Homeworld Remastered Collection: Review

Hello deep space, my old friend. In the decade and a half since Homeworld and its sequel graced my screen, I searched to recapture the magic feeling it imparted, a feeling I had long forgotten. Sins of a Solar Empire became my Homeworld substitute, filling the void when the need to glide through a paused star battle called, to live the excitement of unpausing and seeing my lovely fleet dash about, glowing engine trails painting a beautifully abstract picture of battle on my screen.

In the opening hour or so of the Homeworld Remastered experience, starting at the beginning with the first game, I was sad. Sins is better, much better, at everything, I thought. That much was clear, and was most evidently felt with the camera control. It’s a fiddle to get the view you want quickly and precisely, and to move around freely the way you would like. Memories were returning. I remember feeling exactly the same frustration back in 1999. Oh noes.

But, oh my is it beautiful. The textures and effects are lush. Homeworld 2 Remastered looks even better, with sharper and more detailed surfaces. This could easily pass as a brand new game, today.

Playing on, the gaps in my recollection began to fill, and with good things. Things that are much, much better than Sins. It’s the story, and the ongoing narrative that floods back, reawakening true love for a great game. So free of high-energy over-amped excitement that prevails today, instead being a grand yet gently delivered tale of survival and discovery, rendered with just the right tone via black and white cut scenes and momentous mid-game twists.
You will never feel the grind, you will always be prepared for radically different gaming
The story envelops the missions harmoniously, usually breaking into the action as you’re mid-battle with a dramatic development. Each mission has concise context, and that is translated into the objectives in each round. As the game evolves along, each new mission is very different from the last, and not in a small way. You will never feel the grind, you will always be prepared for radically different gaming as each luscious hour passes.

They feel like proper sci-fi missions, too, as you, as fleet commander, slowly build your fleet which carries over to the next chapter. Playing is exciting like no game today challenges. The answer to good game design is not to throw more, louder, more explosive at the player. It is to do as Homeworld does, and open the door to immersion via gentle, civilised and intelligent story telling that is matched by game play that matches the story and the vibe of the universe perfectly, instead of shoehorning some generic story crap in with even more by-number game play.

When Homeworld was first released it established a genre. Today, through Remastered, it resuscitates not only a genre left behind, but rekindles a style, pace and beautifully challenging variety tactical of space gaming that is essential in the modern landscape.

It is, by far, the highest quality HDification of an older game so far. With mod support it will go far and last for years more. Good job, Gearbox, and a tip of the hat to Relic, the Gearbox of their day.


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