Are old school RTS games a dying breed?

Although I’ve cut back on my game playing recently (lack of time mostly – I never seem to be home) I have played a few RTS games in my time. In fact I just completed Company of Heroes (which I picked up brand new on ebay for two quid – bargain). I was also playing – and reviewed – Dawn of War II just before xmas as well and to some extent I agree with the article above.

Both CoH and DoW2 are more Real Time Tactic games, which in itself is not a bad thing. I found them much easier to stick through to the end when compared to something like the previous DoW game, Soulstorm. Each battle there could last several hours at least and after the tenth one, you start to lose the desire to spend more days of your life getting to the end. The new DoW battles are much shorter so the game takes less time to complete but I think I almost prefer that to getting bored four fifths of the way through and never actually seeing the end!

There is something to be said for the old RTS gameplay tho. I love building a good base with multiple defenses as much as the next person! I think it was always the resource side of things that annoyed me. Either they made no sense (controlling this particular point on the map allows me to recruit more soldiers why?) or were too limitless. A case in point are the old DoW games. Capture a few strategic points and you’d soon have enough resource for a never ending supply of soldiers. At that point the battle became more of a grind.

TATotal Annihilation had a fairly good way of dealing with that I seem to remember. The amount of metal and energy you could gain was infinite but your ability to store it was not. Build too much stuff at once and you’d deplete your stores and run out of metal, meaning you had to cut back on production. Use up too much energy and you’d not have enough to fire weapons or keep cloaking fields up. Both resources were still infinite at the end of the day though.

Would be nice to see a game that crossed RTS with RTT and added realistic resource management. The game would go from initial resource grabbing and base building to scavenging destroyed equipment/units or stealing from your opponent as the finite resource of the battlefield ran out. Maybe such a game already exists and I’ve just not played it?

In the meantime, I feel it could be time to fish my copy of Total Annihilation out of storage and see if it runs on Windows 7. It may not have been a perfect game but it is still bloody brilliant. I’m surprised that no one has ever just remade TA – update the graphics and physics engine, better AI, maybe tweak a few minor things but essentially just release the same game again for a new generation to enjoy….

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