Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.
In the modern conditions of the gaming market, the strategic genre is going through hard times. The course of “rendering” everything and everyone, as well as the change in the vector of popularity to RPG and action-adventure games, left on the market mainly those series of strategies that have a long history, or a very respectable publisher.
But digging into the retrospective of the industry, you can find projects that are classics of the genre, carry new, interesting mechanics and are pleasantly played even to this day. The magazine invites you to familiarize yourself with a list of the 15 most interesting strategies of the old generation, highly appreciated by users and critics for more than 10 years of its existence.
- Rating of the most interesting strategies on PC
- Age of mythology
- Rise & Fall
- Supreme Commander
- “Behind Enemy Lines”
- Codename panzers
- Star Wars: Empire at War
- World in Conflict
- Rise of Nations
- Black & White
- War Front: Turning Point
- Battle realms
- Rise of Nations: War of Legions
- Tom clancy's endwar
- Wargame red dragon
Rating of the most interesting strategies on PC
|Rating of the most interesting strategies on PC||1||Age of mythology||5.0|
|2||Rise & Fall||4.9|
|4||“Behind Enemy Lines”||4.7|
|6||Star Wars: Empire at War||4.5|
|7||World in Conflict||4.5|
|8||Rise of Nations||4.4|
|10||Black & White||4.3|
|11||War Front: Turning Point||4.2|
|13||Rise of Nations: War of Legions||4.1|
|14||Tom clancy's endwar||4.1|
|15||Wargame red dragon||4.0|
Age of mythology
Game rating: 5.0
The classic strategy Age of Mytholohy, which has much in common with the even more legendary Age of Empires series, has not been ignored either. The setting of this project takes the players back to the ancient era, when the world was ruled by pagan religions, and people worshiped the Pantheon of Gods. The developers made a very competent move, colliding the Greek, Egyptian, Atlanta (The Titans add-on), Scandinavian and Chinese (Tale of the Dragon add-on) empires in one game – not a single project since 2002 has repeated this experiment.
Unlike Age of Empires, where only human and siege units are available to the user, Age of Mythology has a set of mythical creatures: mummies, giant scarab beetles, anubites, scorpion people, minotaurs, cyclops and many others. The main feature of the project is that access to mythical units opens when you move to a new era and start worshiping a new god (from the pantheon of lesser gods). At the same time, useful passive effects are imposed on the user's units, which allow you to increase the characteristics of the troops, or bestow production buffs. Ultimately, the project, along with all the additions, raised the bar for the quality of the classic strategy to the highest level. And although the same Warcraft III became very popular, Age of Mythology has not been forgotten to this day.
Rise & Fall
Game rating: 4.9
A third-person action strategy game that received the highest ratings from the gaming community for its incredible gameplay experience, which was subsequently well interpreted in the 2nd part of SpellForce. Playing in the Rise & Fall story campaign, the audience got the opportunity from time to time to control the main character – a military leader, leading the troops of his faction to battle with enemies. The transition to controlling the hero cannot be called anything other than imboy – even at the most critical moment, when the troops of the regular army are running out, the action system allows you to mow down crowds of enemies and restore the parity of the parties. Actually, the critics were outraged by this mix of strategy and action. In the end, they called this decision 'bold' and 'quite original', but the gameplay is 'boring and monotonous'.
If we abstract from the action component, then the game begins to evoke memories of the magnificent Age of Mythology. Yes, the setting itself does not place the audience in such an early antique era, and it is tied to the confrontation of heroes, and not to the worship of gods and global civilizational wars. However, the similarities can be traced – at least we know what the developers of Rise & Fall were inspired by. Well: after 13 years, the project still pops up in public discussions. True, there is no talk of any continuation or restart, but we still do not recommend losing the hope that one day an ideological clone of a great game will visit us.
Game rating: 4.8
Another representative of the strategy genre from 2007, which became the ideological successor to the popular Total Annihilation game. The story of Supreme Commander is set in a futuristic future in which humanity has made tremendous scientific advances. The long-term reign of the Empire was discredited at the time of the creation of a new techno-anthropological race of symbionts – people with cybernetic augmentation and artificial intelligence. Pursuing a greedy desire to enslave people of a new race, the Empire unleashed a war that later went beyond the borders of one planet. So, having divided into three factions – Eon, Kiban and OFZ – each with its own beliefs and prejudices, the people of the former Empire began to exterminate each other, turning into ruins the once beautiful landscapes of the Earth and vital colonized planets.
The main advantage of Supreme Commander over all similar projects lies in the great variety of tactics, which is a consequence of the correct game balance. Almost all units are useful here and can significantly affect strategic battle methods. There are few story missions, but they are, and besides, they are well thought out, which is why it can take about 2-3 hours to complete each. Separately, it is worth noting a large-scale update, which a year later brought a new faction (Seraphim) to the game, a full-fledged story company and 110 (!) Units of new technology. In the future, the developers released an equally high-quality 2nd part of this strategy and earned a place of honor in the rich history of the game industry.
“Behind Enemy Lines”
Game rating: 4.7
A Ukrainian-made strategy game released in 2004. For its time, the level of its performance was beyond praise: many Western game publications rated the creation under the 1C publishing house highly, recognizing it as almost the best release of the year among their kind. Needless to say: the right accents and the ability to competently implement what was conceived allowed the Best Way studio to gain recognition in the cozy community of strategy lovers.
But why is the game so fond of the user? First of all, by betting on realism. If a grenade or a high-explosive cartridge of a tank flies into the body of a human unit, it will simply burst. Hitting a fence or hut will lead to destruction, and a shot at enemy vehicles will neutralize or completely destroy it. It is noteworthy that an abandoned but still 'live' enemy tank, armored personnel carrier and other pieces of equipment can be repaired and used in battle. Also, the game has a system of shelters that obey the same laws of physics (correct and reliable) as the rest of the aspects.
The second and, perhaps, the main advantage of “Behind Enemy Lines” is expressed by the presence of 4 story campaigns – for the troops of the USSR, Britain, the USA and Germany. All of them are distinguished by their thoughtfulness and realistic picture of what is happening. Visually, the game also looks great and, what pleases the most: it has not been forgotten. True, the development, after more than 10 years, was handed over to another studio.
Game rating: 4.6
A strong Hungarian project about the Second World War, which has some gameplay similarities to World in Conflict, but brought some pretty interesting features to the genre. It makes no sense to talk about the setting here: during the time of the general enthusiasm for the events of the Second World War, only the lazy did not use this concept for their own purposes. And now, it would seem, another faceless project left the studio walls, entering the world … and became a very solid strategy with the right balance and its own characteristics.
Codename Panzers' similarity to World in Conflict is limited only by the lack of base building opportunities and the fact that subordinate units are replenished by purchasing them for special points. Only this is not done during battles, but between missions, which is aimed at making the gameplay heavier. An interesting feature that can be noted with the '+' sign is the implemented rank system. Thanks to her, the squads that act under the command of the player from mission to mission become much stronger than recruits, and their loss significantly affects the balance of power. Also interesting is the system of 'hidden tasks', the implementation of which gives a tangible advantage over the enemy in the course of one single task. Codename Panzers has a very good tactical potential, and many experts still cannot understand why such a game was ingloriously forgotten. To do a little justice, let's give it 5th place in the ranking of the best.
Star Wars: Empire at War
Game rating: 4.5
Released in 2006, Empire at War was warmly received by Star Wars fans: accustomed to playing role-playing and shooters, they discovered for themselves the fact that the strategy genre is great for such a large universe. The uniqueness of the game was entirely in the excellent combination of several mechanics. The strategic and tactical elements were perfectly combined with resource management, and the battles within the planets – with hot space battles.
The plot of Star Wars: Empire at War was traditionally played out in limited locations, was very exciting and executed in the spirit of the franchise. But there was another component in the game: a free campaign mode, which allowed you to choose one of two opposing sides – the Rebel Alliance or the Empire – and decide the fate of the entire galaxy. Much to the regret of all fans who liked the game then, and still like it, the current owner of the franchise (Electronic Arts) is in no hurry to develop a series in the strategy genre. Maybe because they do not know how to do this, or maybe for reasons of small profit – after all, it will no longer be possible to screw the loot boxes. If Lucas Arts continued to exist, then Empire at War received a continuation … in modern reality, there is practically nothing to hope for.
World in Conflict
Game rating: 4.5
A strategy that received the honorary title of 'Best RTS' in 2007 from a number of reputable gaming publications. The plot campaign here develops according to an alternative historical scenario. 1989 was marked by a large-scale conflict in Europe. The culprit of what was happening was the Soviet Union, which, instead of perestroika, decided to establish power over European countries for unwillingness to provide financial assistance at a critical moment for it. The conflict is developing into a global problem: the troops of the United States are being transferred to Europe as peacekeepers (who would have thought?), But even with their help, the territory is slowly but surely coming under the control of the Soviet army.
The gameplay users start in the besieged Seattle. The regular troops of the Land of the Soviets proceeded to siege the territory of the United States, and the main goal in this case is to suppress the enemy's forces, defending the independence of the States. World in Conflict lacks base building, which we are used to seeing in classic strategy. Instead, the emphasis is on the tactical component, since it is extremely rare for a player to have a large number of troops. The ranks of units are replenished solely due to the transfer of units, which can be summoned for conditional earned points.
World in Conflict is an excellent strategic project for obtaining an alternative gaming experience that has its strengths and weaknesses, but undeservedly forgotten under the layer of time.
Rise of Nations
Game rating: 4.4
A game that traces the motives of the legendary Civilization and notes of global conflicts from Total War. Conceptually, the project managed to impose a correspondence struggle on both competitors, but the test of time, as we can judge from the current situation in the segment, was beyond its strength.
Strikingly, Rise of Nations has tried to move away from direct comparisons with the pillars of the turn-based and real-time strategy series by purposefully shifting the focus. So, if in Total War players focus on how the global map changes after the battle, then this game shifts the focus to what is happening directly on the battlefield. But with Civilization, ideological differences are more difficult to find, but … there are some. For example, the number of nations in Rise of Nations is more than 24 (including additions), while the original source even in 2016 showed us only 19 civilizations. True, the decision to take by quantity led to the fact that the quality component was lost. The uniqueness of nations was determined by only 3 individual units and one national bonus – you must admit that this is very little for the general diversity. But, be that as it may, Rise of Nations became a good representative of the genre, received high (for its time) ratings, and earned a place in the list of the best strategies for PC.
Game rating: 4.3
The early 2000s turned out to be a golden time for real-time strategy developers – a leap in the graphics part made it possible to create a pleasant, acceptable picture without much effort, focusing on the gameplay and the story component. And the narrators did not try so hard: the games were based on the scenarios of legends and myths, as well as reliable historical events that require interpretation under the conventions of the game embodiment. One of these creations was Praetorians – a game that tells about the events that took place in Rome under Gaius Julius Caesar. For the main source of inspiration, the writers took his travel diary, which describes in detail the events from the capture of Gaul to the end of the civil war.
The main feature of the Praetorians gameplay was a very funny feature: the troops sent to attack the enemy could not be recalled. This characterizes very well the principles of the legions of the era when retreat was regarded as a manifestation of cowardice. In fact, any squad sent into battle will fight to the last, at the cost of their own lives holding back the enemy. This largely narrows the tactical capabilities of the player to the notorious sending reinforcements from the reserve troops into battle. It doesn't sound very good, but in fact it turns out quite exciting – the project manages to throw new challenges to users, from the first to the last mission. It is for this reason that Praetorians are still remembered with warmth and nostalgia by strategy buffs.
Black & White
Game rating: 4.3
A rather atypical project for the gaming industry, combining elements of a real-time strategy and a god simulator. Similarly to Dungeon Keeper, Black & White plays on the issues of divine intervention in the life of the settlements. But, unlike its predecessor, ideas were taken to the absolute here. The player was given the opportunity to choose behavior markers, albeit in a very limited range of 2 opposite values. Do you help residents in every way to cope with the emerging hardships? You are a good god who is praised and revered. Do you constantly send them cruel tests and seek to intimidate them? You are an evil, angry god, before whom only the insane does not tremble.
Despite the straightforwardness and unambiguity of the morality system, Black & White does not make users bored and invent various indecencies for their own amusement. The game has the ultimate goal, which is to capture nearby villages under your vigilant control. In other words, the players must force the villagers to worship them at the location – only in this case can we talk about the successful end of the story mode. But the way and the speed of achieving this state already depends on the decisions of the users themselves – this is the strategic component of the project under consideration.
War Front: Turning Point
Game rating: 4.2
War Front: Turning Point is a reimagining of a serious strategy series with an alternative vision of history, which received a classic incarnation and a number of very cool chips that play on the realism of what is happening. The two parts that preceded the game, which stood out against the background of competitors more negative than positive, forced the developers to take a meaningful risk both in the plot and in the gameplay plan. The inverted course of the war, at the beginning of which the troops of the allied armies kill Hitler, and the Nazis easily break through the defenses of Great Britain, raises the degree of madness to unprecedented levels.
Supports this chaos and gameplay, which includes many extraordinary units and the ability to choose a faction hero (out of 3 possible). In turn, the control mechanics are truly classic, and the balance of forces is verified as an example of many modern projects – each combat unit finds practical application and carries a certain tactical meaning. Both players and critics really liked the mechanics of the dynamic change of weather and time of day, as well as the impact of these events on the game world. In the dark, spotlights and other lighting begin to turn on at the location, which has a very beneficial effect on the lore of the project. But in the rain and wind, the user and his opponent are deprived of the opportunity to call up aircraft, which is dictated by the likelihood of a wasted loss of combat units in bad weather conditions. All this and much more favorably distinguishes Turning Point from the main array of strategies of that time, and the more incomprehensible becomes the fact that the game, as well as the entire franchise, was simply forgotten.
Game rating: 4.2
Real-time strategy, stylistically close to Warcraft III, but radically different from it in terms of concept. In a sense, Battle Realms can be compared to Total War: Shogun – the story of the conflict here unfolds to match the best game of the early 2010s. Only the scale of the series as a whole, and the actions in a single project, are significantly inferior to the brainchild of Creative Assembly.
The main interest of the gameplay part of Battle Realms was the development of its own army. While all real-time strategies used the mechanics laid down in Dune (squads were created using resources), this project introduced a promising, but hitherto unrepeated recruiting system. Its essence is as follows: in order to create a warrior, the player needs to send a peasant for training, who in other strategies play the role of a labor force. That is, in addition to material resources, the game asks for a human resource from the user, which does not contradict the logic of the real world (it is much more strange when, according to canonical gaming conventions, a squad is generated from thin air). Yes, the scale of battles in Battle Realms is significantly inferior to competitors in the genre, but the level of intensity and original gaming experience make it one of the most interesting strategies in the gaming industry segment.
Rise of Nations: War of Legions
Game rating: 4.1
Rise of Nations: War of Legions is an excellent example of how a single game with a close Civilization implementation can radically transform into classic strategy. You may say that it is unfair to place the ideological continuation of the already mentioned game in the rating … however, there is no talk of any ideological continuation here. The release of 'War of the Legions' was associated with the desire of the developers to attract that part of the gaming audience that does not like the strategy setting with a huge number of game sides and the weak implementation of the differences between them.
In the new Rise of Nations, the conflict unfolds between 3 factions, the characteristic features of which are:
- firearms with various steam engines (clear tracing of steampunk culture);
- magic and mythical creatures;
- a mixture of alien technology with the culture of the Aztecs.
Naturally, the global message of conflicts has not gone anywhere: cities, borders, and a research tree (which replaced eras) remained. The visual style and identity of each faction has changed, the approaches to tactical and strategic decisions based on the perfectly balanced balance of troops have changed. And everything seems to be fine, only the plot cannot repeat the scope of the design and gameplay mechanics. However, strategy is a genre that can exist without a strong story.
Tom clancy's endwar
Game rating: 4.1
The odds of running into a ton of selected cranberries in Tom Clancy's games almost always exceed the 90% mark. However, Endwar, which belongs to the most suitable type of genre to contain this very cranberry, turned out to be adequate both from the point of view of the plot and in terms of the implementation of gameplay innovations. The global conflict, in which the player is offered to participate, was provoked by all its parties: the United States, the European coalition, and Russia, and even China and Japan. Remarkably, this part only mentions the first three representatives of the opposing sides: the Asian representatives in it are not revealed from the word 'at all'. With a high degree of probability, this move was due to hopes for the continuation of the series, however.
… that dreams of releasing the next chapter of Endwar are not destined to come true. The first and only part of the strategy tried to deviate from the standards of the genre by fixing the camera strictly in the rear of the selected units. It turned out very interesting: from now on, the user could only rely on what he saw on the horizon, and the tactical calculation was formed by periodically switching to different units. To enhance the immersion in strategy, developers from Ubisoft Shanghai 'screwed' voice control to the interface. True, it recognized only English speech, and even then in the purest pronunciation. However, after adjusting for a couple of hours, the players got a unique experience from the game, noting that it really makes you feel like a commander of a combat squad.
Wargame red dragon
Game rating: 4.0
The representative of the Wargame strategy series, remarkable in its scale, proposes to change the theater of operations from the wooded and lowland areas of Europe to the desert hills, impenetrable jungles and swamps of Central Asia. As in the case of World of Conflict or Codename Panzars, Wargame Red Dragon does not provide an opportunity to build bases and train combat units during the mission – a strictly defined number of them is issued for each task, which greatly slows down the gameplay and forces users to play thoughtfully, developing tactics and strategy. If you think that everything is simple – we hasten to disappoint you. Red Dragon is one of the hardcore projects that are not designed for the entire audience of RTS games. Actually, it was this feature that determined the unpopularity of the series, especially against the background of the Civilization, Total War, and, indirectly, Warhammer 40k franchises. The tendency to render everything and everything makes it impossible for the existence of both individual representatives of the strategic segment of games and the genre as a whole. The Wargame series is no exception, but it still manages to exist on a small budget, low-profile announcements and the love of a small group of dedicated fans. For the combination of the desire for life and constancy in uncompromising hardcore, the series deserves an honorable place in our rating.
Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.