Best Squad Based RTS Games
I’ve been on an RTS binge ever since finding Company of Heroes 2. I’ve been trying to find a new favorite RTS that doesn’t make me (literally) sick. In four short months, I have tried eight different RTS games. That’s two per month!
- Grey Goo
- AI War: Fleet Command
- Battlefleet Gothic: Armada
- Warhammer: 40,000: Dawn of War II
- Dungeons II
- Call to Arms
- Kingdom Wars 2: Battles
- Gods and Idols
While I have come to understand finally that it’s the base building and peon management that I don’t like in RTS games, I’m still trying to pin down what else there may be to look for. For example, Grey Goo offered an interesting line-of-sight mechanic, while Dungeons II offered a funny and light-hearted approach. Some of these games were bad, some were good, and a select few were GREAT. I’ve separated the wheat from the chaff, and hereby present to you my top recommended RTS games!
Call to Arms
From the developers of the Men of War series, it’s a modern warfare RTS. Best of all, it’s free to play! Several people have mentioned it plays exactly like Men of War, so maybe this is an indirect recommendation of that game too. The graphics are great, but the best part is the ability to take control. You can zoom in to first or third person of any unit and personally manage its actions, and that includes vehicles! Really awesome feature, and I can’t wait to play this game more. It’s still under development as well, so there will be more to come.
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada
Probably my favorite, Battlefleet Gothic is a space ship RTS in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Space ships was kind of a new thing, and admittedly it did take a little while to get used to it. Once I did though, it grew on me. Depending on how you outfit your ships, and your faction, you can command one large ship, or a whole fleet of smaller ones. The graphics in this game will blow you away – even on lower end machines. I found the skirmish battles versus AI to be pretty fun, surprisingly. Multiplayer is ironically the weakness. The queues are slow, though do exist. Unfortunately the team queue mode is a mildly painful grind until you can get a battleship-class.
Dawn of War II
From the same developer (Relic) as Company of Heroes, this was recommended to me more than once as Company of Heroes style, but set in the Warhammer 40,000 setting. I finally picked it up on Black Friday-week. Still seems to have a good following. The focus in this game is on your squad leader, so you’ll have to do a little bit better-than-average micromanagement on that one particular unit. It has several different game modes, even in multiplayer. Additionally there’s a mod out that gives a BIG update to the game.
Company of Heroes 2
I’ve ranted and raved over this game, and it’s easily my #1 recommendation. The style of gameplay is super fun, and feels perfect for the World War II setting. You can choose from any of the axis or allied armies, along with all their vehicles and equipment. A big(enough) community and lots of available mods give you nearly endless replayability. There’s even a mod for field of vision if the current game’s FoV isn’t to your liking. There’s something for every style of play in this game. You can definitely find an army and force loadout that fits you.
Watch For More Squad Based RTS Games
The bad news is that this particular sub-genre of RTS games does appear to be limited. I keep an eye out for any RTS titles that may fit the bill of what I’ll call a non-traditional RTS. Warshift is a title out right now that is a prime example, along the lines of Call to Arms where you can take control of a unit personally. Wargame, Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, and an OLD title called Nexus: The Jupiter Incident are some other games you can check out too. I haven’t had the money, or time, to try them, but they’re on my Steam Wishlist. Sudden Strike and Gates of Hell are both upcoming RTS games that appear to follow the squad based approach, so keep an eye on those as well. If you find any other squad based RTS games coming out, drop ’em in the comments for me below!