85 Published Reviews
Port Royale 4PC
All in all, Port Royale 4 is a surprisingly good game. It has a very broad scope, and its large management tools are benefited from an expansive map full of cities as a playground. In an era desperately short of good management games, this colonial Caribbean title is a breath of fresh air.
That said, when you're into Star Renegades, there is plenty to get excited about. Even the most trivial battles feel like an interesting puzzle thanks to the truly special combat design. This can carry you for dozens of hours, since there's really nothing else like it out there right now. It’s so good that it helps mitigate some of the less consistent character balancing, difficulty spikes, and samey map presentation that many of its ilk wouldn’t be able to overcome.
Necromunda: Underhive WarsPC
For me, it's nice to see that Rogue Factory is learning from their mistakes in Mordheim: City of the Damned, but It feels they're not learning fast enough. If you wanted fast and flashy battles in the crumbling domes of the underhive, you'll have to wait a bit more. But for now, there's a distinct lack of flash and a clear overabundance of bloat.
That said, Wasteland 3 will absolutely fill a void for all you strategy gamers out there looking to scratch that XCOM and/or Fallout itch. What really makes InXile’s doomsday RPG worthy of a 'must play' recommendation though, is everything else. From its clever writing, interesting setting, and dedication to making sure you feel every consequence of all of your choices, it’ll be difficult to find a more roundly satisfying role-playing experience this year.
A decent RTS that takes the core feeling of Company of Heroes and improves it with mechs and modern graphics. And while the quick match function may sometimes throw you to the much higher level wolves, there’s enough in here to scratch that strategy itch and plenty of (blech) encouragement to play frequently. Now all we need are those promised deathmatch maps and co-op modes and that'll round things off quite nicely.
Crusader Kings IIIPC
Despite these few grievances, Crusader Kings III is undoubtedly one of – if not the – best strategy releases of the past few years. By building on the Game of Thrones-style drama and intrigue that its predecessor excelled at, it makes for engrossing gameplay that combines the best of the grand strategy and RPG genres.
I can’t recommend Fae Tactics enough to those of you out there waiting for Square to take another longform stab at FFT. It may lack the abundance of micro managing you're used to, but the more straight on approach really puts the combat front and center, and I never missed upgrading menial unit equipment or cross classing or the like. Whether the trend catches or not, I can’t say, but don’t miss the truly fresh take on the classic formula.
Frostpunk: On The EdgePC
I’ll honestly miss Frostpunk - its unique combination of narrative and strategy has made it one of the most memorable city-builders for many years. It feels like many reference the tough choices as being Frostpunk’s most memorable aspect, but for me, it’s atmosphere - and I get that’s maybe ironic for a game about an apocalyptic weather anomaly.
Imperiums: Greek WarsPC
Still, Greek Wars nails that addictive 4X loop and it does so in an often-overlooked setting. One of the key issues with this genre is that fall-off point (typically around the late-mid-game) when you stop doing those titular 4Xs and start waiting for some turn counter to tick down while mindlessly mashing the end turn button.
Ultimately, Othercide is a unique entry into the genre that is definitely worth your time. It’s pacing issues and ramping difficulty might be the stuff of nightmares for some, but when it comes together, the clever timeline mechanics and risk-based troop management can be the stuff of sweet tactical dreams.
A Total War Saga: TROYPC
Do people want Achilles to charge screaming into a unit and kill like two guys? Or do they want him to decimate that unit? The reason we still tell the story of Troy isn’t because of the history, it’s because of the myth, and myth is exaggeration. Reverse engineering myth back into history is incredibly smart, but in the end, I don’t think it makes for a better story.
When it’s demands seem at their peak of insurmountability, the mechanical expressiveness and freedom of your party’s combat abilities never fail to provide you with just the right amount of tools to make you come out of any scenario feeling like the smartest person to ever play video games.
Warhammer 40,000: MechanicusSwitch
Combat and customization is truly a unique experience, and something you won't be able to find in modern contemporaries done quite this way. The rest of it - the setting,the story, the repetitive encounters, the sketchy performance issues - may not be enough to hold you through an entire run.
XCOM 2 CollectionSwitch
A couple of years ago I would never have guessed that one of the best platforms for strategy gamers would be the Switch. Despite the technical issues, the XCOM 2 Collection reinforces this point and if you’re looking for something new to really sink your teeth into, this is a great buy. PC vets may notice the load times more and will miss the modding potential, but thankfully WOTC is pretty good as-is.
Anno History CollectionPC
The games work on modern machines – but that alone isn’t enough for the price tag. If you’re tempted by the pack, boot up any of the older games you have. If you find yourself still playing, then go for it. There are indeed extra improvements and as a bonus, your old saves work on the new editions. If, however, you find you’re reminded why you bought all the sequels to these kinds of games, then I don’t think the History Pack offers enough of a return on your investment.
Invisible, Inc. is well designed, looks great, and plays even better. It is fast-paced and exciting with a tightly woven, if fairly familiar, narrative. If you loved XCOM and Templar Battleforce you'll love this game. If you are a fan of turn-based tactical games this is absolutely in your wheelhouse. If you dig high-tech, high-stealth, full-of-thrills gameplay go buy this now on iOS.
So, is Gears Tactics worth your time? The short answer: yes. Its finely crafted tactical battles are worth the price of admission (especially for fans of the series), but it’s worth noting that the lack of any strategic dimension is a serious drawback. Still, despite these hiccups and missed opportunities, fans of both the turn-based tactics genre and the franchise proper will find something to like in Gears Tactics.
XCOM: Chimera SquadPC
Chimera Squad is definitely not aimed at XCOM fans. I don’t know if the stated goal of finding new audiences has worked (Steam users like it, but Metacritic users hate it, for example) but to me this is an incongruent vision of the series where you have snake squadmates and meaningless banter instead of worldbuilding and replayability. It’s fine as a one-off, slightly fun but buggy (hopefully non-canon) entry, but if this signifies the future of the franchise, I am worried.
All things considered, Iron Danger is a great game. It may lack the sweeping epic scope of others and the marketing budget of a AAA game, but it lacks none of the quality. It’s a fun romp in fantasy Finland, setting stuff on fire and slinging spells left and right. It’s like 2001’s Achron that actually works!
Yes, Your GracePC
If this was in a Humble Bundle or on sale, I would think you would be happy with your purchase. At full price, I would probably feel as though I could have spent my money on something better. With that said, the game feels like a labour of love, not some lazy cash grab. Just don’t expect particularly deep gameplay.
Total War: THREE KINGDOMS - A World BetrayedPC
Truth be said, I enjoyed A World Betrayed more than the previous 3K DLC. The more emotional and dichotomy thematic makes it for a tight and well centered expansion that is vastly more interesting than random people doing random things, and Sun Ce’s luck mechanic was highly pleasant to play with (once you get past the existential dread of an immediate death literally caused by “Chinese dude ran out of luck”).
Aside from the bad gun aim mechanics sapping most of the moment-to-moment enjoyment, Taur is actually a very competent game. Its long list of research options and gun upgrades are enough to keep you interested, while the visuals make every second rather visually pleasing. If you’re on the lookout for a fun, casual tower defense game, definitely give Taur (the game, not the tower) a shot.
AI War 2: The Spire RisesPC
Overall, The Spire Rises is a very solid expansion for an excellent game if a very difficult, surprisingly intellectual strategy game is what you're looking for.
Six Ages: Ride Like the WindPC
Some strategy gamers will find this kind of forced immersion awful, others will lap it up. Fans of the original will already be familiar with it. They'll discover a smoother interface and a new setting in a new culture. Forgoing the traditional control and power fantasies of strategic empire-building is a hard habit to give up. But for those that can make the sacrifice, Six Ages holds a wealth of wonders few other games can match.
Warhammer 40000: Gladius - Relics of WarPC
All things considered, Warhammer 40,000: Gladius’ T’au DLC is a must for anyone who plays Gladius in TYOOL 2020. If you dislike the race (you should), you will at least appreciate them as enemies and find use of their various racial abilities for modding. The question now remains if we’re going to get the rest of important races - like both flavors of Eldar - in the DLC cycle, or will they be saved for a sequel?