For Real Time Strategy Games - RTS Catch-All

Dune II: The Battle for Arrakis was my first strategy game on the Amiga. I loved it, one of my favourite games of my teen years. RTS games that followed were much enjoyed too, Warcraft II, Age of Empires II and later Starcraft, all available to play on the old Mac.

Safe to say I enjoyed RTS games a great deal way back then. Since though (apart from dabbling in Starcraft 2) not so much, mostly because I've not been a desktop gamer and here's where this thread comes in. Having just purchased my first PC the full gamut of strategy and in particular RTS games are available to me. The choice is bewildering and trying to hunt down an RTS thread unsuccessfully has led to me creating this one. I need recommendations and RTS enablement!

Should I pick up the Starcraft Remaster released last year? Is there anything to rumours of a Warcraft III remaster around the corner? The genre seems to be getting more varied offerings. Tooth and Tail, Northgard, and recent Early Access darling They are Billions all look to have a different take on this particular brand of strategy game.

I've bought Tooth and Tail to try on the PS4 as I've read it has been designed to played with a controller, will report back with thoughts. Any advice on my next RTS purchase appreciated, any must buys I've missed over the last decade or so?

Moving on my hope is this'll be a nice little thread for chatting, reminiscing and recommending Real Time Strategy games.

Cheers!

I'm not much of an RTS player anymore. I loved the Age of Empire Series back in the day. We used to play at work during lunch. I just mentioned in the indie thread that I've been playing the Northgard campaign and like it quite a bit. The scenarios feel varied.

I've just searched on YouTube for "Command & Conquer FMV". I can't believe I haven't revisited this sooner.

The first Company of Heroes game is excellent, and I consider it to be the current best-of-genre. Company of Heroes 2 is pretty good, but I haven't spent enough time with it to learn its intricacies. I do like that they use a squad-control system, veterancy, cover, destructible terrain, and territory control for resource income. They're also great examples of how to implement asymmetric factions.

Age of Empires 2 has enjoyed a bit of a resurgence with their remastered version.

The Dawn of War RTS games are okay, but they focus a lot more on small-unit tactics and special abilities.

The Wargame series does a pretty good job, but it's right on the line between RTS and military simulation. Basically, resource collection is entirely through territory control, and you have a finite number of off-map units that you call in as you gain the command points to do so.

Started with Dune also. Man I was addicted to that game, and it ran on my old slightly upgraded IBM PS/2 pretty well. I think I didn’t play another proper RTS till Starcraft, which I actually played first on N64. My friend and I had no idea why we were doing and had a three hour stalemate game at one point. Good times.

Started with Dune 2 as well (who would have guessed). And Warcraft 2 and C&C not long after.
Primarily played RTS games in the 90s, until I randomly stumbled upon Diablo in a Starcraft/Warcraft battlechest package and my gaming life was changed forever

There is a ton of War 3 remaster rumors. I bet it will come at some point. But its Blizzard. Could be 1 year, or 10.

Northgard is probably the RTS I'm most interested in trying right now. It seems more to be more in the Settlers style of games. Not that it is a bad thing, quite the contrary.

RTS has felt a bit lackluster in the last, what, 20 years? I liked Dawn of War 2 quite a bit, but that was a different style too to the 'classic' build a base and throw a bunch of units at the enemy.

You might take a look at Supreme Commander, and its sequel.

Also, Planetary Annihilation is pretty good, the battles can get tangled up when you have forces spread around the world, land and sea, and up in orbit, and in orbit around another planet where your forces are spreading out through portals from the first planet. Unfortunately, they do end up being a commander hunt a lot of times, which can be bland.

Since you’ll be late to the party, the MP scene on many of the old games will be down to just a few diehards and may take some significant ramp-up time to compete.

So, thinking of single player experiences, I would say that Rise of Nations and Company of Heroes should not be missed, and both still easily hold up.

How could I forget C&C, loved the first. I didn't get as far as 3 though Clusks, little watch of a 3 minute FMV mash up, 'mazin a who's who of 00's sci-fi actors! The advert is coming back to me now!

Cheers for the recommendations, I'll have a scout and learn more. I've seen Company of Heroes is highly regarded, only thing there is I'm sometimes put off by games with a recent real world conflict skin, not always however so if it's that good might have to get over it and give it a go. Way back when historical is fine however and Northgard does look to be really interesting, a pick up when on sale I reckon.

Maybe the emergence of a shed load of simpler tower defence games have cut into the RTS slice of the gaming pie over the last decade?

One dev looks to have tried the reverse of that on mobile. I picked up at launch but have yet to play Iron Marines on Android. More of a simple RTS game rather than their previous Kingdom Rush tower defence offerings (which are the best examples of TD mobile games I think). Might give it a go on upcoming hols.

Rise of Nations is interesting, but it's a bit weird with their attrition system, and their tech tree is cryptic. Rise of Legends is okay, if you prefer magic and steampunk.

Age of Mythology is pretty good. Age of Empires 3 was a bit of a let down. Age of Empires 4 should be interesting though--it's being made by Relic (who also made Company of Heroes and the Dawn of War RTS games).

The Dune 2000 remake is very good--it's pretty much what you *remember* Dune 2 being like. I never bothered with Emperor: Battle for Dune though--the art style didn't work for me.

Westwood went full-on campy with the Red Alert series--it's worth tracking down the cutscenes, even if the gameplay is pretty conventional.

There are a couple of Star Wars RTS games (e.g. Empire at War), but they're mediocre. Star Trek: Armada is sort of amusing though (and one of the few good Star Trek games). I'm not sure if I count the Total War games as RTS or not.

Played RTS since the original Dune as well and still love RTS games today. Some notable ones were already mentioned (Company of Heroes 1 and 2 are fantastic). Company of Heroes 1 also has some great mods that I recommend getting: Blitzkrieg and Eastern Front to name two. They are also found on Steam so you can install them from there.

Men of War Assault Squad 2 is also a fine game where you can control squads all the way to individual soldiers and even direct control them. It also has some fantastic mods in RobZ Realism, Valor and a very cool Warhammer 40K mod that surpasses Dawn of War 3 (biggest letdown of 2017).

Dawn of War 1 and 2 are good too but play differently. DoW1 has base building and more units on the field, where DoW2 introduces a cover system similar to the Company of Heroes games.

Ashes of Singularity is also a fine RTS that I recommend. Great graphics and has a a bit of a Total Annihilation / Supreme Commander feeling to it. Age of Empires 2 is on steam and enhanced so I would give that a shot since it has strong ties to the original gem.

Northgard, They are Billions and Tooth and Tail I own but need to spend more time in.

I won't include the Total War series since they are a mix of RTS, strategy and larger scale. I do recommend atleast looking into Shogun 2, and the Warhammer 1 and 2 games of the series if interested.

Bubblefuzz wrote:

Cheers for the recommendations, I'll have a scout and learn more. I've seen Company of Heroes is highly regarded, only thing there is I'm sometimes put off by games with a recent real world conflict skin, not always however so if it's that good might have to get over it and give it a go. Way back when historical is fine however and Northgard does look to be really interesting, a pick up when on sale I reckon.

CoH is that good and worth giving a go especially since you can get it for free. In the Steam keys thread there are tons of people giving it away because it has been included in so many bundles at this point. I probably have an extra copy as well but would have to search through my keys to check.

I dove headfirst into the RTS genre with the origanal Warcraft and WC2 is possibly my favorite game of all time so I'm really excited about a possible WC3 remake. Maybe even a WC4?

Spoiler:

yeah right

I hadn't heard of that Northgard before but I just added it to my wish list. Would love to hear impressions from anyone who has played it.

Wow, Northgard looks impressive! I love the look of the art style. It really looks like it would scratch some of the Age of Mythology itch.

World in Conflict was a fantastic cold war RTS with no base building and a somewhat higher level of realism.

If we are looking at modern RTS hybrids, we should also include Gratuitous Space Battles (1&2)
There are also reverse tug of war games like Art of War: Red Tides

Someone really, really, really needs to remake Impossible Creatures. Even better, make it steam punk or power armor based. That game is so amazing but bogged down by being developed in 3D's infancy so the pathfinding and collision is dreadful. If Dawn of War 3 had been based on Adeptus Mechanus or Tyranids and borrowed the Impossible Creatures unit customization, OMG!

Starcraft Remastered is *brilliant* if you're interested in revisiting that title, but it does not fix all the interface limitations and oddities of that game or other games of its era. It is almost entirely a visual update that simply makes the game easier to run on modern systems without any weird visual glitches or other problems.

If you pick up Starcraft 2 again, the co-op mode is good low-pressure fun.

I'll ditto the recommendations for Company of Heroes, it's absolutely brilliant and was no contest the best RTS game that had been released at the time since Starcraft in 98. It's a classic.

I will say I think that Company of Heroes 2 is a far better game than it gets credit for, but I'd prioritize playing the first game, uh, first.

If I want some RTS gaming, I'm highly likely to reinstall Rise of Nations with its expansion.

However, I recently began playing Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, and it's not bad at all.

Lots to take a look at, ta all.

Seems Company of Heroes is a must try...

EvilDead wrote:

CoH is that good and worth giving a go especially since you can get it for free. In the Steam keys thread there are tons of people giving it away because it has been included in so many bundles at this point.

... I'll keep an eye on that thread thanks. Not looked at it before.

I saw Dawn of War 1 + all the extras for a quarter the price recently, next time might give it a go.

I've got a Blizzard card was going to throw at Hearthstone but may Starcraft Remastered for the nostalgia.

AUs_TBirD wrote:

However, I recently began playing Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, and it's not bad at all.

This.

So yeah, decisions...

Looking at future RTS as well as past...

Iron Harvest is an upcoming RTS game based on the same artwork by Jakub Różalski and so set in the same world as Scythe.

Be sweet if it plays as nice as it looks!

NathanialG wrote:

World in Conflict was a fantastic cold war RTS with no base building and a somewhat higher level of realism.

Still one of my favourites to this day. I was in the Alpha and Beta and then played too many hours of that game in the competitive scene. Never went to Dreamhack, but ended up fairly high on the leaderboards. It was such an innovative game for it's time. Even holds up really well now.

Bubblefuzz wrote:

Looking at future RTS as well as past...

Iron Harvest is an upcoming RTS game based on the same artwork by Jakub Różalski and so set in the same world as Scythe.

Be sweet if it plays as nice as it looks!

The Kickstarter is ending in less than 3 days. Tempted to get in. I was a big RTS player from Warcraft 2, the AoE games, CoH, and Rise of Nations along with a few others. CoH and Rise of Nations were the best of that bunch for sure, though I played way more AoE2 and expansions than anything else on whatever Microsoft called their gaming platform in the late 90s/early 00s. Not sure I have the manual dexterity or mental energy for RTS games anymore, though. Tried to play Rise, CoH, and AoE3 and enhanced AoE2 and just didn't have the enthusiasm to relearn tech trees, short cut keys, or micromanage everything.

The thing that keeps me away from their kickstarter was KingArt's last game, The Dwarves, wasn't very good. It is one of the few games I've returned on Steam. Controls and balance were extremely clunky. I was quite disappointed considering they make The Book of Unwritten Tales games and those are fantastic. They have adventure games and whimsy on lock but I'm skeptical about other genres and settings.

They did a pretty good turn based game, Battle Worlds: Kronos, as that is how I got Unwritten Tales, which I agree was excellent. They seem to be checking off genre boxes, don't they?

Bubblefuzz wrote:

I've bought Tooth and Tail to try on the PS4

A couple weeks later I've bought the strategy humble bundle, which includes... Tooth & Tail! Doh.

Plays fine to me on PS4 so happy to offer up the PC version to a GWJer RTS fan wanting to try it and if able to gift it across borders if not in the UK.

Well at £2.99 on Steam I might as well revisit Age of Empires II in the HD.

No takers for Tooth & Tail?

Bubblefuzz wrote:

Well at £2.99 on Steam I might as well revisit Age of Empires II in the HD.

No takers for Tooth & Tail?

I would love to give T&T a go but not sure if it the code will work in the US? Thanks for the Empires heads up, buying now!

EvilDead wrote:
Bubblefuzz wrote:

Well at £2.99 on Steam I might as well revisit Age of Empires II in the HD.

No takers for Tooth & Tail?

I would love to give T&T a go but not sure if it the code will work in the US? Thanks for the Empires heads up, buying now!

It's a bit of a mystery. I thiiiiink I can gift games internationally if the prices are comparable, within 10% I've read somewhere then it might well be ok.

Tooth and Tail is £14.99 here. $19.99 (£14.34) over in US so can try gifting it if you like? If it doesn't work, then I'll offer round the Euro folk.

Also in that Humble Strategy Bundle I now notice is another RTS Planetary Annihilation: Titan anyone played, any good and worth firing it up?

Sure, I will give it a try.

I think I own Planetary Annihilation a few times from sales and bundles and I have yet to try it. I remember initial impressions not being so hot but I think they might have changed the game quite a bit since.

Thanks for the key. I look forward to trying it out.

I just got an email from the humble store and one of the games advertised was Ancestors Legacy. Never heard of it before but it looks really interesting and is coming out later this month. Will definitely wait for reviews but this is on my radar now.

http://www.ign.com/articles/2018/02/...

Gameplay with spoilers (likely). I watched it at work with volume off.

No worries. I'll take a look at that vid, cheers.

Edit. Deleted.

A lot of classics mentioned already but a great off-the-beaten track RTS worth considering:

Battle Realms: somewhat a fusion between Chinese Taoism and Japanese Zen theory, you have heroes and units, all of which have unique abilities and branching upgrade paths. Your base units train in various buildings which determine their upgrade, for example, a basic spearman can upgrade to a 2H warrior, and so on. Three resources (all of which are basically unlimited): rice, water, and Yin/Yang. There's even an expansion pack that introduces a fourth faction. Really surprised it didn't become more popular as it built on the Warcraft 3 model and had a lot of cool lore.

I'll have to sit down and think of some other great RTS games that didn't quite make the limelight. I'm hoping Blizzard will one day make Warcraft 4. I mean, Age of Empires is getting revived so it's possible we'll see a resurgence of the genre.

Edit: another one that was consigned to history due to being overshadowed by Westwood/Blizzard at the time is the Warwind series (1&2). I remember the game having a pretty cool universe worth playing for.