There are some great RTS games out there both old and new, & we"ve sầu collected them all in one place
It’s impossible to lớn overstate how enjoyable RTS games can be. There are few things as satisfying as building up an immense army and simply washing over your foes like a river over stones, erasing their existence as effortlessly as a cliông chồng.If you’re looking for a broader danh mục of the best strategy games then we’ve sầu got a separate danh mục for that – this one’s all about real-time, where you can’t hide behind the safety of turn-based strategy’space.
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The genre is largely defined by the likes of Starcraft và Age of Empires, but Indie gameslượt thích Northgard & A.I. War 2 have shown there’s plenty of angles khổng lồ explore. There’s also plenty lớn celebrate in games that are technically real-time, but not strictly speaking considered ‘RTS’.
The rise of MOBAs has challenged the RTS scene quite significantly over the past decade, this hasn’t stopped some worthy games rising to the top ranks to earn their own place the hall of fame. Here’s our take on the best RTS games on PC, though we’re skewing more towards newer releases because, honestly, we all know how good Homeworldwas by now.
The best RTS games
The best RTS games on PC are:Shadow Tactics: Blades of the ShogunNorthgardAshes of the Singularity: EscalationDriftland: The Magic RevivalHomeworld: Deserts of KharakCompany of Heroes 2: Ardennes AssaultAge of Empires II Definitive sầu EditionSupreme CommanderStarcraft 2Europa Universalis IVThe Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-EarthWarcraft III: Reign of Chaos
Shadow Tactics: Blade of the Shogun
Shadow Tactics: Blade of the Shogun is one of the best examples of modern RTS games. You don’t control vast armies with innumerable units, but instead, you guide an elite group of five characters, all of whom have different skills and strengths. While it does fit inkhổng lồ the RTS genre, it also owes a debt to lớn stealth games, meaning you have sầu to lớn be very careful when making decisions – your crew are skilled killers, but they’re no match for a fort full of samurai.
Buy now:Now’s a great time to check out Shadow Tactics
It’s a neat twist on real-time strategy, with each new màn chơi of the campaign presenting you with a new stealth puzzle to solve using your five sầu very different soldiers. Will you deploy your lethal marksman to lớn clear the path from afar, use your master of disguise khổng lồ slip through unchecked, silently slay with your ninja, clear out small groups with your samurai, or use traps and decoys lớn sow chaos? Sometimes it’s the wealth of options at your disposal that makes things challenging. Regardless, every win will leave sầu you feeling lượt thích a strategic ninja as your foes lie crumpled behind you.
This innovative sầu RTS game arrived on our strategy shores mid-2018 after a stint in Early Access, và has been occupying its own quiet corner of the genre ever since in a very stoic and extremely competent manner. Set in a fictional world, each match of Northgard puts you as newcomers to an island that you need khổng lồ explore và exp& inkhổng lồ in order lớn build a new life for your people.
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You don’t build buildings and recruit units – instead you must assign your limited population to lớn various ‘jobs’ which are enabled via buildings. The game can be quite hands-off in many respects, with even combatfollowing a guidance Mã Sản Phẩm vs. direct control. You won’t be alone on the island either, there will others also seeking new homes for themselves. Each ‘clan’ of Vikings has unique mechanics và distinct playstyles; some prefer khổng lồ size alliances, while others like khổng lồ conquer. Others just want to make money, maybe summon a kraken.
There are multiple routes khổng lồ victory, & every isl& is procedurally generated and filled with mysterious & NPC monsters to lớn contover with. There’s also a survival element as you need to lớn ensure you have enough food and supplies to lớn see yourself through the ‘Winter’ phases. The game has some paid add-ins in the form of new clans, but most of the game updates – which have sầu included several new game modes – have sầu been completely miễn phí. Definitely one khổng lồ buy now and kiểm tra out!
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
While it is undeniable that Ashes of the Singularity launched in a pretty weird place, with a somewhat characterless chiến dịch and what felt lượt thích a dearth of unit options, it’s matured in a big way via a long cycle of continued development and optimisation. It now stands as one of the more interesting takes on large-scale RTS that exists in the modern time.
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Ashes of the Singularity takes nods from Total Annihilation-style games, but also from Company of Heroes with its squad-based light vehicles, and interconnected resource nodes which function similarly in many respects khổng lồ territories from Relic’s seminal World War 2 RTS. It uses structure-based support powers similar to those found in Commvà & Conquer 3, and constrains player upgrades and unit counts through the scarce Quanta resource (which is also used to activate tư vấn powers). The campaign DLC has vastly improved in chất lượng, & while the game’s specifications make it difficult to run on all but higher-end machines, Ashes is shaping up to be a serious contender in the large-scale RTS space.
Driftland: The Magic Revival
It’s nice to see a new face finally make it onlớn this list –Driftl& was in Early Access for a couple of years before it finally released in April 2019, and it seems that time has been put to lớn good use. This is an innovative RTS that follows in the mould of the classicMajesty franchise – where indirect control is the order of the day. You are a mage whose realm is on one of many shattered pieces of the world floating around, và you must develop your holdings and exp& onto other ones by connecting them together.
It’s not for everyone, and there are some other minor niggles that will need khổng lồ get worked out over time, butDriftlandwillingness khổng lồ be bold & experiment does it justice, và anyone looking for a new fantasy RTS game need look no further.
Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak
A new take on the classic series’ mechanics and a prequel khổng lồ the original Homeworld, Deserts of Kharak is beautiful, haunting, powerful and intense. While we wereinitially sceptical of how the “six degrees of freedom” RTS would pan out on a flat plane, Blackbird Interactive sầu has packed Deserts of Kharak with nuance và heart.
One of the best RTS solo campaigns in history, coupled with gameplay that hides surprising subtlety, Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak has been sadly overlooked by the larger RTS community. These days, it’s available as part of a bundle with Homeworld Remastered, which also may be worth checking out if you liked the original classic games.
Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault
With the advent of the Western Front Armies expansions, the overhauling of its war spoils system và years of balance refinement, Company of Heroes 2 has cemented its place as a respectable and enjoyable competitive strategy game. With the creation of the Ardennes Assault standalone chiến dịch, Company of Heroes 2 has now also earned the honour possessing one of the best replayable single player experiences in modernRTS gaming.
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Ardennes Assault provides players with a strategic territory-capture metagame layered over the single-player missions, including semi-random events and time-based objectives that change with each playthrough, four Companies to command (of which you can utilize three in each campaign playthrough) & hard choices in an ironman setting. These force the player khổng lồ think through each move and live with sub-optimal strategies across the length of the campaign. Where the soviet storyline in the core game was seen as sub-par or at the very least not supremely creative, Ardennes Assault is a well-crafted take on RTS single player.
Age of Empires 2 Definitive sầu Edition
The original Age of Empires 2 is, undoubtedly, a high point in the world of RTS games – so much so that it has now been fully remastered and released. The combination of units, tech retìm kiếm, & wololoing, all combine khổng lồ create one of the most replayable RTS games around. The Definitive sầu Edition verges on a remake, updating not just the art, but also unit AI, not to lớn mention the fact that it boasts new campaigns và a handful of fresh civilisations.
Age of Empires 2 has a sumptuous mix of combat, civ development, construction, and resource-gathering that means you’re always busy clicking away on something. Combat is more developed than two sides hacking away at one another until one or two lucky warriors emerge unscathed – there are fortifications to navigate, siege tactics khổng lồ employ, & all sorts of logistical nightmares that can cause your costly assault khổng lồ crumble. If you’re looking for more AoE goodness, you can read our Reviews of the Age of Empires III Definitive sầu Edition, if you have sầu fond memories of that game.
Set amongst a big old war known as The Infinite War, Supreme Commander has you attempting lớn wrangle peace out of the chaos that the galaxy has known for so long. You’ll have to lớn use every last brain cell lớn come out on top against the AI and the devastating weapons they wield.
Thankfully, they aren’t the only ones capable of bringing out the big guns. There are huge tech trees for you to lớn plough through over the course of a chiến dịch, but the highlight is the experimental branch of units, which include everything from giant crab-lượt thích walkers to Mobile first bases, and nuclear payloads capable of instantly destroying major enemy bases. Supreme Commander also features one of the coolest maps systems around, with the ability to zoom out and in seamlessly so you can always plan your next step. Few RTS games manage to lớn make sci-fi warfare look & feel as impressive as Supreme Commander, and over a decade later it’s still the benchmark in that respect.
Starcraft 2 is a tichảy of the RTS genre. One so monolithic that many new players fear lớn even pick up the game because they’ll probably get torn apart online before figuring out the camera controls. Constant retìm kiếm and development choices will daunt the indecisive among muốn you, but there’s untold freedom of choice whether you’re playing as Zerg or Protoss. As a new player you’ll be constantly weighing up whether to invest in permanent upgrades, short-term buffs to your most powerful units, or new units like giant robo-dogs – who doesn’t want those?
But it’s multiplayer where Blizzard’s balancing prowess really shines, a feat that’s reflected in the game’s impressive sầu esports legacy. Winning is a constant, tireless struggle khổng lồ try & outwit your opponent, scouting out their facilities, và attempting lớn counter it. Simply put: Starcraft 2 does everything an RTS game should vì, but with a level of polish that is still hard to match nearly a decade later.
Europa Universalis IV
Paradox’s iconic br& of strategy games are, technically, real-time strategy in terms of kiến thiết, even if they’re commonly known as grvà strategy games these days. Still, as an experience they’re worth celebrating and since we’ve featured medieval madhouse Crusader Kings III on our ‘best strategy games’ danh sách, here we thought we’d hold up EU4.
Related:The best grvà strategy games on PC
At the time of writing, Europa Universalis IV is eight years old, & it’s still getting new DLC expansions. It’s an excellent case study not only of how lớn support a strategy game over the long term, but also how complicated và difficult that same process can be. Not every EU4 DLC is equal, but the amount of new nội dung that game has received, especially the không tính tiền patches, is often under-appreciated.
Plus, it’s a really fun game. You start in the mid 15th century & you can lead any nation through several hundred years of tumultuous history as you have sầu lớn struggle with the rise of empires, colonialism & religious tensions. There’s also a ton of EU4 mods to lớn help spice things up.
The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth
We’ve beenthinking about this game a lot recently, as Renata pointed out that not only was it a pretty interesting RTS, but it was also one of the best Lord of the Ringsgames to date. Not necessarily in terms of the core stories of the books but generally on how the developers at EA Los Angeles (who would go on to lớn make Commvà & Conquer 3 & 4) managed to lớn translate the feel of the original source material inlớn a game.
While Renatafavours thesecond title – released in 2006 –plenty of readers have sầu commented to lớn us since that they actually preferred the first game from 2004. Critically they received roughly the same score. The only caveat with this listing is that it’s very hard to lớn find a copy of either game for sale. EA lost the license in 2010 so you’re stuông chồng with trying to lớn find second-h& discs or… ‘other’ means. Playing online as well is best done via services such as GameRanger, or the t3aonline.net trang web which haspreserved them for play insolo & multiplayer.
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
Warcraft 3 is one of the best-loved RTS games of all time, it’s fanbase is extremely fond of it, & there’s a good reason for that adoration. It introduced the world to creeps, the computer-controlled units you can find across some maps, & undoubtedly laid down the groundwork for other genres và games to come after it. You could even level-up your heroes to lớn make them stronger; a perfect marriage of RPG and RTS in motion.
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The classic version is great, but while there is a recent remaster in the size of Warcraft III: Reforged, a number of bugs, some miscommunication about how far the remaster goes, và the new launcher blocking some of the original’s features have left a sour taste in the mouths of fans.
More RTS game recommendationsCommvà và Conquer Red Alert 2Bad North: Jotunn EditionAncestors LegacyStarcraft RemasteredTooth & TailA.I. War 2Homeworld RemasteredOffworld Trading Company
Original menu by Jason Coles, with furthercontributions fromAlex Connelly & Joe Robinson