Suggest an RTS for me

With the finishing of Oblivion, I need to play something completely different. I’m thinking about an RTS. Here are my choices:

Star Wars Empires at War
Rise of Legends
Battle for Middle Earth*
Warhamer 40k Dawn of War*

(*these two I currently own but never played)

Keep in mind that I have the use of only one hand and thus suck when it comes to keyboard short cuts, what game is the best and which would be the easiest for me to play? Also I intend on playing only single player.

Given your condition, I would make sure you can pause and give orders. I’m not sure you can do that with the Star Wars game…or with any of them. Anyone know?

There’s no point in playing RTS if you are going to pause and give orders, since that’s what TBS games are for.

I’d suggest giving the ones you own a try, at least, since they are right there. If you don’t care for them, move on to something else then.

I recommend BfME2.


There aren’t any TBS games anymore. Besides, pausing and giving orders is a great thing when you are learning the game. It’s fine that you don’t like it, but it seems odd to go so far as saying “there’s no point” if you want to play the game that way. I’m not suggesting it should be done after every order, just that’s a nice feature to have if you start to get overwhelmed.

Sure there are.

I know empire at war would be a bad pick given your condition. As the game uses a real time non pauseable interface for the unit building, and moving section. Yet you can pause it once you get into a battle. Bfme2 does have keyboard short cuts but you really only need a few (attack move, scatter) to play well with .

I think from that list, if your looking for a story campaign, Rise of Legends has the better one, but Bfme2 has a conquer the world mode similar to the original Rise of Nations, which might offer better replay value for you.

There are a lot of TBS games out there here’s three that were just released:

I’m playing Civ4 and GalCiv2 right now, I haven’t bought HoMM5 yet but I think I will real soon. BTW Civ4 was most game review sites Strategy game of the year!!

Rise of Legends allows you to pause and issue orders, which is going to come in handy when you can’t use keyboard shortcuts. Also, it’s got a great interface, even if you’re relying exclusively on mouse control. It’s on sale for $38 this week at Circuit City, + 10% if you price match at Best Buy. You know, just in case.

If you own Dawn of War and never got around to playing it, I’d recommend that one. Still a very entertaining experience full of intense battles. Really, the intro is worth the installation alone.


Sorry, I might have not been clear. I wasn’t criticizing RTS games or stating that I don’t like them or that they shouldn’t have features like pausing and giving orders (I’d certainly love to have that in RTS games). I was just meaning that the thing that makes RTS games RTS is the “real-time”. If you pause and give orders, you are going into a different format of game that’s somewhere between RTS and TBS (simultaneous turns, I’d guess you’d call it).

Others have pointed out that you were mistaken about there being no more TBS games (my newest one shipped today!) so I’ll leave that one be. ;)

Yeah, I was just being bitter about the TBS thing :).

For the pausing, I was mainly thinking that if Rob has a condition that means he can only use one hand, having a pause might avoid some frustration.

For Pete’s sake, Rob, open up BFME2 already and go to town!

You can do just fine with only a mouse, particularly since you’re talking abotu just playing single player. Although you will sometimes want to reach over and hit the ‘Q’ key to select all your armies.


Going to go out on a limb here…

How about Starcraft?

Honestly, everything can be done with the mouse alone. Drag and Select up to 12 guys, and you can even hotkey them, so that all you need to do is push one button, and the selected 12 guys will pop-up at any time. Pretty easy.

Also, any TOTAL WAR, Preferably Shogun, is a good choice. Allthough not RTS, but TBS, still a ton of fun.

Also, if you own BFME2, and haven’t played it… You should be smote right now. I can’t wait to get it for my 360, as my computer’s nickname is El Shithole. And thats what my friends call it. Thats a bad sign.

Gonna piggyback on this thread since it seems appropriate. Given the recommendations here and in the other RTS thread, are people then saying that if you had to choose one, you’d choose BFME2 over Rise of Legends?

And if you could play both, would it be worthwhile doing it (i.e., are the experiences different enough that you’d enjoy them both)?

Oh and I have it, but <blush> haven’t installed it yet: Spellforce 2 - I wonder if this would be a good choice for Rob. Off the top of my head, it seems like that having the RPG elements intermixed with the RTS elements would be a break for you, since I’d suspect that you can be a bit more methodical with the RPG portion. I don’t know about the presence/lack/need for keyboard shortcuts with Spellforce 2 (though I have heard it’s excellent, which is why it popped into mind).

If I had to choose one, it would be RoL, no contest. I haven’t spent much time with BfME2 because what I’ve seen of it doesn’t interest me much, but what little I’ve seen gives me the same overall impression as Empire at War: if you like the movies, you will find some of their appeal reflected in the game.

My choice would be Star Wars Empire at war since, not only can you pause battles, but the entire game speed is configurable and you can slow it right down to suit your pace. It also helps that the game itself is damn fun, offering you far more than just an RTS. You’re also looking at less of a requirement for the keyboard since each unit only has one power, where as Rise of Legends has heroes (which if Warcraft III is anything to judge by will need serious micro-management and keyboard skills). Battle for Middle-Earth and its sequel have formations, unit powers, upgrades etc. Dawn of War is simply keyboard mad, the battles are fast paced and a mouse alone won’t be enough, not if you want to play every side. They all have different movement types. In terms of the keyboard requirement I’d say SWEW has the least need for one.

Rise of Legends I have no experience of. I loaded the demo, but the garish interface and the fact that it dumped me in campaign 2, put me off. I intend to come back to it and give it another chance, but SWEW and Kohan 2 are vying for my demo gaming attention.

I loved Battle for Middle-Earth, especially the way it was so different from other RTS games, making you go out and capture points, making sieges a big part of the game by starting you with walls, having cavalry which felt like cavalry. It was an awesome game, though coupled with the usual EA AI which can’t play for crap. Having just played the demo of Kohan 2 I can say that they are surprisingly similar in many ways. It was the first RTS since Warcraft III to get me online, but unfortunately the Gamespy matchmaking system throws random NAT tantrums, and thus was I forced back to I had the same experience playing Dawn of War online. Unfortunately, if you’re going to play this single-player only, maybe not, the campaign is nothing special, and the AI brain-dead.

Battle for Middle-Earth 2 suffers from “just another RTS” syndrome. It has a couple of elements carried over from the first one, but really if you like BFME2 the chances are you’ll like any other big name RTS, and others have done it better. The only reason to play this is if you are a fan of the license, or for War of the Ring mode, which to me looks inferior to Galactic Conquest in SWEW. Still, it’s more depth than mere skirmish.

Dawn of War is damn solid fun to play, and the AI will actually put up a fight. You have a good variety of races, all of them different. Unfortunately, the game system (which I think excellent) is crippled by truly asstastic map design which takes what should be a free flowing game, and turns it into the usual Warcraft III “two big armies” game. I still play it because I love the racial variety, but IMO Relic messed up the map design, and the game balance is pretty awful and despite regular patches. Relic don’t seem able to sort it out, and I’ve heard that since Winter Assault its turned into a bit of a tech race. A shame, the support is there but they appear unable to balance the game, yet soon we’ll see another two races. I sometimes wonder if the plan is to add races faster than people can exploit them. There’s a fan-made AI out there, but last I saw the official AI would spank it, and the design team seem more interested in making an “interesting” AI than a good one, so I’d avoid it.

The campaigns are dull, but the skirmish AI quite good. Unfortunatly, for reasons beyond my understanding, if you play on Hard down (the AI takes an economic hit) in a team game, the game holds your teammates back if you’re doing too well. Why it would do this on the easier levels is… God knows. Anyway, campaign average, skirmish fun!

Since you’ve already got the BFME games, try those. They’re so different from one another you’ll likely enjoy one of them, and BFME at least was starting to become balanced the last I saw. I don’t have the same experience of the AI from BFME2, so it might be better, but it demands more piddling about because building is now handled like “any other” RTS.

Star Wars Empire at War has a demo available which gives you a good taste of the game. It was enough to get my order the second I quit, a refreshingly different experience. The AI was even fun to fight against! I think, with its configurable speed, ability to pause and entertaining AI (from my experiences and Impressions on Octopus Overlords) that this would be your best bet. You of course get Galactic Conquest which gives you a 4X-lite element on top of the space and land battles, and there’s also skirmish modes.

Dawn of War has excellent scope thanks to its five races (with Winter Assault), and team games look spectacular. Unfortunately once you delve further into it you find a distinctly shallow balance. Fun to play, but sometimes I think it’s more fun to watch a huge team replay and just enjoy the animations.

My FUN ranking:

  1. Star Wars Empire at War (based on demo only)
  2. Battle for Middle-Earth
  3. Dawn of War
  4. Battle for Middle-Earth 2 (based on demo only)

My SP ranking:

  1. Star Wars Empire at War (based on demo only)
  2. Battle for Middle-Earth 2 (based on demo only)
  3. Dawn of War
  4. Battle for Middle-Earth

My keyboard (not needed) ranking:

  1. Star Wars Empire at War (based on demo only)
  2. Battle for Middle-Earth
  3. Battle for Middle-Earth 2 (based on demo only)
  4. Dawn of War

So, your ranking of Empire at War is based solely on the demo? The demo that lacks any sort of aggressive strategic map AI? I think you’ll change your tune about Empire at War when you have to play spinning plates during the strategic map portions of the full game, and you can’t even issue orders while paused. I’ll never understand why Petroglyph didn’t make the strategic map portion of EaW turn based, or at least allow for orders to be issued while the strategic map is paused.

Rob, go with Rise of Legends. In addition to great and varied gameplay in a refreshing and creative setting, it’s got an accessible and thorough interface for mouse and/or keyboard players. It’s also the only RTS so far mentioned here that allows for orders to be issued while the game is paused. Just press ‘P’ and go to work; no reflex-based twiddling required!

Yep. The one that offers the full game speed slider capability. Yes, that one. The only one where you could realisticly say competitive with mouse only in SP IMO.

FYI I ended up picking up both Rise of Legends and Star Wars Empires at War. sigh