Homeworld Remastered: Star player strategy returns - Games Weekly

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Homeworld Remastered: Star player strategy returns

The sad story of a giant, homeward-bound boomerang mothership first touched the hearts of PC gamers 16 years ago, when it was rightly lauded for simulating tactical space combat on a vast scale.

To those hardcore fans, and anyone with considerable reservoirs of patience and a love of space lasers, we can happily report that Gearbox has delivered an accomplished remaster. Both the Homeworld and Homeworld 2 campaigns have been revamped, and there’s a skirmish mode that lets you mix and match factions from both games in the same battles. HD textures, improved lighting and redrawn backgrounds successfully modernise both games while leaving Relic’s artistic vision intact.

That vision strove to communicate the glacial magnificence of city-sized vessels duelling in dust clouds. You build research vessels to unlock new craft, create capital ships to produce fighters, and micromanage them all in huge space battles with panicked mousework.

It’s exhilarating, even if the pacing is still slightly uneven. Expect long periods of stillness as your harvesters suck ore out of asteroids, and then sudden, frenetic bursts of action as fleets collide in a tangle of vapour trails and plasma torpedoes. It’s a challenging series, especially if you’re used to land-lubbed real-time strategy games. Homeworld’s three-dimensional battlefield complicates fights considerably, making it difficult to quickly direct units, and to pick out specific craft in the middle of a fight. These are minor frustrations, though. In 16 years nothing has come close to challenging it for the space-strategy crown. It still burns as brightly today as it did back in 1999.

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