The best RTS games from the early 2000's that you need to play

C&C Red Alert 3
Image: Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 - Electronic Arts

It simply wouldn't be fair to rank these in order, so here's our list of the top RTS games from the early 2000's (in no particular order). Prepare for some RTS nostalgia!

Halo Wars

Set in the iconic Halo universe, Halo Wars introduces console gamers to the world of real-time strategy. Developed by Ensemble Studios, it lets you lead the UNSC forces against the Covenant in a visually stunning and accessible strategy game. With a compelling story, iconic characters, and a streamlined control scheme designed for consoles, it's a must-play for both Halo fans and strategy enthusiasts.

Halo Wars - Cover
Released 26th February 2009 Halo Wars

Halo Wars is a strategy game based on the legendary Halo® universe. Command entire armies of Spartans, Warthogs and more into combat as you join the crew of the “Spirit of Fire” to battle the alien Covenant.

Company of Heroes 2

This WWII-themed RTS sequel refines the formula established by its predecessor. Company of Heroes 2 takes players to the brutal Eastern Front, offering intense tactical battles in the freezing Russian winters. With a strong focus on realism and dynamic weather effects, it immerses players in the chaos and strategic depth of WWII combat.

Company of Heroes 2 - Cover
Released 25th June 2013 Company of Heroes 2

Experience the ultimate WWII RTS platform with COH2 and its standalone expansions. This package includes the base game, which you can then upgrade by purchasing The Western Front Armies, Ardennes Assault and/or The British Forces. More info in the "About This Game" section below.

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War

This Warhammer 40K-themed RTS brought the grim and dark universe to life on the gaming screen. Dawn of War offered deep tactical gameplay and a rich narrative, with various factions battling for control. It remains a classic, known for its atmospheric battles, diverse armies, and exceptional storytelling.

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Cover
Released 20th September 2004 Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War

Prepare yourself for the grim, dark future of the 41st millennium, where alien races battle mankind for galactic domination in a universe of unending war. Personalize your armies with a revolutionary unit customization tool that gives you the ability to choose your armies insignias, banners, squad colors and names.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 takes players on an epic journey through an alternate history where the Soviet Union, Allies, and the Empire of the Rising Sun clash in an over-the-top, time-twisting battle. With its charismatic live-action cutscenes and a diverse range of units, including amphibious tanks and psychic commandos, this real-time strategy gem offers a unique blend of humor, strategy, and fast-paced gameplay.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 - Cover
Released 28th October 2008 Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

The desperate leadership of a doomed Soviet Union travels back in time to change history and restore the glory of Mother Russia. The time travel mission goes awry, creating an alternate timeline where technology has followed an entirely different evolution, a new superpower has been thrust on to the world stage, and World War III is raging.

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II

This sequel took a different approach by focusing on smaller-scale battles and squad-based tactics, emphasizing hero units and RPG elements. Dawn of War II offered a refreshing change of pace within the Warhammer 40K universe, providing a more personal and strategic take on warfare.

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Cover
Released 19th February 2009 Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II

It’s the 41st Millennium in the Sub-Sector Aurelia – a cluster of worlds on the edge of the galaxy – where a battle of epic proportions is about to commence. Ancient races will clash across the planets that dot this sector of space, battling for the greatest of stakes – not only for control of Sub-Sector Aurelia – but the fate of each race.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

The sequel to the iconic StarCraft, Wings of Liberty continued the epic struggle between the Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss. Known for its balanced gameplay, engaging single-player campaign, and the introduction of the Battle.net 2.0 platform, it set new standards for the RTS genre and remains a competitive gaming staple.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty - Cover
Released 27th July 2010 StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is a military science fiction real-time strategy video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment.

Command & Conquer: Generals

This installment in the Command & Conquer series takes a modern warfare approach, setting it apart from the franchise's traditional futuristic and alternate history settings. Command & Conquer: Generals puts you in command of one of three factions: the USA, China, or the Global Liberation Army. With a focus on resource management and tactical warfare, it offers a fresh take on the RTS genre, featuring distinct units, superweapons, and a memorable campaign filled with political intrigue and intense battles.

Command & Conquer: Generals - Cover
Released 10th February 2003 Command & Conquer: Generals

The armies that will clash in Command and Conquer: Generals are the super powers of United States and China, and a massive underground organization, the Global Liberation Army, bent on drowning the world in anarchy and terror. Each of the three sides represents a distinct geo-political viewpoint and will fight the war with vastly different tactics and weaponry.

Company of Heroes

Company of Heroes, the precursor to Company of Heroes 2, introduced players to the intense and immersive experience of World War II combat. With a strong emphasis on squad-based tactics, destructible environments, and dynamic battlefield conditions, it raised the bar for realism in RTS games. Command troops through iconic battles of the Western Front and witness the chaos and heroism of WWII up close in this critically acclaimed title that remains a benchmark for the genre.

Company of Heroes - Cover
Released 11th September 2006 Company of Heroes

Delivering a visceral WWII gaming experience, Company of Heroes redefines real time strategy gaming by bringing the sacrifice of heroic soldiers, war-ravaged environments, and dynamic battlefields to life.

Supreme Commander

Chris Taylor's Supreme Commander is a love letter to hardcore strategy gamers. With its massive maps, hundreds of units, and innovative economy management, it redefined the scale of real-time strategy games. Engage in epic battles with towering mechs, massive experimental units, and intricate base building in this futuristic warfare masterpiece.

Supreme Commander - Cover
Released 16th February 2007 Supreme Commander

For a thousand years, three opposing forces have waged war for what they believe is true. There can be no room for compromise: their way is the only way. Dubbed The Infinite War, this devastating conflict has taken its toll on a once-peaceful galaxy and has only served to deepen the hatred between the factions.

Age of Empires III

The Age of Empires series continued its legacy with a shift to the colonial era in Age of Empires III. Offering a rich blend of historical accuracy and engaging gameplay, it allowed players to explore and conquer the New World. With its captivating campaigns and diverse civilizations, it's a standout title in the early 2000s RTS catalog.

Age of Empires III - Cover
Released 18th October 2005 Age of Empires III

In this highly anticipated next installment in the Age of Empires franchise from Ensemble Studios, Age of Empires III places players in the time period of roughly 1500-1850, picking up where Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings left off. As players work to establish their empire, they will take on the role of a European power struggling to explore, colonise and conquer North and South America.Age of Empires III introduces exciting new gameplay elements, including the all-new Home City and an incredible combat system. Players will find new civilisations to discover, random maps to conquer and a single-player campaign unlike any other. Players also will find stunning graphics as a result of a revolutionary graphics engine that pushes the limits of PC graphics technology in an entirely new way.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORPosted by WulfGamesYT on 15th September 2023.View all 10 articles published by this author. ➜

Hello, my name is Liam Allen (aka. WulfGamesYT), I'm a full-stack website developer, tech enthusiast and CEO of @NEXARDA. I spend most of my time working on the website (both programming & designing) and doing research on video games and companies - adding them to our ever-expanding database of online games. If you have any questions about NEXARDA feel free to send me an email or follow me on Twitter: ➜ ✉️ liam@nexarda.com ➜ 🐦 @WulfGamesYT



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