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The best 4X strategy games on Xbox

Humankind

Aren’t 4X strategy games great? You lead a society, Earth-based, space-based or so on, from a regular society to an empire ruling everything you survey. And then you build a giant Death Star knock-off and blow up a planet. That’s not compulsory, but half the fun of playing 4X games is doing things your way. And to help you get started, we’ve rounded up the best 4X strategy games on Xbox.

Yes, you read that right, there really are 4X strategy games on Xbox. At one time, you’d be lucky to find a single strategy game on consoles – there was Aliens Versus Predator: Extinction and not an awful lot else. But now, you can get your hands on everything from Civilization VI to Stellaris. Hurrah! So, here are the 4X strategy games you should be playing on Xbox.

More great games on Xbox:

1. Civilization VI

Civilization VI
Image: Firaxis Games

Civilization VI doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights of its predecessor, but it’s still a superb 4X game, especially if you enjoy putting your own spin on world events. Nuclear Gandhi may have been a myth but there’s no reason you can’t make it happen. But diplomacy is also an option and, while more challenging, it’s also satisfying to know you’ve sidestepped war. For now, at least.

2. Stellaris

Stellaris
Image: Paradox

Stellaris took a little while to hit Xbox but it’s been so worth the wait as it’s undoubtedly one of the best 4X strategy games there is. It’s not your average annihilate-everyone-else 4X: this is a game so deep you can lose yourself in it for days. Shepherding your space-based civilisation is a joy, as is becoming part of a galactic community. The races you interact with are more than just Enemy A or Enemy B and, as we remarked in our review, it does an admirable job sidestepping “late-game 4X exhaustion”.

Read our review of Stellaris

3. Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition

Age of Empires II
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft has already delivered Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition, but it’s the previous entry in this series of ongoing remasters that really deserves your attention. The original Age of Empires II was one of the best strategy games of the time, and somehow the Definitive Edition, which released in 2019, manages to improve on it. If you’re a 4X strategy fan, you need this in your Xbox games collection: it’s as simple as that.

Read our review of Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition

4. Humankind

Humankind Best 4X games on PC
Image: SEGA

Humankind may borrow from Civilization but that doesn’t make any less awesome. It’s a beautiful, beautiful 4X strategy game to look at and it’ll absolutely suck you in. The choices you make are more than just snap decisions, and you end up with a greater sense of ownership over your burgeoning empire. It’s got a real note of authenticity too, and regardless of your history with Civ, you’ll get dragged into Humankind.

5. Endless Legend

Endless Legend
Image: SEGA

As awesome as all these other 4X strategy games on Xbox are, if you’re a fan of fantasy then Endless Legend is the 4X game for you. It takes place in a fantasy world with a character all its own, one that’s not just cribbed from Lord of the Rings. Each playable faction actually feels unique and while there’s still diplomacy on offer, throwing magic into the mix makes for a different but hugely enjoyable experience.

Weekend Editor // Chris has been gaming since the days of the Acorn Electron, which was allegedly purchased to 'help him with his homework'. You can probably guess how well that went. He’ll tackle most genres – football titles aside – though he has a taste for games that that are post-apocalyptic, horror-oriented or thought provoking in nature.