Our Gaming Verdict team loves playing RTS games. In fact, we’ve probably spent more time in our lives destroying Soviet aircrafts in Red Alert and staging epic battles in Shogun and Medieval: Total War than doing anything else. No matter if you are a die-hard RTS addict (just like us) or a newbie in the field, below is our list of the best game series in the genre. By saying “best” we mean simply the best of the best. Feel free to share your thoughts and observations, especially if you believe that some other titles deserve top spots instead. Well, maybe except from number 1 on this list – nobody will ever convince us that there are some games which can beat this title.
5. Total War
The games in the series are a combination of turn-based strategy, real-time control of the battles and resource management. The very first game of the series, Shogun: Total War is most definitely the most original part of the Total War Series, which, since its first release, has become an indicator of quality for all the players that value demanding and complex strategy games. But that wasn’t the only thing that players loved the Shogun for at that time – thanks to the unique climate of feudal Japan, it provided a unique setting for an RTS compared to others on the market.
4. Command & Conquer
The first part of the C&C series is set in the near future, in which the Earth has become infected by a mysterious resource called Tiberium. Since its first release, the game has become an icon for the RTS genre. Although Dune II is often named “the creator of RTS games”, Command & Conquer is said to be the one that has brought a tremendous popularity to real time strategies.
The game was published a few months before Warcraft II and implement ideas which have been later copied by many other games. A great story, with short video cut-scenes starring real people, have soon become iconic. After a huge success of the game, it was followed by Command & Conquer: Red Alert, a big success of which caused the split in the series to Tiberium and Red Alert ones.
It’s hard to find anyone who played it and didn’t fall in love with it. The first visit in space, first spaceships leaving the mothership. The beauty of space, together with soft, ambient music created an unforgettable atmosphere.
Apart from that, for many players this was the first ever contact with 3D in an RTS game, making Homeworld a milestone in the game history. It was also something totally different at that time, during which most of the RTS games were based on Warcraft, trying to copy its success. The effect of that original move – Homeworld – has become one of the most interesting strategies ever.
2. Age of Empires
For some time, Age of Empires, and later Age of Empires II have been one of the most important RTS games for many players. Highly diversified units and buildings, many different nations, tens of missions and a good storyline in campaigns with a bit of history and very interesting technology tree, have made hundreds of thousands of players spent countless hours trying to destroy all other nations and finish mission after mission.
Although the game did not survive the test of time, especially after failed, in the opinion of many, Age of Empires III and already shutdown Age of Empires Online, even today its first two parts are fully playable and give the same level of satisfaction as they used to almost two decades ago. The series have also produced many spin-offs, including Age of Mythology or Age of Empire the Age of Kings… a Nintendo DS turn-based strategy!
This is probably not a surprise, as for many players, it is still the number one RTS ever created. This game, first released in 1998 focuses on a struggle for galactic dominance of Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss. For thousands of people around the world, it has become something more than just a game. It has highly popularized eSports, to a level which greatly accelerated the growth of the whole industry of gaming competitions.
Amazing balance between the three species and a game that was very well prepared for online gaming have forever changed the gaming industry and its influence has grown far outside of the RTS genre. Thankfully, the released a few years ago Starcraft 2, despite having a very hard time trying to catch up with the legend of its predecessor, stood up to the task.