Best of 2012
And now, the last of our editorial picks for the best games of 2012, we bring you the winner of the best strategy game. While settling on which games we would select as our nominees for the category was not at all easy, picking a winner certainly seemed to be, as the strategy category was far and away the most decisive selection when the votes were tallied.
As a reminder, here are our nominees for best strategy game of 2012:
- Crusader Kings II
- FTL: Faster than Light
- Tropico 4: Modern Times
- Wargame: European Escalation
- XCOM Enemy Unknown
XCOM Enemy Unknown
Bringing a classic franchise back from the dead can be a terrifying prospect from all angles, whether you’re a fan, a designer or a publisher. Developers who attempt this feat of engineering have to strike a balance between satisfying the demands of a pre-existing audience while modernizing elements so that they can compete in the modern age and publishers have to be willing to take a risk on putting games long-forgotten back in the public eye. In this, the 2012 revival of XCOM is nothing short of a triumph.
Enemy Unkown is a game which successfully blends top-level resource management and global defense with smaller, skirmish-level battles and a progression system that encourages players to connect with the members of their squad, value them, and keenly feel their loss. Its challenges require careful planning, quick thinking and and just enough luck to keep things interesting without undermining the experience.
Additionally, Firaxis should be praised for the user interface developed for the console version, which may very well be the best the genre has ever played with a controller. For once, home console players have a tactical game that feels good in the hands, and that alone is something worth exultation.