Over the last few weeks, I’ve played through the full campaign of Warcraft III: Reforged (minus the Rexxar campaign, because bleh). It was an interesting experience, but it does leave me with some mixed feelings.
Of course, Reforged has been met with some really harsh criticism, but I think that says more about how hysterical the gaming community has gotten than it does about the game itself. It is so, so exhausting how every single game is the worst, most broken thing ever now according to the commentariat. No wonder so many developers have trouble taking our feedback seriously.
That’s not to say it’s not a game with some issues. It’s just that they’ve been blown so wildly out of proportion. It’s super frustrating because there are valid complaints to be made, but at this point it’s hard to make them without feeling like I’m adding my voice to the screeching mob of embittered gamers who just hate everything.
As it is, I will say that I feel they could have done a bit more to modernize the mechanics. In particular the limited unit selection feels really bad to go back to after being able to control my whole army at once in StarCraft II. The pathfinding could be better, too.
Also, while the improvements to the cinematics and unit models are stellar, the terrain is a bit more hit and miss. With the exception of a few tilesets (like Ashenvale and the Broken Isles), it feels like the terrain wasn’t updated as much as the units, and the contrast between the two can be a bit jarring.
Would be really nice if the custom game AI had been improved, too. It’s very one-dimensional in its strategies right now, so if you don’t PvP there’s pretty much nothing to do once you finish the campaign.
In general, the game doesn’t hold up as much as I’d like. I mean, it actually holds up really damn well for a game of its age, but in its day it was a masterpiece, and now it’s just good. Not enough tweaking was done to bring it up to today’s standards.
It doesn’t help that this is following on the heels of the Age of Empires II remaster, which was damn near perfect. It hit exactly the right balance of modernizing the mechanics without altering the soul of the game, and it set a very high bar for other remasters to live up to.
On the other hand, it could have been a lot worse. Let us all give thanks that they backed off from their original plans to rewrite the story. That would have been horrible.
On the subject of the story, again it is starting to show its age. It is still a good story, but it doesn’t feel like the earth-shattering masterpiece it did back in the day. There’s not really anything wrong with the story that’s there, but it just feels a bit thin by modern standards. StarCraft II’s massive, sprawling campaign full of between mission dialogue has spoiled me. Warcraft III’s campaign feels rather thin by comparison.
Again, it’s still good, and if you’ve never played it, I still recommend it. It’s just not as mind-blowing as I remember it being when I was a kid.
It was interesting and a bit sad to compare how much things have changed in World of Warcraft. Now, WoW has done a lot of great things with its story, and don’t let me send the impression I’m saying WoW is bad or ruined everything, but there are a lot of specific things it has screwed up. It was very refreshing to go back to a time when Night Elves were scary, Jaina was badass, and Kael’thas was actually a three-dimensional character.