2000 was a great year for strategy games. Not only was there a huge variety of strategy games available all year round, but many of these games were worth playing. Whether you prefer sci-fi, fantasy, or historical themes in games, rest assured at least a couple of excellent strategy games in your favorite category were published in the last 12 months. It's true that very few strategy games in 2000 featured traditional turn-based play mechanics, and that a lot of strategy games had forgettable 3D graphics and uninspired design. But then again, some of the rest - including the following five nominees for best strategy game of 2000 - offered some of the most rewarding gameplay experiences this year.
The first serious wargame to truly take advantage of a 3D engine, Combat Mission has woken up dedicated fans of the genre to the gameplay potential of 3D. The game succeeds in its faithful reproduction of squad-level WWII ground tactics, and its simultaneous turn resolution is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the detailed graphics.
This sequel to the frenetic alternate-history spin-off from the Command & Conquer series succeeds in demonstrating how addictive the original real-time strategy formula can still be. Because of the variety of powerful units and special structures in the game, missions and multiplayer matches tend to be short and sweet, rewarding a sharp and resourceful player. Red Alert 2 also revives the tradition of full-motion cinematics with highly polished cinematic cutscenes.
A freshman effort by a Swedish developer, Ground Control unites great graphics with intuitive real-time tactical gameplay. The 3D battles are fast, but the interface lets you very simply manage grouped squads of units. The game successfully focuses your attention on fun parts of military tactics - coordinating mixed attacks, using terrain well, executing speedy flanking maneuvers - without forcing you into repetitive resource-gathering operations.
The follow-up to Relic's 3D real-time strategy space game is as good as last year's very impressive Homeworld, and it offers a number of welcome improvements over the original. The new story introduces an interesting new menace with capabilities that make it highly challenging to face in combat, while the campaign's missions are even more inventive and intuitive than before. The game serves up gorgeous 3D graphics with plenty of special effects, so watching the large-scale space battles is nearly as fun as actually playing them.
Command large armies of samurai warriors in Shogun's blend of real-time tactical action and strategic planning. Both the tactical and strategic components of the game are equally successful, and they take good advantage of a compelling historical setting that's already made its way into many films, books, and games. In addition, the 3D graphics and the general artistry of its presentation show off Shogun's high level of polish.
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