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Best Strategy Games of 2020

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Best Strategy Games of 2020

It’s finally award season here at Twinfinite! Over the coming weeks of January we’re going to look back at our favorite games of 2020. That includes the wealth of strong strategy games the year has seen, from the field of new spin-offs through to new releases in established, popular series. These are the best strategy games of 2020.

Voted on by our editors and staff writers, these were the strategy games that stood apart from the pack. So, let’s check out the four that stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Best Strategy Games of 2020

Honorable Mention: Desperados III

best strategy games of 2020

Staff Writer Andrew McMahon: Desperados III was my most surprising game of 2020, as its real-time tactics stealth gameplay style was an entirely new experience for me. Using five playable characters, each with unique weapons and abilities, the goal is to roam the map, completing objectives and killing anyone in your way, all while staying hidden.

Unlike most strategy games I’d played in the past, aka the majority of the XCOM and Fire Emblem series, controlling everything in real-time added an interesting layer of difficulty and strategy. Like a game of chess, each move that I made required a lot of pre-planning and timing.

For example, certain enemies require that you use a particular character in order to distract or execute them. While this sounds simple enough, you also have to factor in the other enemy that is looking straight at your would-be victim.

To successfully execute your plan and progress, Desperados III implements a mode called showdown. This feature allows you to halt time and control each character’s next routes and actions. Once you’ve got a solid plan under your belt, you can execute each move simultaneously or individually, hopefully resulting in a perfectly-timed attack.

While it definitely takes getting used to, the game is very forgiving when it comes to dying, as it loads in fast and even advises you to save regularly. If you’re on the hunt for a strategy game that may have flown under the radar in 2020, you should definitely give Desperados III a play.

Best Strategy Games of 2020

Second Runner-Up: Gears Tactics

Guides Editor Chris Jecks: The Gears of War series is often synonymous with third-person action, bland, grey corridors, more grey alien-like enemies, and the lead characters blurting out some obscenities while they chainsaw through said grey enemies.

While recent entries have steered the series away from its adoration of the color grey, it was 2020’s turn-based strategy spin-off, Gears Tactics, that best highlights the potential the franchise has to offer.

Ditching the third-person shooter genre for a top-down, turn-based strategy title, Gears Tactics’ story takes place not long after E-Day, following Gabe Diaz (father of Gears 5 protagonist Kait) as he’s tasked with taking down the Locust eugenicist, Ukkon. And who knew that the Gears series would be such a perfect match the the turn-based strategy genre.

The game offers up plenty of story tidbits to keep fans of the series ploughing through its roughly 30-hour campaign, and some solid tactical gameplay, too. It’s your usual turn-based affair, with the gameplay most resembling that of X-COM with a hint of Gears of War that makes it feel distinctly unique.

Each character type has its own skills and abilities that are unlocked through leveling up, hero units have their own unique abilities that can help turn the tide of battle, and don’t worry, the series’ penchant for gore isn’t lost here, with chainsaw bayonet attacks and headshots getting their own cinematic cutscenes amidst the top-down action.

Its compulsory side content can occasionally feel like unnecessary padding, but the gameplay’s enjoyable enough you’ll be more than happy to push through regardless, if not just to enjoy the story beats. Gears of War fans, this is a must-play, and it’s on Xbox Game Pass and Game Pass for PC, there is no excuse!

Best Strategy Games of 2020

First Runner-Up: 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

13 sentinels: aegis rim, best strategy games of 2020

Reviews Editor ZhiQing Wan: The story and sometimes complicated plot of 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim are the main appeal here, but hey, the real-time strategy elements are pretty damn good too. When I reviewed it, I noted that 13 Sentinels’ menus and UI may not be the prettiest but there’s no denying that the strategy gameplay is satisfying as hell.

With 13 characters at your disposal, they’re all equipped with a different skill set and different kinds of mechs that they can maneuver on the battlefield.

Certain mechs specialize in long-range abilities, while others excel in melee combat but lack any sort of ranged capabilities. While 13 Sentinels isn’t particularly punishing or overly challenging, there’s still a lot of satisfaction to be had in finding the optimal way of blasting your enemies into bits.

You truly have to plan ahead and figure out how to group your enemies together and take them all out in fell swoop. Anyone can clear a level in this game easily, but it takes skill to clear it with the highest possible rank.

Best Strategy Games of 2020

Winner: Crusader Kings 3

Crusader Kings 3, best strategy games of 2020

News Editor Giuseppe Nelva: Crusader Kings 3 isn’t just a fantastic strategy game, but also one of the best RPGs available on the market and an extremely impressive world simulator. It mixes those elements wisely so that none overpowers the rest and each enriches the other aspects of gameplay.

While Paradox’s games often become what they’re truly meant to be after the releases of a few DLC, Crusader Kings 3 is the most complete and accomplished package the developer has launched out of the box, by a large margin.

Add to that a charming degree of humor, a lot of unpredictability, and a ton of variety, and this becomes pretty much a game that you could play forever… or until Paradox releases Crusader Kings 4.

While the “one more turn” issue doesn’t directly apply since there are no actual turns here, you can expect this game’s addictive nature to pose a serious risk to your social life and sleep patterns.

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