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An entirely objective ranking of the 50 best PC strategy games ever made. From intricate wargames to soothing peacegames, the broad expanse of the genre contains something for everyone, and we’ve gathered the best of the best. The vast majority are available to buy digitally, a few are free to download and play forever. They’re all brilliant.
Each week on Show Us Your Rig, we feature PC gaming's best and brightest as they show us the systems they use to work and play.
Paul Kilduff-Taylor, Joint Managing Director at Mode 7 Games (known for Frozen Synapse and Frozen Cortex), has a rig surrounded by music. I can count at least four keyboards in the above photo alone. He also has an impressive 64GB of RAM, an amount superfluous for gaming but which can be very handy for any sort of production work. Paul was kind enough to show off his work space and tell us about both his favorite game and his favorite synth.
Selected Hardware Synths
Probably the deeply ludicrous amount of RAM I have: it s a massive help when it comes to music and video production. Our tech guy Jimmeh who built the computer was a bit blown away when I asked for that much RAM but it s great!
My Soulsby Atmegatron: it s a brilliant synthesizer which was created by a good friend of mine. I use it all the time and also it looks cool.
On PC, I m playing XCOM. I didn t really get into it the first time around but it s hooked me now for some reason. I m also playing a little bit of Starcraft 2 again so I can remember where my hotkeys are when Legacy of the Void comes out.
I d say probably still Deus Ex. The combination of the setting, the openness of the gameplay and the level design are all still phenomenally compelling. It s a game that fully allows you to make your own plans to deal with the situations in front of you: that s still quite rare.
Frozen Cortex [official site], formerly Frozen Endzone, is a futuristic American Football analogue where surprisingly graceful robots take the place of fleshy, armour-clad men. It’s evocative of Speedball and Blood Bowl, but it’s really Frozen Synapse wrapped in the theme of competitive team sports. The result’s a purely strategic and tactical game, entirely absent RNG, with players taking their turns simultaneously. I’m quite bad at it.>
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
It’s bittersweet that so many games are doing the XCOM thing lately (not to mention that they’re not doing the X-COM thing). The great thing about the great turn-based, squad-based strategy comeback was it picking up a ball that had been dropped years ago, but now perhaps we’re in danger of the whole thing atrophying. There’s a whole lot more to experiment with there, rather then rest on genre laurels. For example, Frozen Synapse, which does turn-based combat as rapid-fire prediction. … [visit site to read more]
The original Frozen Synapse is a wonderfully readable turn-based strategy game that plays out a little like a fully top-down Rainbow Six. You have your deep blue background, of the sort I tend to use in word documents to be less harsh on the old eyes; you have your team in green, the baddies in red, and neutrals in yellow, making it very easy to tell what's going on at a glance. I mention this because a new version of the game, Frozen Synapse Prime, is coming to PC soon, which messes with the colour scheme in scary ways. Its procedurally generated environments now look a bit like stark, grey alien spaceships, while the more animated characters no longer resemble plastic army men.
Developers Double 11 originally adapted Mode 7's Frozen Synapse for the Playstation Vita, and now they're re-adapting it back to the PC. I'm not convinced by Prime's shiny, high-contrast art, but I'm happy that the game will now feature controller support. The other changes are detailed here, and include new commands, overhauled multiplayer, a reworked campaign, and a couple of additional tutorial missions. There are also a few new maps exclusive to this Steam version.
Frozen Synapse Prime is out on November 14th. The original version included two copies (one for a friend), and it would be neat if this new one did something similar. Here's a trailer.
Hang on, that’s not the contrasting green, blue and red I’m used to! There’s been a robbery of extreme colour, replacing it with bluish greys and skyline backdrops! Just one of the changes made to Frozen Synapse in the Prime version that’s coming to Steam on November 14th. It’s a port of the Vita, uh, port with some added goodies. I actually quite like the old Synapse art, it’s simple but unique and nicely abstracted enough from the usually quite extreme violence being committed. Fit the tactical feel of the game as a whole, too. The other changes are less controversial and there’s a trailer to show them off.
Frozen Synapse developers Mode Seven have been quietly talking about changing the name of their exceedingly clever but regrettably-titled strategic robo-sports game Frozen Endzone for some time now. Tired of all the friendzone puns and concerned about how much it overstated the American Football aspect, they’ve only gone and done it. Frozen Endzone is no more: as of today we have Frozen Cortex. Or, Frendzone is no more: now we have FroCo. >
The name isn’t all that’s changed. As of any minute now, Frozen Cortex also boasts a new, more heavily sci-fi look, revamped AI, a big performance boost and Mac/Linux builds. This is a major update, not a mere rebrand. I had a chat with Mode Seven’s Paul Taylor and Ian Hardingham about why they’ve changed so much after so long – including their reasoning for (and risks of) that rebranding. Read on for that and a glimpse of the new-look game.> … [visit site to read more]