4X games, or eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate games, have been around since the 1990s. They started off on PC consoles. Even now, most 4X games are released on PC. However, a few are branching out into modern consoles, including the PlayStation 5.
They’ve also been borrowing ideas from other genres, but the fundamentals have largely remained the same. So, you’ll find players will start off in the low ranks, then slowly amass resources and power to expand their reach, up until they build a massive player-run empire they’re proud of.
Whether in the depths of space, earth, or a fantastical realm, here are the best 4X games on PlayStation 5 (2023) you won’t want to miss out on.
5. Civilization VI
Civilization is a staple in the 4X strategy gaming space. Over time, the series has greased its cogs to provide a smoother experience. So, now, Civilization VI offers players a more expansive world.
Cities physically expand as you progress through the map. Current global issues like climate change are present. A total of 16 new civilizations and 18 new leaders make their way to you. In hindsight, this might just be the largest, deepest, and most rewarding Civilization game yet.
The overall gameplay remains the same, though. Players must expand their empire from the Stone Age to the Information Age. They must advance their people’s way of life through exploration and diplomacy. Additionally, war will be inevitable as players go head-to-head against history’s greatest rulers.
So, can you build the greatest civilization alternate history will ever know? Which agenda will you choose to pursue? Will your empire stand the test of time? There’s only one way to find out.
Journeying among the stars has never been as in-depth as in the world of Stellaris. Players start off on a single planet, having just discovered the ability to travel through space. There must be other species out there, or wild discoveries to be made, so you decide to venture into the unknown to find out for yourself.
As you progress, you’ll discover alien species on new planets across space. Some are friendly enough to form alliances with. Others prove hostile, demanding that you wage war to take over their planet. You can also make scientific discoveries that help advance your reach, even building stations around newly discovered planets as you wish.
In the end, forging a galactic empire will prove as difficult as it sounds. With well-thought strategies, though, who knows? Commanding a ship may turn out to be second nature. You may even reach space lord status sooner than you think.
3. Elemental War
Elemental War is a level up from traditional tower defense games. It takes what works in popular tower defense games you may know and upscales them into a near-endless universe of tons of gameplay combinations you can imagine.
The game starts off with a fantastical, hand-built map. Players explore and build a city within it, managing resources wisely, and defending it in conquests. You may choose to send out monster troops into enemy cities. Just make sure to leave some troops behind to guard your own defense.
Most conquests involve ranked multiplayer matches. Win these matches, and you get to earn new skills to add to your growing empire. You can also create your own maps if you like using the game’s easy-to-use map editor.
With three game modes, five difficulty levels, seven scenarios, and tons of maps and enemy types, Elemental War packs more than enough hours of single-player fun and epic multiplayer matches against players from all around the world.
If given the chance to rewrite the entire history of humankind, what will you choose? Humankind is a historical strategy game that presents players with countless possibilities to change history. It gives players access to diverse cultures and tasks them with directing their journey from the Ancient Age to the Modern Age.
You can choose to start off in ancient Egypt or with the Vikings. You’re free to also combine the total of 60 historical cultures however you see fit. Certain historical events will take place. Most will question your moral standing, while others will demand that you accomplish a great deed.
Regardless of the path you take, you’ll no doubt form a unique civilization that changes the course of history. If you’re curious about how making certain scientific breakthroughs or building remarkable creations will affect history, feel free to take Humankind out for a spin. And remember that the player who leaves the deepest mark in the world wins.
1. Age of Wonders: Planetfall
Age of Wonders has scooped up so many awards and received critical acclaim. It’s a 4X turn-based strategy series that continues to defy all odds, amplifying its gameplay along with current technology. Age of Wonders: Planetfall is the fifth installment in the series that features an all-new, sci-fi setting.
The base gameplay is the same. Players are tasked with building their empires through one of six unique factions. The factions range from militant soldiers to ruthless Amazons to cyborg zombies. They must rise from the ashes of a fallen galactic empire, using their wits, diplomacy, and tactical combat to build a new empire.
Further, Age of Wonders: Planetfall offers a more in-depth system that encourages plotting and planning your way to the top. No matter how long it takes, each step is rewarding. New technological discoveries empower your faction’s influence across the world. Other survivors may join you or fight against you, depending on how you choose to restore order. Plus, the environments look appealing, with lush landscapes, massive megacities, and wild wastelands.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether to rule with a firm hand, cultivate diplomacy, or use the hidden technologies you uncover to unleash doomsday on all who choose to defy you.