Strategy Game of the Year: The Winner

This is GameSpot's pick for Best Strategy Game of 2012.

Discussion

6 comments
Hazey11
Hazey11

Would have gone for Crusader Kings II personally but realise it isn't for everyone. Decent year for strategy games though, these were all really good. XCOM was probably my least favourite though, which makes sense since it is the only one that isn't a PC exclusive. It got old very fast, no replayability.

chi-chi88
chi-chi88

Gods and Kings.. is the best for me :)

Zloth2
Zloth2

I think I would swap out Gods & Kings (expansion!?) with Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, but otherwise I agree.

 

I'm going to have to give Crusader Kings another shot.  I tried playing it but there was a whole lot of nothing happening in my game for so long that I got bored and played something else.

 

This is been the best year in a LONG time for strategy games, especially the turned based games!

HakkoRO
HakkoRO

Crusader Kings II was the best strategy game of 2012 . No doubt.

Mr_Twister_242
Mr_Twister_242

Poor choice, reminds me not to take editor's opinions too serious.  Even though the game is great in essence, it's currently still riddled with bugs, especially the multiplayer.

And the geoscape part was rather poorly implemented.  So while I like the game and hope future patches, updates & DLC may make it truely awesome, in it's current state it doesn't deserve any award.

 

My personal choice here is most definitely Crusader Kings II, best game I played in the last 10 years or so.  Very original, very in depth, incredible replay value.

kris912
kris912

xcom is a very good game....my ps3 version has no bugs so far.

InquisitorCrox
InquisitorCrox

I agree with GS on this, but this lists reflects how poor a year was for the strategy gamers.

Apart from two expansions, we only practically got a couple of good games.

 

But next year will be quite a year for us, Rome 2 will easily win it and the competition will go as high as COH 2

JimmyCos
JimmyCos

Apparently these guys didn't actually play crusader kings 2, or at least one or two of them really did it. X-com was a good game, but CK2 it's a whole new level of strategy, a new genre.

wowski13
wowski13

I loved X-Com, it was the most enjoyable strategy game I've played in over a decade and could well be my favourite game this year! Once you get a leveled up Sniper with a Plasma Sniper Rifle it's open season on aliens!

capnahdharr
capnahdharr

Game Industry people need to stop lauding awards for console-playable strategy games. There were two that were leaps and bounds better in Endless Space, as well as Crusader Kings II. XCOM is rather underwhelming. Whoever gave the nod to XCOM likely has too much ADD to play Paradox Interactive Strategy game.

J4m3sR4n0r72
J4m3sR4n0r72

It think they should have a turn-based strategy game of the year and a real-time strategy game of the year, then have those those two face off two see which is the overall strategy game of the year. Anybody agree?

SergioMX
SergioMX

Too bad XCOM is riddled with bugs.

GrahamZ
GrahamZ

They did to X-Com pretty much what they should have done, which was to update it for a modern audience.  I'm an old-timer, and I enjoyed the old X-Com as well.  By the standards of the day, it was a classic.  But the new one is simply more refined.

 

That said, I agree that Civ 5 would have been a good choice.  I also kind of liked FTL and Endless Space.  FTL was simply too challenging a game for a lot of people, and Endless Space was... flawed in too many ways (it's gotten better though since release -- if you only tried it at release, you should try the new version).

Hillsy_
Hillsy_

XCOM  has eyes on the prize.  Well done, deserved. Actually good to see a strategy game on a console for a change.

Pierce_Sparrow
Pierce_Sparrow

I really need to pick this game up. I loved the original X-Com and I've heard nothing but good things about this one.

emfan457
emfan457

Can I just say I'm ecstatic that Black Ops II wasn't even nominated for Best Shooter? Made my day.

Ultramarinus
Ultramarinus

XCOM #1 disappointment of the year, dumbed down for the masses. CK2 should have won.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

That game was way better than I expected, that's for sure.

mswy
mswy

They didn't mess up with remodeling the X-com for sure, bravo!

Murrdox
Murrdox

My only complaint with this list is why "Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion" wasn't included as a nominee.

interrasteral7
interrasteral7

There is a good reason why there should not be a first person shooter of X-Com because the orginal style of the gameplay still holds to this day even better.

wexorian
wexorian

When there's only xcom good game  in 1 year you guess that RTS category is dead.

GetafixOz
GetafixOz

Only one I have agreed with so far lol

Renato1984
Renato1984

This game provided me superb gaming moments. I've loved even the writing.

 

Should be on every "Top 10" list of best games this gen, along with ME2, Skyrim, GTA4, Bioshock, Fallout: New Vegas, Portal 2, etc.

AtheistPreacher
AtheistPreacher

I don't really have a problem with the choice.  But, for me personally, XCOM was very bittersweet because it just didn't manage to be as good as the original (no time units, only 1 alien base assault, no multiple bases, limited to small squads, dogfighting miniegame neutered into the ground, the list goes on).

lobsterbushcrab
lobsterbushcrab

I thought fall of the samurai, might of at leaste got a nomination

Warsilver
Warsilver

This one was no competition... really great game.

Lexicar
Lexicar

Game of the year actually. Same way Dark Souls was last year. It makes you care about  the minions you control:)

megatrunks
megatrunks

Nice I love playing  XCOM it was great

dio81
dio81

I like all five games, own all five games and still play all five. People saying the choices for strategy games were limited this year are obviously too focused on triple A games, seeing as 2012 was an excellent strategy game year for me (and 2013 will bring some great new titles as well - both indie and triple A).

 

CK II is my number one though. 

firehawk998
firehawk998

A pretty good list and i have to agree with you guys that the game  XCOM deserved to win. Kudos Firaxis for proving you can turn an old game relevant again without turning it into a FPS shooter.

Daavpuke
Daavpuke

Endless Space and FTL getting nominated is an honor within itself. Xcom probably deserves it overall.

Joeguy00
Joeguy00

I own 4 of these. Try an calculate the hours these games cost me lol. I do think it should go to XCOM myself.

GrahamZ
GrahamZ

 @SergioMX It's certainly not bug-free.  But as for being, in your words "riddled with bugs" it seems awfully playable.  I'd rethink your use of hyperbole when it's so easy to demonstrate just how wrong your claim is.  You want to point out the bugs, that's fine.  But when you use such hyperbole, it makes you sound like sour milk.

 

BTW, a game which actually WAS riddled with bugs, with absolutely no exaggeration on my point: one of the most popular games of all time, Master of Magic -- crashes galore, balance nonexistent, spells that don't work properly, still one of the top games ever that game developer after game developer tries to copy.  So apparently a game can have bugs -- lots of bugs -- and overcome that issue purely because it's still incredibly fun to play.

BestJinjo
BestJinjo

 @wexorian RTS has always been a niche sector. Next year there will be Starcarft II HoTS and Company of Heroes 2. 

Renato1984
Renato1984

 @AtheistPreacher 

 

I understand you, but you are unfortunately being blinded by nostalgia.

 

Happened to me playing Chrono Cross the first time. It simply wasn't as good as Chrono Trigger in my head.

 

I've never played any of the original x-com  games, they must be fantastic. But I can safely say that XCOM: EU, judged on its own, is a masterful turn-based "global initiative against alien attack" game.

AtheistPreacher
AtheistPreacher

 @Renato1984 

Um, wait... you've never played the original, and yet you're saying the remake is better?  Why?  Because it's newer?

 

Dude, I've played both Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross.  And never at any point did I think Chrono Cross wasn't as good or better than CT.

 

The X-COM comparison is a whole different ballgame.  I'm NOT saying that the new one is bad, or undeserving of this award.  But you have to understand that the original X-COM isn't just a really good game, it's maybe the best game ever.  In fact, in 2007 IGN named is as their top PC game of all time: http://www.ign.com/articles/2007/03/16/top-25-pc-games-of-all-time?page=3

 

Here's a 2012 article on why the original X-COM is the best game ever, period: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/9346-Why-X-COM-Is-the-Greatest-Game-Ever

 

It's not just nostalgia.  There are a lot of good, concrete reasons that the original is miles ahead of the remake -- which, good as it is, has been substantially dumbed down.

 

 

1. You cannot fire, then move with a unit.

 

Prevously, Time Units allowed you to perform literally any series of moves or actions, in any order, provided you had enough time units. Even crouching had a Time Unit cost.

 

This game simplified things. You basically have three options: a) special action (like firing a rocket launcher), b) move, then action, or c) move twice. Inexplicably, there is no option to fire from your current position, then retreat.This is obviously very limiting tactically, and there is no reason I can fathom for its exclusion.

 

2. If you sight an alien, you cannot change where you are moving to.

 

In the original game, if you were in the middle of moving to a spot and you sighted an alien, your movement would cease and the game would warn you that you sighted an alien. You could then continue to where you were going, or alter your path.

 

In this game, there's no such thing. Your move is your move, and sighting an enemy cannot change it. This seems to be a limitation of the 2-move system, but it seems like they could've found a way around it (Valkyria Chronicles' system was actually a much better way of doing basically the same thing this game is trying to do).

 

3. The amount of protection cover appears to offer has nothing to do with what it actually offers.

 

In the original game, if you had a wall between you and an alien, you could count on that wall to take one shot before it was destroyed, unless the alien used an explosive weapon.

 

In this game, that wall may provide you no protection at all for no discernible reason. In this game, a low wall will say it provides you "half-cover," while a high wall provides "full-cover." But that's not always logical. So a bit earlier, I had a guy crouching behind a low stone wall which was on top of an elevated platform. There was an enemy on the opposite side of the wall and *below* the platform. Logically, he has no line of sight and couldn't possibly hit me (or even see me). But, by this game's logic, I was in "half-cover," so he magically hit me and killed me THROUGH the stone wall (without doing any damage to the wall).How am I supposed to plan my movements when basic laws of physics don't apply?

 

4. Aliens can arbitrarily move on your turn, and even prematurely end your turn. Seriously.

 

Needless to say, in the original game, the aliens played by the same rules you did. If they had enough time units to fire on your turn, they could fire on you. But that was it.

 

In this game, as soon as you sight them, they get to move into cover. Secondly, an alien will sometimes just take a move, out of the blue, on your turn. So you may use two of your four units to move, then an alien arbitrarily cuts you off, then it's back to your "turn," and you can use any of your four units again.How am I supposed to plan my tactics properly when I don't know when my turn will actually end?

 

5. You can't fire anywhere you want anymore.

 

In the original game, you could fire anywhere, often creating a hole though a wall that you could move through, or blowing up a building you thought aliens might be in.

 

In this game... nope. You can only fire if you see an alien.

 

6. There are a finite number of maps. Plus, they tend to be small.

 

No more randomly generated awesomeness to keep you on your toes like the original.

 

Instead, they are all pre-constructed. So if you play the whole game, you already know the entirety of the terrain on any given mission, which just feels like cheating.

 

7. The ship-to-ship combat minigame has been eliminated entirely, in favor of the computer randomly generating an outcome.

 

Yes, that's right. In the original game, you had some rudimentary "aggresive," "standard," "cautious," and "disengage" options to finesse that alien craft to the ground.

 

In this game... there's zero control. You send an interceptor after an alien craft, and then the game tells you whether it worked or not. The end.

 

 

TL;DR -- Play the original game before you accuse someone of being "blinded by nostalgia," because until you do, you're just talking out of your you-know-what.  And I mean, seriously... go download and play it.  it's $5 on Steam.  A better deal for a game you'll never find.  After you've downloaded and finished the original game, then we can have this conversation.

cookie905
cookie905

 @AtheistPreacher  @Renato1984 

I'm not saying this is better than the original, or attacking the original in any way. And again, some of your complaints are perfectly valid. I was merely correcting what appeared to be some factual mistakes. And generally, it just seems a little nitpicky.

 

Your soldier on the balcony was killed poking his head out of cover to see what was happening (and this animation actually happens all the time). I think it's finding problems where there are only minor abstractions (as with #9), or prefering a previous game design choice compared to the current one (as with #10).

 

If you prefer the older version, that's fine. I liked it too.

 

 

AtheistPreacher
AtheistPreacher

 @cookie905  @Renato1984

3. I realize that's the system.  The system should account for actual physics, like the 15-year older version did.  Again, I was on a high platform behind half-cover that extended for about 5 yards.  He was two levels below me.  There is NO CHANCE, physically, that he could hit me.  He had no line of sight, and his shot magically passed through 5 yards of wall and floor.

 

4. The aliens did end my turn prematurely on escort missions.  Don't know if this got patched out, since I bought it and played it day one.

 

5. Plasma rifles can destroy walls if they hit them... and yet I can't fire at walls with plasma rifles?  Why?

 

Also,

 

8. Errant shots magically disappear.  So let's say three aliens are standing side-by-side.  I shoot at the middle one, but I miss to the left.  In the original game, the shot hits the left alien.  In the new game, it passes through him, because he wasn't the intended target.  How is this a step forward?

 

9. A tortured staffing system that you have to figure out for yourself, since it makes no logical sense in reality and the game doesn't do much to explain it to you.  Why is it that having more engineers makes things cheaper?  These people aren't paid?  They don't need to be fed?  They don't need a place to live?  In the original, you had to build living quarters, and you had to pay them salaries.  Speaking of scientists, why can't I hire as many as my budget allows?  Why have this tortured system where, for some reason, there are no scientists or engineers that you can obtain except as proverbial scooby-snacks for rescuing diplomats?

 

10. Alien incursions ALWAYS happen in groups of three.  Also, you are arbitrarily limited to one base and one Skyranger.  Why do they do this?  They do it to create tension, of course.  But it's the lazy way out.  Why not, once again, make it reflect actual reality, let you build as many bases or ships that you want, and create tension by simply increasing the frequency of attacks? (again, like the original)

 

11. Nations pay you based on whether you have satellite coverage.  You can have a satellite over Russia and ignore them twice in a month, and have no satellite over France and save them three times... guess what?  Russia pays you, France doesn't.  So intentions are rewarded, instead of results.  In the original, Russia would be soooo done with you if you pulled that on them.

 

 

So I reiterate... never did I say this was not a good game.  It's clearly a very good game.  And it probably deserves the award on this page.  However, that does not at all mean it's as good as the original.  There are very clear, substantive, non-nostalgia reasons why it's better.

 

And just in case you still think it's nostalgia playing with my brain, note my review from 4 years ago, for Chrono Cross, where in the 2nd paragraph I decry people giving Chrono Cross poor scores simply because it isn't Trigger: http://www.gamespot.com/chrono-cross/user-reviews/622933/platform/ps/

 

This X-Com in my book is an 8.5.

 

The original was a 10.

 

So seriously, go play the original if you liked this one so much.

cookie905
cookie905

 @AtheistPreacher  @Renato1984 

You make some fair and reasonable points. Some of them are wrong however.

 

3) Level of cover affects the chances to hit. Partial cover is something like -15% to hit, while full cover is more (can't remember the numbers but you get the idea). While you may not like the mechanic, it's a perfectly discernible system with very clear rules.

 

4) There are only two situations where aliens move on your turn. Firstly, when they first spot you, giving them a free move into cover. Secondly, when you shoot a Berserker and it survives. There is absolutely nothing arbitrary about either of these, and both make complete sense and have solid gameplay reasons behind them. As for aliens ending your turn randomly, no they don't. You always get your full turn. I've played through the game three times and at no point did my turn ever end early. This was on the xbox, so perhaps you played on the PC and there was some kind of bug causing what you describe, but it is not a gameplay mechanic.

 

5) Yes you can. Grenades and rockets can be fired anywhere you like, even if no aliens can be seen. Standard firearms can't be used like this, but that probably makes sense. Elite military units don't go around firing random bullets into the darkness.