This week, Homeworld Remastered will be released. It’s one of my favorite strategy games of all time, and I was thrilled to see it return. But that got me thinking: what other great strategy games would I like to see get a modern update? These are the eight games that came to mind immediately.
Have a favorite of your own? Tell us about it in the comments!
Star Wars: Empire at War
If you’ve been looking for a Star Wars strategy fix, then Empire at War is for you. You can control either the Empire or the Rebellion, then take them to war in the game’s Galactic Conquest mode. There are multiple ways to win, but all require you to fight your way through the galaxy, both in space and on the planets themselves. You’ll have to build out your fleets and group forces carefully, as reinforcements are limited. You can also use heroes on both sides, like Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The combination of space and land battles make Empire at War the best of the Star Wars RTS titles.
Age of Empires III
Age of Empires III is often overlooked because of the attention given to its older brother, Age of Empires II. It added the concept of Home Cities that send upgrades, units and more to the settlers in the New World. As you advance, you can earn cards that can be exchanged for these shipments. Tailoring your deck to economics, offense, or defense will determine how your civilization advances. While it changed the formula up from its predecessor, AoE3 is a solid game in its own right, and while it still looks fairly good for it age, I’d love to see it return.
World in Conflict
What if the Soviet Union had resorted to War in 1989 in a bid to stave off its collapse? That’s the scenario that World in Conflict explores, and does it quite well. Unlike many RTS titles, World in Conflict has no base building, and no resource gathering. Instead, you’ll spend a pool of resource points to have new units delivered to the front lines. Players choose a role to fill, and their purchases for that role are cheaper than for other players. It also supports up to 16 player multiplayer over both LAN and internet. As a cool side note, the collector’s edition also included a piece of the Berlin Wall.
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth II
The premier strategy game set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth IIis a step up from its predecessor in several ways. First off, it adds more factions and structure options. It also adds the new War of the Ring mode that combines RTS gameplay with turn-based elements that are reminiscent of the board Game Risk. Controlling Uruk-Hai or Elves and Dwarves is great fun, and the voice work of Hugo Weaving provides the icing on the cake.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War is Relic Entertainment’s take on Games Workshop’s iconic IP, and it is awesome. The thing that makes Dawn of War so interesting is that you can see the systems that underpin Company of Heroes take shape, like morale, cover, and squads. The interesting factions (Orks, Eldar, and Imperial Guard) and varied units make for a great game experience.
Command & Conquer: Generals
There have been so many Command & Conquer games that everyone’s favorite is different. Mine is Command & Conquer: Generals, the one-off modern-themed title that almost had a sequel recently. Taking the reins of either the USA, China or the GLA, you used your faction’s speciality to eliminate your opponents. The varied factions made the more diverse, especially because each faction’s units were unique, not just renamed versions of the same thing. China excelled in infantry, the US in tanks and tech, and the GLA in stealth. The Zero Hour expansion added even more specialization in the form of unique generals. All in all, it’s the best of the C&C games, and it’s a shame the planned sequel fell through.
And now we’re getting serious. I’ve previously said how much I want a Warcraft III sequel, but if I can’t have it, I’ll take a remake. Warcraft III was the culmination of Blizzard’s hit RTS series, and it was the first time we saw hero units, and their special hero abilities. It was also our first chance to play as Night Elves and the Undead. Along with its Frozen Throne expansion, Warcraft III fleshed out the story of Azeroth, and led directly to Blizzard’s MMO juggernaut, World of Warcraft.
I still want a sequel, too.
The penultimate strategy game in my book is Bullfrog Productions’ Dungeon Keeper. You play as the titular “Dungeon Keeper,” constructing a dungeon designed to protect your treasure from invading heroes. Instead of doing the work yourself, you command a team of imps that do your digging for you. As your dungeon expands and you slap your imps around to speed up their efforts, heroes walk into your devious traps and meet their demise. The only thing you have to fear is the destruction of your Dungeon Heart, which causes you to lose the level. It’s a game that got most everything right, and effort to recreate it have fallen short. The disastrous Dungeon Keeper mobile game only served to remind people what they’re missing. It’s time to remaster this classic.