-or- The best elements of a genre
I love strategy games. That doesn't necessarily mean I am that great at them, but real time strategy (RTS) games certainly comprise the majority of my gaming library. I love building bases, seeing my towns/complexes grow and become more intricate, more sophisticated. And I love churning out units. Lots and lots of units. Oh yeah, gaming goodness.
But I hate resourcing. In a big way.
And therein lies the inherent beauty of what I consider to be a subgenre of the RTS games: Real Time Tactical. I really think it is a genre of its own. Say RTS and the first thing that comes to a gamer's mind is resourcing, resourcing, resourcing, building bases, oh, and some more resourcing. Efficient use of resources is vital to succeed in just about and RTS game (it is also very important in TBS games as well). But it takes time, energy and takes you away from the battlefield.
And that is why I love RTT games. So what is the difference you ask? RTT games don't require building, resourcing, or researching. They give you a set number of units and you better be good enough to make them last because often that is all you are going to get. No time is wasted advancing to the next technological stage, laying out your base including defenses, or gathering those cursed resources. Nope, all you do is take your units and blow stuff up (or hack it apart depending on the setting). All your time is spent focusing on battlefield tactics, on seeking every advantage because no, you cannot just make some more if you screw it up, on using what you have to full advantage. And wow, what an adrenaline rush. From the get go it is action and tactics, thick and deep. You better be ready because you cannot turtle through one of those.
But there are far too few of them. Ground Control is a marvelous example. A strong story, gorgeous graphics, two integral campaigns, great units combine to make it one of the best strategy games I have ever played. The Myth games are easily the fantasy equals, if not even superior. And with Ground Control 2 on the horizon there is perhaps hope for more of these exciting, truly strategic types of games.
One can hope.