Homeworld Remastered Collection – Review
Follow Genre: Space RTS
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: Gearbox Software
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Homeworld Remastered Collection – Review

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Good: Tasteful remake of a great classic game, addicting, battles of large proportions, great atmosphere
Bad: Addicting
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In 1999, the original Homeworld was released. The first real-time strategy game to be fully 3D. It was a hit and was soon turned into a series with additional entries appearing in 2000 and 2003. These games were developed by Relic Entertainment. Later, Gearbox Software managed to get a hold of the IP (intellectual property) license and announced a remake of Homeworld 1 and 2. How does this remake compare to the original?



The story in Homeworld Remastered Collection wasn’t altered from the original and rightfully so. It’s a story of struggle and despair. After thousands of years of living on a desolated desert island, the Kushan (the faction you play as) find a huge spaceship under the sand. Reverse-engineering the technology found in the ship allows them to build one of their own, the “Mothership”. Also on the ship is a map containing the coordinates of Hiigare, which stands for “home”. With a new ship and a place to go, the Kushan set off to get back to their home planet. Of course, not everything goes to plan. After testing out their “mothership” for the first time, the Kushan on board the ship return to find their planet destroyed. Quickly the mission of finding their home turns into one of revenge and survival.



It would be unfair to compare the remastered titles to the original ones in terms of graphical fidelity. Suffice to say that 15 years of technological improvements make them almost completely different games when looking from afar. Looking closer however it’s clear that the developers have stayed true to the roots of the game which shows through the basic shapes of ships and the art style. In terms of today’s standards, the remastered titles look pretty good. Ships, especially the bigger ones, look nice and detailed when zooming in on them. Also the atmosphere and surrounding planets on the maps look great.


In space, there isn’t supposed to be any sound. Well the developer obviously didn’t agree with that because when playing in Homeworld’s version of space, there’s sound all around you. From the creation of a specific unit to the shooting of a specific type of weapon on a ship, everything has its own distinct sound effect. There are also some pretty great bits of music playing. When outside of combat you’ll get some ambient “spacy” music to accompany you as you farm resources. When in combat there’s a bombastic score playing to increase the feeling of immersion to really get you sitting on the edge of your seat.



Gameplay-wise, the Homeworld Remastered Collection games are also pretty similar to their original counterparts, with everything feeling just a lot more refined. Since it includes 2 games that are similar but different, we’ll start by taking a look at Homeworld 1 Remastered before talking about the changes in the second title. Besides the tutorial (which you do have to go through if you want to understand how the game works), there’s a story mode available and a Player VS CPU mode in which you can pick from survival or deathmatch games. There’s also a multiplayer but it’s still in beta. Here the multiplayer of both the first and second Homeworld Remastered are combined. Homeworld was and is a fully three-dimensional real-time strategy game set in space. You have a base, the “mothership”, in which you can create ships but you can’t actually move the mothership itself. You can control all ships you create and the fully three-dimensional system means you can move units in all directions. Of course there are plenty of ships available to you with more unlocking as you progress through the campaign. Ships capable of battle include fighters, bombers, corvettes, frigates and capital ships with all possible variations. One of the capital ships you can build later in the game is particularly interesting as it allows you to create new ships inside of it meaning you can get new units closer to the location of the fight.


Fighting other ships is as easy as selecting your ship and right clicking the enemy ships. Of course as you progress you’ll be controlling hundreds of ships at a given time so that’s why there is a squad based system where you can group units and control them as if they were one ship. Different formations can then be chosen for that squad based on the types of ships they contain. A “claw” formation or perhaps a “fighter screen” might give you a tactical advantage over your enemy. To create all these ships, you need resources which are scattered all around the maps. That’s where the utility ships come in, besides resource collectors and mobile refineries (which allow collectors to dump their resources without having to return to the mothership) there are also repair ships, salvage ships, research ships and beacons (which allow you to discover portions of the map without sending actual ships). The research ships obviously allow you to research new types of ships which in return costs more resources. That’s where one of the biggest changes comes in between the first and second Homeworld games. In Homeworld 2 Remastered the research system is a lot deeper, besides new ships, you are able to research upgrades for existing ships and sometimes completely new abilities.


Other changes include that smaller ships now automatically come in a small squadron and the addition of platforms like gun platforms to protect your resource gathering operations. They are all great but it’s not how Homeworld captures you as a player. It does by making you care about your ships, about your people. That is managed mainly by the very unique style of cut scenes and storytelling but also by some little gameplay details. At the end of a mission, you can choose to stop immediately but you can also stay and watch all of your smaller ships dock the mothership too. Then when you play the next mission, all of your previously docked ships were persisted and are available to you again. Besides giving you a sense of entitlement, it’s also an interesting gameplay feature as some missions start out with large fights, requiring you to load up a previous mission to gather a larger fleet. That very same feature will lead to frustration too though. At a certain point, you start of a mission in the midst of an asteroid field where it’s up to you and your fleet to clear a path as asteroids are headed towards the mothership. Some funky AI causes smaller ships to just crash themselves into the asteroids which feels quite annoying after doing the effort of building up your fleet in the previous mission.


Homeworld Remastered Collection, which offers both original games and remastered counterparts, is a beautiful homage to the early RTS-games. It’s a must-buy for fans of the genre and certainly worth looking into for everyone even remotely interested. Be warned though, you might find yourself getting sucked in by the game’s atmosphere so clear your schedule.

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I'm currently studying software-development. My main hobbies are gaming (software/hardware) and music (jazz saxophone player). I game primarily on PC (and also love building them) but also play on PS3, iOS and Android.

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