding success), but after two weeks of playing the updated version of Homeworld, I really want to see Homeworld 3.

Homeworld and Homeworld 2 are two wonderful games that truly deserve attention. They have rightfully earned their place in history alongside cult titles like C&C and StarCraft. If your experience with RTS games is limited to Blizzard games, I highly recommend playing “Homeworld”. If you have long been in love with this game and just want to know if Gearbox Studio messed up, I assure you that everything is fine.

Homeworld Remastered
Multiplayer, Strategy
Gearbox Software
Gearbox Software
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



More Reviews