Choosing Between Strategy and Action Games

  • Added:
    Jan 24, 2013
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As with all video games, choosing between genres of game can be tricky, especially when some games are developed which blur the boundaries between particular genres. However, there are usually certain defining features which specify whether a game belongs to a given genre or not, so if you are struggling to decide whether you should buy the latest action or strategy game, what sort of things should you be looking for and is it possible to get the best of both worlds? If so, are these games to be classified as being in both genres, or have they assumed a new genre all of their own?

Action games are usually high-octane affairs where being trigger happy is often a great advantage. The genre is commonly defined by being a test of hand-eye coordination and as such these games can be seen as something of a physical, as well as mental, test of skill. Shooting games are the stereotypical example of action games as they require fast reactions, especially as players are often under a time pressure to complete a particular task or level successfully. Sometimes these games can supply something of a more mental challenge, with puzzles or mazes being included within a level, but these are less common.

Strategy games take the opposite approach to gameplay and are far more mentally challenging games, not relying on fast reactions or good hand-eye coordination to typically win the day. Strategy games place a far greater emphasis on skilful thinking and careful planning as ways to defeat the enemy. Usually, a player will plan and run through a whole series of actions within the game to try and wear down or outwit their opponent. These game require the player to carry out a wide range of tasks, from constructing a base, town or even an empire to planning and executing battles; these are not played in the first person, as with action games, but involve commanding whole armies from a third-person view making battles far more tactical.

Strategy and action games often include bits of each genre within them, many first-person shooters require the player to think tactically to achieve their goals, however as the game is still played with gun in hand using reactions rather than as a strategical general figure, these are not classed as strategy games. The occasional games have tried to incorporate the best of both worlds into gameplay, usually being largely strategy games but incorporating action elements. Often this involves building a base and managing it and fighting battles as usual, but the player may have the option to take first-person control of a unit or person within that battle, a decision aimed to give the 'human' warrior an advantage over its computer-controlled enemies. However, such games often end up being too half-and-half, not leaving the player enough time to do either properly.

Whatever your personal taste, whether you're a keen strategist or a quick-firing action junkie, my advice is to stick to your preferred genre and enjoy it, mixing the two usually leads to disappointment for all!

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