22. Total War: Warhammer
Previously Total War looked to history to inspire its strategy campaigns. The fantasy setting of Warhammer – Tolkien warped with heavy metal imagery and tongue-in-cheek humor – gave it a much-needed push towards something very different. Fantasy means asymmetry: dwarfs defend rich mountain holds with steampunk guns while mobile orcs ride boars and have an economy based entirely on raiding. Even Total War: Shogun 2 felt samey when replayed as a different faction with slightly better samurai, but ending a siege by bashing down a gate with a giant or flying gyrocopters over the walls feels unlike anything else.