While once prolific in the 90s, real time strategy games have ebbed in recent years. Controlling multiple units while managing resources, maintaining map awareness, and researching new weapons of war is a daunting task when armed with a mouse and keyboard, and nigh impossible anywhere else.
Yet I was blown away by how well Phaser Lock Interactive’s VR real time strategy game, Final Assault, captured all the fun of a real time strategy game while streamlining all the messy bits, creating an immersive virtual tabletop wargame.
Every religion starts with a prophet. Ours was about to fall to a pack of unbelieving citizens before even getting a decent following. “Just a second!” says Mateusz Pilski, co-founder and lead programmer at Ice Code Games, demoing the recently announced RTS Re-Legion at PAX South. While he was busy explaining the initial set-up of the demo our starting forces fell, and now our prophet’s in danger of being swarmed by non-believers.
Pilski micro-manages the prophet around the rabble, firing off some holy lasers of righteousness while staying ahead of their fists. The prophet is clad in purple robes and a closed helmet encircled in spikes. He cuts an imposing figure among the urban sprawl of this glitzy cyberpunk world, but some folks are less than impressed.
Blizzard’s online service Battle.net wasn’t quite my first foray into online gaming, but it did solidify my love of computer gaming throughout the late 90s and early 2000s. Many a Friday evening in the early days of high school were spent constructing marines and mowing down Zerg with friends. To say I have deeply ingrained nostalgia for StarCraft is an understatement.
StarCraft: Remastered is a very faithful HD update to one of the best strategy games ever created. It suffers a bit from forgoing any gameplay or UI updates that strategy games from the last two decades have evolved (such as StarCraft 2). But make no mistake, StarCraft: Remastered makes a great game better.
It’s been seven years since the original Halo Wars helped prove that not only can you make a non-first person shooter Halo game, you can also bring the Real-Time Strategy genre onto consoles.
Despite the large time gap Halo Wars 2 is very much a sequel, improving upon the original while offering fun new competitive and cooperative game modes.
Another full-fledged stand-alone expansion to Starcraft II, another great reason to return o the Koprulu Sector.
Playing new standalone expansion Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void is like slipping on a comfortable pair of slippers, or ordering your “usual” at a frequented restaurant. Knowing what you’re going to get is comforting. Legacy of the Void relies on your familiarity and love of Starcraft to create an enjoyable, if cheesy, campaign. And there are enough new features to warrant a return to the war-torn Koprulu Sector.
The final installment in the Starcraft II trilogy comes in at #9 on my Game of the Year list.
My Top Ten Games of 2015
#9 Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void
There’s a poem titled “Ode to the RTS” rattling around in my brain somewhere. If you grew up playing PC games in the 90s it was pretty tough not to become a fan of the real time strategy genre. Blizzard and Westwood competed for our love with their growing mega-franchises, while numerous knock-offs flooded the market. It was a magical time.
These days you have Starcraft II, and that’s about damn it. When Blizzard announced the sequel I was ecstatic; Starcraft was (and still is I guess) one of my all time favorite games.
Then they announced that SC2 would be split up between three games, with the three races’ campaigns as their own standalone games. Because it’s Blizzard, these games took years to come out. Five years after Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, we finally get the third and final Starcraft II experience in Legacy of the Void.
That’s a lot of exposition to explain what is very nearly a Lifetime Achievement award that I’m bestowing on Starcraft II by including it on my Game of the Year list. Continue reading “My Top Ten Games of 2015: #9”