The Upcoming Strategy Games in 2017

by on January 21, 2017

 

                I’m
continuing the series of upcoming games in 2017 with strategies, a genre still
staying strong despite the popularity lost by RTS in the past few years.
Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach
Release Date: January 19
                Sanctus
Reach is a Turn Base Strategy from Straylight Entertainment opening up a year
filled with the endless war of Warhammer 40,000 universe.
                The
players will lead the army of Space Wolves into battle against the expanding
threat of the Orks fighting in two singleplayer campaigns to protect the world
of Alaric Prime. The gameplay resembles the tabletop in army creation using
points system for units which afterwards can be deployed in strategic areas of
the map to fight in a good old turn based fashion. The twist is a progression
system for each unit that carries on from one battle to the next.
The graphics and animation aren’t
really impressive and the variety of units is limited by the two races, but the
campaigns with over 40 missions, skirmish matches, multiplayer and a map
generator sum a good amount of content to enjoy the mightiest Space Wolves.
Urban Empire
Release Date: January 20
                Urban
Empire is a political City Builder or how the developers at Reborn Interactive
call it, a City Ruler. The players will take over a mayoral dynasty spanning
200 years of European history from 1820 to 2020 and use political maneuvers to
manage a city undergoing the changes of the modern era. Players won’t be
placing buildings but instead they will create the shape of an expanding city for
private enterprises to do the work while focusing on political mechanics to put
things in motion. Establishing infrastructures and planning districts will
require town council votes. Facing political struggle might force players into
blackmail or bribery and introducing new technologies or ideas could help the
city evolve or fulfill a personal agenda.
                Urban
Empire will have players watch a city grow through 5 different eras each with
its own challenges influenced by historical events in a combination of
Democracy, The Guild and Sim City.
Halo Wars 2
Release Date: February 21
                The
sequel to the Halo RTS returns now developed in a partnership between Creative
Assembly and 343 Industries and published by Microsoft.
                The
game has a singleplayer campaign composed of 13 missions and co-op support. The
story takes place 28 years after the events of Halo Wars and shortly after Halo
5 with the protagonists and the crew aboard the Spirit of Fire warships unaware
how the war between humans and the Covenant has concluded.
                Like
its predecessor, Halo Wars 2 features 2 factions: the returning UNSC,
humanity’s main army, and a replacement for the Covenant known as the Banished.
The gameplay is balanced around a rock-paper-scissor system which makes each unit
type effective against a different type, creating a necessity for a diverse
army composition. The game’s multiplayer will support up to 6 player matches
and a number of modes including one that borrows elements from collectible card
games.
                As a PC
player it is hard to follow the story and lore of the Halo universe, but
Creative Assembly’s involvement in this project does bring certain expectations
from Halo Wars 2.
Domina
Release Date: April 4
The indie developer DolphinBarn
known for creating Corporate Lifestyle Simulator is making a return. Domina is
a simulator powered by retro style graphics in which players attempt to elevate
their family’s name in the ancient Rome by managing a group of gladiators. The
gameplay will require training and upgrading warriors to get them ready for
bloody battles and stack the odds in your favor through political manipulation.
                It’s
unclear at this point if the game has an action combat or the battles are simulated
with the outcome being influenced by player’s action. But whether that’s the
case or not, Domina seems like an interesting combination of strategy and
simulator that could provide some intense gameplay and good replay value.
BATTLETECH
Release Date: TBA
The imposing and powerful MechWarriors
are back with the help of over 41,000 backers that raised over 2.7 million
dollars to support Harebrained Schemes in the development of BATTLETECH.
                Jordan
Weisman, the creator of the BattleTech board game and MechWarrior, returns with
a turn based combat game featuring tactical battles between the iconic mech
units. Set in 3025, the game will feature a story driven singleplayer campaign
with proper production value which includes voice acting, cinematics and a
customizable base. There’s also a PvP multiplayer that’s going to pit player
against each other in a battle of tactical ingenuity and wits.
                Powered
by Unity 5 engine, BATTLETECH’s alpha videos showcase a perfect transposition
of the artworks into a 3D environment and a promising game. Let’s hope that’s
true, because this universe deserves a comeback.
Blitzkrieg 3
Release Date: TBA, currently in Early Access
                The
third installment in the legendary RTT series, Blitzkrieg 3 went far from its roots.
Now a MMORTS, the World War II game entered Early Access in May 2015 and it’s
still a work in progress.
The developer Nival promises 3
singleplayer campaigns featuring the three big parties of the war: Allies, Axis
and USSR. Shifting from RTT to RTS, the gameplay of Blitzkrieg 3 doesn’t
reflect realism as it used to do. The units have health points changing the
combat orientation towards micromanagement, a change that bolds well with the
game’s MMO component.
In the multiplayer mode, each
player has a foothold on which they can set a base building defenses and
fortifications to stop the assaults from other players. A progression system
allows players to expand their base and army size while an advance AI provides
continuous matches by taking over the defenses while the players aren’t online.
                I have
mixed feelings about Blitzkrieg 3, but I’m patiently waiting to see how the
finished product will turn out.
Call to Arms
Release Date: TBA, currently in Early Access
                From
Digitalmindsoft, the creators of Men of War series, comes Call to Arms, a game
that entered Early Access in July 2015 and has gone through some changes that
upset many players.
                Call to
Arms, like Men of War, is a RTT that plays in an extremely similar way. Players
control a small group of units, each with their own equipment and limited
resources, and have to use tactics and the resources at hand to succeed in either
the singleplayer campaign, skirmishing vs AI or multiplayer battles. The complex
gameplay filled with realistic details that create the perfect environment for
extreme tactical play is the core of Call to Arms and what makes it such a
promising game. Enhanced through mechanics and a better technology. The
addition of a 3rd person action mode has made the control of some
critical units a lot, fixing one of the problems from Men of War. The advanced
physics allow for an extensive destruction of the battlefield forcing players
to constantly adapt to the changes. There is also the praise worthy vehicle’s
damage model which is as realistic as it gets and probably the best I’ve seen
in a military video game of any kind.
                Call to
Arms was an extremely promising game when it went into Early Access and it was
welcomed by the fans. But a prolonged development, performance problems, the
inherited annoying UI and ultimately the switch to a free to play multiplayer
with microtransactions has brought the mixed score it currently holds on Steam.
The Allied campaign is already in the works which is a pre-order only DLC
bringing hope that the full release is finally closing in.
Door Kickers 2 – Task Force North
Release Date: TBA
                Door
Kickers 2 – Task Force North is a highly ambitious game that was supposed to enter
Early Access in 2016. The sequel to the RTT game that takes a top down approach
to the first Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon is coming with a wave of improvements.
Despite trading the indoor city setting for the Middle East battlefield and the
SWAT teams for a highly equipped Task Force, Door Kickers 2 is going to retain
the base gameplay of the predecessor while adjusting what’s needed. Shields and
Tasers are no longer useful against enemies equipped with RPGs and high caliber
weapons, instead, drones will guide the frag grenades and belt-fed weapons of
the Task Force. A new battlefield needs new tactics. Jumping over ledges and
breaking windows are a given, but turning off lights and grouping units will
widen the possibilities from guns blazing to slow and methodical to sneaky. But
one of the biggest improvements is the switch from 2D to 3D graphics. The
benefits stemming from the change in graphics go past the visual aspects as far
as fixing one of the predecessor’s greatest problems: the path plotting.
                The
list of new features is bigger, including CO-OP, and hopefully all of them will
make it into the final game. Door Kickers has managed to bring back the
tactical and punishing gameplay lost almost for decades and I’m hoping that
Door Kickers 2 will carry on the torch.
Endless Space 2
Release Date: TBA, currently in Early Access
                In
Early Access since October 2016, AMPLITUDE Studios’ Endless Space 2 is only 2
updates away from a full release.
                The
Endless universe opens up the vaults of mystery with new lore in this sequel still
centered around 4X gameplay but with the innovative RPG elements of the fantasy
Endless Legends. Minor factions and questlines join the huge list of features
and improvements which include a new combat system, a more varied base roster
of races and a refined progression. Focused on strategic decisions instead of
micromanagement, the game has the players taking the role of a true galactic
leader choosing from 8 different races in a vast galaxy filled with colonizable
planets, precious resources and peculiar factions.
                Using
quality graphics with a remarkable art style and a mesmerizing soundtrack to
accompany a solid gameplay, AMPLITUDE is preparing to deliver another strategy
hit with Endless Space 2 with the help of fan’s feedback through GAMES2GETHER.
I’ve played through the Early Access and I can’t wait to see this game
completed.
The Guild 3
Release Date: TBA
                One of
the games that has been on the upcoming list of last year, The Guild 3 is set
to release in 2017 (if everything goes as planned).
                The
Guild 3 is a medieval life and trade simulator set in 1400s Central Europe.
Players create their own dynasties spanning over centuries of political,
economic and social struggle influenced by the NPCs actions and decisions taken
by the players.
                Taking
place in a living and breathing 3D world based on historical locations, The
Guild 3 promises hours of gameplay driven by many story quests, complex
mechanics, a multiplayer that supports 16+ players and a mandatory scenario
editor.
SpellForce 3
Release Date: TBA
                The
third and probably the most important chapter in the RTS/RPG series has to make
up for the mistake of the past and prove that the series has a future.
                SpellForce
3 is supposed to go back to the roots of the series when RTS was the base
platform while RPG elements were adding finesse to the gameplay. Players will
return to the world of Eo before the events taking place in The Order of Dawn
and once again create and develop their own hero and build massive armies to
fight strategic and tactical battles. The story won’t require any knowledge of
the story so far but narrative connection with past games won’t be severed as
small story elements will provide the deserved fan service to those dedicated
to the series.
                With
appealing visuals, a 30+ hours long campaign and multiplayer, SpellForce 3
might be the return in force that the series needs to redefine itself after the
troubled continuation of SpellForce 2.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III
Release Date: TBA
                The
series that started as a hybrid, became a fully-fledged RTT is now set on
becoming a RTS in all rights with Dawn of War III, a move that won’t make
everyone happy, including myself.
                Dawn of
War III is the long awaited sequel to the renowned series developed by THQ’s
subsidiary studio, Relic Entertainment, now part of SEGA’s roster of strategy
games. Continuing the story of the sequel with the legendary hero, Gabriel
Angelos, leading the Blood Ravens to battle, Dawn of War III features 3
singleplayer campaigns, one for each playable race: Space Marines, Eldars and
Orks.
The shift in gameplay and graphics
has brought a lot of controversy. The Starcraft II like visuals with somewhat
streamlined animations and the removal of sync kills hasn’t been taken lightly
by the community, while the return to an RTS oriented
gameplay is received with mixed feelings. But at the end of the day, Dawn of
War III is the 40k game with enough resources and a worthy production value
capable of delivering the dark and violent narrative that we all want to see
from this universe.
                A lot
has changed since 2011 and the series is not the same, but as a devourer of
Warhammer 40k lore and games, I can’t help myself wanting to play Dawn of War
III in spite of the questionable changes and the storm of DLCs we all know is
coming.
Historical settings and fascinating
universes like BattleTech, SpellForce, Endless or Warhammer 40k set a diverse
strategical playground for the enthusiasts of the genre. The solid titles
covering the complete array of subgenres proves once again that the interest
for strategy games hasn’t been lost despite living in a gaming era focused on
cinematic narratives and open world environments.
Nodrim