I’m not sure you’ve noticed, but there have been a truly staggering number of strategy and strategy RPGs released not only this year, but also in recent years, with a lot more set for the foreseeable future. Without even trying I was able to see more than a dozen of them in pots fresh, ready to drink, or seep for the foreseeable future. The sleeping subgenre, largely limited to console and mobile by a complacent or reckless set of publishers, has exploded in full force on PC.
People who love these games are often referred to as SRPGs, from the Japanese gaming culture phrase usually translated as “simulation” or “strategy” RPG. These were a mainstay of 90s and turn-of-the-millennium gaming. Classics like Fire Emblem Games, Tactics Ogre, Shining Force, and Final Fantasy Tactics are beloved, but by the mid-2000s they fell into disuse. Even these games weren’t always released widely, or were confined to the walled garden of Nintendo’s console.
Plus, recent big-budget RPGs like Square have focused on real-time combat and action mechanics, and so what’s left for those who enjoy turn-based? They have a lot of indies going for it, and – well, it turns out that most of them prefer strategy games, or more, turn-based than traditional RPGs.
The success of Fire Emblem: Awakening in 2012 — and every Fire Emblem since then — has finally well and truly translated into an upcoming release on PC. A few years ago, as far as I can tell, a lot of indies just said “well, crap, they never put these on PC, so I’ll make my own!” Now development is so simple and the genre so popular that we’re getting semi-retired industry pioneers—for example, the makers of Freaking Fire Emblem in the SRPG-making game. It is enough though. Let’s go to the games.
Symphony of War: The Nephilim Saga
Release Date: 10 June 2022
(image credit: Freedom Games)
OK, I’m partial to this and I’m listing this first because it’s a hit recently. With over 3,200 reviews on Steam (opens in new tab), 96% of them positive, Symphony of War is a triumph of indie ingenuity. It’s also a great pick if you’re on the Steam deck. However, to avoid repeating myself, I’ll quote my recent review:
“JRPGs are a simple joy for character customization. Extend it to entire squads of characters on a tactical grid? Now you’ve got your classic strategy JRPG, like Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics. Extend it to an entire army of several dozen squads? That’s what you get to do again in Symphony of War: The Nephilim Saga. Setting up a buffet of customizations around your army and its generals is enough to shake up a genre that was quickly becoming one-note—even though It doesn’t do it any favors just to be an otherwise normal story.”
(image credit: Nintendo)
Release Date: 4 March 2022 (Switch)
One of the games that inspired this article, Triangle Tactics was a very well received SRPG that clearly “got” the genre. It’s published by Square, and comes from the same internal “project” initiative and maker that brought us Octopath Traveler (which brought 2.5D aesthetic rights to PC about a year after the Switch debuted, hence the triangle of fingers crossed) Strategy follows suit).
The Triangle Tactics has a terrifying plot focusing on the conflict between the ideologies of utility, morality, and liberty. It features multi-level maps and a tactical focus on traversing different height levels—characters can do things like drop ladders so that others can get higher. It also uses a range of limited upgrade resources, ensuring you choose a few characters and stick with them.
Release Date: 22 September 2022
(image credit: Square Enix)
Another big one from Square, The Deofield Chronicles is meant to be a real-time tactical strategy RPG, which is, as far as I know, a whole new thing. You command your characters on the battlefield in real time, directing their attacks as in an RTS. When you queue up a power or ability, however, it slows down almost-noiselessly as you line up vector attacks using targeting arrows and diagrams like many modern mobs do before you put them back into action. remove.
Big budget look is also going on for this. Everything we’ve seen in The Deofield Chronicle so far just looks… pretty. It’s supposed to claim a “gritty and immersive story” to boot, but from what I can tell that means a lot more than they swear or something.
strategy monster reborn
Release Date: 11 November 2022
(image credit: Square Enix)
The previously leaked, now confirmed, Tactics Ogre: Reborn marks the return of the beloved strategy RPG for the first time since 2010’s Tactics Ogre: Let Us Kling Together. This remake promises to improve graphics, sound and update the game design. The Tactics Ogre is renowned for its wide, elaborate classes and customizing characters. It also has an extensive world map to navigate, which can spit up random encounters, and adds some real flavor and strategic flair to the way the story is played.
Along with Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre is often cited as the gateway game to many in the strategy RPG subgenre. Mind you, not for simplicity or easy learning, but because it’s the kind of tactical gameplay that always pulls you deeper.
Final Fantasy Tactics Remaster
Release Date: ,
(image credit: Square Enix)
It hasn’t been confirmed… but it was part of that big Nvidia leak in November 2021. The list of Square games on that list has come to be almost entirely true, including the Tactics Ogre remake (see above). expect it. Square would be foolish not to bring back this cult classic of the genre — which has so defined the class and job system used in dozens of RPGs — while SRPGs are experiencing a renaissance.
vestaria saga 2
Release Date: 28 July 2022
(Image credit: Danzen Entertainment)
Westaria Saga, a classic-style strategy RPG, is created by a team led by Shoujo Kaga, who designed and wrote the game, the first six Fire Emblem games from 1990 to 1999. The recently released Vestaria Saga 2: The Sacred Sword of Sylvani Vestaria Saga 1: War of the Scions, released in 2019, and I would consider it a must-play for anyone who thinks they are an SRPG expert. It’s good to see how someone who laid the foundation for the genre thinks about it 30 years later.
Gameplay-wise, Westaria Saga focuses on intricately designed maps with difficult strategic puzzles. Positioning and movement are the keys to success, figuring out when and where enemies will move, and how to take advantage of it. Vestaria Saga 2 has many improvements compared to its predecessor, so it’s a shame that it relies so much on the plot of Vestaria Saga 1.
Release Date: 4 August 2022
(image credit: Toge Productions)
Now that the Square Enix Show portion of the article is firmly over, let’s talk about Vanaris Tactics, a cute little strategy RPG from solo dev Matthias Reuss who knows what he wants to do and doesn’t go beyond his welcome. I used to miss it, sadly, until one of our writers shot his nephew in the head (in the game, of course).
Vanaris Tactics is a bargain-priced 15-mission game with a few optional fights along the way. There’s less stress about long-term plans here, so you can play around with customizing your characters a little more—which is good, because the different weapons and gear can drastically change any unit’s combat role and you can play with it. How to use abilities.
away from home
Release Date: 18 August 2022
(Image credit: Matthew Wong)
A party-based strategy RPG, the unique Far From Home is a story-driven indie that combines low-key tactical combat with some cool environments and characterful, chunky sprites. It also has an interesting premise, with the people of our world thrown into a fantasy and sent on a quest to go home.
The downside is its strategic element. Far Away From Home is pretty simple, and there’s not a lot of customization or different ways to create your characters with a set party lineup. It’s well polished, however, and remarkably meant for a single developer’s indie effort. Check out the demo (opens in new tab) to see if you like it.
Release Date: coming soon
(image credit: flan)
The upcoming indie SpiritLink Tactics clearly takes a lot from Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre, when you create a party of characters by combining classes and giving you a lot of freedom while doing it. You combine two classes for each character, so you can be a warrior/rogue, or a warrior/alchemist, each playing very differently.
Its other clever innovation is a system of mind sharing, where characters can use each other’s power to wield. Combined with the terrain, I think it has the potential to be something interesting when SpiritLink Tactics is released. You can play the SpiritLink Tactics demo on Steam (opens in new tab).
Crimson Tactics: The Rise of the White Banner
Release Date: September, 2022 (early access)
(Image credit: Black March Studios)
Crimson Tactics has the blocky aesthetic of games like Final Fantasy Tactics, but uses what I can only call a modern Nintendo DS game palette and model. The result is unique looking, to say the least, and looks a lot better in motion than in the screenshot.
Mechanically, well, it’s like other strategy RPGs: Customize from a few dozen classes, each with their own abilities, and toss in some unique story characters. The most unique aspect is cavalry warfare, with characters riding on earthly horses, as well as more exotic horses such as dragons and hydras.
Complete Strategy: Daughters of Mercy
Release Date: coming soon
(Image credit: Acupara Games)
A promising-looking tactical RPG from developer Curious Fate, Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy has an engaging art style that, unusual for the genre, is clearly unafraid to shy away from the combination of drawings and sprites that have been there in so many releases. define. Also the main character has a dog, so that means it can’t be all bad.
Its tactical element focuses on extensive adaptability and unexpected style twists. Levels will include puzzles, or large-scale combat battles, much like the map twists found in older SRPGs. It claims that the characters will be unique in their own right, but can also choose from 21 different classes to combine. Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy has a demo that you can play right there on Steam (opens in new tab).
Release Date: summer, 2023
(image credit: Serenity Forge)
Arcadian Atlas is a beautiful strategy RPG that really focuses on its characters and their story. It “promises a journey into the lives of two lovers brought together by war and torn between the queen to whom they have sworn an oath and the charismatic illegitimate daughter who rises to take back a throne, forbidding her.” do – civil war threatens to encircle the destitute and are desperate as battle lines are drawn and swords are opened.”
All that straight Shakespearean bullshit and I’m here for it. It will feature 12 unique classes, each with its own skill tree, and a variety of tactical map terrain.
oh and many more
(image credit: Dandelion)
That’s just recent and upcoming games. There is a lot more in the past few years that you might have missed. Let’s end with:
- Fell is Sealed: Arbiter’s Mark, a true love letter to Final Fantasy Tactics with a suitably epic story and playtime to match.
- Dark Gods (opens in new tab), an attempt at Game Boy Advance-era Fire Emblem game greatness.
- Hidden Gems is Horizon Gate (opens in new tab), a unique Strategy RPG in that it sets you up to find your way across an open world and open-ended class system.
- Or even the more recent Brigandine: The Legend of Runerasia, a revival of a cult classic SRPG.
- And I’d be criminally liable if I didn’t mention Troubleshooter: Abandoned Children (opens in new tab), the 2020 cult classic that mixes a bit of Fire Emblem into your XCOM-tinged SRPG and then gives you a thousand – Customization mastery.