Wednesday . 28 July . 2021

There are some great RTS games out there both old and new, và we"ve collected them all in one place


It’s impossible lớn overstate how enjoyable RTS games can be. There are few things as satisfying as building up an immense army & simply washing over your foes like a river over stones, erasing their existence as effortlessly as a cliông xã.If you’re looking for a broader danh sách of the best strategy games then we’ve sầu got a separate các 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 to explore. There’s also plenty khổng lồ 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, but this hasn’t stopped some worthy games rising to lớn 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 sầu characters, all of whom have sầu different skills và strengths. While it does fit inlớn the RTS genre, it also owes a debt khổng lồ stealth games, meaning you have khổng lồ 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 lớn check out Shadow Tactics

It’s a neat twist on real-time strategy, with each new cấp độ of the campaign presenting you with a new stealth puzzle khổng lồ solve sầu using your five very different soldiers. Will you deploy your lethal marksman lớn clear the path from afar, use your master of disguise to slip through unchecked, silently slay with your ninja, clear out small groups with your samurai, or use traps & decoys to 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 RTS game arrived on our strategy shores mid-2018 after a stint in Early Access, and 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 khổng lồ an islvà that you need to lớn explore and expvà inkhổng lồ in order to build a new life for your people.

More lượt thích this:The best Viking games on PC

You don’t build buildings và recruit units – instead you must assign your limited population khổng lồ 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 islvà either, there will others also seeking new homes for themselves. Each ‘clan’ of Vikings has unique mechanics and distinct playstyles; some prefer to lớn khung alliances, while others like lớn conquer. Others just want to make money, maybe summon a kraken.

There are multiple routes khổng lồ victory, và every island is procedurally generated & filled with mysterious & NPC monsters to lớn contover with. There’s also a survival element as you need 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 khung of new clans, but most of the game updates – which have sầu included several new game modes – have been completely free. Definitely one to buy now & check 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 campaign và what felt like a dearth of unit options, it’s matured in a big way via a long cycle of continued development và optimisation. It now stands as one of the more interesting takes on large-scale RTS that exists in the modern time.

Buy now:Pick up Ashes of the Singularity today

Ashes of the Singularity takes nods from Total Annihilation-style games, but also from Company of Heroes with its squad-based light vehicles, & 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 lớn those found in Comm& and Conquer 3, and constrains player upgrades và unit counts through the scarce Quanta resource (which is also used khổng lồ activate support powers). The campaign DLC has vastly improved in unique, and while the game’s specifications make it difficult khổng lồ run on all but higher-kết thúc machines, Ashes is shaping up lớn 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 danh sách –Driftland was in Early Access for a couple of years before it finally released in April 2019, & it seems that time has been put khổng lồ 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, & you must develop your holdings & expvà onto lớn other ones by connecting them together.

It’s not for everyone, và there are some other minor niggles that will need to lớn get worked out over time, butDriftlandwillingness to lớn be bold và 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 to lớn the original Homeworld, Deserts of Kharak is beautiful, haunting, powerful & 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 and 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. Buy today.


Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault

With the advent of the Western Front Armies expansions, the overhauling of its war spoils system and years of balance refinement, Company of Heroes 2 has cemented its place as a respectable & enjoyable competitive strategy game. With the creation of the Ardennes Assault standalone campaign, 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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More like this:The best war games on PC

Ardennes Assault provides players with a strategic territory-capture metagame layered over the single-player missions, including semi-random events và time-based objectives that change with each playthrough, four Companies khổng lồ commvà (of which you can utilize three in each chiến dịch playthrough) & hard choices in an ironman setting. These force the player khổng lồ think through each move & 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 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 và released. The combination of units, tech research, và 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 & a handful of fresh civilisations.

Age of Empires:Get everything via trò chơi Pass for PC

Age of Empires 2 (buy here) has a sumptuous phối of combat, civ development, construction, & 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 lớn navigate, siege tactics to employ, & all sorts of issuesthat can cause your assault lớn crumble.

If you’re looking for more AoE goodness, you can read our đánh giá of the Age of Empires III Definitive sầu Edition, if you have sầu fond memories of that game. Also keep an eye out for Age of Empires 4.


Supreme Commander

Set amongst a big old war known as The Infinite War, Supreme Commander has you attempting to lớn wrangle peace out of the chaos that the galaxy has known for so long. You’ll have lớn use every last brain cell lớn come out on top against the AI và 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 campaign, but the highlight is the experimental branch of units, which include everything from giant crab-lượt thích walkers lớn sản phẩm điện thoại 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 khổng lồ zoom out và in seamlessly so you can always plan your next step. Few RTS games manage lớn make sci-fi warfare look & feel as impressive as Supreme Commander, & over a decade later it’s still the benchmark in that respect.


Starcraft 2

Starcraft 2 is a tirã 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 research và development choices will daunt the indecisive sầu amuốn 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 lớn invest in permanent upgrades, short-term buffs khổng lồ your most powerful units, or new units lượt thích 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 esports legacy. Winning is a constant, tireless struggle to lớn try & outwit your opponent, scouting out their facilities, and attempting khổng lồ counter it. Simply put: Starcraft 2 does everything an RTS game should vày, but with a màn chơi of polish that is still hard to match nearly a decade later.


Europage authority Universalis IV

Paradox’s iconic brand of strategy games are, technically, real-time strategy in terms of thiết kế, even if they’re commonly known as grvà strategy games these days. Still, as an experience they’re worth celebrating & since we’ve featured medieval madhouse Crusader Kings III on our ‘best strategy games’ các mục, here we thought we’d hold up EU4.

Related:The best grand strategy games on PC

At the time of writing, Europa Universalis IV is eight years old, and it’s still getting new DLC expansions. It’s an excellent case study not only of how to support a strategy game over the long term, but also how complicated & difficult that same process can be. Not every EU4 DLC is equal, but the amount of new content 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 and you can lead any nation through several hundred years of tumultuous history as you have khổng lồ 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 sầu 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 lớn 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 lớn make Commvà & Conquer 3 & 4) managed 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 khổng lồ 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 find a copy of either game for sale. EA lost the license in 2010 so you’re stuchồng with trying lớn find second-h& discs or… ‘other’ means. Playing online as well is best done via services such as GameRanger, or the website 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, và 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, and the new launcher blocking some of the original’s features have left a sour taste in the mouths of fans.

More RTS games

Command and Conquer Red Alert 2Bad North: Jotunn EditionAncestors LegacyStarcraft RemasteredTooth và TailA.I. War 2Homeworld RemasteredOffworld Trading Company

Original menu by Jason Coles, with furthercontributions fromAlex Connelly và Joe Robinson

Chuyên mục: Game Online