I’ve been in the mood for a strategy game. Not just any strategy game though, a really in-depth, difficult, city simulation, resource collecting based strategy game. 10 years ago in the Golden Years of strategy games it wasn’t hard to find a title like this. I had Anno 1602, Civilization 3, Caesar, Homeworld, Sim City and a bunch of other PC games that fit the bill perfectly. I’m ready for the next awesome strategy game to get immersed in.
There’s only one problem. After looking through the local Game Stop and Steam’s strategy library there’s no new game that fits the specifications I’m looking for. All of the sequels to once good games have lost their depth in recent years. And the new series that are coming out don’t have any to begin with!
I looked into Civilization 5, because I was a huge fan of the 3rd one. I played the fourth, but I felt like the game sacrificed game play for graphics, which is never a good choice for a strategy game. They also dumbed down a lot of the mechanics so more players could get into the game quickly and easily. Maybe they fixed those issues in the 5th one? But then I see that they took out the religion and government mechanics. I had to pass it up because I know it’s not going to have the depth I’m looking for.
But that’s ok. I’m really looking for more of a city specific strategy game. So I installed Sim City 4, which I bought during a Steam Sale a while ago. But here I encounter the simplicity problem again. Compared to Sim City 3000 this game has almost no challenge. It’s simple, but doesn’t even have the luxury of being straightforward.
Over the past couple of months I tried a variety of strategy games. Some, like Endless Space, were very close to what I was looking for. But still, they lacked that feel that allowed me to replay Civ 3 and Anno 1602 over and over and over again.
I realize strategy game companies are trying to make their games simpler to attract a variety of new gamers. The market in 2012 is much different than it was in 1998 when my favorite strategy games were coming out and people don’t want to take a long time learning an in-depth game. They want a five minute tutorial level that gives them the knowledge they need to complete it. And it’s not just the strategy game genre either. Look at the complexity of (Skyrim compared to Morrowind). But the strategy genre is supposed to be complicated. It’s supposed to have mechanics that players never really understand. If you win your first match then the game was made wrong.
Strategy games are supposed to be challenging, filled with difficult mechanics choices for the player to think about. At least the strategy games I’m interested in are. You’re in a virtual seat of power, over a town, a city, a country, or sometimes even a world. And while I don’t want my games to be as stressful as that real life position, I want to feel like I’m in control of my game. While writing this article I have Anno 2070 downloading in the background. Hopefully it’s the game I’ve been searching for. But if not give me a strategy game that takes the old school strategy style and bring it to the current marketplace. Give me a real strategy game.