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Experience the brutal war between three races in this exquisite real-time strategy game from Blizzard
Few names resonate louder than StarCraft when it comes to the RTS genre. In fact, the only other game that’s just as recognizable is StarCraft’s fantasy cousin, WarCraft. Hence, Blizzard has a pretty tight grip on the genre, especially since the tradition extends to this day, thanks to the brilliant sequel StarCraft II and all of its expansion packs. On the other hand, some fans prefer the original game over the new one, so Blizzard finally decided to make it free for everyone to enjoy.
A modern update for an old-school classic
StarCraft: Brood War is a strategy game with real-time gameplay and a focus on base building, resource gathering and army building. The combination puts a lot of strain on the players and forces them to constantly get faster and faster in terms of reaction speed and unit management, especially during online matches. However, you can also enjoy it at your own pace in the single player campaign, which is epic and memorable in its own right.
The three available races are vastly different when it comes to how they approach conflict, which is why it takes so much time to learn how to properly play with all of them. Hence, the Terrans are a highly mechanical race that uses vehicles and powerful armored units to deal damage on the battlefield, but are obviously fairly slow sometimes, not to mention vulnerable if caught off-guard.
On the other hand, Zergs are designed to move swiftly and strike in great numbers, with all their units being organic and pretty physical in terms of combat. Their units might be weaker, but they are also difficult to pin down and numerous. Lastly, the Protoss excel in terms of defense and special abilities, given the fact that the make use of energy shields to block incoming attacks. Hence, their units might be more expensive, but they last a lot longer on the battlefield, and most of them have secondary abilities that can change the course of a fight if used correctly.
A few modern fixes and a lively multiplayer component
This free-to-play release comes with a new patch as well, the first one in over eight years. Naturally, this patch does not change anything in terms of gameplay or balancing, but it addresses a few interface issues, while also making the game more compliant with modern operating systems. Thus, it can be run on Windows 10 machines with no problem, and Blizzard even included a windowed function in case you do not like to stretch those ancient textures all over your 23-inch widescreen.
In addition, it’s also worth noting that the multiplayer is fully operational, including the Battle.net server that lets you play with people from all over the world. There’s obviously no ladder and no profile sections like there used to be, but if you want that you can get StarCraft II. It’s actually impressive to see how Blizzard continues to keep the servers up for a twenty-year-old game, given how many other developers stop doing so or their games after only a couple of years.
Lastly, you need to be prepared to deal with 1998 graphics, because the textures might take their toll on your eyes. Veterans won’t notice it as much, but if you weren’t around for the original release, it’s difficult to stay positive about the graphics nowadays. However, a remastered version is on its way, which promises 4K textures, new animations and even an extended soundtrack, so you might want to wait for that if retro isn’t your style.
A timeless classic that deserves a spot on your must-play list
In the end, there’s no point in reviewing, recommending or applauding StarCraft: Brood War anymore, because everyone and their grandma knows how great the game is. However, it’s nice to see Blizzard finally making it free-to-play, even if it’s probably just a marketing scheme to get more hype for the remastered version coming this summer.