This is a Guest post by: Bill Cooney @whoisthecoon7

The latest release from Blizzard isn’t just a new coat of paint on an older game, it’s a complete reconfiguration that takes fans back to the halcyon days of the late 90s.

I first read about StarCraft: Remastered on Battle.net earlier in the summer and after processing the news, I quickly dug out the copy from my youth, put the CD key in, and started playing. Being an un-optimized version, my modern PC must have been too much for the masterpiece from 1998, gameplay was manageable but there were graphics errors and glitches that kept popping up, especially during cut scenes.

After a few days of playing around with this older version, I decided to wait until the remastered version came out to compare the two. The week has finally arrived. I got the remaster as soon as I was able and booted it up. Immediately I was transfixed in the same way I was almost two decades ago, when I first watched my neighbor play StarCraft in his living room on his parent’s Gateway.

StarCraft: Remastered is StarCraft the way my younger self would imagine it. It has that classic StarCraft look, feel and even music. But Blizzard has done an amazing job of updating the graphics, music and user interface while keeping the feel of the original game.

Graphically, the game looks great. Previously units had a sort-of pixelated look to them, which wasn’t really an issue in 1998, but have become quite noticeable almost 20 years later. I will say that when I first started playing the remastered version, it was like night and day. The graphics are even polished up on the main menu. Blizzard seems to have left no stone unturned. Another new feature I discovered, and I had always wished for, was the ability to zoom in on the battlefield. Once you zoom in you can really see the detail put into each character model, detail that really adds to the experience. Terran marines look ready to roll and the Zerg live up to their disgustingly awesome potential.

Cut scene graphics in the campaign have been polished up as well, though not to the extent of the units and gameplay map, you can tell they’re from a game released in 1998, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The cut scenes were some of the most impressive parts of the original game, in my opinion, and they are made even better with the addition of story cards. Story cards are lightly animated scenes that give the player a little bit of lore and background on their next mission. The story was always one of my favorite parts of StarCraft, so I was glad to see Blizzard really focused on making it even better.

But of course online gameplay is what defined much of StarCraft’s popularity, so I figured I had to hop on Battle.net and give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised to find an active, online community for the game just a day after it was released. Everyone online seemed to have the same opinion as I did, the game looks fantastic but it’s still undeniably StarCraft. My skills playing online have fallen off significantly, but it was still awesome to get back into some 3v3 or 4v4 matches. Most everyone I interacted with seemed to be excited about this remaster, which goes to show the dedication and passion StarCraft has built in its fan base over the years.

StarCraft: Remastered remains true to the original game, but adds improvements and features fans of the first will love. Blizzard didn’t do a remake here, they enhanced and added onto the original game almost ten years after release. For those that played the original, StarCraft: Remastered is the game the way it was meant to be played.