Top 10 Best Paradox Entertainment Games, Ranked Good To Best
As Paradox approaches two decades of developing and publishing games, let’s look at some of their best
Swedish Game developer and publisher Paradox has been in the gaming business since 1999. While Paradox is best known for its Grand Strategy series such as Europa Universalis and Hearts of Iron, it has also developed and published numerous other games. While less widely known as companies like Activision, Sony, or Ubisoft, Paradox has definitely made its mark in the gaming industry. So, in recognition of their contribution to gaming, let’s look at the top 10 best Paradox Games.
Magicka is a 2011 action game centered on a group of wizards fighting the forces of an evil sorcerer. Magicka does not take itself seriously with an abundance of self-referential humor and hilariously out of place items like an M60 machine gun. The focus of combat is on spellcasting and using various combinations of spells with elements (fire, water, etc.) There is no limited number of spell and mana bar restricting how much magic you can use.
That Magicka doesn’t take itself too seriously is evident when medieval wizards can gun down enemies with a machine gun
A rare newcomer to Paradox’s grand strategy franchise, 2011’s Sengoku is set in the warring states period of feudal Japan and sees the player take on the role of a feudal lord vying for power. Suffice it to say, the game uses many elements found in Crusader kings II considering that both games are focused on feudal dynastic politics.
Using many of the same elements from Crusader Kings II, Sengoku takes place in feudal Japan
8. Mount & Blade: Warband
The beloved cult classic Mount and Blade and its expansion, Warband combine both rpg elements and strategy in this game about rising through the ranks as a warrior. Start from a humble beginning while you prove yourself to a noble lord and gain a following, armor, weapons, and even a fiefdom to call your own.
Rise through the feudal ranks and win the favor of lords as you prove yourself in combat
7. Crusader Kings II
Wrapping your head around Crusader Kings II is a bit difficult for one used to being able to control every aspect of a state in games such as Victoria and Darkest Hour. Rather than being the head of a state or kingdom like France or England, in Crusader Kings II you are the head of a dynasty, a family and it is over this that you have direct control over. Your feudal lords will provide a constant headache as you try and consolidate your power but this is a quite accurate depiction of medieval politics and diplomacy.
Lead your dynasty to greatness in Crusader Kings II
6. Europa Universalis 4
Choose from any nation on Earth or create your own as you guide your nation through diplomacy and war in a massive period of historical change from the end of the Middle Ages to the dawn of the industrial Revolution, Europa Universalis is unofficially Paradox’s flagship series. In the Game you can not only take control over literally any nation on Earth, but there is even thee option to create your own! The game is immersive, challenging, and has excellently tweaked mechanics. Its only flaw however is that, in order for the game to properly function, you have to spend more than 200 dollars on dlc, which is absolutely unacceptable.
Play as any nation in the world through nearly 400 years of history
5. Cities: Skylines
As someone who grew up with SimCity 3000 and 4, the fact that very few city simulation games were coming out was a huge disappointment, but not nearly as infuriating as the disaster that was SimCity (2013). So when I finally got around to playing Cities: Skylines, I was blown away by how much of an improvement it was on any of the SimCity games. It seems that what the city simulator genre needed most was to be freed from that monstrosity that is EA.
What makes Cities: Skylines such an excellent game is how “free” it is. Free in the sense that you can build curved roads, free in the sense that modding is actually encouraged, free in that you are given a huge amount of land to build on. While Cites: Skylines has the solid mechanics that you want in a city Simulator, for the first time, it seems like we have a game that actually encourages you to build a city the way you want and not according to what EA wants.
Build a city that truly feels alive in Cities: Skylines
4. Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game
My personal favorite on this list, Darkest Hour: a Hearts of Iron Game was my first experience with Paradox. Originally a fan mod for Hearts of Iron II, Darkest Hour has become licensed as its own game. The improvements made to Hearts of Iron II include: a more detailed and realistic map, added realism when it comes to combat, unit production, and historical decisions, and added campaigns including 1914 and 1933 start dates. This was the game that made me fall in love with Grand Strategy. I love being in the command seat of a WW2 leader and general.
Lead your nation through the World Wars on an improved map of the world
Paradox takes Grand Strategy into the stars in Stellaris. Set in the far future, Stellaris tasks the player with creating a galactic faction and amassing an empire through conquest and diplomacy. Build your economy and your battle fleet and take on a galaxy filled with other human factions as well as aliens.
Build your galactic empire in Stellaris
2. Pillars of Eternity
The 2015 action-RPG Pillars of Eternity was developed by Obsidian and published by Paradox. The game is set in the renaissance-fantasy world of Dyrwood where souls and magic have become scientifically measurable and firearms have been developed. The game has been praised for its writing and has excellent gameplay within its isometric, 2d rendered environment. Gameplay in Pillars of Eternity also bears similarity to Baldur’s gate. Also, fans of the game can rejoice as a sequel is planned.
Pillars of Eternity is a throwback to older isometric RPGs
1. Hearts of Iron IV
To top our list is Paradox’s most recent game, Hearts of Iron IV. With decades of experience making Grand Strategy at this point, Paradox has managed to fine tune its craft, turning the World War 2 era series into a fun and smooth experience for newcomers while still retaining the complexity more hardcore fans crave. One of the best features of Hearts of Iron IV is its flexibility in options. You don’t have to follow history strictly, you can essentially forge whatever alternate history you want.
Hearts of Iron IV provides the most immersive map to date
So there is our list of the top 10 games by Paradox Interactive. Whether the games were published or developed by paradox, it’s clear the company has had a major impact on gaming and likely deserves more notoriety than it has. I will offer one caveat to my praises of Paradox however, as we’ve seen with Europa Universalis, Paradox unfortunately does seem to partake in the borderline unacceptable dlc practices many AAA gaming developers/publishers are known for. I love a lot of the games Paradox makes, I just wish they would ship them as complete.
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