Jump to content
Threve

The Greatest RTS Game Ever Made?

The Greatest RTS Game Ever Made  

20 members have voted

  1. 1. The Greatest RTS Game Ever Made

    • Total Annihilation
      1
    • Company of Heroes w/ expansions (Tales of Valor)
      3
    • Command and Conquer (Any C&C Game)
      12
    • Starcraft
      1
    • Star Wars Empire at War w/ expansions (Forces of Corruption)
      0
    • Age of Empires
      0
    • Halo Wars
      1
    • Warcraft (Any edition/game)
      0
    • Dawn of War
      1
    • Netstorm
      1


Recommended Posts

 

Good Evening everyone. I have a legit question I've been thinking about recently. More often then not, there seems to not be a lot of RTS Games coming out or at least any of particular interest to me. It could possibly be that I have not been looking or paying to much attention but I've also been stuck on the old school ones as well. In my theory, RTS games have come down to Twitch/Competitive Gaming type games which means the quality has been drastically decreased to the point of the story being non-existent, horrid or irrelevant. I also believe that It can be agreed that 1995-2006 was a really good golden decade for RTS games in general. With this said I want to know which RTS game is the best, examining not just the game but a lot of other things such as

What makes a great RTS game?

Spoiler

 

Story

Soundtrack

Gameplay

Effect on the RTS world

Creativeness

Mods

Still played today?

What makes this game special?

 

 

Total Annihilation

Spoiler

Released in 1998 this game was about the war between two fractions consisting of the CORE and the ARM. Basically the universe was at peace ruled under 1 rule called the CORE. However to live forever it was required as a "Health Measure" to transfer your brain from flesh to machine. The ARM (resistance) resisted and after 4000 years of total war with planets being destroyed in the process it came down to you to help end the struggle once and for all.

The gameplay was incredibly fluid and allowed for incredibly easy game play. You could program units to guard, patrol or move some waypoint with ease. Furthermore the soundtrack was incredible with classical epic music being composed just for the game. The building and currency of the game was not the same old tired money but instead Metal and Energy which gave a realness to the game that showed this was about two fractions killing each other with nothing more nothing less. Straight from the menu every sound is mechanical with no "Yes Sir" or voices to be heard. The only sounds in this game and mechanicals and futuristic lasers when need be. The Main Menu is presented in a simple metal covered 4 button lay out with an ommunious drone as the music letting you know it's time for war. Furthermore the game allows not just the creation of the typical Tanks, Infantry and Aircraft but even so much as Walking Nuclear bombs, Nuclear Missiles, Massive Ships and Hovercraft. The Graphics are incredible even by todays standards. The game has most certainly aged well IMO and was WAY ahead of its time. The maps are also very critical and important because playing on an Urban map will give you the abitly to absorb buildings for more metal but playing on a forest map will give way to having trees burn around you if you're not careful. The Engine also gives true line of sight where a unit on a hill will see more then normally on the ground.

Negatives of the game are that there are limits in its engine for modding as to be expected. The music unless you have the disk does not play properly and there are cheap tactics to be used to win the game if you play for a while.. however all these are easily overlooked when considering the time this was made. The game does lull into a Dog eat Dog or Rock Paper Scissors type game after a while with specialized units being put in-game but not worth the time or effort to be used due to attacking In-Mass being the prime Strategy. Campaign while from a story arc is mind-blowing can feel lackluster sometimes solved by playing a good old skirmish. The AI however should be noted to be easy as any difficulty setting and even a 9 vs 1 will have any experienced player winning and bored after an hour.

On a personal note this game has an incredible realism with the music turned off. It comes to a point where you have 300 Massive Tanks engaged in a battle then a nuclear missile blows everything up and there is nothing but an Erie silence. It feels very real at times and is a very good serious connection to warfare. No fancy theatrics, no extra noises. Just what's happening and what are you going to do about it before you die?

 

 

Company of Hero's

 

Spoiler

Regarded for good reason as the highest rated RTS game this is what happens when great minds come together with no time constraints to build an incredible game. Set in 1944 during world war 2 Company of Heroes (COH for short) is a frighteningly realistic game where you command your army (Wehrmacht or SS) to take on the British or Americans. However this game is special because the dynamics are incredibly realistic to the point of an FPS level. Shooting a tank from behind will deal more damage. However don't expect to do any damage to a tiger with a simple gun or grenade. There are also penetration levels factored in which will determine how much damage you do with certain weapons. If there wasn't enough it even goes in depth to analyze if the tank is moving how much of a chance something has to hit it. The landscapes are incredibly fluid as destroying a building or fence renders it useless to the cover system. You can select your units and put them into cover which will then allow them to not take as much damage such as in real life and can make it so the game comes down to that unit. Games which typically last 20 minutes to an hour can come down to a single guy running with no health trying to save the day before getting blown by artillery.

The game makes constant, ground breaking usage of sounds as well to help sculpt it’s realistic environment. Every soldier has its own custom voice and realistically responds, with humorous undertones most of the time. Further more, vehicles can be heard through the fog of war giving a faint hint of what’s to come if not instilling fear. There are multiple “commanders” to play as which grant special abilities and yes the tanks are all there. The M4 Sherman, M26 Pershing and even King Tiger 2. It should be noted that additional modifications allow such things as zombies, Maus tanks more maps and a completely new game entirely with a Soviet faction. The units are extremely easy to control and unlike command and conquer should not be considered expendable and sent into constant battle with no thought. Base building is also simplified to what it needs to be with 4 or so main buildings serving their purpose and not being the focus of battle. No sim city here. The game is played by capturing territory’s that allow you to earn fuel or ammunition. Manpower is also given to you at a steady rate. Fuel helps with new technology and advancements or vehicles and ammunition allows you to use special abilities. Further more a typical game consists of capturing and holding 3 points across the map. How you hold these points (or don’t and capture more resources instead) is up to you. This ensures fluid and constant gameplay with no time or moments to spare and every action extremely critical to your success or failure. I play this game with the music off and it gives off an extremely realistic and frightening gameplay. 

 

It should be noted there are some flaws. I have played COH for 6 years and found that while it does not determine a game every time entirely chance can sometimes play a factor into a critical moment. Imagine the last seconds of the game coming down to a tank shooting the other one and with %1 health your Tiger tank shell somehow bounces off and you lose. Furthermore the campaign leaves a lot to be desired with easy game play and the requirement to “buy” more missions. Like renegade though anyone buying this game is in it for multiplayer or a skirmish against the Ai. Playing with the music off also leaves a more realistical element though with the music on it did not draw me more into the game. Online (which can now be played with Steam) is heavily unmatched and difficult. While beating someone in a match is definitely hard earned and rewarding it often times can come to the point of frustration and anger when you forget to do something simple with a unit and you watch your demise for 30 minutes. Shamefully, I've broken two computers over this. There is also the issue of a bug where a British staghound unit will decimate the panzer elite (another faction in-game)

A sequel titled Company of Heroes 2 was released later on with the Soviets being the main topic, however it ultimately proved to me to not be the same and invoking as the original. I played through it with diminishing interest and went back to the orginal.

 

Ultimately this game is so packed with sounds and features even now I am still discovering new things. The gripping gameplay and realistic environment is one of its many noteworthy aspects. It bring sadness but also respect that there will never be a RTS game as groundbreaking in my option as this. In addition the action packed gameplay never disappoints or is able to be replicated with any other game, the Graphics are still incredible by today’s standards if not better, and the tactics this game allows you to employ along with the modifications ensure a new experience every time. Just new enough that’s needed. 

 

Starcraft

 

I have never played this and I’m sorry. It is good and popular enough that I’ve put it on this list. I am sure someone can vouch for it

 

Command and Conquer (Any game)

Spoiler

While this is most definitely in reference to the older type games it must be said that C&C is The Godfather of the RTS Game Type and has had almost its entire basis as a franchise on successful RTS titles. Why?

C&C makes up for what every other game on this list doesn’t. Tiberian Sun sound track in my regard is one of the best soundtracks in any game ever. The cinematic videos of C&C Tiberian Dawn (highly advanced for their day) and still great to watch and immersive and who can disagree that sending 70 tanks to steam roll the Soviet Union isn’t satisfying in its own regard. Further more every campaign if not most can be replayed and completed even today with great enjoyment. Renegade is saved with APB. Command and Conquer Generals also found a very popular fan base. Every single soundtrack in the C&C Games made by Frank Kapaki is a memorable experience and great to listen to even off game. The games also remind you that it's still just a game and not to take things to seriously sometimes.

 

However, there are some underlying thoughts to the series when examined. The series as a whole doesn’t quite fully grasp war as a realistic simulator. The gameplay in the series takes a lighter tone if not comical sometimes. Arcade like would be a better description. In 1998 EA bought Westwood studios and forced them to work harder and typically rush their games resulting in a diminished quality slowly showing year by year. Furthermore a lot of the gameplay revolved around (I have built more than you and will now crush your base with a bunch of tanks or SimCity a defense base that is impossible to destroy). Though after Red Alert a lot of times there were units that were specialized and meant to be used tactically it was often times found to be points less as one extra tank was easier to control in mass with your military then the specialized unit. In all fairness later games of course mitigated this problem with grouping squads and having a population cap.

 

Ultimately Westwood C&C as a whole was a great adventure and something entertaining time and time again. I often time find myself listening to the soundtracks in my car over and over which I am sure many can vouch for. The RTS series was one of the few if not only to really have a exciting and meaningful campaign that kept the player involved and interested. The mod base for C&C games is something in its own and though the series looks bleak now I don't mind playing Red Alert for the 10th time. I actually kind of look forward to it.

 

 

Star Wars Empire at War (w/ expansions included)

Spoiler

Star Wars Empire at War is a game that lets you do what you've always wanted.. Command AT-ATs. No but really this game lets you take control of the Empire or Rebellion and not just in a skirmish type way. You first have a massive view of all the different planets in the Star Wars galaxy each with their own special abilities such as lower prices on that planet or a planet that allows you to spy on nearby ones. This gives freedom and meaning to actually engaging in battles. However, to fight on land you also need to conquer space. When you attack a planet you immediately engage in a RTS style space battle controlling massive battle ships and TIE Squadrons alike. It is even possible to control the Death Star to annihilate space ships mid game. Afterwards you then begin a land invasion with the units you produced. The gameplay mechanics are incredible I find with easy usage of special abilities. You can make them automatic or use them when you want and they then recharge. Furthermore no one can argue that controlling AT-AT's in mass, using Star Destroyers to blow up other ships and launch bombs mid land battle or Chewbacca hijacking vehicles is the tightest of tight. The game makes very good usage of sounds and dialogue to invoke a very real sense of playing like a movie would portray. It is very easy to get lost for days on end trying to conquer the galaxy. The map maker was also easier than most to use and provided some fresh air. The fact it was developed by Petrologphy (Westwood Studios former employees) only makes it all the more sweeter. The campaign is also noteworthy with playing out the events of before the Death Star plans were delivered to the rebellion. The expansion pack is also the one to play with more units and more action. 

 

However, with the scope of a game like this there are some drawbacks. Graphically the game is nothing special which is understood given there are Air, Land, Space units along with massive planets and Maps. Yet the ideology and knowing what is going on with battles tends to make up for it, imagination or the ability to look past will be helpful with this game. The music does accurately represent Star Wars however tends to get stale after a while and waiting on credits or a "Day" for your planets can lend to some boring moments of waiting. Furthermore the AI is easily beatable so long as you build more units than they have and invade in mass, you'll always win. There is even an Auto-Battle option which I found to be using after engaging in meaningless battles with AI over a planet it invaded that had no usage. Online (Unknown if still functioning) was quite fun in defense of this game, but not something easy to use or navigate. Often times I found myself having to create new accounts with my email and conflict arose. The money system is also played out with typical "Credits" being the norm. Mod wise the game is not as popular.The expansion also required the original Empire at War disk to play. Lead to frustration.

 

In all I believe it was a good departure from most RTS type games however with its tie to Star Wars it left some more things to be desired ultimately and had limits. The gameplay in its truest sense was not ground breaking but was different enough it deserves respect and also there is no denying how cool things are in this game you can't do in any other. The expansion also held its tongue and the campaigns were a nice time along with voice acting. This game is a good example of living out and playing with your dream which leads to fun and is what games are about.

 

 

I understand obviously there may be other titles that I may have missed out but these are what I found to be the best and that I have played so far. If your choice is not listed on here then feel free to comment your favorite RTS game and what makes it so special! 

Edited by Threve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Didn't include Age of Empires in the poll? That one's always been a major contender.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, ChopBam said:

Didn't include Age of Empires in the poll? That one's always been a major contender.

Fixed. Never played it but have heard a bit about it. Maybe it's civilization I'm thinking about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Missing a few options there; like Dawn of War, Halo Wars, Supreme Commander etc. 

But C&C is there so why would you vote for anything else. :p 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Command & Conquer has just been the one RTS that I always go back for more. I'd rather play C&C/RA over Starcraft 1. Warcraft would be close behind C&C for me. Warcraft 3 being one of the best RTS games I've ever played.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, OWA said:

Missing a few options there; like Dawn of War, Halo Wars, Supreme Commander etc. 

But C&C is there so why would you vote for anything else. :p 

To be 100% fair supreme commander was the “Spiritual Successor” of Total Annhilation. I felt that with the technological breakthroughs, legend and mystic of this game it would only be proper to put this in place as such an earth shattering RTS game. Of course it could be biased due to only seeing the game played. But I thought it be best. Halo wars was also mediocre I heard. It never hit my radar for any interest. However options as you can see are and will be updated as people suggest more options!

Edited by Threve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would also add NETSTORM: Islands at War to the list - even though it's not as known as other titles since it's quite old and activision buried its legacy, though it was heavily played mostly during the dawn of the new millennium (1997-2004), before the official server shutdown. If it wasn't for the great old NSHQ community, keeping it alive and updating it, it would be long forgotten too. With a history of patches and community events, the game was still quite popular for a decade that followed. It's still played to this day on community run server and updated with new features.

You may ask what makes NS so special, well, the first thing that makes Netstorm stand out is that it doesn't follow the casual model of Dune/C&C RTS clones but still has the same classic RTS excitement included. This strategy game literary reaches new heights and remains above all - and it's pretty much the only original and one of it's kind.

 

For me it was the first online experience back in the '97 and the intro above which I saw first time when playing a demo changed the way I used to think about RTS games. Back when Age of Empires started to shine, as well as the dawn of C&C and its clones as well and later one of my favorites, Total Annihilation and KKnD, this was a nice refreshing change and I kinda got stuck to it for the next 15 years or so.

416733-netstorm-islands-at-war-windows-b

 

For those who don't know, Netstorm is a very unique RTS game where you don't spam units and rush enemy with them like in every other game on the list, but  instead, you have to build your way through enemy defenses and network of bridges and islands in the skies of Nimbus. To do that, you have to build your own bridge network between the sky islands, secure resources in form of storm geysers, and build workshops to gain access to one of the four technologies of sun, wind, rain and thunder. Your war machine consists of several types of contraptions, towers, barricades, cannons and bases for aerial attackers. Each has its purpose, line of fire, range. Positioning and rotation of the unit is the key, so the game plays as a tower defense yet you also need to attack so it's a complicated game of chess (the way the building units work), tetris (bridging in sky and connecting to islands) and RTS (collecting resources, building bases, securing islands, spells, capturing enemy High Priests).

Below is a nice letsplay introduction one of the vets made recently:

 

The most interesting part of Netstorm was its unique multiplayer. The best thing of Netstorm  multiplayer is that each battle is different, as the maps are created per random procedural generator, and you can set the parameters in the battle ring as Battlemaster for other players who join. The below pic is an old SS of me when I hosted the Netstorm Tournaments:

netstorm-islands-at-war_11.png

 

Players gather in a lobby, join a zone (different lobbies used to be popular back then when clans and tournaments were a thing), and then find a match in one of the Rings floating in Serenisphere. Each player is represented by their home island, which is their base of operations and it's the only island that is same (unless they change their island, or "fort" later when joining multiplayer server). Once the battle starts, all islands join the battle in the same position they joined the ring, so players can make interesting battles as 1s, 2s, 3s, each team opposite to each other, fighting for the middle (which is the part that is generated randomly, such as neutral islands and resources). Fight for the middle islands can turn into a complicated mess where each click, bridge or unit placement matters:

fa80aa.jpg

 

Learning Netstorm is quite easy when you play the tutorial and play few campaign missions but mastering Netstorm in multiplayer is a different story. The idea behind multiplayer was that each time you sacrifice an enemy priest, you get to choose a new technology, and once you have learned all the technologies (and units) in the game, you get to upgrade your rank and start over with just basic technology. Although all players play now with full leveled forts (LVL 43), where rank no longer means anything, the game is played to see who is the faster bridger, better tactician, or who is that sneaky bastard having an airship ready to capture your own priest - especially when you're not looking and then quickly sacrificing him on the Altar of the storm gods before they attack your island...

netstorm_thunder_priest_by_mizoro-d9d3je

 

NetStorm Online is also quite different from any other RTS game, since you are thrown directly into action - you don't have to wait several minutes to get your base built and ready your armies, you don't have to micromanage your units. All your units engage the enemy automatically. You just need to think the best approach - how and where to bridge, where to build your first outpost, which resources to secure, where to attack your enemy. This way some battles can last less than five minutes, while others can last for an hour...

air_defense_by_fengl0ng-d6mtibf.png

 

Although Netstorm is now considered abandonware, you can still play it online due to the community keeping it alive (I'm part of it). If you want to try and play Netstorm online let me know if you need help, the game can be downloaded on several places but the most recent updates are now informed on discord.

Although there used to be many attempts to make a new shiny game and to be the next NetStorm successor, many projects failed to do so (we think there is some curse following the original downfall of Titanic Entertainment which ironically sunk to the bottom when Activision decided that it's time to release Netstorm unpolished with many bugs and a loophole to convert a free demo to a full working version - although the bugs and loopholes were fixed it led to the original studio going bankrupt).

 

kbWZw73.jpg

 

However, there's a new Netstorm project which keeps resurrecting once in a while with the blessing of the original devs, under the wings of a talented friend named Nathan Hunt who is trying to recreate the spirit of Netstorm in new 3d setting. First it was a Unity project called Netstorm II Rising Storm, now known as Stratus: Battle For The Sky (early access version available on Steam). I've made a topic to support his kickstarter project a while ago where you can learn more about it, back then the project's name was Disciples of the Storm.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, VERTi60 said:

For me it was the first online experience back in the '97 and the intro above which I saw first time when playing a demo changed the way I used to think about RTS games. Back when Age of Empires started to shine, as well as the dawn of C&C and its clones as well and later one of my favorites, Total Annihilation and KKnD, this was a nice refreshing change and I kinda got stuck to it

 

An old abandoned game with a loyal player base and unique gameplay? (APB)

Nothing wrong with that! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Threve said:

An old abandoned game with a loyal player base and unique gameplay? (APB)

Nothing wrong with that! :)

image.thumb.png.a14fdddb72c55a0ea19009aa60bc73ca.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, VERTi60 said:

image.thumb.png.a14fdddb72c55a0ea19009aa60bc73ca.png

Interested in knowing other people’s opnions as well. Games as a whole and especially RTS games I feel are not really advertised ever in media.

Have you ever played Company of Hero’s? I accidentally discovered the game while at Target. Ironically it’s been the highest rated RTS game and it’s the one I voted for. With it being so easy to get stuck on a game I wonder how many people here have actually played it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Threve said:

Interested in knowing other people’s opnions as well. Games as a whole and especially RTS games I feel are not really advertised ever in media.

Have you ever played Company of Hero’s? I accidentally discovered the game while at Target. Ironically it’s been the highest rated RTS game and it’s the one I voted for. With it being so easy to get stuck on a game I wonder how many people here have actually played it

Haven't gotten to play that title yet. If it had to be any ww2 - themed strategy game, I would opt for one where I could also control the units and mostly naval fleets and airplanes so games like Battlestations was my prefered choice. Back in 2006 I was heavily playing turn based genre too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>All those people not voting for Command and Conquer on a CnC forum.
You're all heretics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Coolrock said:

I’ve never heard of Netstorm before, but I’m interested to try it now. Thanks for that :)

Lemme know if you need help or wanna get an online match (we have a hostbot now on server).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Nodlied said:

>All those people not voting for Command and Conquer on a CnC forum.
You're all heretics.

If the question would be "What was your first/most favorite RTS game?" or "Which one is the most famous RTS game?" or "Which one of the RTS games has best single player/story arc/etc" I would have gotten with CnC but if I'm considering the overall greatness, well Netstorm was indeed the greatest RTS game ever made (for that time at least) as it had unique original mechanics that make it stand above all other. It's mainly the online part of the game which was appealing and I've never really gotten more involved with any other RTS game, or any other online community for that matter until I've started playing APB. It's shame no other RTS game really adopted the mechanics but instead more and more rts games followed the same principle until the whole genre kinda died out. So yea why I'm voting something different is because it is different in the first place. :colbert:

It's also b/c I never really spent so many hours and wasted my high school/uni life with any other game that much as I did with Netstorm :eng99:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Nodlied said:

>All those people not voting for Command and Conquer on a CnC forum.
You're all heretics.

Being honest gameplay wise, any C&C was just not as good as Company of Heroes. The only thing you're going to do in almost any C&C Title is mass buildings or units. This being said it very heavily makes up for it with

- Incredible soundtracks every game.

- Meaningful campaigns

- Legacy

- Very good story Arc/Lore

- Interesting dynamics and with Tiberian sun at least... very good, well built environments.

- Very creative units

- Easy pick up and play (especially for an RTS type game)

- Those old video cut scenes.

With this said, C&C is able to do these things and no other RTS game has come close or made the same impact. If you're playing alone then C&C as a whole really is a 10/10. 

But in my argument I believe that Company of Heroes really captures a perfectly balanced realistic gameplay. Furthermore it has a lot more tactics to be applied with every single unit and every single game no matter what does not feel similar. The typical massing of a single unit has also been for the most part eliminated and you're required to have very different units come together to win at times and adapt to what's happening. However, COH cannot make up or do what has been listed above for C&C. Therefor I think it comes down to preference on what you're looking for in an RTS Game. COH also really only shines when you're on multiplayer as opposed to C&C where it rocks straight out of the box.

Edited by Threve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×