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The Command & Conquer Remastered Collection is an excellent overhaul of two (still) great games

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A recurring issue game remasters face is they have to compete with the upscaling process that goes on in your own brain. Our minds have an annoying tendency to ‘touch-up’ old memories, overhauling them with HD textures and support for 1080p. This can make encountering an actual remaster on oddly disorienting and even deflating experience. Your brain says “But that’s what it looked like in 1995!” when actually most games from 1995 look like the tread of a shoe filled with grit.

The Command & Conquer Remastered Collection gets around this by showing you the old game first. When you assault your first beachhead as the GDI in C&C, or storm a remote village as the Soviet Union in Red Alert, the Remastered Collection shows you the gigantic smear of brown and green Command & Conquer actually was. Once the initial chaos dies down, it tells you to press Space, whereupon the twitching squares representing your soldiers seamlessly transition into crisp, high-definition sprites.

It’s a slick little trick in what is a slick little package, one that updates Command & Conquer’s creaky old visuals while remaining true to the original art style and leaving the games underneath largely intact. This latter point is potentially a gamble for developers Petroglyph games. Can a 25-year-old RTS stand up without any mod-cons or innovations that have seeped into the genre over that time?

(Image credit: EA)

We’ll get into that later. First, we should discuss what the remaster does for Command & Conquer. The Remastered Collection includes overhauled versions of both the 1995 original, and the 1996 spinoff C&C: Red Alert. It also brings together all the additional content from different versions of the game, such as extra missions and exclusive FMVs from the PlayStation port of Red Alert.

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