Top 10 Real-Time Strategy 1997-2007

Company of Heroes
Coming out of nowhere is Company of Heroes, a very strategic real-time strategy games that puts the strategy back in RTS. Giving the player a deeper feel for the action that they?re involved in, Relic delivers a masterpiece in pretty much all respects of the game including some stunning visuals, amazing sound, and a deep enough storyline to not only keep the player interested, but also keep them invested in their troops. Although there have been quite a few World War II RTS games released in the past few years, Company of Heroes really sets itself apart with its intensity involved in every mission whether you?re trying to rush the enemy or build a strong command center to work your operations out of. Add an engaging multiplayer component where strategy is the key and you have yourself one of the best games of the year. Unlike most RTS games, rushing isn?t always the best course of action, so long time RTS fans will have to hone their skills and think of a new strategic way to accomplish their goal of taking out their enemies.
Medieval 2: Total War
Following the success of the Rome: Total War, M2TW takes everything that was great about the first one and simply improves upon it in all respects. Having an immense campaign screen to conquer and wage war through from the perspective of a multitude of countries makes this game?s replay value just skyrocket. Rome was a fun time period, but many were waiting for the release of this game to battle through the Dark Ages to conquer different civilizations and infiltrate their societies through force, politics, or even through espionage. Visuals have been updated from Rome, along with the environments seeming more lifelike with more foliage and buildings throughout the entire field of battle and strategy has never been more important with attacking and waging immense wars against castles, but there?s always using the ability to lay siege to a castle, but who wants to wait right? That?s why they call it Total War. The depth of gameplay is only extended from what Rome was, so you?ll be able to spend quite a bit of time between turns just trying to set up your government just the way you want. It seems like the developers have given all the choices to make, so if anything is wrong with your culture, it?d be your fault.
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
Having to follow up one of the most played real-time strategy games of its time, not to mention Blizzard?s major success of Starcraft and its expansion, Reign of Chaos had a lot to prove and it does it from the beginning intro movie. Having some great experience in the genre already, Blizzard certainly doesn?t let their fans down with a great storyline that flows from level to level and some decent graphics to portray the world that Blizzard created years ago. Lowering the population limit, making the gameplay including multiplayer faster, and a host of other changes, created a whole new niche for fans of the genre with this new installment. One can only imagine where Blizzard might take the franchise after the whole World of Warcraft fiascal has taken its turn.
Command and Conquer: Red Alert
Along standing series of games that players have enjoyed for years and Red Alert has to be one of the best strategy games out there. With an engaging storyline giving you the chance of the Allies or the Soviets; both sides are fun and are two different styles of gameplay for you to mess around with, either in the campaign, or in multiplayer matches. Level design is top notch in this game and it?s seen in each new level that you play through; players will enjoy the different cutscenes in between levels that tie everything together nicely. If you want to see what started it all, check this out. It may not be the first strategy game ever created, but it was definitely one of the best.
Rise of Nations
The first game from a new developer, Rise of Nations turned the strategy genre in a new direction. A massive title which includes 18 different civilizations to play around with in some large scale battles. In a genre where the numbers of actual civilizations are dwindling, Big Huge Games busted out with an amount to match power strategy previous to its time; titles like Age of Empires II or Empire Earth. Taking cues from different games in its genre, and creating unique and new playing styles, Rise of Nations, with some decent graphics, and sound, is a game some strategy games might not be used to, because of some of the turn-based strategy elements. But after taking some time and figuring out the structure of the game, fans will enjoy the depth that?s provided by this great developer team.
Age of Empires II
One of the most popular multiplayer games to either play in a group or online with others. But you can?t look past their single player component that always accompanies each Age of Empires game. Although it may not be the most engaging storyline, it does its job. With the different civilizations included within the game and the different playing styles of each civilization, this game screams replay value. Whether you?re a warrior Celt or a Byzantine horseman, each time you enter multiplayer, you?ll have a new strategy to come up with depending on who you?re playing against. With the polish that?s in the overall game, it?s an easily recommendable game that gives any player quite a few of hours of entertainment whenever they start the game up.
Black and White
Another game from creative developer Peter Molyneux, Black and White comes into play as a game that tries to change the real-time strategy genre on its heel. Giving a different style of control for the player where you?re not only creating units, but also a whole civilization and world around it. Everything takes a more simplistic style in Black and White as you build your culture from scratch as you try to make your culture love you as their God, but it?s not a direct control that you have over your people. You can?t make them do anything, they have to want to do it and that?s your job to keep them happy to complete their tasks. But that?s not all, you have a creature of your own that you get from infanthood to parent and this is where the game truly shines. The creature that you take care of is something that will have you watching your screen for hours just to see how your creature will react to different situations in the game. Simply one of the best creations in a video game to date.
Homeworld 2
A sci-fi strategy game that followed an impressive prequel which took the world of strategy gaming to outerspace. With massive epic space battles to play across your screen throughout a lengthy campaign that has a great story, and some impressive graphics, Homeworld 2 is a definitely a sequel that lived up to the greatness of the previous installment. You?ll constantly be impressed by the level of detail throughout the entire game whether it?s single player or multiplayer and along with you, there is a great musical score to keep your ears occupied. Taking a genre where most won?t venture, space, Homeworld 2 does it gracefully and the time and creativeness of the developers shows everywhere.
Commandos II: Men of Courage
Did you ever want to control an elite half dozen men on missions throughout the world from locations in the Antarctica to a secret German base. All of the different levels are artistically done in a way that all of the different abilities of your men will be needed and tested as you progress through the game?s lengthy campaign. Backgrounds and locales look superb and the replay value is more impressive with how many ways you can take out your enemies. Whether you?re sneaking up on them, using their uniforms to sneak behind enemy lines, or drugging them out of commission, you?ll be saving and reloading as you strategize each kill you make.
World in Conflict
A massive title trying to make its name in a genre already studded with long standing franchises, World in Conflict shouts out its name with authority. Creating an engaging experience through an impressive, matched with some great voice-acting, but not to be done is the graphics component of this game, where the huge battles are sprawled out across large detailed landscapes. Creating a realistic battleground with destructible environments in a world where the Berlin Wall never fell and Russia is massing a large scale against Western Europe, World in Conflict will have you playing mission after mission from beginning to end throughout the campaign?s lengthy 14 single player missions. And when you?re finished with that, you still have the superb multiplayer part of the game to keep you occupied for weeks to come. The multiplayer side of the game is fast paced, and well balanced where you?ll be spending hours online perfectly your own strategy on how to take your opponent.