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The best strategy games on console 2024

If you've got a knack for outmaneuvering your opponents, you're going to love our list of the best strategy games on Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch.

Best strategy games: A knight in a helmet with red feathers coming out of the top looks menacing

What are the best strategy games for console players? Strategy games these days sometimes earn a rather unfair reputation as a bygone or dying genre. It’s certainly true that you don’t see as many new releases in this corner of the gaming sphere compared to RPGs, shooters, and the like. But don’t be fooled into thinking that means the best strategy games are past their prime.

Much of the genre’s success comes from the longevity of individual games and innovation in newer ones, and many are regarded as some of the best games of all time. While PC has long stood as the platform of choice for strategy fans, console tacticians are surprisingly well-served by the variety on offer across PS5 and Xbox. There are plenty of games that’ll catch your interest, with more of the best strategy games releasing on console than ever before, and we’ve got you covered when it comes to deciding which ones are worth pouring hundreds of hours into.

Here are the best strategy games:

Best strategy games: Marvel's Midnight Suns gathered together, looking menacing

1. Marvel’s Midnight Suns

While XCOM may have set the gold standard for turn-based strategy games, developer Firaxis Games certainly hasn’t rested on its laurels. The studio – also known for the Civ series – got its mitts on the Midnight Suns and turned the unlikeliest team of Marvel characters into a shining example of what can be done with the legendary franchise in a videogame format.

Blending deck-building elements with traditional turn-based combat, you’ll embody ‘Hunter’ – the sole child of Lilith. However, rather than supporting mom’s dastardly plan to revive the Elder God Chthon, you team up with the Midnight Suns in order to defeat the Mother of Demons.

As we write in our Marvel’s Midnight Suns review, Firaxis “delivers a wonderfully rewarding, XCOM-topping combat system and a world full of larger-than-life characters you can’t wait to learn more about” – high praise. If you’re wondering how much time you can expect to sink into Midnight Suns, check out our Marvel’s Midnight Suns length guide.

Best strategy games: a group of XCOM soldiers with painted faces posing next to a dead alien

2. XCOM 2

Speaking of the gold standard, next up we have 2016’s XCOM 2 – a more-than-worthy addition to our list of best strategy games. Set 20 years after the events of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the military organization XCOM is in shambles after being overpowered by alien invaders. While some XCOM members have accepted their fate, others work in the shadows as an underground resistance group. Now, it’s time to fight back.

When our friends over at PCGamesN conducted their XCOM 2 review, they noted that XCOM 2 isn’t just a bitter intergalactic struggle in terms of humans and aliens trading each other’s lives, but you’ll have to carefully decide when to trade off your own comrades’ in order to ensure the success of a mission. It’s a brutal experience, and difficult in multiple ways, but there are few games in the genre that have such impressive depth across the board.

Best strategy games: Two spaceships fight in space in Stellaris

3. Stellaris

If you’re looking for a strategy game that balances space opera themes with rewarding real-time gameplay, while emphasizing player choice and customization, Paradox Interactive’s Stellaris is a perfect choice for you.

Putting you in the shoes of a leader of a custom-built interstellar empire, Stellaris challenges your ability to balance exploration, technological innovation, planet and star system management, and large-scale combat all at once. It flavors the galactic setting with randomized storylines, interactions with alien races, and events, all of which grow in intensity as the game goes on.

What really makes Stellaris such a standout choice though is its continued growth. Paradox has released a plethora of DLC for the game, which adds just a little bit of extra spice to some of the many mods you can find for Stellaris online. All of these allow you to change the game fundamentally from its base, giving you new worlds, mechanics, aesthetics, and events to explore.

Best strategy games: A bustling city in Civilisation 6

4. Sid Meier’s Civilization 6

Sid Meier’s Civilization series is among the most iconic in the strategy genre, and its fame well-earned. The most recent entry in the series, Civ 6, is a well-rounded and refined turn-based civilization-builder.

Developing upon the player agency, city management roots of the franchise, this entry’s main changes come from the decentralisation of cities. Players can now construct specialized districts that turn cities into sprawling hubs of activity, forcing players to reconsider how they use space for in-game improvements.

Civ 6 continues to see active development, though arguably the game suffers from some balance issues, with many of the paid-for playable civilizations holding bonuses that make them a poor match against those in the base game. Regardless, with a small but healthy modding scene and an active player base, as well as a number of challenge and scenario modes, Civ 6 remains an engaging single-player and multiplayer experience.

Best strategy games: Several cavalary riders move away from a castle in Age of Empires 4

5. Age of Empires 4

The Age of Empires series is another classic of the strategy genre and made a return recently with its fourth installment, Age of Empires 4. Whilst it could arguably do more to shake up the formula and try new things, it’s worth acknowledging that the formula works so well for a reason.

A fast-paced real-time-strategy game with an active fanbase and a burgeoning modding community, AoE4 brings a fresh lick of paint to the series with shinier graphics, new soundtracks, new and reworked unique civilizations to play, and a fantastic single-player campaign.

And let’s be honest: even if you still prefer Age of Empires 2, you’ve got to admit the new graphics look better, right?

While we’d love for all of you to play Age of Empires 4, it’s sadly not available on PlayStation platforms. It is an Xbox exclusive.

Best strategy games: A king, a queen, and a mage lineup in Crusader Kings 3

6. Crusader Kings 3

The third and final Paradox Interactive title on this list sends you about as far from the stars as you can get. An expansive and rich real-time-strategy game, Crusader Kings 3 follows on from its predecessors by allowing players to take control of any land in the 11th Century, and lead it through a dynasty of characters, steering its technological progress, internal development, faith, and conquest.

What makes this game particularly standout is the proliferation of in-game events – little storylines that add character and flavor in the smallest instances and have wide-reaching ramifications for your ruler and your kingdom in the largest. The use of intrigue, religion, and diplomacy showcases a thoughtful understanding of the complexity of the period.

While criticisms of its similarity to its predecessor still stand somewhat, the consistent stream of DLC and mods, alongside its gorgeous graphics and soundtrack, puts Crusader Kings 3 in a worthy position to take a throne in the hall of the best strategy games.

You can read our Crusader Kings 3 review here.

Best strategy games: A group of soldiers behind cover aiming at approaching Locust aliens in Gears Tactics.

7. Gears Tactics

Who could’ve known that the visceral cover-based third-person shooting of the Gears series, with shoot-first-ask-questions-later characters, would work so well as a strategy game? Developed by Splash Damage and The Coalition, Gears Tactics is a turn-based strategy game set in the Gears of War universe that honors its source material exceptionally well. Although making the transition to a typically slow genre, Gears Tactics is remarkably fast-paced, rewarding aggressive but smart play.

You will recruit and command a squad of CoG soldiers, led by Gabe Diaz, on a desperate mission to take down Ukkon, the leader of the Locusts. It’s a surprisingly immersive and character-driven story as your squad battles against impossible odds. This seeps into the gameplay too, which is just as aggressive and brutal as the mainline entries in the series through great skills and abilities. It’s not an incredibly long game, clocking in at about 20 hours. Still, you’ll have plenty of intense missions, boss fights, customization options, and story revelations that make it a worthwhile journey whether you’re a Gears fan or not.

As Gears is a flagship first-party IP for Xbox, this sadly isn’t available to players on PS4 or PS5.

Best strategy games: A group of mobs gathered around a player on horseback in a village in Minecraft Legends.

8. Minecraft Legends

Like Gears Tactics, you wouldn’t expect Minecraft to make for a good strategy game. However, play Minecraft Legends for just a short while and you’ll soon realize just how fun a more casual strategy game can be. Combining the charm of Minecraft with its blocky world and quirky creatures with real-time tactics gameplay, Minecraft Legends looks to provide a more approachable strategy experience, whether you’re new to the genre or have a younger one wanting to dip their toes in.

On horseback, you’ll get to traverse a sprawling map with diverse and lush biomes that are on the brink of destruction at the hands of invading piglins. By commanding a small army of mobs, from golems to skeletons, you’ll meet the piglin threat head-on by taking down their castles in chaotic, fast-based yet strategic battles. That’s not all though, this is Minecraft, remember? Minecraft Legends doesn’t forget about the main draw of the universe it’s set in, letting you build walls and place buildings in allied villages to create fortified positions to upgrade your army.

Overall, Minecraft Legends is one of the best strategy games for those looking for a more casual experience, or even children looking to give the genre a go. It’s got just enough depth to appeal to a wide audience, so it’s good news that it’s available on all major platforms. If you’re diving in, make sure to use our Minecraft Legends walkthrough so you know all the best Minecraft Legends upgrades to get.

Best strategy games: Two armies meeting on a battlefield in Warhammer Age of Sigmar Realms of Ruin, separated by a ravine.

9. Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin

If you’re in the mood for a full-on experience seeped in micro-management, then Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin is one of the best strategy games for you. Taking the rich, lore-heavy universe of Warhammer, Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin puts you in the shoes of a warlord to wage a brutal conquest. There are tons of different units you can command to build your army, each with strengths and weaknesses that make combat an intense and tactical experience.

As for its single-player campaign, you can expect some of the best cutscenes in the genre, with great storytelling, voice acting, and animations that bring Realms of Ruin to life as you battle it out in grand theatres of war. Aside from the great PvE offerings, Realms of Ruin also offers some stellar multiplayer modes that keep the game fresh long after you’ve finished the main campaign.

Check out Wargamer’s Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin review to learn more about this Dawn of War successor. Realms of Ruin is available on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

Best strategy games: A top down view of an industrial city in a snowy landscape

10. Frostpunk

Frostpunk has been one of the most celebrated civilization-based strategy games of the last decade, and it has an excellent console port that has been modified and given a whole new control scheme for those wanting to jump in on PlayStation or Xbox. It also features total content parity with the PC version, ensuring the same experience regardless of platform.

The premise of Frostpunk revolves around managing one of the last human civilizations on Earth after the planet is hit by a volcanic winter – essentially a huge drop in global temperature that is caused by sulfur from eruptions preventing the sun’s rays and heat from warming the planet. You start with a small group of survivors, but over the course of the game this grows to become a city that you must preside over.

Like a lot of city-builders, you can decide where to invest resources and what to build next, but there are far deeper layers than that in Frostpunk. You can decide to be a compassionate ruler that respects your workers, or you can go full dictator and pass laws allowing child labor, distribute propaganda, and much more.

Now is a great time to play Frostpunk for two reasons. One, it’s on the Xbox Game Pass and PS Plus Extra and Premium libraries, so it’ll come at no extra cost to many of you reading this. And two, its sequel is just around the corner, with the Frostpunk 2 release date destined for July 2024. If you’re not subscribed to PS Plus or Game Pass, you can grab a copy here for PlayStation or below for Xbox.

So there you have it – our favorite Xbox and PlayStation strategy games right now. There are plenty of excellent older strategy games that still have thriving communities today, but they aren’t always easily accessible on the current generation of consoles, so these are the best that you can easily play on PS5 and Series X|S. We’ll keep this list up to date so you can always get top suggestions as new PS5 games and new Xbox games are released overtime.

In the meantime, be sure to match the best strategy games with some of the best PS5 accessories and best Xbox accessories on the market. After all, you might have to pick up one of the best PS5 SSDs or extra Xbox storage to store them all on. See you out there, Commander.