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Best Strategy & Simulation Games of 2018

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Best Strategy & Simulation Games of 2018

Best Strategy & Simulation Games of 2018

It’s award season here at Twinfinite! Let’s look back at the best strategy & simulation games of 2018. Voted on by our editors, these were the best strategy experiences that our team felt really stood out above the rest this year.

Let’s start with an honorable mention, and then our top vote-getting runner-ups, and finally, of course, our overall winner!

Honorable Mention: Two Point Hospital

two point hospital, 2018, best strategy games, simulation

Guides Editor Chris Jecks: Two Point Hospital is the best kind of strategy simulation game. It takes the serious, often stressful moments of actually managing a complex facility such as a hospital, and then throws a bunch of over-the-top diagnoses, treatments, and bizarre situations to lighten the whole thing up. The result? A delightfully deep and engaging strategy sim that never fails to put a smile on your face.

If that premise sounds familiar to you, that’s because Two Point Hospital is essentially the successor to Theme Hospital from way back when. You’re tasked with building a hospital, hiring the staff, treating the patients, and making improvements all the while to ensure your facility gets the star rating you need to move onto the next hospital. There are a fair few different hospitals that require your help in Two Point Hospital, with each one slightly ramping up the difficulty by introducing some new ailment or metaphorical spanner to throw in the mechanisms of your thriving healthcare facility.

Before long, you’re managing a hospital teeming with members of the public donning their best Mime attire, or have light bulbs for heads, placing radiators to keep waiting patients warm, running lectures to improve your staff, and have your janitors sucking up the ghosts of those who sadly didn’t survive. It might sound overwhelming, but Two Point Hospital slowly but surely adds in these layers of complexity that you never feel unfairly out of your depth.

All of this chaotic madness is wrapped up in charming cartoonish visuals that look set to last the test of time. Two Point Hospital is the spiritual successor fans have wanted for Theme Hospital for over a decade. And now that we’ve finally got it, it feels really good to be in charge of the most ridiculous hospital you’ll ever lay your eyes on.

Best Strategy & Simulation Games of 2018

Second Runner-Up: Frostpunk

frostpunk, 2018, best strategy games, simulation

Reviews Editor Zhiqing Wan: Developed by the folks who gave us This War of Mine, we all pretty much knew that Frostpunk was going to be a major downer, and it didn’t disappoint.

Frostpunk’s narrative is straightforward: a group of London refugees have found a generator to keep them warm from the biting cold, and it’s your job to build a city from the ground up and keep everyone alive.

The city-building sim basics should be familiar to fans of the genre, as there are extensive tech trees to get into as you develop more equipment, and you’ll also need to make sure you’ve got enough housing, heat, and jobs for all your citizens.

What makes Frostpunk so compelling, however, is the way it forces you to make some seriously tough decisions along the way. You’ll have to pass laws that determine the morality of your new civilization. It’s up to you whether you want to force the children to work in the coal mines or let them go to school, whether you want to burn the dead or spend precious resources giving them a proper burial.

Every decision you make in Frostpunk forces you to grapple with your own sense of morality, as you’re always forced to choose between survival and ethics. These choices affect the city’s morale as well, and it’s always a delicate balance trying to manage everything at once.

Frostpunk might have been a little light on content when it first launched, but it’s still easily one of the best strategy games we’ve played in 2018.

Best Strategy & Simulation Games of 2018

First Runner-Up: Into the Breach

into the breach, 2018, best strategy games, simulation

Staff Writer Keenan McCall: One decision. That’s all it can take to make or break a battle in Into the Breach, one of the surprise strategy game hits of this year.

While this may seem intimidating or frustrating to some, especially when units are killed permanently, it instead makes for some of the most gratifying and intense gameplay out there. Each choice the player makes is meaningful. Each victory is well earned, and every defeat heartbreaking.

That’s to say nothing of the game’s stellar mech and monster designs, both of which are right at home with the best of their influences. Everything is tied together by a phenomenal sprite-based visual design, that evokes similarities to strategy classics like Advance Wars.

Into the Breach comes from Subset Games, the same developer behind FTL: Faster Than Light, another indie darling of the strategy genre. Clearly, they’ve outdone themselves this time, and if you’re looking for a great strategy title there are few that will satisfy you more than this phenomenal slice of high stakes strategy.

Best Strategy & Simulation Games of 2018

Winner: Valkyria Chronicles 4

valkyria chronicles 4, nintendo, best games, 2018, best strategy games, simulation

Senior Editor Hayes Madsen: 10 years after the release of the first Valkyria Chronicles, there’s still no other video game series like it. Valkyria Chronicles 4 returns to the roots set down by the original, telling a brand new story during the same time period while adding on some small, but very meaningful changes.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 follows Claude Wallace and Squad-E, an elite unite in the Edinburgh Army. Squad-E is chosen to spearhead Operation Northern Cross, a last-ditch effort by the Federation to strike back against the Imperial Alliance.

Unlike Valkyria Chronicles 2 and 3, 4 adopts a more mature serious tone with its story, once again showing how the horrors of war can affect both those fighting and the innocent caught up in everything. The ensemble cast of the game build a charming relationship, and they’re characters you’ll genuinely care about in the end.

Of course, the strategic gameplay is the other main aspect of Valkyria Chronicles 4, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint in that regard. The game adds an entirely new class called Grenadier, able to bombard units from a distance with grenades.

Grenadiers completely change the tactics of each battle, as you now have to account for the variation they cause in your own army as well as the enemies. A host of other changes are implemented as well, like a last stand system that allows your units one final action before falling, or powerful ship orders that can help turn the tide of battle.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a grand return to form both in terms of story and gameplay, and it features some of the deepest strategic battles we’ve ever seen from the series. It’s an instant strategy classic and one of the must-play games for fans of the genre.

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