Warcraft 3: Reforged is the familiar, classic RTS game that we know from 2002. There are four playable races to experiment with and master: Humans, Orcs, Undead and Night Elves. Each has distinct playstyles and viable strategies to build around. The goal is to wipe out all enemy forces while managing your army and economy. While a majority of the game remains the same, the main focus is the rehauled graphical changes and cutscenes. Let’s get this Warcraft 3 Reforged Review on the way!
We played the game on the GE75 Raider, with the following settings. Don’t worry, there’s a video further down for your viewing pleasure!
The familiar, classic game with a fresh layer of paint
It might be counter-intuitive to have a remaster that keeps a majority of the game the same, but when you have a masterpiece like Warcraft 3, huge changes don’t need to be made. As they say, don’t fix a broken wheel. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what did change?
Well, most notably, the graphics have been given a new, shiny coat of paint. The team at Lemon Sky Studios, one of Malaysia’s leading CGI studios, have done a wonderful job at updating the artstyle to something more modern. Whilst there are some controversial opinions and reactions to the new look, it’s undeniable that Lemon Sky Studio’s works are top-notch at bringing out and working upon the old models to bring out more intricate and full-bodied designs.
A quick glance at the in-game models is enough to tell you that the models had been rebuilt from the ground up. As a comparision, the old Arthas model from years yonder would look like a Runescape Classic model. The outline of the model is jagged and blocky, and the textures look tear away any chance of immersion. Now, Arthas looks like a true King-To-Be! Adorned with flowing, blonde hair and a warhammer that puts Mjolnir to shame, Arthas is now a literal prince in shining armor. His model brings out ornate details and intricate designs to highlight his importance, the textures are beautiful and the shading brings great contrast to him. And this upgrade was applied across the board for all hero units!
Another thing to note is that Reforged draws inspiration from the World of Warcraft game, which is a wonderful design choice from an avid lore-lover’s perspective. Using small details from the World of Warcraft game adds a new layer to the identities of each individual unit, bringing them that much closer to life.
However, the graphical updates were met with some resistance from the playerbase, it’s not all roses. The new graphical updates may be pretty, but some players were vocal about the “readability” of the battlefield. An unfortunate side-effect of the new models is that there are new “outlines” for the units. And some of these designs can get a little noisy due to the new design elements that were added. These issues are to be expected, however, and I’m sure that they’ll get better over time as users get acclimatized to these changes
To reinforce the problem, the old, brilliant glow around hero units during gameplay is now a bit more muted. While the old glow was borderline exaggerated, it also made it easy for the eyes to follow and for players to immediately recognize threats and thusly, respond to them. This is an easy issue to address that I hope they fix quickly.
Here’s a gameplay video of our testing during the review, do take a look!
Cutscenes and Controversy
During launch, improved cutscenes were one of the biggest drawpoints of Reforged. The current product does have some improvements over the Classic version. For example, there are smoother cuts and additional special effects during cutscenes to bring more impact to them. During Arthas’ confrontation with Sylvanas, for example, when he turned her into a Banshee, a concussive force blows back the surrounding foliage and the grass surrounding her withers black. It really does add to the scene by showing us how vile and powerful the magic involved is being used.
However, the product delivered did not meet the expectations of players. There was a lot that could have been done but Blizzard missed the opportunity to deliver a comprehensive Warcraft experience through their cutscenes. Fans were expecting a cutscenes more akin to what we’d see in a JRPG and the final product they had gotten was only a high-definition remake of the old cutscenes with some bells and whistles attached.
Community and Creation
The huge backing of community made content was what made Warcraft 3 what it was. You’ll be glad to hear that the Custom Game Classics are still around! You can relive your glory days through the unit mashing, meat grinders of Footman Frenzy, building towers and defenses to resist waves of minions in Tower Defense games run for their lives in Treant Tag/Kodo Tag and have over the top anime-level fights in X-Hero Siege. There’s lots of custom content that’s been created by the playerbase and uploaded to the servers for others to enjoy!
Another thing to note is that there have been some updates to Blizzard’s custom game policy. This policy not only applies to Warcraft 3: Reforged, but to any mod created inside a Blizzard game. Blizzard’s updated Custom Game Acceptable Use Policy gives Blizzard ownership of any and all custom or user-made games and mods.
There is no ladder system in place just yet, but Blizzard mentioned that they will implement it soon. As it stands, there is no competitive motivation to play multiplayer games at all. Unlike Starcraft 2, there are no achievements either, which could have added a layer of interest and self-imposed difficulty.
There was also no cloud save files, in place, which should be a basic feature to be expected, especially in this day and age. It was a chore to transfer save files during our tests after we found out about this.
Despite the graphical updates, the terrain does not do the new models justice. The terrain of the maps look plain and uninviting and it is jarring to see the difference in quality. The UI is also equally outdated, and it doesn’t seem like enough effort was put into it.
While Reforged might be lacking in some departments, Warcraft 3: Reforged might still the best RTS we’ll get to experience for a while. There are tons of custom games to try out and the campaign is a blast to the past and brings back nostalgic childhood memories. The new graphical overhaul might take some getting used to but they are undeniably beautiful. On top of that, I hope Blizzard listens to the great feedback that their fans are giving to improve upon what they have. Despite the rough start, I’m hopeful that Reforged will flourish into something beautiful.
While the game may be lacking in terms of polish, the custom games might be highly valued if you’re drawn to that. During our review, playing and discovering new custom games was among one of our favorite activities.
If you enjoyed this Warcraft 3 Reforged review, you could check out our coverage on other titles too!
While Reforged might be lacking in some departments, Warcraft 3: Reforged might still the best RTS we'll get to experience for a while. There are tons of custom games to try out and the campaign is a blast to the past and brings back nostalgic childhood memories. The new graphical overhaul might take some getting used to but they are undeniably beautiful. On top of that, I hope Blizzard listens to the great feedback that their fans are giving to improve upon what they have. Despite the rough start, I'm hopeful that Reforged will flourish into something beautiful.
- 8 Campaigns, not including the prologues
- Lots of custom maps available
- The revamped models and textures are a vast improvement over the original
- Server stability isn't great (at least for us in SEA), even within the Asia server
- A lack of achievements to chase
- Players can't play against AI and there is no ladder system in place (not yet at least)
- Game lacks polish in terms of cutscenes and UI
- Bad visibility of units during gameplay and battles
Does not deliver on its promises 5/10