Zero-K is a FREE, multi-platform, open source Real Time Strategy game, which aims to be a dynamic, action-packed, hassle-free experience, full of clever strategies and constantly moving combat. Includes an epic scale, realistic projectile and unit physics, terraforming terrain and hundreds of unique and interesting units.
I'd dare to say that Zero-K is the most immersive strategy game available at this moment. In this game you really are in full control of the battle. The limit's are not the lack of units, a dumb unit AI or not enough control over the battlefield but rather the limits of player's capabilities are his own creativity, reaction speed and strategic inteligence. A truly diverse and great game.
The only con is the rather steep learning curve.
Zero-K is beautiful, not graphically (where it's neat but not spectacular), but in concept. It's big, it's procedural, it's fluid, it's full of options and somehow it all miraculously works.
Firstly, the interface. It's insanely powerful, with the ability to quickly draw any formation you want and automation of the most basic micro taken care of by excellent unit AI. Queing orders is quick rather than tedious thanks to many smart shortcuts (The sheer number of which and fragmented documentation thereof adds an unfortunately steep learning curve) Which is a must, given the scale of some battles, to allow you to manage things. So that's the first beautiful thing, large scale battles that don't degenerate into chunks of "blob + attack move" out of necessity and can instead play out with intricate manouvers and strategies.
Secondly, the procedural. Projectile arcs, unit momentum and weight, terrain deformation, projectile penetration, they're in there and all simulated. With this Zero K gets rid of arbitrary rock paper scissors whilst avoiding homogenous unit interplay. Anti-heavy units don't do reduced damage to light units, instead light units can dodge slower moveing projectiles by juking out the way (which the aforementioned powerful AI will do for you given the correct order) and penetrating shots do increased damage based on the distance traveled through a unit, not because of an arbitrary bonus table. With all this simulation comes a lot of emergent gameplay. For example if there's a valuable unit immobilised and about to die, you can physically intercept shots with light units to save it's hide, or ram it out of the way with your heavier units.
Thirdly, the options. There are so many of them, EMP damage, slow damage, momentum changing weapons, terraforming, cloak, jumpjets... It brings a steep learning curve, but it's worth it because the balance is good enough that almost all of them are viable for something making every game potentially wildly different.
+ constant development, improvement, bugfixing
+ single commander unit brings unique possibilities, small part of roleplay here ;)
+ massive strategic online metagame with Planetwars
+ unique gameplay with various units and technologies
+ terraforming the 3d-map with intuitive interface
+ game interface customizable and extendable via widgets
+ real 3d, affecting strategy, movement, sightlines, shotlines etc
+ 3d world is complete zoomable till whole map is visible, iconization of units on zoomout
+ camera controls are easy and intuitive to use (gameplay feels like suppreme commander)
+ air, water, land(flat/hill), amphibious, spider(all land terrain), each makes different units more or less usefull
- not much of a (singleplayer) campaing (so far)
- engine might be a bit older (but effects are nice though)
(-> but unlike other games, graphics are not distracting the user and clear, so enforces strategic gameplay)
just gotta love this game.