Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tactical Insights 2013 Awards

Hi all, welcome to this years awards aka tactics games I thought were pretty good this year.

PC Non-indie

XCOM: Enemy Within takes the original game and adds new maps, resources, weapons, missions, enemies, and allies. I played a few hours on classic normal and it's basically Xcom:EU on steroids. I couldn't spot any glaring balance issues. Overall it's a good improvement that adds variety and depth that I thought was missing from the original, including the 2nd wave options that were patched in after launch.

Winner: XCOM: Enemy Within

Runner up: Battle Academy expansions, Panzer Corps: Allied Corps, Unity of Command: Black Turn

PC Indie

Battle Worlds: Kronos was the best overall indie tactics game this year for me, with some very strong contenders. It's based on the Battle Isle series of games, playing similar to Advance Wars and other WW2 style games.

Skulls of the Shogun is fun and fast paced, Just Tactics is a complex and involving PvP game, and Card Hunter is a cool D&D themed browser game.

The best tactics games this year are pretty much all on PC (with iOS/Android ports), and that isn't likely to change anytime soon. 2014 looks like a great year as well. Of course there are tons of indie tactics games on PC, too many to play and keep track of. Let me know if I missed anything good or great.

Winner: Battle Worlds: Kronos

Runner up: Skulls of the Shogun, Just Tactics, Card Hunter, Shadowrun Returns


There's way too many iOS and Android tactics games out there to keep track of and play. The three big ones this year are Panzer Corps, XCOM, and Frozen Synapse. If I missed some amazing iOS/Android game please let me know.

I'm giving the iOS/Android award to Panzer Corps for iPad this year. Xcom:EU is a strong contender but it's not the newest Enemy Within version. Frozen Synapse is apparently a flawless port and it's a great game if you like fast paced tactics PvP.

Winner: Panzer Corps for iPad

Runner Up: Xcom:EU for iOS, Frozen Synapse iOS, Frozen Synapse Android, Hero Academy Android, Great Big War Game Android


 Tactics games on PS3/360 have always been slim pickings, but this year we got both Skulls of the Shogun and the XCOM: Enemy Within expansion. I'm giving the PS3/360 award to Skulls of the Shogun. It's a fun and fast paced arcade style tactics game with a multiplayer focus, and plays well on a controller. Xcom is okay on consoles, but I recommend playing it on PC with a mouse and keyboard instead.

Winner: Skulls of the Shogun

Runner up: SRW Dark Prison, XCOM: Enemy Within, History: Legends of War


3DS was quite disappointing this year. Fire Emblem: Awakening and Project X Zone are both bad in terms of combat, balance, and level design, and loaded with fanservice to boot. I mean Fire Emblem: Heroes of Light and Shadow had such a great campaign, what happened?

The 3DS remake of Devil Survivor 2 with new content (subtitled Break Record) was delayed into 2014, which likely would've been my pick this year.

PSP/Vita's 2013 lineup is almost entirely imports, and it's similarly disappointing with mostly mediocre or forgettable games. Hopefully 2014 is better!

Winner: None

That's it this year, thanks for reading. Let me know if I didn't mention something you enjoyed.


Rui Castro said...

Very good list. Love the sleepy cat.

With all the Fire Emblem: Awakening flaws, not best in the FE series but it did one thing very good, it capture lots of new fans because of the casual mode. This genre is starting to become fractured, one side the hardcore players which also has the competitive ones too. And the casual ones that only want to finish the game because of the story.

XCOM is also full of funny graphical flaws but the game is so fun.

I do think Shadowrun Returns will show it is a great game. The main campaign which is more of a RPG but because of the editor (Telepath Tactics we are watch you LOL). The campaign is a cool story but the battles aren't hard enough and not well made to be more competitive, also needs turn counts and a score system. But I'm really hopping that someone will build a more combat centric DLC.

Not a easy pick for Android and iOS, so many came out, its not easy to pick the best.

With Fire Emblems success, I hope more will come on the 3DS and perhaps VITA. We hope so.

Technically Devil Survivor 2 did come out this year, just in Europe LOL

Oh even simple concepts like GhostControl came out this year and I do like playing it, very clunky LOL but it starting to show some interesting ideas, plasma weapons that control the ghosts direction which you try to move it to a trap.

I also think Disgaea deserves more love, I'm at chapter 12 part 2 and haven't grinded yet and it has had some challenging battles, and knowing how to play it well, it does have some interesting mechanics that no other game I've play has showed.

I think XCOM, Fire Emblem, Shadowrun Returns and Card Hunter and many more showed this year that this Genre is very alive and it has its place in our busy life's.

I think it was a very good year for this genre. Keep it come guys and girls ;)