Top Strategy Games From E3 2012
What’s an old school “grognard” to do? The “golden age” of strategy games on the computer – the type that were rivals to the classic board games – have been far and few between, and this was sadly evident at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.
The trade show for all things video games was buzzing about the upcoming Wii U system from Nintendo, as well as new action focused games. But strategy games shouldn’t feel completely left behind. Thanks to a few companies and enough of a following from hardcore strategy gamers, there was still a bit to be seen at this year’s show. Here is a recap of what strategy gamers can look forward to in the months to come.
World of Warfare
The free to play market is very much alive and well, and Wargaming.net found an opportunity to get rolling a couple of years ago in this niche category with its World of Tanks, free to play game for the PC. The company has grown from a staff of just 50 to nearly a thousand employees.
More importantly Wargaming.net hasn’t just stayed focused on tanks. The company is looking to take flight with World of Warplanes, which allows players to log into the service and take to the skies with around 60 flyable aircraft – from interwar era bi-planes to the jet age of the 1950s. At launch the aircraft will include those from the United States, Germany and the Soviet Union, so players can expect Corsairs, Mustangs, Il-2s and Me109s.
And don’t worry planes are grouped in categories to encourage a fair playing field in the skies. No biplanes against jets in other words. Also, since the German airplane development essentially crashed and burned in 1945 the designers opted to include some experimental aircraft in the mix to keep it interesting.
The team will likely follow up as they did with World of Tanks and include aircraft from other nations, so expect to see Spitfires, Zeros and other favorites in the future. And since international is key, it could include other nations such as Sweden, which had a thriving airplane development program even if it didn’t find itself facing off against rivals.
World of Warplanes also isn’t meant to replace past flight simulators, and while it is designed to feature realistic flight modeling, the game still keeps it fun and accessible. The game is in closed beta and could see an open beta soon.
Additionally, Wargaming.net is working on World of Battleships, which like the other two games focuses on World War II era combat. In fact, the company has noted that the three games will eventually be unified into a single World War II massively multiplayer online game.
Not for the Faint of Heart
Paradox Development Studios has successfully stepped in and filled the void for strategy games that have been created as many of the larger publishers have moved to other genres. At E3 the company announced that it would offer a new expansion for Hearts of Iron III, its grand World War II simulation.
This third expansion, Their Finest Hour, will arrive almost three years after the release of the original game, which should be welcome news for the hardcore fans. It will add new features including a naval invasion system, add new elite units such as Imperial Guards, Rangers and Gurkhas and add cover operations into the mix. The new battle plans mode will allow players to load historical plans or draw up their own.
There are even two new scenarios included it the expansion for the Russo-Finnish Winter War and the Spanish Civil War.
Wars and Roses
Anyone who enjoys HBO’s Game of Thrones series (or even the books) would likely enjoy the War of the Roses – based on the 15th century series of conflicts for the English crown. This served as inspiration for the fictional series, but the real history is just as fascinating. Mad kings, turncoats, boy kings, deceitful siblings – what a grand century indeed.
And Paradox is bringing this to PC gamers in the fall. My kingdom for a copy!
Carry On With Carrier Command
The classic 1980s Carrier Command is getting a 21st century refresh from Bohemia Interactive. The new Carrier Command: Gaea Missions will launch this fall for PC and Xbox 360.
Set in the not too distant future on the planet-moon Taurus a war wages between the United Earth Coalition and the Asian Pacific Alliance. It seems the latter gained complete control of the Earth and the former is looking for some payback.
The gameplay promises a mix of vehicle simulation and real-time strategy. As the title suggests the home base so to speak remains the player’s carrier, which must be defended from attack. It can be used for defense, mining and production as players look to capture the moon’s 30+ islands that are spread out in six distinct climatic zones. There are dozens of craft to control, countless hours of war to wage and not a 5.25-inch floppy disk in sight thank god!
There is no denying that General George S. Patton was one of the best. Old Blood and Guts had the right stuff, but we’re not sure why Maximum Games opted to call its upcoming turn-based tactical World War II simulation Legends of War: Patton’s Campaign.
The game actually begins at D-Day – where Patton sat it out – and thus ignores North Africa, Sicily and Italy. But that said anyone itching to get in on a nice looking turn-based game might want to give this one a peek. While there have been no shortage of turn-based WWII games for the PC this one is heading to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the PS Vita handheld system. Hopefully it will introduce gamers to the exploits of the greatest generation.
Click here to read Peter Suciu’s report on shooter games at E3.