For PC players, the strategy genre is a deep and varied one, including turn-based games, real-time games, tactics games, and massive 4X-ers. There are so many options for a taste that making a list like this might be challenging. If you’re looking for a memorable experience, go no further than the top strategy games. There’s something here for everyone, whether you enjoy making minute tactical decisions, sending in massive armies to watch the carnage, or simply giving your pals the chance to name a squad of NPCs and send them into battle.
Here are some of the best strategy games out there, whether you’re just getting started in the genre or want to explore it further in search of undiscovered gems.
Command and Conquer Remastered Collection
In retrospect, the setup and delivery may appear amateurish, yet there’s a good reason why such a classic is being reproduced after so many years. You may want to look elsewhere if you’re after a deep RTS with a tonne of features, but this is the definitive edition of a game that has garnered a devoted following in the quarter century since its initial release.
It features enhanced user interface elements, higher-resolution visuals, previously console-exclusive content, and more than 100 missions that can be played in any order. You may have problems with artificial intelligence (AI), but like many RTS games, C&C features fantastic multiplayer. The game itself hasn’t changed, save for some additional difficulty options. This is mostly a game for fans, but anyone interested in the genre’s roots or in simply playing a high-quality remaster can’t do better than this set.
Into the Breach
From the people that brought you FTL comes this gorgeously crafted, nearly flawless slice of tactical mech combat. Into the Breach tasks you with defending eight-by-eight grids full of tower blocks and several secondary objectives from waves of Vek monsters. It’s important to destroy the Vek with mech punches and artillery strikes, but you’ll also spend a lot of time using the force of your blows to push foes about the map and deflect their attacks away from your most valuable structures.
The power generated by civilian structures is like a gauge measuring the overall health of your campaign. If you keep bombing residential areas, eventually you’ll have to concede that you lost the battle. When your team’s energy reserves are gone, they must go back in time to try to avert disaster once more. It tests your mettle while remaining manageable in bite-size chunks, and it constantly evolves. Unlocking different Mechs and upgrades for those Mechs gives you access to increasingly creative tools with which to play with your adversaries.
There are some games that end up being landmarks for their respective genres, imitations of which can never live up to the original. StarCraft was one of these RTS games, so it’s not surprising that its sequel basically provides the same thing in a fancier package. StarCraft 2’s visuals continue to wow ten years after its first release.
The various StarCraft fan-favorite races are all put to good use in the campaign. After spending time constructing your armies, you’ll find great satisfaction in watching the epic battles. There is a wide variety of missions to choose from, and there are plenty of rewards to keep you playing for a long time if you complete them all. Players that jump in now will also find many systems they are already familiar with from games like StarCraft and Age of Empires. What’s not broken shouldn’t be fixed, after all.
The game deftly manipulates limited resources to place you in tense situations. Although the game’s AI will determine most of your encounters in combat, your decisions regarding the six scan sites available to you at any given moment will have a significant impact on the course of the battle. You require fresh recruits, an engineer to construct a communications center that can link you with further regions, and exotic metals to improve your arsenal. It’s impossible to get everything on this list. Most often, you will be limited to a single option. Sid Meier, in 1989, defined games as “a sequence of fascinating decisions,” and XCOM 2(opens in new tab) is the clearest representation of that attitude that Firaxis has created.
The War of the Chosen addition adds even more pleasant though frenetic variations, such as the endlessly chatty titular adversaries that appear at odd intervals in the campaign with random strengths and weaknesses.
Crusader Kings 3
To put it simply, Crusader Kings 3 is one of the largest and most complex grand strategy role-playing games available. Similarly to the development of Total War: Warhammer, CK3 is more visually appealing, more user-friendly, and more complicated than its predecessors in terms of both gameplay and narrative. The breadth of the game’s period drama storytelling is largely unprecedented, setting it apart from other games in its genre. Incorporate this into its competing groups, political upheaval, and periodic, protracted civil wars, and you have a winning scenario.