Strategy games aren’t for everyone, but for those of us who enjoy putting ourselves in situations that require tactical precision, lots of thought, and maybe a 50-page long guide on the internet, this year has a lot to look forward to.
There have been quite a few game releases this month, but what else is there to fit into our calendars? Well, there are some big name titles listed here that shouldn’t be overlooked.
If you’ve played any of the more recent strategy games, you may be a bit disappointed to find that they weren’t quite as good as we all hoped. The rest of the upcoming strategy games that have yet to released seem to be a lot more promising, and better yet, most of them are sequels to existing games that were met with critical acclaim.
Here are the top five best upcoming strategy games.
Halo Wars 2
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: 343 Industries, Creative Assembly
Platforms: Xbox One, Windows 10
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Halo Wars is one of the best real-time strategy games I’ve ever played, hands down. A sequel to such a masterpiece is coming in only a month, and Creative Assembly, the masters of the RTS genre, are also behind the development of this game. Sign me up right here and now, because this might just be one of the best games of 2017. While I’m not a big fan of what 343 Industries has done with the more recent Halo games, Halo Wars is a very different ballgame. Also, with the geniuses behind the Total War games, things couldn’t possibly go wrong. This time, the game seems to have more emphasis on cinematic elements alongside breathtaking visuals and overall technical beauty. If you’re already a Halo fan, I probably don’t need to tell you that this game is bound to be great, but if you haven’t been sold on the idea, then trust me. This game is not just another modern shooter, it’s a mind-bending and challenging piece of art.
The Guild 3
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Release Date: 2017
After a whole decade, THQ Nordic is finally bringing us a sequel to the not-so-great strategy game, The Guild 2. While that doesn’t sound promising, The Guild 2 seemed to be full of ideas and gameplay mechanics that were fantastic in theory, but not well-implemented. I believe that The Guild 3 has the potential to properly execute these wonderful ideas. Unfortunately, there isn’t any footage of the game other than a few music selections, so there isn’t much to go off of other than a few screenshots located on the game’s official website. So far, it looks beautiful. The premise of the game is rather simple, but the mechanics are also very complex. Your goal is to create a legacy, create your character, live your life as whatever you see fit, have children, and keep your lineage alive for as long as possible. It’s not always so easy, as bandits can raid your town, villagers can betray you, and natural disasters and plagues can bring a swift end to your life. Ultimately, the game has a strong pedigree that I believe will be enough to make the third game in the series an amazing experience.
PRE-ORDER: The Guild 3
Frozen Synapse 2
Publisher: Mode 7 Limited
Developer: Mode 7 Limited
Release Date: 2017
Frozen Synapse was a masterpiece of a turn-based strategy game when it came out several years ago. It featured unique gameplay that involved building up a small force of soldiers, setting up their actions, and playing them out. There were doors, walls, windows, and many other environmental factors to use as cover. Even more fascinating was the AI, which always seemed very human-like. Now, we can expect a sequel to Frozen Snyapse that seems to be very much the same, but heavily expanded upon in premise. Since the first game had a pretty interesting and immersive campaign mode, I’m sure this game can take things at least one step forward. If you’re looking for a game like X-COM and you love the turn-based mechanics and general physics of Toribash but would rather have a game that looks like it came straight out of the movie TRON, then this is definitely the game for you.
Riot – Civil Unrest
Publisher: Merge Games
Developer: Leonard Menchiari, IV Productions
Release Date: Early 2017
After the riots that occurred over the weekend in Washington, D.C. as a response to the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, this game suddenly seems more powerful and interesting. It was already a unique and intriguing game, but I think it might get a bit more recognition alongside the political fire burning in the United States. Watching the trailer, I can feel the weight of the art laid down before me. It’s immense and perhaps it’s also a bit scary. Nonetheless, the game has a fantastic pixel art-style that couldn’t look more beautiful, and it makes the game seem all the more rebellious with the graffiti-like charm. Whether it’s intentionally clever or simply ironic, Riot – Civil Unrest will be releasing early this year just in time for the newly elected president.
PRE-ORDER: Riot – Civil Unrest
Total War: Arena
Developer: Creative Assembly
Release Date: TBA
Okay, this one probably doesn’t count because it doesn’t have an official release date, but it simply needs to be mentioned. Any real-time strategy fan worth their salt knows of the Total War franchise. The moment I hear the name, I’m immediately drawn to it, and this seems to be the biggest feat in the series yet. Total War: Arena boasts the gameplay that the series is known for, all with the addition of 10 vs. 10 online gameplay. Yup, that’s right; you can play in a team of ten people to battle against another ten people. Traditionally, most RTS games are one-on-one, so I’m very excited to see how the developers go about balancing and managing the capability of playing such a massive online experience. If you’re like me, you’ll be happy to know that there have been a few alpha gameplay sessions already tested, and another one is coming up over the weekend of 1/27 – 1/29. All of this, of course, comes at a price, right? Nope, it’s going to be completely free-to-play. So far, everything looks fantastic and I can’t wait for more information about the official release date.