The ancestor of all Real Time Strategists (RTS) is back, improved and modernized but keeping everything that made it great. And with this resumption process, a game has emerged that still manages to compete with the totems of the category. Command and Conquer Remastered it is indeed an exceptional job. It includes the first game with the full Red Alert sequel with all the expansions, and everything has been remastered with great skill. The visual result is splendid on modern high definition screens connected to today’s PCs. But the work done is not limited to a simple graphical remaster, as small but effective changes have been made to the gameplay and user interface that significantly improve the original experience.

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It’s now easy to forget that despite the simple graphics seen through the eyes of today’s standards, Command and Conquer put the strain on PCs of 1995. In fact, it made a lot of animated sprites into it. highly destructible environments. The FMV sequences which served as an interlude for the missions were state of the art at the time. But these were still limited by the technological constraints of the time. In-game artwork was low resolution, animation was limited, and it was often difficult to distinguish units, especially infantry units that were similar to each other. The solution adopted by the remaster is very simple: the artwork has been redesigned at a higher resolution, additional frames and animations have been added, and movement in general has been improved. The approach taken during the remastering phase is meticulous and precise, and involves all aspects of the artistic style of the units and sets.

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Not only the graphics, but also the audio have been revitalized. The low-frequency samples of the original audio have been dramatically improved, so shots, explosions, and unit responses are clearer and not “mixed up” like 25 years ago. In addition, the soundtrack has been refreshed with new songs from the series signed by series composer Frank Kelpacki with his band, The Tiberian Sons. The remade songs are really a delight as they play the same melodies as the original music but now you can hear new notes thanks to the better sampling.

As in the Halo Anniversary remasters, players are free to go from new to old style with a simple mappable button and the attention to detail is impressive as well. There is no clear jump between the old and the new style, but the transition is more linear, with the impression that it is the same as when you are focusing on an image. And this is precisely where you can appreciate the developers’ loyalty to the original art style: nothing looks drastically different, only better, and everything looks splendid on modern screens. The new resolution certainly helps with playing as it’s much easier to distinguish between different types of terrain and units at a glance, with the shapes and details of the sprites now making the game easier to read.

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The legendary Command and Conquer video footage has also been remastered with some cool improvements: AI upscaling is used to increase detail, color depth is wider, and sweep line effects have been removed. In general, the visual aspect is fantastic, but the effectiveness of AI upscaling depends on the type of content displayed. Close-ups of the characters tend to benefit the most from the technique because there is more information than the upscaler has. CGI rendering of offline videos showing fighting or moving troops as a whole makes the situation worse, and the improvements in this case are only marginal. Perhaps the developers could have implemented an optional scanline filter to simulate a low-tech movie instead of increasing the resolution in this case.

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In addition to resource remastering, additional resolution and screen space reflection are used to make the game more usable. Instead of having multiple zoom modes due to the low resolution of the original game, the satellite map now has sufficient resolution to display the entire battlefield without loss of detail and without the need to zoom, while in In the original game, there was a constant need to scroll up and down the user interface to produce units and buildings in various locations. Therefore, it was difficult to try to be multitasking during unit production; in the remaster, however, each production type has its own table with a request hotkey, so that many structures and units can be produced simultaneously.

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Original visuals
Every single graphic element in the game is reproduced at a much higher resolution, and there is improved animations as well.
Remastered visualsOriginal visuals
Every single graphic element in the game is reproduced at a much higher resolution, and there is improved animations as well.
Remastered visualsOriginal visuals
Every single graphic element in the game is reproduced at a much higher resolution, and there is improved animations as well.
FMV remasteriséOriginal FMV
The masters of the video footage have been lost over time, but the scaling AI applied to the original assets is the next best thing.

And here is precisely the area where remastered gameplay improvements emerge. Command and Conquer was one of the first RTS in history, so it brings with it a big limit of vanity, like the inability to queue production.

Every time you build a unit, you have to click on the user interface. If you try to build a second unit while the first is still in production, the game asks you to wait, introducing an unnecessary bottleneck. The remaster allows you to queue the production of a large number of units and different types at the same time, and already this novelty is radically changing the gameplay. There are also other big changes in the selection of units, small and simple things that make a RTS from the 90s very current even today.

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But in addition to all of these UI optimizations, there are also improvements to the variety of customization options. There are now keyboard shortcuts available for virtually every aspect and function of the game, and all of them can be changed to your preference. Various resolutions are also supported (currently 21: 9 looks like buggies), and the game can run at 120 fps or higher without requiring an astronomical CPU. There is direct support for user mods and the team and Electronic Arts have given fans a nice gift by releasing the source code for the remaster for free.

Overall, Command and Conquer Remastered is some of the best modernization work we’ve ever seen. The new game is very faithful to the original where it counts, but at the same time it increases definition and usability by leveling them up to modern standards. The team has taken a step that deserves approval, and among other things without counting on the only effect of nostalgia for a 25-year-old game. Command and Conquer Remastered is great to watch and play, and we can only recommend buying it.

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Source : Reddit