Despite being a relative niche subgenre, veteran fans are likely delighted by the strategy RPG seeing something of a revival in the modern age of gaming, with the likes of Square Enix’s new IP The DioField Chronicle and the remaster of the acclaimed Tactics Ogre just around the corner.
Part of the subgenre’s resurgence can likely be attributed to the recent success of Intelligent Systems’ Fire Emblemseries, and now strategy RPGs are benefitting overall with a diversifying slate of games. The aforementioned Square games are certainly some of the most anticipated ones remaining this year, but there have been others within the last few years more than worth catching up on today.
10 The DioField Chronicle
Square Enix has been gradually ramping up its strategy RPG efforts as well as games outside their tentpole Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest franchises in general, and The DioField Chronicle is a promising upcoming and original property. It looks the most like Square Enix and co-developer Lancarse’s rendition of the Fire Emblem formula, but with some noteworthy twists.
The tactical combat is turn-based at its core, but the actions play out in real-time and the field of battle is free-flowing as opposed to a system of grids. Combined with a high-fantasy and industrial-inspired setting of wartime political intrigue, The DioField Chronicle should be one of the best games to play this month when it launches on September 22nd.
9 Tactics Ogre: Reborn
The overarching Ogre Battle series is regarded as one of the most influential collections of games in the strategy RPG genre, and one of the most iconic entries is poised for a much-needed remaster. Tactics Ogre: Reborn is a remaster of the PlayStation Portable remake, subtitled Let Us Cling Together, and by extension of the original PS1 classic as well.
Set against the backdrop of a high-fantasy world plunged into civil war over the line of succession in Valeria, Tactics Ogre was lauded for its satisfying narrative, character customization, and layered tactical combat. Reborn will implement new quality-of-life features that aim to streamline the experience visually and mechanically in the modern day, and its November 11th release undoubtedly makes it one of the most exciting JRPG releases of 2022.
8 Triangle Strategy
Square already has another strategy RPG under its belt for 2022, with game producer Tomoya Asano’s creative team under the publisher developing Triangle Strategy. The game takes the same artistic “HD-2D” approach that Asano’s team popularized with 2018’s Octopath Traveler, as characters and environments are beautifully realized with meticulously detailed pixel art and mesmerizing use of lighting.
It takes an interesting approach to off-the-field gameplay, as players need to negotiate and convince team members of decisions that will shape the politically-driven story. Cut scenes might get intrusive, but the tactical combat is impressively challenging without being punishing. Triangle Strategy launched on March 4th for the Switch.
7 Symphony Of War: The Nephilim Saga
On the more indie side of the gaming scene, Symphony of War: The Nephilim Saga launched this past summer to impressive critical reception. As longtime fans of the genre would expect, the game pays homage to the likes of Fire Emblem, Tactics Ogre, and Final Fantasy Tactics (which Ogre Battle paved the way for) both in terms of pix art and gameplay mechanics.
The grid-like field and turn-based combat are reminiscent of the aforementioned series, but Symphony of War throws in the ability to customize dozens of units to add something fresh. In the war-plagued land of Tahnra, players take on the role of an academy graduate tasked with leading an army against an invading force. Symphony of War: The Nephilim Saga had a surprise launch on June 10th for PC.
6 Midnight Suns
In a somewhat surprising development, XCOM developer Firaxis Games announced their strategy RPG spin on the Marvel Comics universe. Midnight Suns is set to have an original story that explores the supernatural and occult elements of the world, with a conflict revolving around the awakening of Lilith, Mother of Demons, and her alliance with Hydra.
Players take on the role of a customizable new superhero called The Hunter that can be paired with a variety of different powers, with tactical combat based on ability cards. Outside of combat, players can interact with other heroes at their upgradeable base. Midnight Suns launches on December 2nd for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC, with PS4, XBO, and Switch versions at a later date.
5 Digimon Survive
It dealt with a prolonged development cycle, but developer Hyde and publisher Bandai Namco’s Digimon Survive was finally released over the summer. The game sought to blend a creative mix of genres, as Survive is an equal parts strategy RPG and visual novel.
A group of students on an extracurricular study camp suddenly find themselves transported to a different, wilder world where they need to survive alongside their Digimon companions. Digimon Survive was overall well-received for its darker take on conventional franchise stories, as well as its use of the visual novel subgenre to advance its story and complement the strategic combat. The game was released worldwide on July 29th for PS4, XBO, Switch, and PC.
4 Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters
The sci-fi epic Warhammer 40,000 franchise is one of the most expansive worlds when it comes to lore and worldbuilding, spanning countless games and other mediums. Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters is a reboot of the 1998 PC game, putting players in command of the Grey Knights as they fend off the demonic threat led by Nurgle.
In addition to turn-based tactical battles, players will customize their squadron of Daemonhunters through skills, equipment, and psychic abilities. Just as well, the protagonist’s base of operations can also be gradually upgraded. Daemonhunters was released on May 5th for PC.
3 King Arthur: Knight’s Tale
In an interesting twist on Arthurian legend, NeocoreGames’ King Arthur: Knight’s Tale follows the story of Arthur’s killer Ser Mordred. Both characters have been brought back from the dead, with Mordred tasked by the Lady of the Lake to finish King Arthur off for good after the monstrosity he’s morphed into.
It’s a creative interpretation of classic mythology, and the game combines elements of strategy games with the more story, character-driven gameplay of conventional top-down RPGs. Equal attention is paid to party management on battlefields as well as dialogue choices to shape the narrative. King Arthur: Knight’s Tale left Steam Early Access on April 26th.
2 Fire Emblem: Three Houses
While it’s a technicality in terms of recency, Fire Emblem: Three Houses has achieved critical acclaim as one of the greatest modern strategy RPGs to date. It’s arguably the culmination of the best that the Fire Emblem games have to offer, along with new features all wrapped up in a newer package.
More importantly in late 2022, it’s an ideal game for tactical enthusiasts since Fire Emblem Engage is set for a January 2023 release. What made Three Houses such a strong entry was its streamlined tactical combat, the addition of Persona-like life simulation elements outside of battle, and multiple branching storylines in a rich high-fantasy setting. Three Houses launched exclusively for the Switch on July 26th, 2019.
1 Divinity: Original Sin II – Definitive Edition
Another recent game that remains a great strategic pick in 2022 is Larian Studios’ Divinity: Original Sin II – Definitive Edition. While the game isn’t strictly a strategy RPG and leans just as hard on its traditional CRPG gameplay, the depth in strategic combat can’t be understated.
Divinity: Original Sin II takes place in a vibrant high fantasy world with an equally colorful cast of characters, where players can shape their party composition in battle and the greater narrative. There’s an immense amount of detail to the action, with players asked to constantly take into account positioning, environmental hazards, and elemental weaknesses that make for gripping tactical combat sequences. The Definitive Edition of the game launched in 2018 for PS4 and XBO, 2019 for macOS and Switch, and 2021 for iPadOS.
NEXT: 10 Best Stealth Games For Beginners