Empire: Total War
With Medieval 2: Total War and the Kingdoms expansion, it looked like Creative Assembly had taken the epic military strategy game as far as it could go, but Empire takes it into a new era, and towards new frontiers. The period has now shifted to the 18th and early 19th centuries, as the great powers of Europe struggle to expand their influence in the Americas, Africa and the Indian sub-continent. Along with a new game engine we get realistic naval confrontations for the first time in this, or any other series. Complex, deep and obsessive, this is the sort of game that you just don't get on a console platform.
Korea's national sport gets a long, long, long-awaited sequel. Designed to be the ultimate competitive RTS, we can still be sure that Blizzard won't neglect the single-player campaign or its rich, compelling sci-fi universe. The Terrans, Protoss and Zerg forces all return with new features and a tweaked line-up of units, while a new fully-3D graphics engine updates StarCraft's classic look to modern standards. For anyone who has ever weathered the storm of a Zergling rush or chuckled as a Terran battle-cruiser is swamped by the fiendish Scourge, StarCraft II will be reason alone to spend some quality time with your PC next year.