The real-time strategy genre, better known by the acronym RTS, is experiencing not the best period of its history. However, as in the case with quests and some other genres, a sufficient number of good RTS games have accumulated. This selection includes the best RTS of all time that will interest both veterans and newcomers.
Yes, this is the game that will grace any rating of the best strategies today. The only massively popular RTS of our time, the crown of Blizzard’s genius, and the main cybersports discipline of the genre. Neither the scandalous release with a subscription system nor the most brazen sawing of the story into three separate parts and selling each of them at a price of AAA-game could not stop the march to the heights of success. And that’s because there are no comparable games of the same quality among its peers.
So, why Starcraft 2 is the greatest RTS game? It’s all about the well-tuned balance between the strong story component and the adjacent competitive cyber multiplayer. These parts are separated so much that even some of the units are only available in single-player. Technically, everything is simple – it’s Blizzard. Beautiful harmonious picture, canonical gameplay, gorgeous clips, music, and sound.
If you are not aware of the story background of Starcraft, you’d better get acquainted with it in person. Missions are very diverse: with the construction of bases, defense against the clock, there is even a kind of RPG with control only the main characters.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
The march of the best RTS games continues with Age of Empires II. In our list of the best strategies, it came in the form of the Remastered version, freely sold on Steam. The game from Ensemble Studios once became a standard for strategy games, setting the rules for many years to come. The fact that it is legendary is confirmed because it has been released several times.
The project is dedicated to the historical era from the Dark Ages to the late Middle Ages; the historicity of the game is rather superficial. The game’s graphics are drawn with such a knowledge of composition and style that, even if morally outdated, they look decent in 2020.
Both the original Conqueror add-on game and subsequent updated versions, modern incarnations of the game offer many unique nations. Each has unique units or technologies. It encourages you to consider its minuses and pluses with your opponents. The variety of nations is also based on several campaigns, where you can see the adventures of Jeanne d’Arc or the struggle of the Japanese samurai with the Koreans.
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth II
Oddly enough, we have not so much the iconic RTS on the theme of fantasy as on the military or far future themes. But we can be sure that The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth II deserves its place in the list of the best real-time strategy games.
Why deserve it? Well, for at least two reasons. It was made by the people involved in the Command & Conquer series itself, who certainly knew how to make good RTS. The second reason, of course, is the universe chosen for the game. The epicness of The Lord of the Rings comes from everywhere. Huge armies, impressive sieges, familiar locations, races, and names. This game is strictly recommended for fantasy fans and fans of beautiful and epic strategies. Unless, of course, you can find where to get it, which is equivalent to a full-on trek into Mordor.
Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars
It’s hard to imagine any ranking of best RTS if it does not include a representative of the Command & Conquer series. As of 2020, Tiberium Wars has the best combination of picture and playability among representatives of such a big name. The game, which came out 13 years ago, was created after the dissolution of the creators of the original games. Some C&C fans still argue about its quality and brand worthiness.
But for both newcomers and fans of good games Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars appears to be a solid and high-quality work. The Kane’s Wrath add-on released a year later developed the success of the game, but beyond that, it made too many changes to the mechanics and therefore is almost a different game.
So what makes Tiberium Wars worthy of any list of the best RTS games? For starters, it’s the elaborate graphics, detailed maps, unit models, and realistic light-filtering. The second undoubted plus of the game is the high dynamics of the action, leaving no time to get bored. Battles start almost from the first minute of the match, and you certainly don’t have to wait for the next tank to come out.
If you didn’t find your favorite game on this list, don’t worry, we’re sure that RTS fans are very diverse and prefer different settings and universes. If for, some reason, you often play RTS games, and you missed a game from our list, we highly recommend them.