What makes a game stand out against its peers? Honestly? Often it’s because if how it resonates with the person more than how it may compare in a by the numbers game.
Continuing on our two week gush fest to celebrate Chalgyr’s Game Room’s 10th anniversary, here are what we each thought reigned supreme from turned based to real time tactics!
Fire Emblem: Awakening
I enjoy all kinds of strategy games, though the turn-based with RPG elements definitely tend to hook me in more successfully. I had been playing Fire Emblem for years. It had a very niche following that appreciated the hardcore difficulty, anime-style visuals and interesting characters. However, something happened with Fire Emblem: Awakening. It was made more accessible and it was given a bit more fanfare by Nintendo than in the past. What followed was a game that catered to multiple audiences, providing what is still to this day arguably my favorite 3DS title.
Sid Meier’s Civilization V
The second Civ ate up oodles of my time years ago when I was first introduced to it. For some reason, the next couple of games never quite tickled my brain in quite the same way. Then came the fifth installment, and I happily sunk tons of hours into the series again. For me, the magic had been recaptured.
Proof that strategy games (and RTS games no less!) could not only be made and played on a console – but that they could be incredibly well done as well. Until this time, just about everyone said that a proper RTS required a keyboard and mouse, but Ensemble Studios proved otherwise with Halo Wars
Valkyria Chronicles 4
The Banner Saga
Total War: Shogun 2
Distant Worlds: Universe
Those of you that read my review of BattleTech know that it became my game of the year when it came out. I love the game because of the different levels of strategy, both the financial and the in-mission strategies, the story, and the customization of the mechs. It is a game that has existed for a very long time and ended up with a bunch of spin-offs like MechWarrior and Mech Commander. The series has dozens of books released in its universe and it continues to live on as a miniature game, book series, video game series, etc.. What can we say? Mech battles are awesome. How could it NOT be number one on my list? I have spent countless hours in this game already and will spend a ton more.
I have enjoyed the Civilization series for many years, and though I can’t recall which one I started with, I have always loved turn-based strategy games that give players options to win through military dominance or diplomacy. There are other victory conditions like the tech race, but it just goes to show that the game can be won in multiple ways without forcing people into one type of win condition. Civilization V is also at the top of my list because of Baba Yetu. I’m not going to sugar coat that fact. The music is brilliant and as a theme song, very little tops it for me. But beyond that, I enjoy games that can be played with friends with some casual mayhem, diplomatic strategies, and the ability to be mad at Gandhi (because he’s a dick in Civilization. Trust me. He’s not to be trifled with.) I also really love the ability to chase after monuments and exploring the land around your initial city. All in all, I love Civilization V and it is my runner up under strategy.
If you don’t know about Starcraft, then I’m gonna be really disappointed. I was never very good at micromanaging, or even working out a winning strategy in the original starcraft, so when a buddy of mine told me to get Heart of the Swarm, I was a little skeptical, but still got it anyway. Hoo boy, I was not disappointed. With a lot of updates and upgrades and even a co-op mission mode, Starcraft 2 has to hit this list somewhere, and at the top seems most appropriate. It felt great getting back into the swing of RTS warfare with alien creatures and monstrosities of death with my Ultralisk rush. Mwuhuhuhuhu.
An interesting tower defense style strategy game where instead of the humans defending against aliens, you’re aliens invading the humans. While the basic tower defense aspect is pretty standard, being able to use the ship to shoot down enemies was pretty cool, as was the huge boss fights that throw an interesting spin at the tower defense genre. With the option of a second player joining in for a couch co-op mode, Xenomorph defense makes a great entry for killing some time with a friend, as well as eliminating those squishy human pests.
Fire Emblem: Awakening
This was the first time I ever picked up this series. The only reason, and I kid you not, I bought this game was because I found out you could marry dreamy anime boys AND have their children. SOLD! PLUS, you know, it’s actually super fun to take the time and think about your next move carefully or else you could lose your dreamy anime husband, PERMANENTLY.
When I first got my Steam account my brother and a good friend started me off on Dota. That game is structure around how strategic a 5 player group can be. It was extremely tough to master, but with some very patient teammates, and a great sense of humor, it became one of my favorite pastimes.
Fire Emblem: Echoes
Another Fire Emblem? Yes! Since I don’t play many Strategy games I gotta double up, but that’s ok because Echoes was awesome. I can’t choose my husband this time around, but don’t worry, the game does a great good at telling this tragic love story. It also introduces a bit of dungeon exploration with lots of sweet little goodies and power-ups if you looked high and low.