Some people say that real-time strategy is dead. And that may be true to an extent, but there are still a handful of games that you will probably like just as much as Starcraft or Starcraft 2.
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
What the main game could not achieve is compensated by the standalone expansion “Escalation”. You will get a bigger, better and sleeker Ashes of Singularity with much better content than the basic game. The new unit types provide the necessary variety and freshen up the game – enough new wind to tie you to the monitor.
What is particularly good is the newly introduced strategic view, which provides a better overview in heated battles. Ashes of Singularity can best be described as a “modern” version of Supreme Commander. So if you have a penchant for epic robot battles and sci-fi atmosphere, we can recommend the game to you.
Sins of a Solar Empire
Sins of a Solar Empire is a space RTS classic and partially offers the gameplay of a 4X strategy game, but at the same time it works within a real-time strategy framework. You play one of the great star empires and build giant battleships, operate diplomacy and expand.
Sins is one of the best multiplayer RTS games besides the single player content: A very good balance of the three races, an intuitive interface and a very motivating gameplay invite you to multiplayer battles. Meanwhile, a lot of additional content is available, so a single-player fanatic should have enough addictive material. But even in rebellion you still search for a campaign in vain. No question about it, the graphics of Sins are somewhat aged, yet the game clearly belongs in our highscore list.
Command And Conquer
Ok a list of the best strategy games without Command & Conquer? Seriously, we’ve seen some, but we don’t think that’s possible. C&C is one of the most popular and important RTS games of all time and simply belongs in every highscore list of this kind, point. Why is C&C so high on our list? Well C&C Red Alert 3 is from 2008, ergo not sooo old yet. It should nevertheless be said here that Part 1,2,3, Generals and Red Alert 3 are generally considered to be the best parts. Especially the newest part had to bleed and was no longer taken seriously by the community. The “Ultimate Edition” we recommend here contains all the classics as well as the newer parts of the epic Strategy Blaster (a total of 17 games via digital download).
There’s not much to say about that: If you’re strategy players, you know C&C anyway. Whether you’ve loved the skirmishes of GDI and the Brotherhood of NOD, or you’d rather lead the great powers of Allies, Russians, and China, you’ve got it all in the package for a measly price.
Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance
Supreme Commander is based on the success of the classic “Total Annihilation” and was led to success 10 years later by the same developer. Finding a bigger and more ambitious real-time strategy game than Supreme Commander will be difficult.
By the way, Forged Alliance is a standalone expansion of the game, offering you new single-player missions, a new faction, new units, a revised user interface, and a major graphical update. Those who like huge battles, robots and science fiction scenarios will surely be happy with Supreme Commander.
Halo Wars 2
At its core, Halo Wars 2 is a classic real-time strategy game with minimalist basic construction, powerful scissors-stone-paper units and a remarkable presentation that tries to hide only the flat story and the mediocre mission design – but one after the other. Developed by 343 Industries, Creative Assembly, and Microsoft, the Xbox Play Anywhere title for Windows 10 and Xbox One is surprisingly reminiscent of Ensemble Studios’ Halo Wars and features a story campaign (even co-op playable with two people), battle mode, three multiplayer variants, and flash mode.
In most, but not all missions, you can build a small base at predetermined locations and expand it with buildings at predetermined locations. The barracks, vehicle factory, hangar, weapons room and resource production building are flown in spectacularly until completion and secure both troop supplies and raw materials or unit upgrades.
Typical halo units are built in the base, which are based on the scissors-stone-paper principle. Vehicles, for example, are effective against infantry. Infantry is strong against air units, while flying units with vehicles make short work of it. There are smaller gradations, for example, flamethrowers are good against units that have entrenched themselves in fortified garrisons. In addition, Commander abilities with cooldown can be used. Mines can be dropped, a bombardment can be requested or a healing or repair surface can be activated. You can’t expect much more tactical depth in the action-oriented battles of Halo Wars 2. The game is limited to the bare essentials.
Star Wars: Empire at War
Empire at War was the first real time strategy game in the Star Wars universe where you can join either the Rebel or the Empire. The action takes place in space as well as on the surface of planets. Mastering the connection between the two levels is one of the many challenges that you will face on your way through the campaign and galactic conquest scenarios.
On the galactic map you have to worry about up to 40 planets in the campaign, on your planets you build the usual buildings like barracks, fortification towers and ion cannons. The whole thing also takes place in the strategic 2D view in real time, so you should swing your hooves and not hang around in the planet view for too long. The battles are then in a beautiful 3D bird’s eye view with even for today’s still respectable effects and graphics. A clear tip for all Star Wars fans!
Dawn of War 3
Dawn of War 3 does without some of the typical tactical elements, such as cover, offers battles with relatively many units instead of a handful, and finally lets us do what real-time strategy games were known for in the 1990s: build a proper base. This already sets the direction, because as already in the case of Company of Heroes 2, Dawn of War 3 only really gets going in multiplayer mode.
Here you don’t have to deal with the quite simple AI henchmen and the automatically spawning opponents, but have to develop different strategies and tactics in games with up to six players again and again. In our experience to date, the battles can be divided into two parts. At the beginning of a game it is important to occupy as many resource points as possible to get enough power and energy for hiring troops and building the most important buildings. Afterwards, you should also make sure to claim an elite resource point and defend against enemy attacks with traditional units. Once you have collected enough points and can order one of the three elite warriors onto the field, the next phase of the battle begins. Then you should see to it that you switch off the enemy energy core with the very powerful heroes so that you win the game. This all sounds pretty simple in theory, of course, but you should keep in mind that your opponents try exactly the same thing and often use deceitful tactics like the use of invisible units. The games we have played so far have certainly made us really happy and thanks to the large number of unlockable elite warriors there should also be enough motivation to continue playing, although you sometimes lose several games in a row. Similar to normal troops, Super Units not only have their strengths and weaknesses according to the usual scissors-stone-paper principle, but can also provide fundamentally different tactics with their special skills.
Whether the balancing in Dawn of War is as good as that of industry leader Blizzard is difficult to judge. But that it turned out very well can be determined without any problems. And so not only the long campaign is really fun, but also battles against human opponents. Especially the close victories or defeats pump adrenalin into the body and make the battles even more emotional. And Dawn of War 3 can do that real good.