Where Have All The (Console) RTS Games Gone?

on September 9, 2009 10:00 AM

Whenever I ask people what was the best RTS game they have ever played they usually respond with Starcraft or the early Warcraft games. Indeed those games were great in their own right, but what helped them become so great was the fact that they were exclusive to the PC. Sure I have a PC, but it is slow as window molasses (and yes that stuff is real). My computer makes the games I used to love and enjoy into something that makes me want to bash my face in with a mallet. So since my PC is ruled out, I have to turn to my consoles. It truly saddens me to say there are no where near as many RTS games on the console then there are on the PC.

I find that hard to believe that there is a small amount of RTS games on consoles considering the market penetration. What prevents the game developers from creating them? Lack of a keyboard? Come on guys, there can’t be that many disadvantages to console controllers. I can’t dwell on that too much, because at least there are a few games out there for me to enjoy.

The Command and Conquer series is a great series to start your RTS journey on any console. The shear ecstasy of building your troops, the constant destruction of buildings and enemies, and the sounds of death all make me squeal with joy. What was great about these games was that in every addition (or expansion),with all of the different types of units you could create,  a fresh new storyline was all they really needed to ever change. As far as the run time system goes…perfection.

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As the game had many positives, of course there has to be some negatives, like the fact that the game play itself for me was not fast enough. At many times the game was slow and building units was even slower. I know they tried to make it kind of realistic but come on. But overall, to sum up this game comes down to two words: Tim Curry!

How about Goblin Commander? What an interesting game that was! It was for the XBOX and Gamecube, and one of my first RTS games I played on the console.  It was pretty simple: create goblins with medieval weapons, destroy rocks and huts and collect gold to build some more, and use that to wipe the floor with your opponents face.The best part about the game were the big weapons, kinda like summons if you will.  After you get lots of money you could create these big guys to come out and obliterate whatever stands in its way. Bad side about this game was that it was only made for the PlayStation 2, and it should have been upgraded to a better system when they had the chance, but no, they just stood there with their thumbs up each other’s butts and stayed in the last generation.  The graphics were tolerable, but again, it was only the PS2.

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So two games I talked about were good, but there has to be one bad game, and there is. When I asked that question to people of their favorite RTS console game, one person responded Universe at War for the XBOX 360. I almost had a stroke because that was very hard to take.  To think that that game was the best had to mean that they also thought George Bush was the best President that ever came out of the U.S.

The positives, if any, was above average at least. The game was unique, with the type of creatures you can create, and the races they have. I did however like the fact that you can play both sides of the game in story mode, good and bad race. Now the bad side, which to me, is very enjoyable to talk about. There were really no upgrades to the units. Once created, they were either there to kill or be killed. The voice acting was atrocious, which was expected. As you progressed during the game, the AI got extremely hard; they did not even give me a chance to feel like I could succeed. By that time I almost considered not playing games anymore, and that was scary to even think about.

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Halo Wars, as we all know, comes from the Halo franchise, one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world to date. In this game, you could create units just like the ones you see in the game, along with the use of familiar vehicles like warthogs and ghosts. What I liked about the game was that it was fast paced, especially when you played death match mode, when you start with all upgrades and plenty of supplies. I could win in 5 minutes, and isn’t that what everyone wants to do once in awhile? Other than that, the voice acting was great, the graphics went to its limit for the 360, and multiplayer was quite fun. I did enjoy the rock-paper-scissors type weaknesses for the game, like ground units can beat down fliers, vehicles could destroy ground units, and air units can blow up vehicles easier. What made me upset was the lack of units I could create. I believe if I am not mistaken, 14 units is all you could make in  the game, but not at one time. At one time, I could say 7. To me, for a game of this so called caliber, this was sad. The mulitiplayer maps were just as bad, usually all of having the same kind of terrain, and the lack of maps to boot. I hope they have updates for new maps soon, for I am getting tired of  the ones I have now. There also is some hacking going on with the multiplayer games, but I am not going to get into that because it gets me extremely angry.

Over time, developers had to think about the past RTS games, both good and bad. They can use previous games as a benchmark to create better games, like Halo Wars. No-no, don’t think I am assuming that Halo Wars is by far the best RTS game for the consoles, I am just saying they have the right idea to where they want to be. These titles are what I believe to be the best and worst RTS games on the consoles. If anyone out there agrees or disagrees with me, feel free to let me know, because I’m all one and a half ears.

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