In the never-ending argument of PC gamers vs. Console gamers, Real Time Strategy (RTS) Games have always been an ace up PC Gamer's sleeves. Even though only a handful of them can be played on consoles, RTS Games boast some of the most widely known and beloved gaming titles ever released. And with a thriving e-sports scene, these games are more popular now than they have ever been. Here is a list of the Best PC Real Time Strategy games of all time. Which do you think deserves top billing? Rank them from best to worst and let me know if I have missed any. I will make sure to include them for your ranking pleasure.
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Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings is a real-time strategy video game developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft. Released in 1999 for the Microsoft Windows and Macintosh operating systems, it was the second game in the Age of Empires series. An expansion, The Conquerors, was released in 2000. A PlayStation 2 version was released by Konami in 2001, and a Nintendo DS spinoff, Age of Empires: The Age of Kings was developed by Backbone Entertainment in 2006. A Dreamcast port, by Konami, was canceled. The Age of Kings is set in the Middle Ages and contains thirteen playable civilizations. Players aim to gather resources, which they use to build towns, create armies, and defeat their enemies. There are five historically based campaigns, which constrict the player to specialized and story-backed conditions. There are three additional single-player game modes, and multiplayer is supported. Despite using the same game engine and similar code to its predecessor, development of The Age of Kings took a year longer than expected, forcing Ensemble Studios to release Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome in 1998 instead. The design team focused on resolving significant issues in Age of Empires, but noted on release that some problems remained. Reception of The Age of Kings was highly positive. The significant number of new features was praised, as were the gameplay improvements. Some reviewers, however, were critical of the presentation of units—they were seen as bland and uninteresting—while others considered The Age of Kings to be too similar to its predecessor, Age of Empires. Three months after its release, two million copies of The Age of Kings had been shipped, and it topped sales charts in seven countries. The game won multiple awards and is today considered a classic of its type, having had a significant impact on future games in its genre. Both the original Age of Empires II and the expansion pack were later released as "the Gold Edition". In April 2013, Age of Empires II: HD Edition was released on the Steam digital distribution platform for Windows operating systems. The HD Edition includes both the original game and the expansion The Conquerors, as well as updated graphics for high-resolution displays. It also supports user-generated content through the Steam Workshop and multiplayer games provided through the Steam servers. Three expansions have been released for the HD Edition: The Forgotten in 2013, The African Kingdoms in 2015, and Rise of the Rajas in 2016.
Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne is the official expansion pack to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, a real-time strategy computer game by Blizzard Entertainment. Released worldwide on July 1, 2003, it includes new units for each race, two new auxiliary races, four campaigns, five neutral heroes (an additional neutral hero was added April 2004 and two more were added in August 2004), the ability to build a shop and other improvements such as the ability to queue upgrades. Sea units were reintroduced; they had been present in Warcraft II but were absent in Reign of Chaos. Blizzard Entertainment has released patches for the game to fix bugs, extend the scripting system, and balance multiplayer.
StarCraft is a military science fiction media franchise, created by Chris Metzen and James Phinney and owned by Blizzard Entertainment. The series, set in the beginning of the 26th century, centers on a galactic struggle for dominance among four species—the adaptable and mobile Terrans, the ever-evolving insectoid Zerg, the powerfully enigmatic Protoss, and the "god-like" Xel'Naga creator race—in a distant part of the Milky Way galaxy known as the Koprulu Sector. The series debuted with the video game StarCraft in 1998. Since then it has grown to include a number of other games as well as eight novelizations, two Amazing Stories articles, a board game, and other licensed merchandise such as collectible statues and toys. Blizzard Entertainment began planning StarCraft in 1995, with a development team led by Metzen and Phinney. The game debuted at E3 1996, and used a modified Warcraft II game engine. StarCraft also marked the creation of Blizzard Entertainment's film department; the game introduced high quality cinematics integral to the storyline of the series. Most of the original development team for StarCraft returned to work on the game's official expansion pack, Brood War; the game's development began shortly after StarCraft was released. In 2001, StarCraft: Ghost began development under Nihilistic Software. Unlike the previous real-time strategy games in the series, Ghost was to be a stealth-action game. After three years of development, work on the game was postponed in 2004. Development of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty began in 2003; the game was later announced in May 2007 and was released in July 2010. The StarCraft II franchise continued with the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm expansion, which was released in March 2013. The third StarCraft II installment, StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, released in November 2015. The original game and its official expansion have been praised as one of the benchmark real-time strategy games of its time. The series has gathered a solid following around the world, particularly in South Korea, where professional players and teams participate in matches, earn sponsorships, and compete in televised matches. By June 2007, StarCraft and Brood War had sold nearly 10 million copies combined. In addition, the series was awarded a star on the Walk of Game in 2006, and holds four Guinness World Records in the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition of 2008. On March 27, 2017, Blizzard announced StarCraft: Remastered, a remastered version of the original StarCraft, with the core updates being up-to-date graphics, and revised dialogue and audio. As of April 19, 2017, StarCraft and its Brood War expansion are now free to download and play from Blizzard's website.
Age of Empires II: The Conquerors is the expansion pack to the 1999 real-time strategy game Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. The Conquerors is the fourth installment in the Age of Empires series by Microsoft Game Studios and Ensemble Studios. It features five new civilizations (the Aztecs, Mayans, Spanish, Koreans, and Huns), four new campaigns, eleven new units, twenty-six new technologies, new gameplay modes, new maps and different minor tweaks to the gameplay. A second expansion, The Forgotten, was released exclusively on Steam in November 2013, over a decade since the release of The Conquerors. In November 2015, another expansion was released, also exclusive to Steam, entitled The African Kingdoms. A third Steam-exclusive expansion, entitled Rise of the Rajas, was released in December 2016.
Knights of Honor is a real-time strategy (RTS) game developed by Bulgarian Black Sea Studios. It was published by Sunflowers Interactive in Europe in 2004 and Paradox Entertainment in North America in 2005. The game takes place in Medieval Europe, spanning the early centuries of the second millennium in three historical time periods. The player can choose to play as one of over 100 playable kingdoms. Knights of Honor is played on a large map of Europe spanning from Ireland to Armenia and from Scandinavia to the northern coast of Africa. The map is divided into parcels of land called provinces. Each province is governed by a city and contains several "Rural Areas" which can be towns, farms, monasteries and coast towns. These rural areas can't be altered and are placed randomly across the map before each game. The city, however has room for several buildings which can give bonuses to the rural areas or the city itself, such as more piety in the monasteries when a church is built or a higher income from the towns when a market is present in the city. Other buildings are needed to recruit certain units (such as a swordsmith for sword-wielding units or a fletcher for bow-wielding units) or to defend the city such as walls and towers. A city only has limited room for buildings. Thus, not all buildings can be built in a city and the player must carefully consider what to build for a particular city. Compared to other strategy games, building structures in KOH takes a rather long time. The main goal of the game is to become emperor of Europe. However, the player is free to do whatever they wish. There is no set time limit.
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos is a high fantasy real-time strategy video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment, and was released in July 2002. It is the second sequel to Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, and it is the third game set in the Warcraft fictional universe. An expansion pack, The Frozen Throne, was released in July 2003. Warcraft III contains four playable races: Humans and Orcs, both of which had previously appeared in Warcraft: Orcs & Humans and Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, and two new races, the Night Elves and the Undead. Warcraft III's single-player campaign is laid out similarly to that of StarCraft, also by Blizzard Entertainment, being told through all four of the game's races in a progressive manner. Multiplayer mode allows for play against other players, via the Internet, instead of playing against computer-controlled characters as is done in the single-player custom game mode. The game shipped 4.5 million units to retail stores and over one million units sold within a month. Warcraft III won many awards including "Game of the Year" from more than six different publications.
Rome: Total War is a PC strategy game developed by The Creative Assembly and released in 2004 by Activision, although its rights have since passed to Sega. The Mac OS X version was released on 5 February 2010 by Feral Interactive, who released the iPad version on 10 November 2016. Feral announced the iPhone version on 31 October 2017. The game is the third title in The Creative Assembly's Total War series. The game's main campaign is set during the mid and late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire (270 BC – AD 14), with the player assuming control of one of three Roman families; other factions are playable once they have been unlocked. Gameplay is real-time tactical battles framed within a turn-based strategic campaign, taking place across Europe, North Africa and the Near East. At the strategic level, players manage diplomacy, develop infrastructure, move armies and manage the population's growth and public order through taxes and gladiatorial games. On the tactical scale, the player commands real-time battles against enemy armies within or between cities. The game was released to critical acclaim, becoming one of the best ever reviewed PC strategy games. It has been well received by gamers, going on to generate a persistent and loyal modding fanbase.
Age of Mythology (AoM) is a mythology-based real-time strategy video game developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released on October 30, 2002 in North America and a week later in Europe. A spin-off from the Age of Empires series, Age of Mythology takes some of its inspiration from the myths and legends of the Greeks, Egyptians, and Norse, rather than from actual historical events. However, many gameplay elements are similar to the Age of Empires series. Its campaign follows an Atlantean admiral, Arkantos, who is forced to travel through the lands of the game's three cultures, hunting for a cyclops who is in league with Poseidon against Atlantis. Age of Mythology was commercially successful, going platinum four months after its release after selling over one million units. In 2003, it was followed by an expansion pack, Age of Mythology: The Titans. On May 8, 2014, Age of Mythology: Extended Edition was released for Windows via Steam. This was followed by a second expansion pack, Age of Mythology: Tale of the Dragon, released on January 28, 2016.
Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge is an expansion pack to Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 developed by Westwood Pacific. The game was released in North America on October 10, 2001 by EA Games. The game is centered on a shadowy ex-Soviet figure named Yuri who has established a secret army of his own and poses a threat to the free will of the world. In Command and Conquer: Yuri's Revenge, the story starts off assuming that the Allies were victorious in Red Alert 2. The game begins with the White House announcing DEFCON 2 status, as Yuri, the former head of the Soviet Psychic Corps, plans to take over of the world through mind control, accomplished by activating a secretly built network of Psychic Dominators around the world. The U.S. launches an air strike on the Psychic Dominators on Alcatraz Island. Despite heavy casualties, the device loses power. But the rest of the planet quickly succumbs to Yuri's mind control. The core gameplay for Yuri's Revenge is very similar to that of its predecessor, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2. The objective of the game is to gather resources while training an army to defend the player's base and attack the player's enemies. Yuri's Revenge has received mostly positive reviews. GameRankings reports an average score of 85% based on 31 reviews. IGN gave the game 8.6 out of 10, saying that it "gives a really excellent game some really impressive enhancements." The lack of a single player campaign for Yuri's army was noted as a weakness. GameSpot said that "All its new features combine to make Yuri's Revenge ideal or even downright necessary for anyone who enjoyed Red Alert 2", and awarded 8.5 out of 10.
Command and Conquer: Generals – Zero Hour is the expansion pack for the 2003 video game Command & Conquer: Generals. Zero Hour added several new abilities and units to each side, and a new mode of play called Generals' Challenge. Zero Hour also contains 3 new campaigns of five missions each, one for each side, with their chronological order being USA first, GLA second, and China last. Unlike the previous campaigns, which were noted by Command and Conquer fans for not having full motion video cinematic sequences during mission briefing, the Zero Hour campaigns return to that Command and Conquer tradition, each showing a live-action video of a news reporter of the respective side giving details about the situation behind the current mission. The plot behind the Zero Hour campaigns picks up where it left off at the end of the previous campaigns. In addition to the three factions from the vanilla game, three playable generals have been added to each faction, each with his or her strengths and weaknesses, as well as unique units and/or modifications to the standard arsenal. The editors of Computer Gaming World nominated Zero Hour for their 2003 "Expansion Pack of the Year" award, which ultimately went to Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII.
Myth II: Soulblighter is a 1998 real-time tactics video game developed by Bungie for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. Published by Bungie in North America and by GT Interactive Software in Europe, the game was also ported to Linux by Loki Entertainment. It is the second game in the Myth series, and a sequel to Myth: The Fallen Lords. In 1999, an expansion pack, Myth II: Chimera, was released. Developed by the Badlands mapmaking group, in association with Bungie, Chimera is set ten years after Soulblighter. Originally released as a free download, Chimera was later published by Bungie as part of the Total Codex bundle, incorporating it into the official Myth canon. In 2001, a third Myth game was released, Myth III: The Wolf Age, set one thousand years prior to The Fallen Lords, and developed by MumboJumbo. Set sixty years after The Fallen Lords, the game tells the story of the resurgence of Soulblighter, a supporting antagonist in the first game, and one of the titular Fallen Lords. Determined to defeat the forces of Light who vanquished his master, Balor, and conquer the free cities of the world, Soulblighter resurrects the Myrkridia, a race of flesh eating monsters not seen in over a thousand years. Standing against Soulblighter is Alric, the main protagonist in the first game, and now King of The Province, who must rally humanity to fight a war they never expected. Chimera is set ten years after Soulblighter, and tells the story of three veterans of the campaign against Soulblighter, who band together to fight a mysterious sorceress. Soulblighter was a critical success, with reviewers feeling it improved on virtually every aspect of The Fallen Lords. They cited better, more detailed graphics, enhanced sound effects, more varied gameplay, better AI, more intricate and varied level design, and a more user-friendly interface and control scheme. Critics were also impressed with the improvements made to online multiplayer mode, and praised the variety of options available to players. They also lauded the mapmaking tools included with the game, which allowed users to create their own maps for both multiplayer gaming and single-player campaigns. The game also sold very well, considerably outselling the original, which had been Bungie's best selling game up to that point. The Myth series as a whole, and Soulblighter in particular, supported an active online community for over a decade after the official servers went offline. The first formally organized group of volunteer-programmers was MythDevelopers, who were given access to the game's source code by Bungie. The most recently active Myth development group is Project Magma, an offshoot of MythDevelopers. These groups have worked to provide ongoing technical support for the games, update them to newer operating systems, fix bugs, release unofficial patches, create mods, and maintain online servers for multiplayer gaming.
Plants vs. Zombies is a tower defense video game developed and originally published by PopCap Games for Microsoft Windows and OS X. The game involves homeowners who use a variety of different plants to prevent an army of zombies from entering their houses and "eating their brains". It was first released on May 5, 2009, and made available on Steam on the same day. A version for iOS was released in February 2010, and an HD version for the iPad. An extended Xbox Live Arcade version introducing new gameplay modes and features was released on September 8, 2010. PopCap released a Nintendo DS version on January 18, 2011 with content unique to the platform. The PlayStation 3 version was released in February 2011 also with added new co-op and versus modes found in the Xbox 360 version. An Android version of the game was released on May 31, 2011 on the Amazon Appstore, while it was also released to the Android Market (now Google Play) on December 14, 2011. On February 16, 2012, a version was released for BlackBerry PlayBook. Later, a BlackBerry smartphone version of the game was released on January 2013 following the launch of BlackBerry 10. Furthermore, both the original Windows and Mac version of the game have been re-released with additional content in a Game of the Year version. In January, 2015, a free ad-supported version of the game was released for iOS. The game received a positive response from critics, and was nominated for multiple Interactive Achievement Awards, alongside receiving praise for its musical score. A sequel, Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time, was released in 2013 for iOS and Android.
Medieval II: Total War, the indirect sequel to 2002's Medieval: Total War and the fourth game in the Total War series from Creative Assembly, is a game of turn-based strategic rounds and real-time tactically-oriented battles, released on 10 November 2006 for Windows. On 14 January 2016, the game was released for macOS and Linux as Medieval II: Total War Collection which includes the Kingdoms expansion pack. The game is set between the years 1080 and 1530. Like the original Medieval: Total War, it focuses on medieval warfare, religion and politics in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Similar to previous titles of the Total War series, the game consists of two modes of play: battles and single-player campaign. Battles can be played in multiplayer, in user-defined scenarios, or in historical scenarios which simulate real battles such as the Battle of Arsuf or the Battle of Agincourt. Battles are also featured in the campaign. Medieval II: Total War received "generally favorable reviews" according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.
Command & Conquer, sometimes known as Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn, is a 1995 real-time strategy video game developed by Westwood Studios and published by Virgin Interactive. Set in an alternate history of modern day, the game tells the story of a world war between two globalized factions: the Global Defense Initiative of the United Nations and a cult-like militant organization called the Brotherhood of Nod, led by the mysterious Kane. The groups compete for control of Tiberium, a mysterious substance that slowly spreads across the world. Westwood first conceived Command & Conquer during the final stages of the development of Dune II, and it expands on ideas first explored in that title. Inspired by the events of the era, particularly the Gulf War, the team gave the game a modern warfare setting. The game contains live-action full motion video cutscenes, which star Westwood employees and a single professional actor, Joseph D. Kucan, who plays Kane. Command & Conquer was a commercial and critical success, selling over three million copies and winning numerous awards. It has been cited as the title that defined and popularized the real-time strategy genre. The game was the first in the Command & Conquer series, which sold 30 million copies by 2009. To mark the 12th anniversary of the franchise, Electronic Arts, the current publisher and owner of the series, released the game for free in 2007.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 is a real-time strategy video game by Westwood Pacific, which was released for Microsoft Windows on October 23, 2000 as the follow-up to Command & Conquer: Red Alert. Red Alert 2 picks up at the conclusion of the Allied campaign of the first game. Its expansion is Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge. Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 contains two playable factions, the Soviets and the Allies, which both previously appeared in Command & Conquer: Red Alert. The single player campaign is structured in an alternate-ending mode as opposed to a progressive story mode. Red Alert 2 was a commercial and critical success, receiving an 86% from GameRankings.
Company of Heroes is a 2006 real-time strategy video game developed by Relic Entertainment and published by THQ for the Microsoft Windows and macOS operating systems. It was the first title to make use of the Games for Windows label. Company of Heroes is set during the Second World War and contains two playable factions. Players aim to capture strategic resource sectors located around the map, which they use to build base structures, produce new units, and defeat their enemies. In the single-player campaign the player commands two U.S. military units during the Battle of Normandy and the Allied liberation of France. Depending on the mission, the player controls either Able Company of the 29th Infantry Division's 116th Infantry, or Fox Company of the 101st Airborne Division's 506th PIR. Company of Heroes received widespread acclaim, winning multiple awards for the best strategy game of the year. Two expansions were released for the game, the first one named Opposing Fronts in 2007, and the second one titled Tales of Valor in 2009. A free-to-play massively multiplayer online version of the game, Company of Heroes Online, was briefly released as open beta in South Korea in April 2010, before being cancelled in March 2011. The success of the game led to a sequel, Company of Heroes 2, which was released in 2013. As of January 2013, the whole Company of Heroes series has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide. There was also a film adaptation, starring Tom Sizemore.
Homeworld is a real-time strategy video game developed by Relic Entertainment and published by Sierra Studios on September 28, 1999, for Microsoft Windows. Set in space, the science fiction game follows the Kushan exiles of the planet Kharak after their home planet is destroyed by the Taiidan Empire in retaliation for developing hyperspace jump technology. The survivors journey with their spacecraft-constructing mothership to reclaim their ancient homeworld of Hiigara from the Taiidan, encountering a variety of pirates, mercenaries, traders, and rebels along the way. In each of the game's levels, the player gathers resources, builds a fleet, and uses it to destroy enemy ships and accomplish mission objectives. The player's fleet carries over between levels, and can travel in a fully three-dimensional space within each level rather than being limited to a two-dimensional plane. Homeworld was created over two years, and was the first game developed by Relic. Studio co-founders Alex Garden and Luke Moloney served as the director and lead programmer for the game, respectively. The initial concept for the game's story is credited to writer David J. Williams, while the script itself was written by Martin Cirulis and the background lore was written by author Arinn Dembo. The music of the game was written by composer Paul Ruskay as the first title from his Studio X Labs, with the exception of Samuel Barber's 1936 Adagio for Strings, considered the defining theme of the game, and a licensed track from English rock band Yes, "Homeworld (The Ladder)". Homeworld is listed by review aggregator Metacritic as the highest rated computer game of 1999, and the fourth-highest on any platform for the year. Critics praised the game's graphics, unique gameplay elements, and multiplayer system, though opinions were divided on the game's plot and high difficulty. The game sold over 500,000 copies in its first 6 months, and received several awards and nominations for best strategy game of the year and best game of the year. A release of the game's source code in 2003 sparked unofficial ports to macOS and Linux, and three more games in the Homeworld series have been produced: Homeworld: Cataclysm (2000), Homeworld 2 (2003), and Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak (2016). Gearbox Software purchased the rights to the series from then-owners THQ in 2013, and released a remastered collection of Homeworld and Homeworld 2 in 2015 for Windows and macOS which was also highly regarded.
Rise of Nations is a real-time strategy computer game, developed by Big Huge Games and published by Microsoft Game Studios on May 20, 2003. The development of the game was led by veteran game designer Brian Reynolds, of Civilization II and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. The game has taken several concepts from turn-based strategy games such as territories and attrition warfare. Rise of Nations features 18 civilizations, playable through eight ages of world history. It is consistently ranked and considered to be one of the greatest real-time strategy games of all time. Rise of Nations: Extended Edition is a re-release of the main game and its expansion. It released for Steam on June 12, 2014 and for the Windows 10 Store on September 14, 2017 with Xbox Live achievements and cross-play with the Steam version. Graphical changes to the game include updated textures, lighting and water. Other changes to the game include Steamworks integration which adds cloud saves, Steam Trading Cards, achievements, Twitch integration and multiplayer with Elo ranked matches to the game. Extended Edition is developed by SkyBox Labs.
Total Annihilation is a real-time strategy video game created by Cavedog Entertainment, a sub-division of Humongous Entertainment, and released on September 30, 1997 by GT Interactive for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. It was the first real-time strategy game to feature 3D units and terrain. Two expansion packs were released, The Core Contingency on April 30, 1998 and Battle Tactics on June 30, 1998. After the closure of the Cavedog Entertainment Studios in 1999, the intellectual property fell to Infogrames (now Atari). Total Annihilation is no longer officially supported, due to the closure of Cavedog. The Cavedog team ended, but ex-Cavedog and lead designer Chris Taylor, went on with Gas Powered Games to create Supreme Commander in 2007, popularly considered the "spiritual successor" of Total Annihilation. The creators of XTA, a mod for Total Annihilation, independently developed the open source 3D graphics Spring game engine. The Total Annihilation 3D project was begun in the summer of 2006. Other ex-members of Cavedog, including Total Annihilation's game engine developer Jon Mavor, later went on to develop Planetary Annihilation in 2014, another game in the same vein as Total Annihilation.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Dark Crusade is the second expansion to the PC-based RTS game Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War developed by Relic Entertainment and published by THQ. Based on Games Workshop's popular tabletop wargame, Warhammer 40,000, Dark Crusade was released on October 9, 2006. The expansion features two new races, the Tau Empire and the Necrons. Including the Imperial Guard from Dawn of War's first expansion pack Winter Assault, this means a total of seven playable races in this expansion. Unlike Winter Assault, Dark Crusade is a standalone expansion that does not require prior installation of Dawn of War or Winter Assault to play, allowing the user to play as all seven factions in both single player Skirmish and Campaign modes. Parallel to the release of Dark Crusade, THQ also released a triple pack of Dawn of War, Winter Assault, and Dark Crusade, dubbed Dawn of War Anthology. The case is embossed with images of all the faction leaders of the campaign dressed in their respective wargear.
Stronghold: Crusader, released on July 31, 2002, is the successor to Firefly Studios's 2001 real-time strategy video game Stronghold. Crusader has much in common with the original Stronghold, but differs from its predecessor in the fact that the game is no longer set in a pseudo-Europe, instead being set in the Middle East during the Crusades. The game features a multitude of new Arabian units that can be purchased in a new building, the mercenary post. Though the Arabian troops do not require any weapons to produce, they are rather expensive. The game was also released as Stronghold Warchest. This version was a compendium of Stronghold and an enhanced version of Stronghold: Crusader, containing additional characters and an additional Crusader Trail. Stronghold Warchest was only released in limited number of countries (i. e. USA or Poland), meaning players in the rest of the world have never encountered the second Crusader Trail, or second set of characters. This changed when an updated version of Stronghold Crusader, Stronghold: Crusader Extreme was released in early 2008.
Stronghold is a historic real-time strategy game developed by Firefly Studios in 2001. The game focuses primarily on conquest and expansion through military pursuits, but also provides space for economic strategy and development. There is both an economic and a military campaign to be played and both are discussed in the game manual. In the English version the game takes place in Medieval Britain around the time of 1066; however, since there is not always a time limit, scenarios can continue hundreds of years beyond that date. As well as earning many favourable reviews from reviewers such as PCGamer and GameSpy, the game continues to boast a large community, who edit and create various material through the in-game Map Editor/Scenario Creator. Because of its popularity, the game spawned seven sequels (5 proper sequels + 2 spin-offs) as follows: Stronghold: Crusader (2002), Stronghold 2 (2005), Stronghold Legends (2006) - spin-off, Stronghold Crusader Extreme (2008), Stronghold 3 (2011), Stronghold Kingdoms (2012) - spin-off and Stronghold Crusader II (2014). As, Stronghold 3 was a big failure with lots of bugs in it and getting very low ratings by critics, no further version of this game or sequel was made after it for next 3 years (Stronghold Kingdoms was in development since 2007 but released later). Stronghold Crusader II was released in Sept 2014 and got mixed reviews. Stronghold is still a fan favourite and cult-classic. It has got its own fan following and nearly sold more than 5 million copies including all its versions.
Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance is a standalone real-time strategy video game expansion to Supreme Commander, and was released in November 2007, developed by Gas Powered Games and published by THQ, and the second title in the franchise. Because it is a standalone expansion, it is possible to play without owning Supreme Commander, although without a valid CD key for Supreme Commander online play is limited to the new faction, the Seraphim. Forged Alliance adds new gameplay features to the game, several new units for the three preexisting factions, and is further optimized for increased performance, in response to issues with the original. The official multiplayer servers were closed in 2011 with full multiplayer support being provided via the community project known as Forged Alliance Forever.
Commandos 2: Men of Courage is a real-time tactics video game, developed by Pyro Studios, published by Eidos Interactive, and released on September 20, 2001. It is a sequel to Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines and the second instalment of the Commandos, and is the only strategy game of the series to be designed not only for Microsoft Windows, but also for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The game sees players taking control of a squad of commandos, along with various allied units, as they sneak behind enemy lines to accomplish various missions in World War II, between 1941 and 1944, that will help them to thwart the war efforts of the Germans and the Japanese. The game features several improvements to the gameplay from its predecessor, including the ability to use enemy weapons and explore interior locations, the inclusion of three new commandos, a number of new skills for the original six members along with their other abilities, and new pieces of equipment to help overcome the enemy. While the PC version of the game was well received, the console versions received less favourable reviews. In 2005, the game was bundled together with Commandos 3: Destination Berlin as part of the Commandos Battle Pack by Feral Interactive.
Nexus: The Jupiter Incident is a science fiction themed real-time tactics computer game developed by the Hungarian-based Mithis Entertainment. The game focuses on tactics and ship management instead of resource collection and base construction. In each of the game's missions, the player is given a small number of large space ships (always less than ten, and sometimes just one or two), along with accompanying fighters and bombers. The ships are large and cumbersome, and the battles between fleets protracted, giving the game a noted cinematic feel. Nexus uses the Blacksun Engine, made specifically for the game. Based on DirectX 9, it makes extensive use of vertex and pixel shaders, a parametric particle system, and other visual effects. The game is set in the 22nd Century. The player is Marcus Cromwell, a famed spacecraft captain whose father, Richard Cromwell, the first spaceborn human, captained the colony ship Noah's Ark through a wormhole near Mars that was presumed destroyed when the wormhole collapsed. Cromwell sets out on the SpaceTech heavy corvette, the Stiletto, for Jupiter. The events that unfold are "The Jupiter Incident", which escalates into an interstellar war. Cromwell engages in battle with several ships and responds to a Kissaki Syndicate (a rival corporation) research base's SOS call. Inside, he finds a cruiser-sized ship of alien origin, named the Angelwing by the Kissaki. The ship's logs show the corporation has another hidden base close to Pluto, with the base that sent out the SOS call being a distraction for the top-secret research being carried out at the Pluto base. A normal ship would require almost 4 years to make the trip; however, the Angelwing can make the trip in several weeks using its special IP Drive. After a battle with the Syndicate fleet for the control of the Angelwing, Cromwell is given command of the cruiser and ordered to investigate the secret base. At Pluto, an artificial intelligence, named Angel, uploads herself into the Angelwing and commands Cromwell to escape from a strange entity - later known as a Mechanoid - through a nearby wormhole, the same wormhole that collapsed near Mars. Cromwell finds himself in the Noah system populated by the colonists from Noah's Ark, who survived the wormhole collapse and started a colony. The Noah Colony fights as a mercenary race for an advanced but peaceful alien race, called the Vardrags, against another powerful race, the bloodthirsty, reptilian Gorgs, and a local group of renegade Vardrag elites, known as the Raptors. After a successful raid at the Raptor's base, they are then enlisted again to fight against the Gorg Empire. In fights against the Gorg, the Ghosts occasionally seem to help the Angelwing. However, all the races would soon find themselves facing their greatest threat: a virulent race of nanomachines called the Mechanoids. Nothing seems capable of stopping the Mechanoid invasion, and the Vardrag homeworld and Earth are overrun. Only an organic, insectile race, known as the energy-consuming Locusts, are immune to the Mechanoids. With technology adapted from the Locusts, Cromwell is able to rescue Earth and all the other solar systems and shut down the main control system of the Mechanoids, the Entity. The fate of Angel, who fought the Mechanoids, is left ambiguous, as she was not shown leaving the Entity and returning to the Angelwing.
Cossacks is a real-time strategy video game for Microsoft Windows made by the Ukrainian developer GSC Game World. The game has an isometric view and is set in the 17th and 18th centuries of Europe. It features sixteen playable nations each with its own architectural styles, technologies and units. Players must avoid famine and engage in army expansion, building construction and simple resource gathering. Mission scenarios range from conflicts such as Thirty Years' War to the War of the Austrian Succession, and the game is renowned for the seemingly unlimited number of units players may control. This ability set it apart from other games of the time such as Age of Empires and Empire Earth. Cossacks is a game which allows the user to gain strategy skills and learn history of that period by the inclusion of a comprehensive encyclopedia. The game has won two awards and was positively favoured by a majority of reviewers. It was a financial success. Back to War, released on 18 October 2002, is the second expansion pack, and it can be played as a standalone. Cossacks: Back to War adds two new nations (Switzerland and Hungary) to the choices from Cossacks: European Wars and Cossacks: Art of War because of their influence on European history. There are also new maps, a tutorial campaign and a map-editor. It adds several units to various countries, new cannon types and alters some parameters such as building time, upgrade and building costs.
Homeworld: Cataclysm was originally developed in 2000 as an expansion of Homeworld, but was released as a stand-alone game. It was published by Sierra Studios, as was the original, but it was developed by Barking Dog Studios. The game reappeared on the gaming website GOG.com in June 2017 as Homeworld: Emergence, as the name "Cataclysm" was trade marked by Blizzard Entertainment for its third expansion to World of Warcraft. Though it uses the same engine as its predecessor, several changes were made such as: the ability to toggle time compression between normal speed and eight times faster; ship upgrades (improving armor and adding new abilities), Command Ships and Carriers are given the ability to add external modules for ship research and fleet support; fuel was completely eliminated from the game and finally the sensor display could be used to issue attack orders to units. The player's Command Ship is now capable of attack; though slow, the Command Ship is capable of delivering a vast array of weaponry, most notably the Siege Cannon capable of crippling an enemy Command Ship with a single well aimed shot. Notable unit changes include the Processor, Cataclysm's adaptation of the Resource Controller, which has medium-strength weapons to defend itself, automated repair beams to heal nearby ships and four pads to dock with Workers harvesting resources. The game's resource collectors perform the same functions that they did in the original Homeworld, however, when upgraded they can be used to capture enemy vessels, harvest crystals and repair friendly vessels; functions that were carried out by separate, single-function ships in the first game. The game also introduced new 3D features such as moving parts and transforming ships. In general, the main difference is the scale of fleets. Where Homeworld was biased towards large fleets (as the player's main ship was a full-fledged mothership and the opposition was an empire of galactic scale), Cataclysm down-scales the fleets (as the player's main ship is a simple mining vessel and the adversaries are all limited in resources).
Europa Universalis III is a grand strategy video game developed by Paradox Development Studio and published by Paradox Interactive. The player controls a nation and handles matters concerning war, diplomacy, trade, and economy. The original game without expansions starts in 1453, right after the Fall of Constantinople, and continues to 1789, just past the beginning of the French Revolution. The expansion Napoleon's Ambition extends the end game year forward to 1821, whereas the expansion In Nomine moves the starting year back to 1399. Europa Universalis III has a 3D engine that requires the system to meet the Pixel Shader 2.0 specification. The map has 1,700 land and sea provinces encompassing most of the world, with 250 playable historical nations. The game also uses elements of other Paradox games such as Crusader Kings, Victoria, and Hearts of Iron II. On 19 August 2009, a third expansion titled Heir to the Throne was announced. It was released for Windows on 15 December 2009 and includes many features requested by members of the forum. As the title suggests, it is focused mostly on royal family dynamics. Virtual Programming published the Mac OS X expansion on 24 May 2010.
Codename: Panzers is a World War II video game created by Hungarian game developer StormRegion. It launched in 2004 to generally favorable reviews. The series entered its second iteration in July 2005 with Codename: Panzers Phase II. A Codename: Panzers Phase III was originally planned, but no longer appears on the official website. It was followed by Codename: Panzers – Cold War. The first two games of the series don't work on 64-bit operating systems due to driver incompatibility of StarForce Protection, however the DRM-free versions available on GOG.com does not contain this issue. Codename: Panzers was intended to be a three-part series portrayal of various conflicts of the Second World War. The current publishing rights of the franchise belong to THQ Nordic after they acquired the intellectual property rights from the defunct publisher, cdv Software Entertainment.
Europa Universalis IV is a grand strategy video game in the Europa Universalis series, developed by Paradox Development Studio and published by Paradox Interactive. The game was released on 13 August 2013. It's a strategy game where players can control a nation from the Late Middle Ages through the Early modern period (1444 to 1821 AD), conducting trade, administration, diplomacy, colonization and warfare. The game has been formed to begin historically, with real events occurring in real time. The game itself is an interactive map of Earth divided into the provinces that compose nations. Each of these provinces contribute to their country either positively or negatively, as provinces can both provide resources to a nation and serve as a point of unrest and rebellion. The gameplay requires the player to lead a nation by finding a balance of military, diplomacy and economy. The player does so through their choices as sovereign of their nation, and through the spending of resources available to them: Prestige, Stability, Gold (Ducats), Manpower, Legitimacy for Monarchies, Republican Tradition for Republics, Devotion for Theocracies, Horde Unity for Hordes and Monarch Power (Administrative, Diplomatic, Military). Players can choose to conquer the world by military might, become a colonial superpower, establish trade dominance, etc. The game is a sandbox environment, and while there is no strict rule on winning the game, a loss occurs when the player's nation is removed, or annexed, from the map. Diplomacy is a large aspect of the game, as creating alliances, (or vassal states, and tributaries), improving opinions, and preventing defensive coalitions are vital to a player’s survival. Espionage can also be employed against enemy states in order to claim their territory, or incite rebellion in their provinces, along with other dubious ends. Combat can be waged on both land and sea, during which the game attempts to simulate real world factors such as morale, discipline, competency of leaders, terrain and supply lines. Many major religions are present in the game and can provide distinct bonuses to their practitioners. Players can employ missionaries to convert their provinces or can engage in policies of universal religious freedom. The Catholic faith makes use of the Papacy, which can allow a nation to have control over the Pope or to use their influence for other rewards. Technological advancements are invested in over time, and will require the expense of monarch points. Administrative technologies unlocks advancements such as increased productivity, new forms of government, new buildings, and the national idea system. Diplomatic technology unlocks advancements such as naval units, improvements in trade, new buildings, and improved colonial expansion. Military technology unlocks advancements such as land units, improved morale, combat tactics, and new buildings. Gameplay is influenced by random events that arise each year for the player. These events can be either helpful or harmful. Some of these random events are driven by an individual country's history, while some can apply to any country and serve generally to enhance the flavor of the game. Players can choose to play single player mode versus the AI, or multiplayer over a LAN or the Internet against a mix of human and AI opponents. Single player also has the option of "Ironman" mode, which locks several settings such as difficulty, and removes the control of saving the game from the player. This means that any mistakes are irreversible. It is, however, the only way to receive any of the game's many achievements.
Defense Grid: The Awakening is a tower defense video game developed by Hidden Path Entertainment for Windows and Xbox Live Arcade on the Xbox 360. The game was one of the titles promoted by Microsoft during their Game Developers Conference keynote speech on February 20, 2008. The game was released for Microsoft Windows on December 8, 2008 and for Xbox 360 on September 2, 2009. The OS X version shipped from Virtual Programming on July 7, 2010. Players must defend military bases from waves of attacking aliens by positioning a range of tower-based weaponry. New levels provided as downloadable content have been developed in the two years since the game's initial release. All reviewers praised the game, with many noting that the quality of the game was high for a budget title. From July 1 to July 16 of 2013, Microsoft made the game available free to Xbox 360 Gold members. This giveaway was part of Microsoft's "Games With Gold" Program.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert is a real-time strategy video game of the Command & Conquer franchise, produced by Westwood Studios and released by Virgin Interactive in 1996. The second game to bear the Command & Conquer title, Red Alert is the prequel to the original Command & Conquer of 1995, and takes place in the alternate early history of Command & Conquer when Allied Forces battle an aggressive Soviet Union for control over the European mainland. It was initially available for PC (MS-DOS and Windows 95 versions included in one package), and was subsequently ported to PlayStation. The PlayStation version was also re-released as a download on the PlayStation Network for PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3. On August 31, 2008, Electronic Arts who acquired Westwood Studios in 1998 rendered Command & Conquer: Red Alert freeware.
Medieval: Total War is a turn-based strategy and real-time tactics computer game developed by Creative Assembly and published by Activision. Set in the Middle Ages, it is the second game in the Total War series, following on from the 2000 title Shogun: Total War. Originally announced in August 2001, the game was released in North America on 19 August 2002 and in Europe on 30 August for Microsoft Windows. Following a similar form of play to Shogun: Total War, the player builds a dynastic empire in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, spanning the period of 1087 to 1453. Gameplay is both strategic and tactical, with strategy played out in turn-based fashion on a province-by-province level, while military units of varying types and capabilities fight against each other in real time on a 3D battlefield. Medieval: Total War received acclaim from reviewers; several critics commending it as a milestone in gaming. The real-time battles were praised for their realism and the new feature of siege battles but also received some criticism for unit management. The depth and complexity of the strategy portion was also received well by reviewers, together with well integrated historical accuracy. The game was a commercial success, topping the British video game chart upon release.
Anno 1404, known as Dawn of Discovery in North America, is a city-building and economic simulation game with real-time strategy elements, part of the Anno series. Released in 2009, it was developed by Related Designs, produced by Blue Byte, and published by Ubisoft. Anno 1404 is the sequel to Anno 1701 and is followed by the futuristic sequel Anno 2070. Though the game centers on a series of fictional events, the overall concept of the storyline is based upon real life aspects of medieval and renaissance history such as the Crusades, advancements in gothic architecture, construction of cathedrals, and hanseatic trade involving the rise of patrician merchants and early forms of capitalism. An expansion, titled Anno 1404: Venice, which adds multiplayer and other features, was released on February 26, 2010.
Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms is the expansion to the 2006 turn-based strategy PC game Medieval II: Total War. It was developed by Creative Assembly. The expansion was released on 28 August 2007 in North America and has four new campaigns: the first wave of European colonization of the Americas, the series of wars (including the Welsh Conquest, the Irish Invasion, the Scottish–Norwegian War, the Scottish Independence War and the Barons' Rebellion) fought on British Isles during the 13th century, the Third and Fourth Crusades, and the Northern Crusades.
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