Still Great PC Games (Part 2)

This is the second part of a multi- post series detailing PC video games of the past that I still hold in the highest of regard.  In this post, we’ll continue our discussion of great strategy games that started in my first post, “Still Great PC Games (Part 1) .” 

7] Empire Earth (2001)
Expansion(s) : Empire Earth: The Art of Conquest (2002)

Empire Earth was a franchise that took many of the successes of the Age of Empires series, re-wrapped them, re-tooled them, and added 3D to them…

You could now zoom in on the action on the battle field.  You had more customization alternatives to just picking upgrades for your civilization.  You could now advance your historical civilization through thousands of years of history and even into the future.

While the Age of Empires games were the originators of the historical RTS, Empire Earth really does the history books justice by not just focusing on one time period, but on history as a whole.  A player could start out with a meager civilization, that over time would advance into the WWII era Germans or the 21st century United States.

The latitude that players are given in this game really takes an old familiar concept (that we experienced in Age of Empires) and makes it new and extremely exciting again.  This game is a must have as it incorporates most of the great aspects of Age of Empires, but allows the gamer to dabble in much more of the human history timeline than the AOE franchise does.

8] Black & White (2001)

Black & White is without a doubt one of the most innovative computer games of the last 15 years.  The concept of the game is just absolutely amazing.  You play a god that watches over a civilization and through your acts and decisions, you mold the civilization in your image.

Every decision that you make has either a positive or a negative consequence.  “My lord, our people are drowning!!!”  Should you choose to save them via a miracle?  Or should you let them die?  There’s no wrong answer.  The decision is completely up to you. 

This game brings choose-your-own-adventure books to video games with beautiful execution, sound, gameplay, and creativity.  If you haven’t played this game or it’s sequel (Black & White II) you truly are missing out on one of the most inventive computer games of our time.

9] Civilization III (2001)

Realistically, I could list any one of the Civilization series here as they’ve all been great, and they’ve all stuck fairly closely to what initially made them great.

You control a civilization of your choosing and through a turn-based system, you lead them to success (or failure) through military and economic prowess. 

This game is just a lot of fun, and like many other turn based strategy games, you’ll probably find that the sun comes up or goes down without you even noticing.  If you enjoy micromanaging or taking your time with your strategy games (to the sometimes hectic fast paced style of the real time strategy games out there), this game (or any of it’s relatives in the Civilization franchise) is for you.

10] Age of Mythology (2002)
Expansion(s) : The Titans (2003)

Age of Empires meets Gods and Mythology of ancient civilizations.  This is a match made in heaven given the extremely religious nature of many ancient cultures.  When you consider that the Greeks, Romans, Celts, Babylonians, and Egyptians that you played as in other Age of Empires games all had their own (often unique) belief structures, it seemed like only a matter of time before a game was made to integrate these ancient cultures and their gods.

This game does just that. 

You can play as followers of various different religious beliefs from the Egyptian gods of the desert, to the Norse gods of the British Isles, to the Greek gods of the Mediterranean area.  All have their own benefits and eccentricities, and all are extremely fun to play as. 

I’ve always had a love of ancient mythology so I really love this game.  If you follow mythology, studied mythology, or even ever had an interest in mythology, this game is a must own as it’s possibly the best game to date (on any gaming system) that incorporates ancient gods and goddesses.

11] Warcraft III – Reign of Chaos (2002)
Expansion Pack(s) : Frozen Throne (2003)

 Warcraft III is our second Blizzard strategy title on this list (Starcraft was the first), and with good reason… it’s an absolutely amazing game from top to bottom. 

For years, the Warcraft franchise was popular among strategy gamers (who would make the argument that either of the prior titles could be here on this list to represent the franchise), but Warcraft III brought the Warcraft universe to the masses… 

After Starcraft was released by Blizzard, it became extremely apparent just how lacking the previous Warcraft titles were in their overall design and depth.  Warcraft III fixed those issues and has easily become Blizzard’s best real-time strategy game to date.

In addition to everything that makes an RTS great, Warcraft III brought the idea of hero units into a genre which typically suffered from lack of customization of units.  While civilizations as a whole are always extremely customizable in strategy games, the customization of a unit offers a greater amount of depth that is not seen in many games.  It’s because of this added feature, that gamers that often frequent other genres (such as role-playing games), were drawn to Warcraft III.

It’s difficult to believe that this game was released 7 years ago, because it’s still one of the best strategy games available on the PC as far as I’m concerned.  Another smashing effort by one of the better computer game developers: Blizzard.

———-

Two posts down, two to go.  In the next post, I’ll address some of the best Shooter games from an era when NOBODY played shooters on anything but PC.  Then we’ll move on to take a look at some great Role Playing games and Simulations that made their mark on the PC.

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