When I watched the trailer with Pyro Studio Founder Ignacio Perez Dolset, one of the first thing I noticed was the graphical comparisons between the original and the HD Remastered edition, the tag line Real-Time Strategy Redefined.
What does redefined even mean, to me its always been changing something into something new are looking at it in a different way, is better graphics really redefining the game? I actually remember playing both commandos 2 and Praetorians back in the early 2000s and well I hated commandos with a passion the fidgety controls, the overly complex gameplay I hated it and went right back to Doom and Wolfenstein. It was an interesting concept but the core gameplay was just awful, and I’m pleased to announce for anyone who is harping back for the nostalgia it hasn’t changed, yes the graphics are a lot nicer, but I expected some smoothing out of the controls but were not going to get that here.
It is not all bad, being a little older and a little wiser my patients has grown and I pushed through into the game, and the original really did redefine combat games, for the younger ones in the audience, its commandos that inspired game like Splinter Cell and MGS, the sneaking carefully selecting your time to strike, kill or evade, Commandos was one of the first to introduce this concept. The learning curve is steep and the difficulty although at the start is high, the progression isn’t there and becomes almost second nature and easy in the later levels.
And then we have Praetorians now this was a game I liked, the historical characters, the rock paper scissors troop formats, I was in love with Rome Total War, and this filled a nice mission-based alternative, now the contrast in graphical improvements isn’t all that noticeable everything is a little sharper a little cleaner and a little brighter. At first, I had a real rose-tinted glasses moment but that probably down to me replaying Rome Total War over the last few months. Shiny yes Redefined…… That’s a stretch
Now I know I slated Commandos 2 and Praised Pteatorians, but that my bias if you like the originals your probably going to love playing the HD Remastered variants. But that brings me to a Question. Why now?
Are the hopes to draw in the new generation of gamers? I don’t think so, we expect so much more from games these days if your not a fan your not going to be overjoyed with your purchase, is this a cash grab? with all the hype around Final Fantasy 7 and its impending release, similar age games. Kalypso media acquired Pyro Studios in 2018 a year after Pyro Studio became defunked in 2017. You can make your own conclusions there.
With the Huge influx of Remastered games of late, final fantasy is a prime example, the story is the same but the entire game has been revamped, besides the characters and the story it’s completely unrecognizable from the original. So when so many Studio’s pump-out HD or remastered game, with minor visual upgrades are they really providing us gamers with anything?
For the most part, I find these “Remastered” games actually provide us with a disservice, let’s be honest here the graphics we so bad making them shaper and adding pixels just accentuates how bad they were, a focus on technology over the style and art, they feel lazy. The passion that was put into the originals, the innovations are all void like many “Remastered” games that have come before they are a Hollow Shiny Shell and have lost the spark the original gave us.
With the poor recipient of Commandos 3 First strike where the game deviated from its isometric stealth-based game and deviated to a Call of Duty style FPS, I feel this really could be the last Hoorah for Pyro Games.
It is hard to give these games a rating because the originals for the time were really good but by today’s standards? If you take out the nostalgia, poor control systems, bad art, laughable voice acting. They are a 3/10 for commandos and 4/10 for praetorians at best. They are both playable add the nostalgia that adds may 2-3 points, but even that is short-lived.
Being a reviewer I play a lot of games, and many entice me back on a free evening, I used Rome Total War as an example and even today that holds a spot on my HDD. Pteatorians and Commandos are already in the recycle bin and in all honesty that’s where they should have stayed.