Shin Megami Tensei Vengeance On IG

10 Awesome Tactical Strategy Games While Waiting For XCOM 3

Written by VeryWetLeaf


XCOM: Enemy Unknown released all the way back 2012. XCOM 2 then released four years later in 2016. Then, XCOM: Chimera Squad a small spin-off from the main series was released after another four years in 2020. You see what I’m getting at here? Now that we’re nearing the end of 2023, and almost four years in after the release of the last XCOM game, it may be safe to speculate that XCOM 3 is just right around the corner. However, considering that there’s still absolutely no news from Firaxis, you might as well enjoy some alternatives to scratch that itch while you wait.

So here are some of the best XCOM-like games to play before XCOM 3 comes out.

XCOM: Enemy Unkown, XCOM2, and XCOM: Chimera Squad

First, let’s get these games out of the way. We can easily scratch these games off the list or even milk it for three easy listing but we’re not gonna do that. Recognizing that these games are still good playthroughs still makes it worthy to be on this list. If you’ve played XCOM 2 but haven’t touched Enemy Unknown or Chimera Squad yet, then this may be the perfect time to give them a go. If you’re a longtime XCOM fan and haven’t played in a while then this may be the best time to binge through all three of these XCOM games in anticipation to XCOM 3.

Having finished the games before, it may end up feeling a bit stale compared to your first playthroughs. If that is the case then I am happy to talk to you about the Long War mods for XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2. The mod basically revamps the entire game from the ground up, posing harder challenges and new ways to play. If you haven’t done so already then playing either game with the Long War mod installed may just be the XCOM scratch that your itch needs.

10. Gears Tactics

Release DateApril 28, 2020
PlatformsPC, Xbox
DeveloperThe Coalition, Splash Damage
PublisherXbox Game Studios
Available OnSteam, Xbox

We’re starting off with a really strong one here. It’s easy to see why Gears Tactics was so well received by fans of the Gears Series and turn-based strategy gamers a like. Despite inherently being a tactical strategy game Gears Tactics carries over the DNA that the series has been known for. Over the top, awesome, cinematics and action sequences.

The combat in this game even feels like a step up to the XCOM games. Attacks feel impactful, movement feels natural, and actions in the game simply feels satisfying. Although, it’s not exactly just an innovative reskin. Gears Tactics does away with base building in favor of a liner storyline. Sort of removing this sense of freedom of choice found in XCOM. Despite that, the game still delivers an amazing cinematic experience. Players should expect at least this much quality and polish for upcoming next generation tactical strategies. Looking at you XCOM 3.

9. Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus

Release DateNovember 16, 2018
PlatformsPC, Xbox, PlayStation,
Switch, Android, IOS
DeveloperBulwark Studios
PublisherKasedo Games
Available OnSteam, GOG, Epic, Xbox,
PlayStation, Switch, Android,

The first of three Warhammer 40k games that will be on this list. Truthfully, Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus plays more like a tactical chess game than an XCOM-like. The level design and the visual presentation alone already feels like that of a strategic board game. The cover mechanics, which is usually the key focal point of XCOM-likes is overshadowed by the importance of movement and action sequences in this game. Aside from its resemblance to chess, the game also plays like Go. It’s an interesting concept but does feel like it lacks depth compared to other games in this list.

But despite that, Mechanicus made this list because of its extensive unit and squad customization options. It’s rare to see a 40k game that lets you customize a tech-priest. Understandable considering that they’re usually portrayed as support units, avoiding the spotlight. This game however, is the complete opposite of that as the tech-priests are the main highlight of the game. The customization options alone are worth checking out this game for.

8. Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader

Release DateDecember 7, 2023
PlatformsPC, Xbox, PlayStation
DeveloperOwlcat Games
PublisherOwlcat Games
Available OnSteam, GOG, Epic, Xbox,

Setting aside its amazing story, world building, and vast amounts of lore, Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader is also a tactical playground of destruction. Featuring copious amounts of content for building the perfect team of heroes from skills, characteristics, to weapons and equipment. In terms of having the most variety in the choices for engagement, no other game in this list tops Rogue Trader.

If you’ve played any of the XCOM games then you’ll feel at home with this game’s combat. For the most part, Rogue Trader’s combat features contemporary tactical strategy mechanics. Mixed in with a myriad of 40k flair. Although it has its similarities to XCOM in terms of combat, it does away with cinematic action sequences in game. This may be a downside for some but at least it doesn’t waste your time with slow repetitive animations. Another caveat that tactical strategy gamers may find jarring is the amount of text and dialogue in this game. Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader is inherently a CRPG, but trust me, even if you’re only after the combat, this game is still worth sinking hours into.

7. Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters

Release DateMay 5, 2022
DeveloperComplex Games
PublisherFrontier Developments
Available OnSteam, Epic

Last but not the least in the Warhammer 40k XCOM-likes is none other than Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters. Out of the three 40k titles on this list, this one in particular is the closest you can get to an XCOMxWarhammer 40k experience. The game showcases a lot of similarities from XCOM games which is immediately evident at the start of the game. Cinematic unit animations, deep tactical combat, base management (sort of), and character/squad progression.

Playing this actually does feel like playing another XCOM game at times but it does try to remind you that it’s still a Warhammer 40k game. This time, instead of exterminating necrons or exploring the unmapped galaxies, you’ll be purging humanity’s archenemy. Besides being as close to XCOM as it can get, the game also does extremely well in conveying amazing visual spectacles. From the smallest things like weapon sound and visual effects to bigger sequences like its cinematic carnage and immersive story events. Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters is a definite must have for fans of the tactical strategy genre. Do yourself a favor and give this one a go before XCOM 3 rolls out.

6. Wasteland 3

Release DateMay 5, 2022
PlatformsPC, Xbox, PlayStation
DeveloperinXile Entertainment
PublisherinXile Entertainment
Available OnSteam, GOG, Xbox,

Cut on the same cloth as Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader, this game is yet another CRPG. However, compared to Rogue Trader that’s heavily inclined towards lore and narrative, Wasteland 3 emphasizes action instead. Despite being a CRPG, the game design resembles movies as opposed to books and novels. While most games in the genre have you read through chunky lines of text with each interaction, Wasteland 3 instead opts in to make use of a subtitle format. So instead of feeling like you’re reading a book, in this game it feels like you’re watching through a movie.

And being an action oriented game, the turn-based combat also gets a boost of action. Turn-based combat have been known to be slowly and sometimes even tedious. The XCOM series was able to find the perfect middle ground between slow cinematic pacing and intense confrontations. Wasteland 3 on the other hand goes ham on the action movie vibe with faster battle animations and spectacular visual effects. Lastly, with a myriad of weapons and items to loot and play around with, your adventures in Wasteland 3 will hardly get stale. Perfect for players looking for a blend of XCOM style battles mixed with RPG elements.

5. Jagged Alliance 3

Jagged Alliance 3 Key Art
Release DateJuly 14, 2023
PlatformsPC, Xbox, PlayStation
DeveloperHaemimont Games
PublisherTHQ Nordic
Available OnSteam, GOG, Xbox,

Continuing the trend of action packed CRPGs, Jagged Alliance 3 takes you to a rollercoaster ride in an immersive story-filled world and intense turn-based tactical combat. Blending in CRPG elements, looting, and conquest, the game offers a unique sandbox world rich with tactical experience. The game lets you interact with its world in real-time, only interrupted during the game’s turn-based combat. Having real time exploration makes for creative attacks of opportunities when engaging against the enemy.

Jagged Alliance 3 has 6 main character archetypes and a wide variety of weapons and other items to customize your mercenary troupe’s playstyles with. Aside from that, weapons can also have some sort of progression system in the form of craftable attachments. Something that other tactical strategies going forward need to have to be honest. Games such as Jagged Alliance 3 may be the reason why we haven’t heard any news about XCOM 3 as of yet. Considering the competition are releasing bangers after bangers. I can only imagine how Firaxis is gonna one up this one.

4. Xenonauts 2

Release DateJuly 18, 2023 (Early Access)
DeveloperGoldhawk Interactive
PublisherHooded Horse
Available OnSteam, GOG, Epic

We’ve covered some amazing XCOM-like games above this list so why not check out an what an indie game has in store for you. Dubbed by fans as the spiritual successor to the classic XCOM games, Xenonauts 2 delivers some retro vibes mixed with modern polish. The older XCOM games are admittedly dated and despite the efforts of projects such as OpenXcom, younger audiences may have a hard time getting into the retro game design. As an alternative, Xenonauts 2 provides an experience that captures the essence of the original XCOM games while modernizing its systems for the current generation.

At first glance, the game even looks like a reimagining of the classic XCOM if they were remastered today. However, despite the obvious inspirations, Xenonauts 2 still has some exclusively unique features that make it stand out from other tactical strategies. Using the systems of the game that inspired it, Xenonauts 2 sprinkles its own DNA in every aspect of the game. A unique air-interception mission, various ground mission types, intensive base management with the ability to make multiple bases of operations. These are only a few of key features that this game has to offer. The game’s also in early access and is still in heavy development, constantly improving before release. Add in the planned mod support, I just can’t wait to see the community go ham with this one. Turn back the clock and experience a classic in an alternative way with Xenonauts 2

3. Phantom Doctrine

Release DateAugust 14, 2018
PlatformsPC, Xbox, PlayStation,
DeveloperCreativeForge Games
PublisherGood Shepherd Entertainment
Available OnSteam, GOG, Xbox,
PlayStation, Switch

So far in this list, you’ve mostly seen turn-based tactics smack dab in the middle of a heated conflict. Well, in Phantom Doctrine, you’ll be operating in a much, much colder conflict. Set at the peak of a cold war, the game thrusts players in a world of covert operations and counterintelligence. The game is basically if XCOM were all about spies and espionage.

Phantom Doctrine tries to capture the subtle intrigue of spy films. Where in other games you go in guns blazing, here you try to be as stealthy as possible. Stealth plays a big part in this game as opportunities slowly disappear once you’ve alerted the enemy. While the game presents itself as a tactical strategy with spies, it chooses to stay grounded in its approach. Rather than a Hollywood spy spectacle with elite special agents and cool gadgets, you get gritty agents experienced in the bitter reality of warfare. Check out Phantom Doctrine to see ways on how stealth might be used in XCOM 3. It’s also a nice change of pace in which you’ll be fighting an entirely different type of “aliens”.

2. Miasma Chronicles

Release DateMay 23, 2023
PlatformsPC, Xbox, PlayStation
DeveloperThe Bearded Ladies
Publisher505 Games
Available OnSteam, GOG, Epic,
Xbox, PlayStation

May as well be one of the games that’s out to set the standards of next generation graphical fidelity for turn-based tactical strategies. Games like these force bigger developers to strive for better, lest face the gaming community’s outrage. Miasma Chronicles focuses on the spectacle of immersion and cinematics. Displaying high graphical fidelity, smooth movements and animations, as well as over the top cinematic story and gameplay.

Miasma Chronicles masterfully blends in the immersive tactical combat that the XCOM games have been known for with a cinematic RPG experience reminiscent of recent triple-A RPG titles. By focusing more on hand crafted characters, Miasma Chronicles delivers an intense RPG experience. Although, for those people who are a stickler to voice acting and deep story writing, then admittedly there are some slight issues. Dialogue and monologues can get weird at times and even villains joke around with cheesy lines. That said, Miasma Chronicles is still one of those games that tries to innovate and elevate the turn-based tactical genre. Especially in the area of next generation graphics. That alone makes this game worth looking into. At least to put into perspective what Firaxis can achieve with current game development technology while making XCOM 3.

1. Phoenix Point

Release DateDecember 4, 2020
PlatformsPC, Xbox, PlayStation
DeveloperSnapshot Games
PublisherSnapshot Games
Available OnSteam, GOG, Epic,
Xbox, PlayStation

And of course, this list will not be complete without this one. From the creator of the original XCOM comes Phoenix Point. The fact that this game came directly from the brilliant mind of Jullian Gallop makes it dubbed as the true successor to XCOM. It’s even easy to see the glaring similarities between this and XCOM 2. Presenting a side-by-side screenshot of both games to a random person has a high chance of them not even recognizing the difference.

Phoenix Point’s entire existence is to present a high quality alternative to Firaxis’ XCOM. It does well for the most part but keen eyed players will be met with some rather, “interesting” elements. The main point of contention between the community is the game’s balancing issues. And, for the most part, they’re kind of spot on. Although it’s an alternative, I’m not saying its any better than what XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2 has to offer. However, despite the game feeling “broken” at times, it still offers a fun little alternative when you’re tired of starting over an XCOM session for the nth time.

Honorable Mention – Persona 5 Tactica

Persona 5 Tactica, Key Art
Release DateNovember 17, 2023
PlatformsPC, Xbox, PlayStation
Available OnSteam, Xbox, PlayStation,

A hidden gem that tactical strategy fans might easily overlook. I’m putting this game under “Honorable Mention” because it doesn’t exactly have the same vibe as XCOM but it is an amazing turn-based tactical strategy game that’s worth looking into. Persona 5 Tactica is a turn-based tactical RPG and a spin-off to the critically acclaimed Persona 5. Don’t let the cartoony art style fool you. This game is a full fledged turn-based tactical RPG through and through.

Although I wouldn’t expect much in terms of story. The game’s story is likened to a filler episode in an anime or a non-canon movie. Do with that as you will. The gameplay however, is a fun casual tactical RPG that provides a great change of pace to the more bleak and gritty nature of the genre. Despite how it looks, Persona 5 Tactica showcases a lot of similarities to the XCOM games. Cover mechanics, focus on ranged attacks, a hub to customize your team at, and intricate level designs with verticality. But what really makes this game worth of this list is its intuitiveness. It makes you realize that a turn-based tactical strategy game doesn’t have to be clunky or look janky. That it can be polished to this extent.


Photo of author


VeryWetLeaf is a writer and content creator bringing you video game related articles and videos. He has been playing turn-based games such as JRPGs, SRPGs, and Grand Strategies for decades. He puts a great emphasis on curation and is fond of giving game suggestions.