Warcraft III: Reforged (PC) Review

By Athanasios 11.02.2020 1

Review for Warcraft III: Reforged on PC

The talented people at Blizzard always took their sweet time creating their games. Their portfolio was relatively tiny, but almost every single title within managed to become a classic. Take the seminal real-time strategy gem, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, for instance. How good was it? Well, you can read this critic's "recent" retrospective of it, but those too bored to do so can safely take this majestic man's word for it. Warcraft III is excellent; it's the distilled essence of old-school Blizzard, and what it used to stand for: quality, attention to detail, passion for the craft, and respect towards the consumer. That Blizzard is long gone, with the recent history of the "new and improved" Activision Blizzard basically being a disappointing array of mistakes. Unfortunately, Warcraft III: Reforged, the long-awaited remaster of the 2002 original, is just one more blunder added to the pile.

Right this moment, as the author of this article types his thoughts about Warcraft III: Reforged, he wants to stop doing so, and enjoy playing it some more. He wants to lead the Orcish horde to the distant lands of Kalimdor, aid the humans in their struggle to fight the seemingly unstoppable, undead scourge, watch as their prince gets engulfed by the flame of his own arrogance, witness the arrival of the demonic Burning Legion, take part in the first lines of battle, and hold it along with the mysterious and ancient Night Elves. Yeah, he also wants to stop sucking at multiplayer...

Those who haven't heard of Warcraft III, and were thinking of trying it out, open your digital wallet, and make that purchase right now! This is a great game, whose simple build-craft-scout-fight gameplay loop still holds up after almost two whole decades. Also note that this repackaging includes the magnificent expansion as well. Note, though, that Wacraft III: Reforged is awesome, because Warcraft III is awesome. This has nothing to do with what the new version has brought to the table. Yup. Blizzard has done it again. What should be an easy win, is an assortment of weird, or just plain wrong decisions.

Screenshot for Warcraft III: Reforged on PC

Before anything else, however, it's important to explain what Reforged is. Is it a remaster? A remake? Something in between? Sure, this was never supposed to be a complete overhaul, yet this isn't a 1:1 remaster the likes of Crash Bandicoot either. It's... sort of remaster-ish... and kind of remake-esque. More than anything else, this is a visual upgrade, with widescreen support, high-definition textures, and reworked 3D models for everything, from simple props, to characters ...and this is the first part where it's evident that this whole 'reforging' thing is completely hit or miss.

Don't take this the wrong way. This remains a beauty, and will please newbies, but some changes will feel weird for many a long-time fan. For starters, the upgrade isn't really as strong as expected from such an old title. Yes, the textures are super high-def, yet unless you are viewing a cut-scene or zooming in really close, which you won't really do while playing this, you won't be impressed, really, as Reforged doesn't really try to spice things up. An improved water effect here, a better "firework" there, and a few additional, but minor bells and whistles, and that's about it.

Screenshot for Warcraft III: Reforged on PC

There’s a general feel of irregularity here too. The 2D campaign start screens look bland compared to the blocky, yet eye-pleasing originals; some models are light-years better than before, yet others are beta version ugly, or have lost their cartoonish magic; many props are less striking and blend into the background; in-game cut-scenes have seen some light alterations, although Blizzard teased them to be redesigned; and, finally, only one CGI cut-scene has been remade. That’s nitpicking, though, as these remain flawless. Oh, and where are the comically enormous cleavages of human gals?!

Of course, the issues mentioned so far will only disappoint a big percentage of WIII fans. Sadly, there are a few problems that will affect both veterans and newcomers. A major oversight, as well as another broken promise, is that this retains the same, big-ass UI, with no scaling option at hand, key-mapping is still nonexistent in-game, as it requires editing a configuration file, and as the cherry on top, this was clearly released unfinished, full of bugs and connection issues. Patches do come frequently, but this isn’t a low-budget student project, but a product from a heavyweight publisher.

Screenshot for Warcraft III: Reforged on PC

This weird hastiness continues with the online portion, with a lack of a variety of features; namely clans, tournaments, ranked ladder, and so on - add to that a slow matchmaking process, or even how a game can occasionally crash to the desktop, and you are in for a treat. It should also be known that any custom games crafted from the slightly updated editor are now property of Blizzard - understandable move from a business perspective, but also a blow to the stomach of one of the biggest mod communities ever - imagine if id Software did the same with friggin' Doom!

Up till now, you still have a great thing on your hands, just one whose improved wrapping isn't as improved as you expected it to be. The sight isn't pretty but there's hope that things will change after some time. Sadly, there's one more problem here, and it will be a deal-breaker for quite a few. This forces its changes on the core title, which means that if you don't own a physical copy of the game, you cannot experience it in its original form anymore. Sure, there's a 'Classic/Reforged' toggle available, but that only changes the visuals. Hard to understand what Blizzard is thinking nowadays...

Screenshot for Warcraft III: Reforged on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

The heavy criticism towards Warcraft III: Reforged has nothing to do with the quality of the experience therein. This remains the wonderful real-time strategy that thousands of people have loved. The real problems begin when you take the changes of this remaster into consideration. The half-baked, unimpressive new engine and hit-or-miss design choices; the numerous bugs and network issues; and, finally, those mind-numbing, corporate-smelling decisions, like the fact that custom maps now belong to Blizzard, or how Reforged effectively ruins the original for those who don't even own the new game.

Developer

Blizzard

Publisher

Blizzard

Genre

Strategy

Players

12

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Is it true that by installing Reforged, I will lose all of my custom maps from the original? I get that they don't want a repeat of DoTA to happen - but deleting all the old custom games sounds like a poor way to do business.

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