[Top 15] Best RTS Games To Play Right Now

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Sometimes, you just get an itch to command vast armies of troops across bloody battlefields, y’know? And there are no better games to satisfy that very itch than RTS games! But many gamers around the world sadly face a problem with RTS games. 

There are so many good titles that cater to every possible iteration of strategy that it’s just too hard to find the right one for you! So if you’re like one of many gamers who simply can’t decide what strategy game is for them, stick around and take a look at our selection of the 15 best RTS games you can play right now!

15. Total War: Rome 2 & Total War: Attila

Total War: Rome 2 - Launch Trailer

Bringining the light of civilization and our peaceful culture to the barbarian masses through force!

“Hey, wait a minute!” I hear you ask, “These are two separate games, why are they shown together?” Calm down there, I’m getting to it. 

You see, Attila suffers from being something I like to call a “standalone expansion”. 

What does that mean? Well, Attila for the most part has virtually all the mechanics that Rome 2 had, except it refined and rebalanced them, as well as adding a few new ones to the mix. So what’s the problem then, shouldn’t that mean that Attila is a straight improvement over Rome 2? 

Again, the answer to this is both yes and no.

Attila has a much prettier and well-made map, as well as more streamlined construction. Rome 2 on the other hand, has better faction distribution on the campaign map itself. Attila has much more balanced units, for the most part, as well as a better battle map layout for sieges. 

Rome 2, however, has more unit variety and more unique maps. Attila has meaningful campaign events that drastically change how the game is played. But yet again, Rome 2 has more, and better, campaigns. 

See the problem?

The strengths of one game are, by and large, the weaknesses of the other, but that doesn’t mean that either game is bad. Quite the opposite in fact.

Both games still feature several campaigns to mess around in, as well engaging battles that will let you flex your tactical prowess against a moderately competent ai. Of course, both games also have a strong modding community, so if a vanilla game isn’t quite your forte, total overhauls like Divide et Impera for Rome 2 and Medieval Kingdoms 1212 AD for Attila are sure to spice up any game.

A particularly fun and challenging campaign for the vanilla games would be to start as Rome in Rome 2, conquer the empire, and then switching over to Attila to defend it all and maintain the Pax Romana. That being said, while there is certainly fun to be had in these two games, however similar they may be, you might get more bang for your buck with some of the later entries.

14. They are Billions 

They Are Billions - Official Trailer

Surviving the post-apocalypse with guns, guns, and for good measure, some more guns.

This game right here is what you get when you mix an RTS and a tower defense game, and the result is fantastic.

The game’s premise is fairly simple, gather resources, build defenses, and don’t die. Easy right? Wrong. 

They are Billions strikes a great balance between being just hard enough to always keep you on your toes, while also being fair and giving you all of the tools and time required to succeed.

With an engaging art style, reminiscent of Borderlands of all things, the game is more than prepared to throw thousands of undead hungry of your little villager’s brains at you. And the only thing that can prevent your diligent workforce from joining their legions is a well-planned defensive line. 

From regular infantry to mechs and flame throwers, from traps and walls to towers and turrets, and so much more, the only thing this game lacks to make a WW1 officer blush is a proper trench line. Be careful though when building a post-apocalyptic society, however, because the economy of your colony needs to be able to support your expansion.

Speaking of expansion, that’s another thing you’re going to be doing. A solid defense is one thing, but those higher-tier techs aren’t going to get the resources they need themselves. Throughout the map, resource patches you need to produce everything are fairly isolated, and you are going to need to secure them before the horde arrives to tear everything all down.

The story of the game, lets you uncover what exactly lead to the zombie infection, as well as set the foundations of the human reconquest of the world. Of course, if following a narrative is too mundane for you, an unending horde mode exists that will test your fortifications to their absolute limits. 

This is, overall, a solid game though be warned that there is a reason why people say this is a difficult game since a single forgotten zombie can easily lead to the total annihilation  of your base.

13. Dawn of War 2

[HD] Dawn of War 2 - Cinematic Trailer/Intro

They are the Emperor's finest. His avenging angels. Will you be the same?

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war… or so the saying of Warhammer 40k goes, but how does this game compare to it?

If you’re feeling a deep urge to purge the enemies of man, be they xenos, heretics, or otherwise, then yes, this game very much satisfies the famous saying of the setting. The combat is fast and gritty, where the outcome of an engagement can be determined by one well-placed unit or precisely used ability. 

The campaign itself lets you create your very own space marine character and you follow said character on a journey to delay the destruction of your home by the hands of alien threats. Over the course of the campaign, new gear and allies will be acquired, gradually increasing the depth the game has to offer, allowing you to change your loadout to suit your enemies.

In the actual missions, you will be tasked with completing various objectives that will aid you in containing the xenos threat, as well as strengthen your position in the greater scheme of things. Sometimes, picking a mission on one world may have dire consequences for another world, or perhaps it will lead to certain timed missions passing before they could be completed.

In general, the campaign lets you experience a desperate defense against overwhelming odds, while simultaneously being able to push back against your enemies before being overrun. But the campaign isn’t all the game has to offer. 

Dawn of War 2 has a solid multiplayer PvP community where you can experience the best of the tactical combat Relic is famous for. If bashing your enemies instead of your friends is more your forte, the game also offers a co-op experience, both for the campaigns, as well as an arena where you can fend off waves of enemies from each faction coming from every direction.

The game offers some of the best tactical gameplay present on the entire list, as well as being the first game on this list produced by Relic Entertainment.

12. Homeworld Remastered

Homeworld Remastered Collection - Reveal Trailer

The OG Homecoming game, in space!

Ah, Homeworld, one of the best space-combat games ever made, and with a new, remastered, coat of paint on top, it is even more beautiful than it ever was.

The game is essentially a story of a people uniting to find their promised land, and encountering many perils across their journey. Thankfully, with a mothership capable of producing all sorts of neat and interesting ships, you’ll be able to outmaneuver, out-produce, and ultimately, win the many deadly engagements the games throw at you. 

And yes, I do mean games. Both Homeworld 1 and Homeworld 2 are bundled together in this remaster, though, fair warning, they do play slightly differently. One special highlight I would like to bring attention to is the fact the audio-visual presentation is absolutely incredible. 

Your units sound not only professional, that is to say, exactly how you’d expect a proper starfighter to sound, but also memorable. 

The ships themselves range from collectors to fighters to massive carriers that dwarf all but your mothership, and each has a unique design and aesthetic to it. Of course, this visual fidelity is not only limited to your faction but all the others as well. While the ship classifications are largely the same, the design and aesthetic each faction bring to the table is nothing to sniff at.

The battles themselves, both singleplayer and multiplayer are quite unique to this game, considering it features a completely 3D battlefield. Generals in the past were often applauded for outmaneuvering an army to their enemies' flanks, but here, just like space in general, no direction is entirely safe. I mean, doesn’t it sound awesome to launch an attack from the “front” where your enemy is expecting you, only to surprise them with a few fighter squadrons from behind and above them? 

I don’t doubt that few would expect that. This game certainly has much to offer those who are willing to learn the complexities of 3D warfare, and is definitely worth a try, if only for the story.

11. Halo Wars 2

Halo Wars 2 Official E3 Trailer

Fighting the Covenant was a breeze with Master Chief, but will that hold true without him?

Not many RTS games are developed for consoles, and the reasons for that are many, be it poor controls or a downright niche of a niche, but when a game like Halo Wars 2 succeeds, it does so with a bang.

The story picks up from where it left off in the previous one, except this time the scales are bigger, the stakes are larger, and an ancient enemy lurks just beneath the surface, waiting to strike. 

All of the classic Halo enemies from the Covenant are reforged and given a new aesthetic as the Banished, though that doesn’t mean that our human protagonists don’t have anything new up their sleeve either.

Instead of Master Chief or any other mainline spartan, Halo Wars 2 introduces a “new” batch of spartans, led by spartan Jerome, to fill that heavy shock trooper role that they were so famous for. 

In general, controls and mechanics are improved across the board from the original, and adding in the breathtaking cinematics Halo is renowned for, the game is an easy recommendation on story and gameplay alone. But that’s not all the game has to offer.

On the multiplayer side of things, you have your standard fare for RTS games, as you would expect, albeit it is adapted for a comfortable console experience. There are also new game modes that utilize a system similar to that of Halo 5, however, due to the random nature of those modes, as well as their potentially unbalanced matchups, they aren’t as popular as what the game normally offers.

Now, I know that I’ve said that this is a console RTS game, and in fairness, it is, however, Microsoft and 343 Industries have also made the game available on Windows 10. So if you ever wanted to continue the story of the Spirit of Fire and its crew, you won’t need to get a console to do it.

For the most part, Halo Wars 2 is a de facto improvement of Halo Wars 1, the only downside being that its story is left hanging. On the flip side, that does leave room for another, even better, sequel.

10. Dawn of War 1

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn Of War - Intro Cinematic Trailer

As the marines often say: Cleanse! Purge! Kill!

Dawn of War is the first game Relic released that could be considered a standard RTS. Of course, they had previously also released Homeworld, but the differences between that game and this instant classic are so great, that I was personally quite surprised when I found out that the same company made them.

There are several campaigns for Dawn of War, ranging from a standard mission set-up in the base game and Winter Assault, to a more Total War-esque style campaign in Dark Crusade and Soulstorm. The campaigns themselves also offer a variety of styles, from a deep, character-driven story of the base game to the bombastic, epic, and at times hilarious story of Winter Assault, to yet again, an ever-evolving narrative in the final two expansions.

You might’ve noticed that I’m referencing the expansions a fair bit, and for good reason. Each one adds new factions as well as almost completely rebalancing how the game is played. The factions themselves are all unique, and for better or worse, all of them have certain strengths and weaknesses. 

The Space Marines for example focus on heavy infantry with a focus on devastating firepower. The Orks offer a more horde-like playstyle and the T’au are for those who think glorious melee has no place in the modern battlefield.

And those are just 3 of the 9 available factions to choose from. And the best part of those factions is the sheer variety within each, let alone comparing every faction with every other one. Be it a dutiful guardsman, ready to give his life for the Emperor, or a warp-crazed space marine, the voice lines in this game are as memorable as they come.

On the multiplayer side of things, the servers for the game have unfortunately been shut-down, but for those willing to use third-party software, it is possible to play with friends and other people. 

Another very strong aspect of the game is the modding scene. You would think that in a game that’s almost 20 years old at this point, would have a declining player base, as well as one that’s unwilling to invest much time into creating brand new content for it. And if you think that, you’d be gravely mistaken.

Some of the biggest mods ever made for any game are mods for Dawn of War in fact, and I fear I’d be lynched if I didn’t at least mention them. From mods that simply add new factions or ones that improve the visuals, to titans of modding like the famous Ultimate Apocalypse or Unification mods. There is no shortage of user-created content for this game that is absolutely breathtaking.

As a result of all of this, Dawn of War remains not only a fond memory for many gamers but also a fantastic introduction to the Warhammer universe.

9. Stronghold Crusader 2

Stronghold Crusader 2 - Launch Trailer

Deus Vulting across the Holy Land.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that many people wanted to make castles when they were children. The best most of us got was a sandcastle at a beach, but those were far too temporary. But what if you could not only build your very own dream castle but also siege it?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, look no further than Stronghold Crusader 2 to fulfill that childhood wish.

The game allows for an in-depth castle-building experience, complete with creating your very own keep, walls, and towers. Of course, those defenses aren’t going to man themselves and for that purpose, you’ll need to maintain a strong economy to both produce everything you’ll need to defend yourself with, as well as keep your people happy.

Be it food, lumber, stone, or gold, everything will need to be carefully managed in order to set up a thriving city in the deserts of the Holy Land. However, a good offense they often say is the best defense. So building up an army worthy of any King, be it by recruiting the local mercenaries, or training lowly peasants into proper knights and paladins, the game provides a rewarding experience for those willing to indulge in the many mechanics offered to the player.

Speaking of experiences, the game lets you wear the shoes of the various powers that influenced, and fought over, the Holy Land. From Richard the Lionheart to Salahadin, you’ll be able to recreate some of the historic moments that shaped history as we know it.

In the campaigns, the ai tends to be extremely aggressive towards the player, which in this instance, I would argue is a good thing. I mean, what would you think is better, being able to slowly build up your forces, grinding the enemy down outside your castle walls before wiping them all out in one fell swoop. Or bravely holding on by the skin of your teeth, and just, when all hope seems lost, have an allied army suddenly appear an come to the rescue, relieving your beleaguered defenders just in the nick of time?

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather recreate one particularly famous scene than just the usual turtling behind some impregnable walls.

Overall, this is a very solid experience that you’ll certainly enjoy, however, if you’re looking for a good multiplayer experience, you’ll sadly have a bit of a hard time, as this game isn’t nearly as popular as its predecessor.

8. Hearts of Iron 4

Hearts of Iron IV - "Take Action" - Release Trailer

And they said it wouldn't be fun to be an armchair general!

This is the first, but not the last, map staring simulator developed by Paradox Interactive.

Now, despite the rather silly title I used for this game, this is actually a fairly solid experience, both in singleplayer, as well as multiplayer.

You take control of a single country present during WW2, which is when the game takes place, and it's up to you to decide the course that said country will take. Will it be a formally neutral country, looking at their neighbors duking it out around them, while secretly sending equipment and volunteers to one side? Or perhaps you’ll be more inclined to raise the red flag and spread the revolution to the oppressed workers of the world?

Maybe you look around the burning world and decide a democratic firefighter is needed to calm everyone down. Or you simply like painting the map with your countries name and color and decided to play as a member of the Axis. Whichever style of play suits you, the game lets you experience it to its fullest. 

As for the gameplay itself, you’ll need to carefully manage your economy, both civilian and military, in order to ensure the proper supplies reach your troops. After all, Hitler and Napoleon are perfect examples of what happens when you don’t have enough supplies and your supply lines are stretched far too thin. 

Of course, the simple fact that you can produce everything you need also means that your enemy can as well. One method of stopping your enemies' pesky resupply runs is to bomb them to oblivion with long-range bombers or sink their convoys carrying much-needed resources for the war effort. And should a war reach such a point, the nuclear option is always available…

Despite being a primarily single-player game, just like all Paradox titles this game too has a thriving multiplayer community. With sessions lasting for several hours, players are pitted against each other as the major forces of WW2. And in the various lobbies hosted, there are quite a few timelines where the Allies fail.

Of course, this is another game with a strong modding scene and near-constant updates from the developers. Allowing players to experience the glory of combat in many new and exciting ways, from expanding already existing features to creating entirely new ones. In fact, some total conversions for the game take place in entirely different universes, be it historical, ahistorical, or from another game or show franchise. 

And each one of them was created with loving care and great attention to detail.

In conclusion, if WW2 is your favorite part of history and you wish to have a glimpse of how the most destructive war in human history was fought, then this game is the perfect medium.

7. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Trailer 

For when you need to go to the one place not corrupted by capitalism!

And now for something completely silly. 

Don’t get me wrong, the Command & Conquer series, be it the mainline games, or the Red Alert and Generals spinoffs are all great examples of fantastic RTS games. However, seeing as Red Alert 3 was the last truly great title, I believe it deserves to be mentioned.

Red Alert 3 is, like all other C&C games, an asymmetrical strategy game. By that, I mean that every faction has a unique playstyle that greatly differs from the others. 

You have the Allies, which focus on precise strikes, as well as having the right tool for every job. Then there’s the Soviets who, just like their real-life counterpart, are essentially a hammer. And you know what they say, when your only tool is a hammer, all of your problems suddenly start looking like nails. 

And finally, there is the Empire of the Rising Sun, which relies on multipurpose units that can transform to fit any role that is required of them.

There’s a campaign for each of the factions. Although all of them technically take place at the same time, depending on who you pick to play, the outcome of each battle will drastically change. 

Of course, a solid campaign isn’t the only reason this game is beloved. Its soundtrack and voice lines are incredibly good, so much so that many old-school gamers who played the game on launch will easily pick up what sound comes from which unit or song. 

When it comes to visuals, this is one of the better-looking games, despite its relative age. It has a very bright color palette that matches well with the tone of the game, yet also manages to not be overly eye-searing.

However, for anyone wishing to play this game with friends, sadly, the only method available is via third-party software, as the game’s servers have been shut down ages ago.

6. Company of Heroes 2

Company of Heroes 2 Official Trailer

The horrors of the Second Great War with terrifyingly gritty realism.

There is a good reason why Company of Heroes 2 remains the most played Relic game to date.

The game itself is the pinnacle of the blend of tactical and strategic gameplay that Relic is known for. Having the squad tactics and smooth controlls of Dawn of War 2, with the basebuilding of Dawn of war 1 and the original Company of Heroes, this game is the perfect example of having a good idea and fully developing it.

Rushing with dozens of infantry squads or demolishing your opponents with tank battalions, regardless of how you play, Company of Heroes 2 is bound to be a blast, sometimes literally too!

Having a total of 5 factions, though 2 of them are under the same umbrella so to say, you can have an in-depth experience of the brutal and chaotic combat of WW2 as all of the major nations involved. 

With German panzers, Soviet infantry, British artillery, and American fire support, each faction offers a different playstyle. While simultaneously being familiar enough with each other to allow you to switch between them whenever you please.

Story-wise, the main game is set up as a recollection of memories and in those memories, you’ll be able to see how Heroes of the Soviet Union were both made, as well as unmade, in the dangerous game of politics that went on behind the lines. There are also Western front-themed expansions that, instead of putting you in the shoes of the invading forces of D-Day, as so many WW2 games tend to do, instead have you battle it out with the Germans on the very border of Germany, during the famous Battle of the Bulge.

If engaging stories and scripted set pieced sound a bit dull to you, then fear not, because the multiplayer scene of the game is completely free of such hassles. Playing 1v1 or in a team, the hectic nature of the game’s fast pace combat absolutely shines. 

Quick rushes, grinding charges, and desperate flanks all come together beautifully to give you a gaming experience few other titles can match. And with a healthy population that shows no signs of dying out, there are plenty of matches available for anyone to try.

There is, however, something I feel compelled to note, and that is the microtransactions of the game. While it is entirely possible to obtain everything normally, the fact of the matter is, for those who can, buying better load-outs for units or abilities is an option, that unfortunately can lead to some games feeling very unbalanced.

Now don’t get me wrong, the game is in no way, shape, or form pay to win and you can certainly have fun with the default load-outs, as well as all of the ones that you can unlock on your own. However, it is undeniable that these systems exist and should be at least mentioned.

Overall, this is an easy recommendation if you like WW2, and would like a more detailed look into the equipment used in the period.

5. Europa Universalis 4

Europa Universalis IV - 8th Anniversary Trailer

Painting maps and blobbing everywhere like a true empire of yore.

Out of any game on this list, Europa Universalis 4 is the epitome of painting a map your color.

Being able to take control of any nation from 1444. to 1821. and steering them through history, be it how history actually happened or through an ahistorical take on the world, conquest, and strategy have never been as fun. Do you want to restore the glory of the old empire and rekindle the light of Rome as the last remnants of Byzantium? Well, go for it, it’ll be a tough fight, but the Basileus could well be Caesar again in the right hands. 

If not, perhaps a new, Third Rome in the form of Russia sounds more appealing? Or maybe the trade empires of the Dutch and Portuguese perhaps? The colonial empires of Spain, France, or England maybe? 

Or even uniting India from the myriad of Rajas and Sultans could be a possibility, just like taking the Mandate of Heaven and becoming the new Emperor of China.

Any and every playstyle is accommodated, be it a diplomacy heavy one, or a militaristic and conquest-driven one, Europa Universalis allows everything. There is a reason after all why many who play this game consider a thousand hours to be “rookie” numbers. Considering that the game is so layered in features and mechanics it is surprisingly likely for you to discover something new every campaign.

The game itself has been maintained and updated for almost a decade now, with new patches and DLCs released every so often. Of course, this has hardly been able to quench the player base's thirst for content and many modders have set out to help with just that. From total conversions to mods that improve the UI or ones that simply add a better alert displays, the mods Europa Universalis 4 has will spice up any new campaigns.

Just like previously with Hearts of Iron 4, while this is primarily a single-player game, the option for multiplayer is available. The player base may be smaller than the former, and the game itself is suited more towards casual games with a friend or two, but should you wish for a more serious game, it is fairly easy to find lobbies you can join. And the best part about them is that you don’t need to own every DLC yourself, provided the host does at least.

For the most part, this is a game you can just lose yourself in and sink dozens of hours into without breaking a sweat, so, as far as I’m concerned, this is a clear recommendation from me. Though, I must admit, if you’re looking to purchase this incredible game, wait for a sale since there are quite a number of required DLCs for this game that add much-needed features.

4. Stronghold Crusader HD

Stronghold Crusader HD - Trailer

Building castles. Meeting your neighbors. And proceeding to lay siege to them.

Remember what I said about Stronghold Crusader 2? Well now imagine all of that, but better.

Stronghold Crusader offers everything its more modern counterpart has, minus the 3-D graphics and some quality of life improvements, but done better. The units are more balanced, no more will you have the number of arrows needed to kill a single paladin make a porcupine blush! 

No more will constructible defensive siege works crumble to ash and dust with a mild breeze! The game has managed to nail balance in a much more fun way that you’ll be skipping across the bloody sands in joy when you see just how well made this game is.

The campaigns that the game offers are long, hard, and ultimately rewarding. Pitting you against ever more difficult foes in ever more difficult positions. Where you once had allies to help relieve the pressure in the earlier levels, in the later stages, you have only enemies. 

Essentially forcing you to slowly, but surely, utilize every single mechanic that the game has in order to win. 

Besides the well-crafted difficulty curve of the campaigns, the multiplayer scene is alive and well. Hundreds of games are hosted on third-party software every day and the skill levels of players are as varied as the players themselves. If your first game is a multiplayer one, chances are you’ll find someone just as new!

The famous castle-building that the Stronghold series is famous for is of course present. The pixelated graphics only add to the charm of the game rather than making it look aged. The economy too, is there, more refined than even its successor, allowing you to try different builds.

Do you think that your peasants are too good for food? Well, just drown them in alcohol and watch as the discontent of the starving masses vanishes! 

Do you think that training peasants and making the right equipment for them takes too long? Just throw money at the problem and grab mercenaries which, while expensive, are in many ways equal to their European counterparts, unlike in the sequel.

Finally, sieging in this game is simply *chef kiss* gorgeous. Being able to throw solid 90-kilogram projectiles over 300 meters with your line of trebuchets will make any history buff’s eyes gleam with wonder and excitement. Or, if you’re more inclined to take your enemies' walls than to break them, laddermen and siege towers offer you the alternative, units which are, by the by, completely missing from the sequel.

If reading this you suddenly have a craving to reclaim the Holy Land, then this game is a perfect fit for that role.

3. Total War: Warhammer 2

Total War: WARHAMMER 2 – Announcement Cinematic Trailer

Through faith and steel, gunpowder and magic, wield the powers of the world in the grim battlefields of Warhammer Fantasy.

Magic and spears, cannons and monsters, if ever there was a match made in Heaven, then the Total War: Warhammer series is the one. And what better way to await the release of the final game in the trilogy than to immerse yourself and learn the game in the 2nd game.

Total War Warhammer 2 offers everything that the previous entry into the series did, except of course, bigger, better, and more awesome.

More factions to play around with, as well as more diversity within the faction itself? Sign me up! 

More kinds of magic, as well as improved and refined versions of the existing ones? Great! 

Combining the maps of both games into a single colossal mega-campaign?! Awesome!

Add the grimdark lore of Warhammer Fantasy and what you have is a game that combines the best aspects of what makes a Total War game fun and engaging, and turning everything up to 11. 

The battles in-game differ wildly based on what faction you play as. From fleet-footed Wood Elf archers to the artillery superiority of the Empire of Man. 

From the stalwart defenders of the Dwarven Karaks to the bestial ferocity of the Lizardmen. From the sneaky and cunning Skaven, a community favorite, to the legions of undead from the Vampire Counts. It’s virtually impossible to find a faction that does not suit your playstyle. 

Managing a growing empire has never been as exciting, with various events, both big and small that influence the campaign, as well as faction-specific mechanics that leave every playthrough feeling fresh and unique.

There is of course a multiplayer community, and the battles that you can have against fellow human players when compared to the ai, are simply mind-bogglingly epic. And what is that question I hear? “Is it possible to make those battles even more epic?”

Of course! The game has an amazing modding community that releases anything from little fixes to textures to massive siege maps that will leave you as breathless your army as it slowly grinds its way through them.

What’s more, when the final game finally does release, owners of all three games will be greeted with a truly colossal map to play in. The scale of which will easily dwarf any other Total War game to date.

2. Starcraft 2

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty - Teaser Trailer

Sometimes, patroling the Koprulu Sector just makes you wish for a Yamato Cannon.

Ah yes, Starcraft 2. What list of best RTS games would ever be complete without this titan of the genre.

The game, which was released over 10 years ago by now, is as much a staple as any other title. Featuring 3 full campaigns, as well as one mini-campaign, the game lets you experience the conclusion to the epic story that originally started in Starcraft 1. 

Be it as a small band of rebels slowly growing in strength. Leading a vast hungering swarm on a path to vengeance and retribution. Or rallying the last remnants of an ancient race to reclaim their home and lives. 

The game has no shortage of epic moments to play through, and interesting characters to interact with.

On the multiplayer side of things, how could I ever not mention the absolutely titanic e-sport scene that Starcraft was a part of? With thousands of gamers fighting their way to the prestigious top of the leaderboards. Of course, PvP is all well and good, but sometimes, joining forces with another player and stomping the ai can be just as fun. 

In recent years, the co-op scene has actually overtaken the PvP scene in terms of popularity, and for good reason. Allowing you to choose from a variety of commanders, level them up, and then prestige them for new ways to play your favorite faction, co-op offers a great deal of fun for those willing to play together.

And all of that without even mentioning the casual and community side of things. With literally hundreds of different modes and maps, there is almost endless variety in how you can play Starcraft 2. After all, remember how DOTA 2 first started off as just another map with a mod on Warcraft 3, another game of Blizzard?

And you know what the absolute best part of Starcraft 2 is? It’s free! Since 2017. the game has become free to play and allows you to experience the vast majority of content at your leisure, whenever and wherever you want. 

The only thing that you’ll need to buy to play are the 2 extra campaigns, as well as the mini-campaign since only the first one comes packaged with the game. As well as most of the co-op commanders, because while you can play all of them, you can only truly level the first 3.

1. Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition

Age of Empires II DE - E3 2019 - Gameplay Trailer

If ever there was a match made in Heaven, then history and RTS games are it.

Truly one of the crowning jewels of the RTS genre is Age of Empires 2.

Ever since the original game was released in 1999., the Age Of series of games have conquered the hearts of many a gamer, and now with the Definitive Edition, you too can join in on the fun!

The game has experienced a revival in recent years and boasts a consistent player base of over 10 000 concurrent players. What is it that makes players so invested in this game you might ask? Well, the answer to that question is… what doesn’t?

From resource gathering to building construction. From researching technologies to raising massive armies. From trading and developing to besieging and conquest. This game has everything.

Do you want to turtle in your base, wearing your opponents down? There’s a faction for it. 

Do you think that the only way to beat your enemy is to storm them fast and hard? The game has you covered. 

Do you believe that the best way to overcome all obstacles is with the power of jolly cooperation? You guessed it, the game allows it.

The game's factions in-game are called civilizations and there are a total of 39 to choose from. Now, while most factions have access to a similar tech tree and unit roster, all of them have either one or more unique units, buildings, or technologies. Not only that in fact, but they also have unique faction bonuses that further specialize each of these civs into true powerhouses.

There are infantry civs, cavalry civs, archer civs, and so on and so forth, and you can, if you’re really feeling like a troll, use the Spanish civs combat bonus to workers to overwhelm your opponent with the power of the working class!

All this results in a game with a skill ceiling as high as the sky and allows for players to develop their abilities and build orders to truly ridiculous levels. A common question in the PVP leaderboards of the game that can decide the fate of matches is who can kill his first 6 sheep first. Step aside Zergrushers, here come the Sheeprushers.

Beyond the insanely competitive PVP community, there are also plenty of single-player campaigns, 27 to be exact, that let players ease themselves into the mechanics of the game, while also learning history. Because at its core, this is still a historical RTS game. You can follow the bloody path of the conquest of the Mongols, retake rightful French clay in the Hundred Years’ War and so, so many others.

And even more impressively, the game also has a large and very active community. From modders to map makers to even people who just give suggestions on what needs changing, there are hundreds of discussions surrounding this game. 

And the best part? The game is still being supported. Regular updates to the game, as well as new expansions every now and again keep the heart of the game pumping, and the fans are excited for any changes that may come next, be they something as small as balance changes, or even adding entirely new factions to play as.

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Be it heroic or gritty face-to-face battles or a general's war table, I've seen it all. No bullet was left uncounted in my wake, nor was any soldier left behind (well, mostly anyways).
Gamer Since: 2008
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Europa Universalis 4
Top 3 Favorite Games:Europa Universalis IV, Metro Redux, Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition