Review – Praetorians HD Remaster

Just a few weeks ago, Kalypso released the HD remaster version of Commandos 2, a PC cult classic that fans have been clamoring over for many years. This doesn’t mean they’re done with remasters for now. After releasing an actually sought-after RTS revamp, it’s time to check out another game they’ve just released. However, this time it’s one that I really doubt anyone had been looking forward to, considering how truly underwhelming it is: Praetorians HD Remaster.

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Is Asterix one of them?

Praetorians was originally released in 2003 by Pyro Studios and Eidos to moderate reviews. It wasn’t exactly a game changer for the genre, especially back in the days when Ensemble Studios was ruling the world with Age of Empires II and Age of Mythology. Nor was it Pyro’s best work, but I guess it had its fair share of fans. That’s what I’m guessing as I don’t see any other reason for this game in particular to receive a remaster in this day and age.

To be honest, I don’t even know what was actually remastered in this game. It doesn’t look particularly good, not even for 2003 standards. Age of Mythology for instance, was released a year before Praetorians. It looked better than that game back then, and it still looks better than it to this day, even though it received no texture or resolution revamps over the past decade and a half. Praetorians HD Remaster still features underwhelming models and unintentionally goofy animations, and it still manages to feature lots of framerate hiccups. It doesn’t sound very impressive either. It might feature a soundtrack that tries to sound epic (in fact, it actually tries to sound like Age of Mythology) and almost succeeds at that, but the voice acting is just too amateurish for me to take it seriously.

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It just doesn’t look very good, even for 2003 standards.

What annoyed me the most though, was the gameplay. Sadly, I don’t think the developers forgot to include new quality of life improvements in order to make their game feel less dated. If they did, it surely wasn’t enough. The game might feature a decent tutorial that teaches you everything you need to know in a quick and painless manner, but you still need to tackle two things at all times: a clunky UI and the absolute worst unit AI I’ve seen in a long, long time.

You might tell your units to do one thing, but they’ll frequently end up doing something completely different. More often than not I told them to attack an enemy squadron located at the top of a hill, only for them to ignore my orders and decide to attack a much larger and more difficult group of foes located in the opposite direction. I ended up failing a few missions more than once because my troops were dumber than the Roman centurions present in Asterix. It also doesn’t help that most objectives are comprised of the same thing: going from point A to B and defeat some enemies. Praetorians just doesn’t give you many incentives to make you want to play it for more than an hour or two.

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You’ll tell your units to do one thing and they will most certainly do the complete opposite.

I don’t see the point for Praetorians HD Remaster to exist in this day and age. Its remastered visuals are still underwhelming, its gameplay is undercooked, and its unit AI is absolutely irritating. In a market full of noteworthy strategy games, both turn-based and real-time, both new and old, Praetorians HD Remaster is just lagging behind its competition in every single conceivable way. This is only recommended to those who are absolutely craving for a “new” Roman-themed game in their collection. Even then they will only have a few dozen minutes of fun before getting angry at how dumb their units are.

 

Graphics: 4.5

Although this game is supposedly a remaster, these visuals aren’t much better than what Age of Mythology used to look like nearly twenty years ago. It even features framerate issues even though it barely makes your computer’s fans work.

Gameplay: 5.0

It’s your standard RTS gameplay, albeit a lot more simplified. To make matters even worse, the AI is absolutely dreadful, with your soldiers often doing the exact opposite of what you told them to do.

Sound: 6.5

Although the soundtrack isn’t half-bad, the voice acting present both in the game’s cutscenes and whenever you tell a unit to do something, is amateurish and irritating.

Fun Factor: 4.5

This game is only recommended to die-hard fans of the Roman era, as this is a very underwhelming RTS plagued with obnoxious AI issues.

Final Verdict: 5.0

Praetorians HD Remaster is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Praetorians HD Remaster was provided by the publisher.