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Video: Bad North is an RTS that even RTS-haters might enjoy

Tactics and hacked bits

I’m not sure if Bad North is a strategy game for the inept or the lazy. It does a lot that speaks to both: the islands you’re defending are small, you’ve only a few units to guide and those instructions don’t extend beyond ‘go there’ or ‘hide in that’. When they do get ‘there’ they auto-attack any marauders in reach and pursue the stragglers. It even slurps into slow motion when you select units, giving you extra thinking time, or time to watch diddy soldiers deliver vicious beatings. For someone so bad at multitasking I can’t even walk and drink from a can at the same time, this is an RTS game I can finally play. See the video for proof...

I love how Bad North allows an idiot like me to find my inner tactician. You don’t play games and watch war movies all these years without picking up the broad strokes; but rarely can I express them. Archers should be up high to get good range. Chokepoints are well held by slower, immovable pikemen. Enemy bowmen are best met with shields. It sounds comically obvious to a seasoned commander, but there are so many games where the fiddly execution clouds those meat-and-potato givens and you can’t enjoy the hearty, core ingredients. Bad North’s plates are licked clean in a minute or two and you’re back in the queue for more.

Before he sailed from our tiny island, Adam wrote some typically smart words about how Bad North distills real-time strategy to its purest form. I’d heard similar recommendations before (even friendly Advance Wars managed to befuddle me back in the day) but here’s a game where everyone really is welcome. I also adore what Adam calls the messiness of it - the spark of chaotic life that sometimes sees an enemy scramble away from a horde to wreak revenge, or a cherished commander batted from a cliff path by a giant’s club swing. The rules have a bit of give, which speaks brains that struggle to absorb them.

Bad North is sailing towards PC and is due to arrive in 2018. I’ll be waiting for it on the shore, not with spears, but with arms outstretched. It's coming to PC first through the new Discord storefront, though will follow on Steam and GOG by the end of the year. For more Rock Paper Shotgun video fun, I point you in the direction of the site’s special video corner, or you can go all out and subscribe to the YouTube channel by clicking here.

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Bad North

PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch

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About the Author
Matthew Castle avatar

Matthew Castle

Former Video Producer

Ex-Vid Bud. Unofficial Rennie spokesperson.