Looking at RTS Games
I’ve never been a huge fan of Real Time Strategy games. (RTS) This is mainly because most of these games are all about learning some sort of system and then executing the commands as fast as possible. In other words, there was little strategy in the game. The winner would be the person who was able to execute their commands quicker; which is really just a pattern of clicking, not a strategy.
Now, I know there are those of you out there who are huge fans of Age of Empires and the like. I don’t totally “not get it”; I do, but there are key elements about them that I don’t like. So, second to my complaint about hyper clicking in a pattern, I also hate that you don’t have time to savor and watch a battle. If I’m going to amass thousands of troops to engage my opponent in an enormous open field battle, I want to watch it. But with RTS’s of the past, you pretty much had to abandon enjoying watching the game to go back to town and do some farming. Yeah, fun.
It is for this reason I enjoyed Civilization III. The Civ games are turn based and you actually set up a strategy, then executed it, and then watched it work (or fail). Of course, it wasn’t a real pretty battle that got played out.
RTS’s though are making strides these days and are changing and I’m not above re-looking at them to see what they have done. If they fix “my problems” with them, I may be all over them.
Company of Heroes
I’ve been playing this demo and the one thing that jumps out is the graphics. (The sound is also great, by the way) You can zoom in very close to a battle and see the battle like never before in an RTS. It really is a thing of beauty to watch. Unfortunately, watching is not what you get to do most of the time. Usually, you are looking elsewhere to get ready for your next move so you don’t lose.
This pet peeve of mine is actually present in many games, not just RTS. I’ve seen it in racing games and first person shooters as well. When racing, you are going so fast and looking at on coming traffic that you don’t have time to look at the beautiful seascape. But not all games fail at this. Half-Life 2 managed to have slower paced scenes when you were at a vantage point to take in the scenery, look around and enjoy, and then later engage in the action. Some people may disagree, but I can easily suspend my disbelief in a “real-time” game if they just “paused” the other action so I could enjoy this action, or the scenery, or take in more of the story.
This game I have only heard about and I’m hearing mixed reviews. One thing people seem to love about the game is the ability to zoom all the way out, kind of like a Google Earth perspective. However, I’m not sure what this gives you. The battles are supposed to be massively huge and I like the futuristic setting of the three factions pitted against each other.
Blizzard will definitely be making a Starcraft 2, though no one really knows exactly what it will be like. Some are suggesting it might be the next MMO, the post WoW generation of MMO’s. I even heard someone comment that Starcraft 2 could take off where PlanetSide left off.
Warhammer: Mark of Chaos
This game does have some sort of pause mode. While you move your troops around, you are essentially in a paused mode. Once the battle begins, you get to watch it play out. You can even zoom in pretty close, but, as you get closer you realize that the troops are just running through their animations and not really fighting. In other words, it’s not that fun to watch.
Another suggestion for a strategy game definitely caught my attention and this possibility certainly exists. (they are in line with my theories on the future of gaming consoles and who controls the market) The suggestion is for an RTS game released as a “Game for Windows” where you control your armies and place them in battles which are actually fought by players on the xBox360. So the RTS is on the PC, and the action is on the 360, and the two work together as one game. I especially like the idea of controlling those 360 users. (because we all know that PC gamers are superior)
I can picture myself on my couch playing a beautiful RTS on my huge HDTV; and by the time the developers put out such a game, hopefully I will own that TV.