You there! Do you like War? Do you like Dawn? More to the point, do you like being given free things? Excellent! Because we're giving away five thousand Steam keys for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Master Collection. The bundle contains Relic's classic RTS—currently celebrating its 10th anniversary—as well as all of the game's expansions. To win these things, you have until Monday to enter our raffle—which you can do by adding your email address to the widget inside.
I see a four-man squad sprint through a destroyed city street, cars overturned and craters in the road. I’m sure that any minute they’ll rush to the door of a crumbling building, kick it in, and take down the terrorists inside with surgical precision. Instead, they run blindly through the hole in a nearby wall, begin wildly firing at a horde zombies, and throw my expectations back out on the street.
Tindalos Interactive's Etherium is a throwback to the classic era of real-time strategy games such as Command & Conquer. The game will feature three playable empires, fighting each other to control the game's precious resource, also called etherium. As to be expected, each empire will have its individual characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, technologies, and special skills, such as climate control, espionage and precognition. Sounds like a classic RTS, and now you can see if the game lives up to the hype: We're giving away keys to Etherium's beta.
I was a big fan of Homeworld back in the day, so I was really excited to talk about Ancient Space when I first heard about it last month. Then Phil beat me to it. But today Paradox Interactive announced the launch date (which is surprisingly close) and revealed a new gameplay trailer, and this time it's my turn.
The Kickstarter for Planetary Annihilation, the real-time strategy game about annihilating planets, may not have received quite the same level of attention as the Double-Fine Adventure or Project Eternity, but it was nonetheless a huge success, drawing more than $2.2 million on a goal of $900,000. And now, just shy of two years after the campaign wrapped up, we have a launch date and a very cool new trailer.
At Gamescom, during the Paradox press conference, the studio announced new expansions for Crusader Kings 2 and Europa Universalis 4. Maybe they forgot to mention that they were also working with Creative Forge Games on a new single-player RTS; one that features actors drawn from a selection of beloved sci-fi shows. And Star Trek: Enterprise.
What comes after War? Aggression? That doesn't sound quite right, war being a rather aggressive act in the first place, but here we are. Eugen Systems—stalwart carriers of the wargaming flame—are hoping to "bring about a return to the '90s Golden Era of real time strategy games" with their new game Act of Aggression, and its first trailer contains all the tiny units, explosions and jagged steel fonts you could possibly want. Also a very strange choice of accompanying song.
The challenge with OTTTD (or Over The Top Tower Defence) is trying to figure out what it isn’t. Originally released for iPhone and Android but now available on PC in a ‘ridiculously definitive’ edition, the game is apparently tower defence, RTS and RPG all rolled into one. The PC edition naturally boasts better graphics and sound, so the game’s celebration of wanton destruction will look better than ever before.
Ah, so this is what Ubisoft meant when they said they were reinventing The Settlers series with Kingdoms of Anteria. They meant "it's kind of an action RPG now", but also "it's still a city building strategy game", and "not to get picky, but we prefer the term 'Action RTS'". While I try to unpack what 'Action RTS' means, here are some unSettling facts: Anteria will feature "persistent city building", four-player co-op, loot and bosses, and those are certainly words you don't see together very often.
The Bitmap Brothers' robo-RTS sequel Z: Steel Soldiers is set to relaunch on Steam tonight, 13 years after its original release. TickTock Games are handling the port, while KISS and Kavcom are publishing. We can expect "significantly enhanced 3D graphics", apparently, along with reworked controls—compared with images of the original game, it does look a whole lot less flatter and smudgier. As a result, the game's system requirements have also shot up a fair few notches—but there's a good chance you'll be able to run it anyway.
I'm still not entirely clear on what an "economic RTS" is, but I like the concept of a game that encourages and rewards predatory economic policy on a large scale, especially one being made by the lead designer and AI programmer of Civilization IV. That fellow, Soren Johnson, announced that a prototype his new game, Offworld Trading Company, is now available to play, although there are a couple of catches.
If you've been holding off on picking up StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (or, for that matter, Wings of Liberty) out of poverty, cheapness or a plain old lack of interest, today may be a good day to reconsider your position.
Early Access as we understand it is still in its infancy, and developers are still experimenting with the format. Rarely a week goes by when the whole establishment isn't questioned to some degree, whether it's the amount we should be expected to pay for unfinished games, why the whole process is so darned confusing, or whether studios are obliged to complete their games at all. The latest controversy surrounds Kickstarter-funded RTS Planetary Annihilation, which has popped up at UK retail outlets in its Early Access state. The debate started on Reddit, which prompted Uber director Jan Mavor to comment on the move.
Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies is out, and, as explained in our review, provides welcome rejuvenation to Relic's strategy sequel. In this new trailer, the game's executive producer Greg Wilson explains the standalone expansion's* new War Spoils feature. Also he jumps out of a plane.
Tower defense games flip typical game design around: you design the levels, and the computer tries to survive your death maze. Space Run is kind of a tower defense game, but it flips the concept back around again: you design a spaceship and try to survive a cargo run through waves of asteroids and enemy ships. It’s fun, but the re-reversal isn’t wholly successful, requiring more memorization and micromanagement than clever design and experimentation.
Company of Heroes 2 has spent the last year being tweaked, balanced, and building an online community, and the latest DLC, the Western Front Armies, is a great step at advancing that success. The main game didn’t do so hot with scripting and acting out a campaign storyline, so this DLC ditches that: there’s no new single-player included. Instead, the focus is entirely on adding new blood to the multiplayer servers with the arrival of the German Oberkommando West and the US Army.
I'm just trying to pivot the camera around when I accidentally hit E. Suddenly, I'm looking over the shoulder of a squad leader with the US Marine Corps. His rifle is following my cursor and WASD moves him around. Men of War: Assault Squad 2 is an RTS—so what the hell is going on?
No matter: I spend the next gleeful minute headshotting advancing Japanese soldiers in this surprise third-person shooter mini-game. Later, I learn that this mode is called "Direct Control," and I can trigger it with any unit at any time. "Accidentally discovering something awesome" will soon become a four-word summary of my time with Assault Squad 2. It’s a deep, complex real-time strategy game set in various theaters of World War 2, with five distinct armies with their own multistage campaigns, hundreds of unique vehicles, dozens of personal weapons, melee combat, seasonal camouflage, fully destructible environments, and realistically modeled armor penetration.
It's been more than ten years since Big Huge Games released the history-spanning RTS Rise of Nations, and yet it still boasts a small but powerfully dedicated fan base. Last year, in a look back at the original game, we hoped that "perhaps one day Rise of Nations could be rescued." And now, after a fashion, it has: Microsoft has apparently acquired the rights to the game and is getting ready to unleash Rise of Nations: Extended Edition on Steam.
Twice a month Wes guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each Pixel Boost guide comes with a free side of high-res screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: eternal classic Red Alert 2.
Red Alert 2 is not the most balanced Command & Conquer. It's not the most stable—multiplayer matches ended in crashes more often than not. It's not the most serious (that's probably Generals) and it's not the goofiest (that's probably Red Alert 3). But it's my favorite, because it includes a little bit of what made every C&C game special. Westwood upped the production value if its FMV cutscenes without sacrificing the camp and built a huge range of creative units without straying from C&C's messy large-scale battles. Until the Minecraft era, Westwood was also one of the only developers to make smart use of voxels, and Red Alert 2's colorful world and soldiers still look cool 14 years later. RA2 isn't the easiest game to find these days, but if you have a copy, it's still possible to run the game at high-res in modern Windows.
Homeworld is one of my favorite games ever, so I’m interested in pretty much any real-time strategy game with screenshots of capital ships carving each other up with lasers in outer space. The trailer for Flagship has all the lasers, engine trails, and spacey skyboxes I’m looking for, but it also has a fantastic twist near the end that makes it different from any RTS you’ve played to date.