Strategy gaming is a niche that is beloved by many because it offers the possibility to make your own calculations and decisions necessary to win the match. As it only depends on you to make the right choices, strategy games offer a sense of control when it comes to the gameplay that can help the player create detailed plans and tactics. Because they are a major genre on the gaming market, in what follows you’ll find a list of ten of the best strategy games of all times.
World in Conflict
World in Conflict is a real-time strategy game that is set in 1989, during the period the Soviet Union was starting to decline but instead of simply dissolving as it happened in real life, this time it declares war on the Western Europe and the Pacific Northwest region of the USA. The gameplay is based on a system of limited reinforcement points the player has to use to build units and there are four available factions to choose from: infantry, air, support and armor. World in conflict topped the sales charts in North America, Germany and Australia during the week it was released, being met with extremely favorable reviews.
Rise of Nations
Rise of Nations features 18 civilizations playable through 8 ages of world history. The core of the gameplay is based on the notion of “territory”, the area near the player’s settlements being the only one he can build constructions on. Also, a nation can expand its borders by creating and enhancing cities and forts, a technology tree and gaining access to rare resources. Rise of Nations is ranked as one of the best real-time strategy games available on the market, being appreciated for its soundtrack and gameplay that focuses on maintaining a balance between offense, defense, and economy.
Following the Kushan exiles of the planet Kharak after their home planet is destroyed, Homeworld is a science-fiction real-time strategy set in space. The player has to gather resources to build a fleet that will be used to destroy enemy ships and complete mission objectives. In 1999, Homeworld was rated as the best ranked game of the year according Metacritic’s 92% score. Critics deeply acclaimed the game’s graphics, distinctive gameplay features, and multiplayer system, though some opinions were divided on the game’s plot and high difficulty.
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Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings is set during the Middle Ages and features thirteen playable civilizations. There are five historically based campaigns and the player needs to gather resources in order to be able to build towns, create armies and finally defeat the enemies. The improvements made to this title have been appreciated by the critics, transforming Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings into a very well rated real-time strategy title. It won numerous awards and it is considered a pioneer of the genre, having a significant impact on future games of this sort.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War is a military science-fiction real-time strategy game with a gameplay focused on apprehending and holding strategic locations on the battleground. These control points are taken by the infantry squads you send and they provide the necessary resources to create supplementary units and structures or unlock certain units in the army’s tech tree. Upon its release, Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War received mainly positive reviews, being applauded for its diverse and well-adjusted factions and units and its polished presentation, especially the high quality unit animations and the user interface.
Rome: Total War
The third installment of the Total War series allows the player to take a role comparable to the head of one of the three major Roman houses: the Julii, The Brutii and the Scipii. While playing, new factions are unlocked; each of them having different attributes and a few initial provinces under control. The final goal is to become the emperor by conquering 50 provinces, before capturing Rome itself. Many reviewers see Rome: Total War as one of the best strategy games of all time, winning numerous awards and high scores from gaming websites and publications, such as PG Gamer and IGN.
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos is a high fantasy real-time strategy game that consists of four playable races: Humans, Orcs, Night Elves and Undead. The single-player campaign is similar to the one from StarCraft, being presented through the point of view of all of the four races in a progressive manner. The players need to create settlements to gather resources, defend against other players and send units to explore the map and attack creeps. There are three main resources that can be achieved in Warcraft III: gold, lumber, and food. Warcraft III has been especially praised for the opportunity that lets the players experience the game from all the races’ points of view and it has been met with universal acclaim from the critics.
Command & Conquer (1995)
Command & Conquer is a real-time strategy game set in an alternate history of modern day where two globalized factions: the Global Defense Initiative of the United Nations and the Brotherhood of Nod are at war. These two groups struggle to gain control of Tiberium, a mysterious substance that spreads across the world. The player needs to build a base in order to supply the production of buildings, technologies and combat units to be able to defeat the enemies. Command & Conquer has been a commercial success, selling over three million copies and the critical reception was highly positive.
Company of Heroes
Set during the Second World War, Company of Heroes contains two playable factions and the player’s goal is to capture strategic resource sectors placed around the map and use them to build base structures produce new units and ultimately defeat the enemies. After it was released in 2006 Company of Heroes received overwhelmingly good reviews. And this lead to it winning the Best Game of the Year Award from PC Gamer and Computer Games Magazine. It still remains one of the highest rated strategy gaming titles on the market, with a score of 93 out of 100 on Metacritic.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is probably the best known military science-fiction real-time strategy game in the world. It is the sequel of the award-winning 1998 video game StarCraft and it revolves around three species: the Terrans, the Zerg and the Protoss. Wings of Liberty has 29 playable campaign missions and concentrates mainly on the Terrans storyline. It has been met with very positive reviews from critics, gaining an aggregated score of 93% from Metacritic. Similar to its precursor, StarCraft II was admired for its attractive gameplay, as well as its introduction of new features and improved storytelling. When it was released, StarCraft II became the fastest selling real-time strategy game of all time, with over 3 million copies sold worldwide just in the first month.