Real-time strategy games have always been best at home on the PC, but with the advancements in gaming consoles, many have appeared away from the mouse and keyboard. Few gaming genres require the intelligence and the attention to detail of RTS games and players must always be thinking of their next move, planning ahead to ensure they remain one step ahead of the enemy at all times. This year has seen the release of really great games in this genre; here are the top 10 best real-time strategy games in 2012.
10) Total War: Shogun
Although it was originally released in 2011, Total War: Shogun remains one of the best RTS games out there. This game shuns the usual tanks and airplanes in favour of samurai warriors and ninjas. Sun Tzu’s The Art of War seems as if it was written for this game! In fact it may even be the instruction manual!
9) Wargame: European Escalation
Set in Europe during the Cold War years of 1975-1985, Wargame: European Escalation is the latest RTS from Eugen Systems. Taking charge of the Warsaw Pact or NATO, this game is brilliantly detailed and gives players a huge arsenal of units reflecting their chosen side’s military doctrine. Maps of over 150 kilometres in size and over 100 million scenery objects will keep you well engrossed in this game.
8) King Arthur II
The original King Arthur game was a huge success and loved by critics as much as it was fans. The sequel to that game, King Arthur II, looks to offer much more of the same. Blending real-time strategy with a touch of RPG, this game could be one of the standout releases of 2012.
7) Warlock: Master of the Arcane
With the releases of Salem and War of the Roses coming to PC this year, Paradox Interactive is looking strong. Warlock: Master of the Arcane has fared well with fans since its release in May of this year and brings a huge fantasy world to the turn-player strategy game. This multiplayer world of conquest and magic has everything you could want from a RTS game.
Some people have suggested that turn-based RTS games are dead, Warlock: Master of the Arcane and this game, Xenonauts, are proving these people wrong. As the player you will take control of an organisation known as the Xenonauts with a mission to stop an alien invasion destroying earth. This game is an unofficial sequel to the popular UFO: Enemy Unknown from way back in 1994 and is every bit as playable as the legendary game.
5) Command and Conquer: Generals 2
Command and Conquer is one of the most successful RTS gaming series’ of all time. The original game is responsible for creating millions of fans of the RTS genre when it was released on PlayStation back in 1995, and has gone on to achieve huge success with every release. Command and Conquer: Generals 2 is the sequel to C&C: Generals and the eighth instalment of the game so far. Early signs for this game look good, although release has just been put back to 2013.
4) Carrier Command: Gaea Mission
Remade games have always been a bit hit and miss, so it was a little worrying to hear that the legendary 80s RTS game Carrier Commander was being brought up-to-date. Thankfully, Carrier Command: Gaea Mission remains true to the original and looks to be every bit as fun. Battles take place over land, sea, and air and once again we’re on the planet-moon Taurus.
3) Guild Wars 2
The original Guild Wars, released back in 2005, remains one of the greatest online RTS games ever made and this latest instalment looks certain to deliver more of the same. The level of intricate storyline and open-world focus make give the game the perfect blend of RTS and RPG, and the late August 2012 release is one of the most eagerly anticipated of the year.
2) Crusader Kings II
At number two on our list of the top 10 best real-time strategy games in 2012 is the sequel to the grand strategy game, Crusader Kings. Once again set in the high-to-late Middle Ages, Crusader Kings II puts players in charge of a Medieval Dynasty from the years 1066 to 1453. The definition of success in this game is complete defined by the player and with updates and expansions released by Paradox Interactive; there is no end to the enjoyment.
1) Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm
Starcraft II is one of the most eagerly awaited RTS games of 2012 and an expansion pack to the military sci-fi RTS game, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. With a campaign focussed solely on the Zerg species and 20 different missions, this game is one not to be missed by Starcraft fans, or fans of real-time strategy in general.