This week we’re looking at all the best PC games and today is the day for strategy PC games. Yesterday it was RPG and today it is RTS. There are many different elements that go into a good strategy game, particularly as the genre has come a long way in recent years. Instead, the best strategy games these days can be graphical masterpieces complete with epic explosions, blistering gameplay, smooth animations, and movie-like cutscenes. Classic titles such as Microsoft’s Age of Empires II, XCOM, and Sid Meier’s Civilization game are mere highlights in a genre filled with incredible games. Real-time strategy games no longer need to be top-down 2D affairs. Yep, strategy games really the best games these days.
These modern new extras are exactly that though. Extras that mean nothing unless there is a great game propping it all up. Let’s waste no more time then and look at some of the best strategy games you can download and play on your PC right now.
PC strategy video games
Civilization has been around for decades and still wears the crown as king of the turn-based strategy games. Including many different types of single-player scenarios and DLC content for you to explore, as well as the open play mode, which sees you select your civilization of choice and then guide it through the ages, this game is huge. Civilization has seen constant evolution for years and now includes new loyalty dynamics for your units and district dynamics for your cities. Both fine-tune an already immersive experience creating a game that is almost impossible to stop playing once you’ve started. Beware, this one is very addictive.
4X is a particular type of strategy game that aims to give players complete control over the realms they control. Civilization 6 is an excellent example of a 4X game as it allows players to explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate. Another fine example comes via the Endless game series comprising Endless Space, Dungeon of the Endless, and Endless Legend. All are worth exploring in their own right, but Endless Space 2 is the most advanced of all the Endless games. Set in space, the action sees you commanding galactic empires complete with fleets of spaceships galactic exploration and armies of ground troops for planet incursions. Of course, warfare is just one element in this massive game, however, which offers you nothing less than a galaxy to explore, understand, and, if you wish to try, conquer.
The Total War series is another strategy game institution that reaches out through the ages. With so many amazing titles under the series banner, there are many strategy fans out there who’ll happily call Total War their favorite franchise. Highlights include Shogun 2 and Warhammer 2 but for us, Three Kingdoms is the best Total War game you can play today. Set during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history that saw the battle to unify China under one ruler, players must pick one of twelve factions and then work to eliminate the others.
Northgard could be considered a much simpler game than the expansive behemoths that have preceded it in today’s list. This real-time strategy game feels almost nostalgic, harking back to titles like Command & Conquer, Red Alert, and in particular Warcraft III. There’s more to it than those simple dynamics, however, with your Viking kingdom hinging on new and entertaining dynamics such as weather systems and food supplies. Northgard looks beautiful, is fun and entertaining in a unique way, and still has plenty to explore and discover that will keep you occupied for many a day, week, month, or year.
What sets Paradox’s Crusader Kings 2 apart from other strategy games is that you play the role of the mortal ruler rather than of some abstract immortal being controlling the action from the stars. The game is set in the Middle Ages and sees you taking on the mantle of a dynasty meaning you’ll need to head a family and then organize the succession of your rule to your children. This, of course, brings in all sorts of interesting dynamics that other games don’t go near. As well as all the family-based drama, however, Paradox has also crafted a fine strategic warfare system and rich diplomatic veins that go beyond anything you’ll find elsewhere. What’s even crazier about this masterpiece is that it is now completely free to play.
No list of the best strategy games would be complete without Blizzard’s StarCraft 2, which conquered the world more completely than you’ll ever get to do in any real-time strategy game. To put it bluntly, millions of players have played and mastered StarCraft 2, and battles have been watched by millions more as an eSport spectacle. The game might feel simple now compared to the likes of Total War, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had here should you seek it. In particular, the Legacy of the Void expansion is a joy to behold.
Anno 1800 throws you headfirst into one of the most crucial periods of human history, the Industrial Revolution. The latest installment in the Anno series gives players total control of their cities, whether they be in the rapidly advancing nations of Europe or rugged jungle landscapes of the new world. Players have to consider social, economic, and political realities as technologies advance and cities rise and fall. Anno 1800 is a challenging treat that has lots to offer any strategy game fan.
Today we’ve tried to bring you a broad spectrum of strategy games that are available to play on your PC. As well as all the different settings we’ve offered from fantasy lands, historical recreations, and the stars and beyond; we’ve also endeavored to bring you a broad-spectrum of strategy game styles and dynamics. There really is something for all types of strategy game fans in our list but we’ve also tried to include games that we think will appeal to all strategy fans individually. Give them a try and let us know what you think in the comments below.