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5 Best RTS Games on Xbox Game Pass (July 2024)

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RTS game on Xbox Game Pass showing intense futuristic battle scene

Xbox gamers know there's something special about planning a move, making quick decisions, and seeing it all come to life on the screen. That's the magic of Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games. While these games were once more common on PCs, now Xbox fans are getting more and more of them to enjoy. Thanks to the Xbox Game Pass, there's a whole collection of these games ready to be played. Some are perfect for gamers who've loved RTS games for years, while others are great for newcomers. Want to know which ones are the best? You're in the right place. Here are the five best RTS Games on Xbox Game Pass.

5. Rise of Nations: Extended Edition

Rise of Nations Extended Edition Trailer

Rise of Nations: Extended Edition offers an expansive journey through human history, blending real-time strategy with turn-based elements. In this game, players guide a nation from its ancient origins through various historical periods. Players gather resources, construct buildings, and research technologies. One unique feature is the ability to age up, moving from one era to another, which unlocks advanced units and structures.

Furthermore, the game features 18 distinct nations, each with its own unique abilities, which adds variety and replayability. Players must carefully manage resources like food, wood, and gold to build and sustain their cities. Moreover, the game introduces a territory system where expanding borders is crucial for accessing new resources and strategic positions. In addition, players can form alliances and trade with other nations, adding a diplomatic layer to the gameplay.

Additionally, Rise of Nations includes a variety of game modes, catering to different play styles. The single-player campaign offers a series of engaging scenarios that span different historical epochs. Meanwhile, multiplayer modes provide competitive and cooperative experiences. These diverse features make Rise of Nations: Extended Edition a standout title in the real-time strategy genre on Xbox Game Pass.

4. Halo Wars: Definitive Edition

Halo Wars: Definitive Edition Trailer

Halo Wars: Definitive Edition brings the Halo universe into the world of real-time strategy. Players command the UNSC Spirit of Fire against the alien Covenant during the early days of the Human-Covenant War. The game focuses on strategic planning and quick decision-making. First, players gather resources, then they build bases, and finally, they deploy units to win various missions.

The gameplay involves managing resources and constructing a base. Players start with a central base and expand by building structures like supply pads, barracks, and vehicle depots. Consequently, these buildings produce and upgrade units, including infantry, vehicles, and aircraft. Balancing resource collection with offensive and defensive strategies is crucial. Therefore, players must protect their base while preparing to attack enemy positions.

Furthermore, combat in Halo Wars is fast-paced and requires tactical thinking. Different units have specific strengths and weaknesses, so using them effectively is key. For example, infantry can capture strategic points and engage enemy troops, while vehicles provide heavy firepower and durability. Additionally, players can use leader powers, which are special abilities unique to their commander, to gain an advantage in battle. These mechanics create a dynamic and engaging experience.

3. Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition

Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition - Announce Trailer

Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition offers players an immersive journey through the colonial era, where the main objective is to explore, colonize, and conquer the New World. Players select a European civilization and manage resources like food, wood, and gold to build settlements and create armies. Initially, players focus on gathering resources and constructing buildings, but soon they must balance economic development with military strength. Consequently, strategic planning becomes essential to achieving victory.

It features home city system, which allows players to send shipments of resources and reinforcements from their civilization's capital. This system introduces an extra layer of strategy, requiring players to decide which shipments to request and when to utilize them. Additionally, the game incorporates both land and naval warfare, enabling players to build and command fleets to control the seas. Also, exploration plays a crucial role, as players discover new territories, trade with native tribes, and compete for dominance over key areas.

In addition to this, this game offers multiple game modes, including a single-player campaign with historically inspired scenarios and robust multiplayer options for competitive play. The campaign mode provides a narrative-driven experience, guiding players through various challenges and significant historical events. In contrast, multiplayer mode allows players to test their strategies against others, forging alliances or engaging in epic battles. Ultimately, the game's mechanics and strategic depth ensure a rewarding experience for those seeking both historical immersion and engaging gameplay.

2. Frostpunk

Frostpunk | Official Launch Trailer

Frostpunk is a city-building and survival game set in a freezing, post-apocalyptic world. Players take on the role of the leader of the last city on Earth. They need to manage resources and keep the city’s citizens alive. To do this, players must gather coal, wood, and steel to build structures and keep the city’s generator running, which is crucial for keeping everyone warm.

The game also focuses on making tough decisions that affect the people in the city. Players must create laws on important issues like child labor and healthcare. These choices can impact how happy and productive the citizens are. On top of that, players face crises that require quick and smart planning to solve. It keeps you thinking and adapting to new challenges.

Frostpunk features a changing weather system that adds to the difficulty. When temperatures drop, the need for heat and resources goes up. Players must adjust their strategies to keep the city running. The game includes different scenarios and storylines, offering new challenges and goals each time. Overall, Frostpunk's mix of city management and survival creates an engaging and thought-provoking experience where smart decisions are key to survival.

1. Crusader Kings III

Crusader Kings 3 - Official Story Trailer

Wrapping up, Crusader Kings III is a grand strategy game set in the Middle Ages. Players lead a noble house starting in 867 or 1066, claiming lands, titles, and vassals to build a powerful realm. The game focuses on managing a dynasty through generations. When a ruler dies, players continue with their heir, ensuring the family's legacy continues. Success involves balancing warfare, diplomacy, and managing your realm through marriages, alliances, and strategic decisions.

Characters are central in Crusader Kings III, as players interact with historical figures like knights, courtiers, and spies. These characters have unique traits that affect their actions and decisions. Additionally, the game offers a richly detailed world map that stretches from the Nordic lands to Africa and Burma. Players can conquer and rule various counties, duchies, kingdoms, and empires.

So, which of these RTS games on Xbox Game Pass have you dived into? And are there any hidden gems we missed? Let us know your thoughts on our socials here.

Amar is a gaming aficionado and freelance content writer. As an experienced gaming content writer, he's always up-to-date with the latest gaming industry trends. When he's not busy crafting compelling gaming articles, you can find him dominating the virtual world as a seasoned gamer.