Thinking various steps ahead and making all gears turn in unison is a unique feeling. The genre will never fade, so we’re looking for the best strategy games for PS4 and PS5.
Strategy is common for Windows platforms but not as much for a console. These games work better with a mouse and a keyboard, as you often need to issue individual commands to units.
One of the main strategy sub-genres, RTS (real-time strategy), is not part of the console. Some of the best strategy titles available have slipped into the PlayStation platform. Let’s find them.
Selecting Strategy Games for PS4 and PS5
Strategy games involve evaluating resources and circumstances to make careful decisions.
Yet, “strategy” is an umbrella for many sub-genres. Let’s start by explaining these categories to understand what we’re looking for:
- Abstract Strategy: These have an internal logic based on decisions and thinking ahead of your enemy. Chess is the perfect example.
- Team Strategy: It revolves around teams of two players with defensive and offensive skills.
- Board Games: They have simple rules, and the game goes across a board. The player interacts with medium to light mechanics.
- Turn-based Role-playing: These games portray team or individual battles per turn. You take turns to attack or to move and attack across a grid. Then, you gain skills and loot to customize and improve your character.
- Turn-based Board Games: You’d control a civilization (like on Civilization) on a large campaign across the planet. YOu can take a series of actions per turn, like moving armies, constructing buildings, or researching.
- Card Games: Card games or “CCG” (card-collecting games) revolve around building a deck of cards. These cards then deliver skills to use in turn-based combat.
- Rogue-like Strategy: These are games where you need to master their mechanics tightly. Otherwise, when you die, you’ll go back to the beginning.
- Simulation: These are about simulating real-world situations to make decisions. Then, you’re to deal with the consequences by taking action.
- Wargames: These simulate military battles, wars, or campaigns. You can play as historical or fictitious leaders. The sub-genre uses simulation elements and may also use turns to take actions. Also, you play with miniatures.
- Real-time Strategy: These are about real-time warfare situations. Generally, you gather resources, develop a town, create an army, and send the army to battle.
- Real-time Action Strategy: These are complex adventure games mixing RPG elements, tactical combat, and a turn-based system. They are also mostly story-driven.
- Grand Strategy: These are larger games featuring political, economic, and diplomatic decisions. The story happens across large campaigns and maps.
We’re aiming for the best strategy games, no matter the category. If we choose a game, it’s because it has both fan and critical praise.
Best Strategy Games for PS4 and PS5
- Developer: Firaxis Games
- Publisher: 2K Games
- Release Date: February 2016
- Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android
XCOM 2 is one of the most popular turn-based games you can play. It’s the sequel to 2012’s Enemy Unknown, a reboot of the legendary sci-fi military series. As usual, you’re fighting off an alien invasion as part of a resistance force. ThWelso recommends the expansion, “War of the Chosen.”
The game has two core elements. The easy part is on your ship, which is the hub world. You manage your team members, research technologies, and select your next mission here. The second part is the missions, where you control a squad of soldiers on a map to complete missions (kill, rescue, retrieve, etc.).
For combat, you take turns attacking, moving across a grid, taking cover, using skills, and using items. Characters come in classes, and so do the enemies. These elements make combat very tough, as making a single mistake can snowball into a staggering defeat.
Lastly, the game procedurally generated maps and missions, giving you endless content. You can further expand its offering through player-created mods or in-game challenges. One of the best challenges revolves around time-based objectives.
Slay The Spire
- Developer: Mega Crit Games
- Publisher: Humble Bundle
- Release Date: January 2019
- Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android
Slay the Spire is a deck-building game with a rogue-lite design. You select one of the four available characters, each featuring a starting deck and a special perk. Then, try to defeat a massive maze.
The map, the Spire, is a procedurally generated tower. You go from level to level, defeating enemies and bosses on every part. Battle happens in turns, and you use the cards to select skills, buffs, and debuffs.
Defeating enemies rewards new cards, but if you die, you lose all of your cards and must go back to the beginning. Other special collectibles grant permanent upgrades, though.
So, Slay the Spire is complex and difficult. Reaching the top of the tower requires mastering the combat system and getting the most out of your deck. But a card collecting game also requires a bit of luck.
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
- Developer: Firaxis Games
- Publisher: 2k Games, Aspyr Media
- Release Date: October 2016
- Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android
Civilization VI is the latest part of Sid Meier’s iconic 4K series. 4K stands for “EXplore, EXpand, EXploit, and EXterminate.” These are the core mechanics in the game, but you can understand it as a sub-genre of the grand-strategy branch.
You pick a civilization and start by building a small settlement. You see the world map as a board, and your cities and characters are miniatures. AS you explore, you’ll reveal other civilizations on the map, gathering allies or enemies.
You gather resources, explore, eliminate or ally with other civilizations, develop technologies, and grow. Any of these elements can lead you to victory. That said, you can take several actions per turn. And as you play, you’ll see your civ grow from the dark ages to modern society.
There’s no action in the game, though. If armies meet on the map, the AI will determine the result depending on your army’s composition. So, the game revolves on making proper decisions and managing your Civilization with a clear strategy.
Frostpunk: Console Edition
- Developer: 11-bit studios
- Publisher: 11-bit studios
- Release Date: April 2018
- Platform: PS4, Xbox One, macOS, iOS, Android
Frostpunk is a city-builder gamer with survival elements. You play as the leader of a human settlement in a late 19th Century apocalyptic setting. The character’s name is simply “The Captain.”
A volcanic winter covered the entire world, and surviving in a cold tundra is near impossible. Your job is to manage the little resources available to ensure the survival of your kin. To that end, you explore the area, gather resources, make choices, and build structures.
You play with an overhead view of your city and go through several scenarios. Each represents a different challenge. In particular, you start with a small group of workers, children, and engineers. Over time, you build an entire city and harvest coal, steel, wood, and coal.
Other elements to name are weather conditions and politics. For weather, your survival revolves around coal, as the city generates heat through coal. Then, your citizens may approve or disprove your actions and laws, leading you to lead with an iron fist or through democracy.
- Developer: Colossal Order
- Publisher: Paradox Interactive
- Release Date: March 2015
- Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, macOS, Linux, Google Stadia
Cities: Skylines is perhaps the best city-building game available for console or PC. It delivers a city-building sim with no goal; in other words, an open-ended experience.
You play as the mayor of a city, so your main job is urban planning. That includes many metropolitan systems such as roads, taxation, zoning, sewers, electricity, public transportation, etc.
Additionally, you manage elements like budget, health, crime, education, pollution, and employment. These are some of your primary concerns, and you must take action if you’re missing any of these areas.
Lastly, you plan and build your city, from a small settlement to a modern and massive city. As the city grows, you’ll see how the game’s sim engine displays realistic traffics and daily routines for your citizens.
Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark
- Developer: 6 Eyes Studio
- Publisher: 1C Publishing EU s.r.o.
- Release Date: April 2019
- Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Series, Windows, Linux, macOS
Fell Seal is a story-driven and turn-based RPG. We chose it because its combat is highly tactical. Also, the world is amazing, as it mixes high fantasy with steampunk.
You control Arbiter Kyrie, agent of the “Immortal Council.” Your task is to maintain order and stability on the land. To the task, you’re to lead your troops through a series of difficult battles.
The story goes across 40 story encounters, plus several challenges and expansive end-game content. Your enemies are bandits, monsters, and other mythical creatures.
As you play, you’ll understand the depth of its tactical combat. You play around 20 classes, 200 abilities, sub-classes, and passives. Moreover, you’re able to customize every inch of your characters.
That said, terrain also plays a role in the game. Elevation (or the contrary) raises your stats against the enemy army. So, positioning your troops is paramount for victory.
Dungeon of The Endless
- Developer: Amplitude Studio
- Publisher: SEGA
- Release Date: October 2014
- Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Dungeon of the Endless is a tower defense game with a rogue-like design. The third part of the Endless series is loosely connected, but the saga. In other words, you can try it without skipping important lore.
You play as prison survivors. You escaped from a prison ship on a pod, but the pod landed on a strange planet. The setting delivers a 2D action-adventure experience. You select a class and travel through an endless maze’s rooms. Your goal is gathering crystals, which you need to escape. By completing a level, you progress to the next floor.
The map is procedurally generated, and each run is different. You control two characters separately or together through the rooms and levels. As you progress, you’ll find some permanent power-ups and power-ups you’ll lose on death.
Lastly, the strategy comes from carrying the crystals. When a character carries the item, it can’t attack, but the other can. Moreover, you can “hire” other characters on your run so they can accomplish significant tasks in the maze.
- Developer: Mimimi Games
- Publisher: THQ Nordic
- Release Date: June 2020
- Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Windows, macOS, Linux
Desperados III is a real-time action strategy video game. It’s the latest part of the Desperado series, a Helldorado spin-off. However, this game is a prequel to the first game.
The title has a Wild West setting. You play in the 1870s in Colorado, Louisiana, and Mexico. The story takes cues from classical western movies. It is about finding justice in a lawless world full of bandits and tycoons.
You play with an isometric view on a linear story. The controller scheme is about pointing and taking action: you sneak, hide, rob, murder, move, explore, and so on and so forth. It’s also a stealth game like classic “Commando” games.
However, you’ll find puzzles all along your adventure and moments of obstacles. When this happens, you’ll need to find a way around it. Mostly, it’s about interacting with the environment’s elements creatively.
Planet Coaster: Console Edition
- Developer: Frontier Developments
- Publisher: Frontier Developments
- Release Date: November 2016
- Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows, macOS
Planet Coaster is a management and construction simulator. It comes from RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 creators and is the spiritual successor. If you’re familiar with the older game, Planet Coaster is rather similar.
It offers park building and management experience but has four game modes. Namely, Sandbox, Career, Challenge, and Scenario Editor. Aside from the editor, the modes are similar: you build the park, manage its system, complete tasks, and hire employees.
The sandbox mode is perhaps its best part. It allows you to construct a park with your own theme on empty land. In comparison, the career mode takes you through a series of tasks, such as completing a roller coaster on a park that already exists.
As you progress through the game, particularly in the sandbox mode, you’ll unlock features, rides, and structures. Of course, you earn funds with park visitors, which you invest into improving your park.
- Developer: Limbic Entertainment
- Publisher: Kalypso Media
- Release Date: March 2019
- Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows, macOS, Linux
Tropico 6 is a management and construction simulation. Unlike other games, it incorporates heavy political sim elements, making it one of the most complex on the list.
You play as “El Presidente,” leader of a fictional Caribbean island nation, “Tropico.” Then, you play through four eras: Colonial, World Wars, Cold War, and Modern era.
Your job is to develop the archipelago through structures, services, bridges, and more. Simulated citizens will live in your country, and your rule will affect their productivity. They could deliver their maximum effort or revolt against you.
So, as El Presidente, you can become a fearful dictator or a lawful ruler. Either way, you’re to maintain the tropical republic and bring it forward to the 21st Century.