Best Strategy Game of 2012 Award

Winner: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

We didn’t even have a Strategy category for our GOTY awards last year, but there were quite a few strategy games released this year on consoles that merited more than just a special mention during these proceedings. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll have this year – sure, it’s incredibly hard, very tense, and has a few technical issues, but all of these factors coalesce into a game that is so much fun to play. In the field controlling a squad and tactically fighting back the alien menace one turn at a time feels perfect even without a mouse and keyboard. At first, soldiers will die and their losses will be felt as you scramble to raise a powerful, experienced group of soldiers who will be able to take on more and more dangerous assignments. Later, as your technology improves, you turn the alien’s own tech against them in the form of plasma rifles, plasma rockets with homing capabilities, and suits with stealth camouflage built in.

Back at your base, you’ll have to make smart decisions about what to construct and when, as your monthly budget has to be managed down to the last credit. You’ll also have to manage the panic levels of the member countries if you want them to stay within the XCOM project. At first this all seems daunting, but XCOM does a fantastic job of acclimating even new players to the franchise to the rigors and harsh realities of managing a top secret organization. All told, XCOM rewards patience, organization, tactical thinking, and squad building.

There’s so much depth present at every conceivable level within XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and it’s a game that will have strategy enthusiasts engaged for a long time. It’s a great game that is very deserving of our top spot as Strategy Game of the Year. Our only regret here at PSLS is that it didn’t sell better on consoles. Hopefully, the PC version’s sales will justify Firaxis making a sequel.

Runners Up:

  • Starhawk
  • Anomaly: Warzone Earth

Stay tuned to PlayStation LifeStyle all week during our Best of 2012 Awards week.