21 Best World War Games for PC in 2017
Searching For The Best World War Games?
One of the most used eras in video games, especially when it comes to strategy or FPS, is the World War era. During this terrible war, many countries went to battle with each other, offering the perfect setting to play through. Of course, that also means the market has been flooded with these settings. So, this begs the question. Which ones are the best to play?
Well, this list will compile 21 of the best games on PC, centered around this era of war.
21) Blitzkrieg 3
Blitzkrieg 3 trailer
This entry is an MMO styled as an RTS in the World War II era. You can choose between siding with the Allies, the Axis, or the USSR. This allows for three campaigns, following the historic battles as each of those three factions. The other draw, though, is being able to participate in these large scale battles against other players.
One of the interesting aspects of the game is being able to assign generals from that war, such as Patton and Rokossovsky, styling their strategic style after the actual generals' strategies during the war. It offers an interesting new concept to take into account when deploying generals with their unique style of command. This game has also included fragments of historical documentaries to reinforce the historical significance of each encounter. As well as many others on the list, the weather effects have begun to be added in order to add more depth to the strategic element of the game.
It looks to be a promising entry. The only reason this is so low on the list is due to the fact that it is not out.
The horrors of war befall this small settlement
20) Battlefield 1
Battlefield 1 trailer
The latest project in the Battlefield franchise, you will travel back to World War I in the classic FPS styled gameplay with fully destructible environments. The game will take you through a variety of locations, such as Arabia and the Italian Alps. The campaign will offer more choice than the previous installments, allowing for a larger storyline from various different perspectives. An assortment of vehicles for the time will be available, enabling you to participate in aerial dogfights as well as the typical trench warfare or naval engagements. The destructibility will become a big part of the game, allowing a Royal Navy warship to level the entirety of the map if it so chose. The multiplayer will offer a massive amount of battling as well, supporting 64 players altogether.
Another entry that is sure to be a hit, it only reaches so low due to the fact that it has not been released yet.
Planes and zeppelins battle it out for air superiority
19) Making History II: The War of the World (2010)
Making History II: The War of the World trailer
One of the larger entries on the list, this game allows you to take control of any nation during the times leading up to World War II. You have complete control over your country and the colonies held by that country, allowing you to build your nation up into a superpower before the largest war in history. While battles do play a part in this strategy game, the intricacies lay more in the economics and country-management systems in place. The game plays more like a simulation, managing your country as time marches steadily forward towards World War II. This offers the chance to become a power, though, creating puppet states or taking over nations before the Axis even becomes an issue. The number of possibilities for every game is nearly endless.
The Japanese army readies its forces for the coming war
18) Zombie Army Trilogy (2015)
Zombie Army Trilogy trailer
Towards the end of World War II, Hitler unleashes one final attempt at domination. He releases hordes of undead supersoldiers to march across Europe, leaving you tasked with defeating them. In this third-person shooter, you can either fight alone or with up to three allies in their battle against the Nazis. This makes up the story campaign, ranging between three campaigns and 15 missions. If that grows tiring, though, there is also a horde mode, allowing you and up to three friends battle an endless zombie army in five different maps.
You can choose from sixteen survivors, including the eight survivors from the Left 4 Dead franchise, customizing those characters in any way they see fit. Along with this, as is common with Rebellion's army games, the X-ray kill cam is utilized, allowing you to see exactly where the bullet struck and what the damage was.
A clean shot taken against a Nazi zombie
17) Sniper Elite 3 (2014)
Sniper Elite 3 trailer
Another entry that puts the player in the shoes of a specific soldier rather than commanding a large amount of troops, Sniper Elite 3 allows you to journey as a lone sniper through Northern Africa during World War II. You are tasked with sabotaging a Nazi super weapon program through various missions, taking out key members of the Nazi party in the process. With the Allies threatened by this, the fate of the war may rest solely on your shoulders as he ventures across North Africa, battling the Nazi Afrika Korps. Along with that, there is also a multiplayer section where you can enter sniper duels with other players to earn medals and rewards for your character.
The gameplay is very interesting. Unlike most others set in this time, the focus isn't on the grand battles of tanks or planes fighting for supremacy. The fight is taken a more stealth-like approach, relying on timing your shots correctly and taking out key soldiers throughout the story. One of the more interesting aspects of the game is the X-ray kill cam that it offers. It allows you to see exactly where your bullet landed and adjust your aiming accordingly. It also offers cooperative play, allowing players to team up against the Afrika Korps as they venture through the story, executing plans one person would be unable to do alone.
Lining up the shot for a clean kill
16) Men of War: Assault Squad 2 (2014)
Men of War: Assault Squad 2 trailer
While this entry may lack a story campaign, it offers quite a few single-player skirmish maps for the player to enjoy. Along with that, unlike most of the entries, this one focuses on the various styles of combat throughout the war. The player can pit their tanks against the opponent's, but they can just as easily utilize snipers to try and pick off the enemy silently. Along with that, it offers a wide range of venue for the battles, from the Eastern nation of Japan to the Commonwealth of Great Britain.
One of the most interesting aspects of the gameplay is that the player can take individual control of every unit. While the player could take the role of the general, commanding troops as they see fit, each individual unit can be put directly under the player's control through a third-person shooter. This allows for specific strikes to be made while the larger army moves separately.
The squad storming the enemy
15) Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (2015)
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
This is the prequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order, starring B.J. Blazkowicz. Blazkowicz is sent on a mission to find the coordinates of General Deathshead. Playing as Blazkowicz, you fight your way through Castle Wolfenstein in search of this before continuing their search in the city of Wulfburg. Much of the combat is the same, relying on first-person action with a variety of weapons and tools to make short work of the Nazis that come against the player. The prequel sports a variety of new enemies too, offering new challenges to even the veteran Wolfenstein players.
The Nazis defend their stronghold
14) Victoria II (2010)
Victoria II trailer
This game puts you in control of your nation during the early 19th century. Being able to choose from various countries, such as Great Britain and France, you guide your nation through the age of colonization on its way to becoming a great power at the start of the 20th century. This strategy game takes the form of a political simulator rather than the RTS and turn based strategy normally seen in these types of games. With the focus being put on the politics rather than the warfare, it allows you to truly work your way from the budding nations trying to claim colonies to the superpowers seen at the start of the World Wars. While the focus is placed on the politics and the economics of the time, that does not mean that military should be ignored. Diplomacy can play a large role in creating alliances, but placing a large army outside of a nation's borders can be an effective means of diplomacy itself.
Two armies line up against each other with muskets at their command
13) Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad (2011)
Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad
Unlike some of the other entries on the list, this one focuses on a single battle and the surrounding conflicts leading to it. As one of the most brutal battles in history, the Battle of Stalingrad is a great setting for the player to enter. Being able to take control of both the Soviets or the Germans during the battle, the player can see both sides during this terrible clash, one of the turning points to the war.
As for the gameplay, the player is allowed to make strategic decisions, but the bulk of the battle is played through first person battles, whether that be as a single soldier with his rifle or a tank commander. One of the most interesting aspects here is the hero system. Players who prove themselves well through the progression tracker can become Heroes online. As a Hero, the player has access to rarer weapons and can be visibly distinguishable from the rest of the soldiers. Along with this, Heroes inspire the troops they are near, allowing for better combat from their allies.
The U.S.S.R. prepare to defend their city
12) War Thunder (2013)
War Thunder trailer
War Thunder is a cross-platform MMO that is supported on not only PC, but on the PlayStation 4. This one focuses on the use of military vehicles, allowing you to pilot fighter planes in intense dogfights or battle it out on the ground with tanks. The developers are planning to add in ships as well, in future updates. There is no story campaign, but you can play against other players around the world in historical battles during World War II and the Korean Wars. You can even organize fellow players into squadrons to join the battle as a their own team. However, if you do not like fighting directly against other players, it is possible to battle the AI in cooperative matches with friends.
The game has one of the largest rosters of historically accurate vehicles to choose from, boasting over 500 different planes, tanks, and other combat vehicles. It also contains a very reliable vehicle damage system, allowing for even a stray shot to end up making the difference between victory or defeat. As all MMOs, the developers are still working to improve the system, constantly expanding the amount of battles and vehicles able to use.
Taking to the sky to offer their forces air support
11) Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014)
Wolfenstein: The New Order trailer
From a renowned series among the first-person shooter genre, Wolfenstein: The New Order places the player in the role of B.J. Blazkowicz during an alternate history in which the Nazis won World War II. This pits the player against Nazi war machines and super soldiers in their quest to put an end to the German reign. While it sounds like this sole player is up against impossible odds, the battle takes Blazkowics through many Nazi encampments to assist in beefing up the player's arsenal of destruction along the way.
Some of the key features in this game comes from the fast paced combat that this series is known for. However, the immersive story and the characters the player meets are enough, even without the gameplay. Taking the player on a wild trip with the revolution against the ruling Nazis, this is a must play for any who love to play in this era of war.
Destruction is everywhere as Blazkowicz takes out the Nazis' new toys
10) ARMA 3 (2013)
ARMA 3 trailer
This installment has a vast world to explore, opening you up to playing on the Mediterranean islands Altis and Stratis. These islands allows you to traverse a variety of terrain, from expansive cities to dense forests and rolling hills. The single-player campaign allows you to fill the boots of Ben Kerry through three chapters: Survive, Adapt, Win. Controlling Kerry, you must complete the objectives for each chapters, starting with simply surviving the war at hand before finally moving on to victory. The multiplayer community is also active, allowing players to pit their skills against each other in Defend and Seize scenarios. The most interesting aspect, though, is the community building that this game includes. Through a scenario editor, you can create your own unofficial game modes to offer a fun new twist to the usual gameplay.
Forming up to rain hell on the enemy
9) Men of War (2009)
Men of War trailer
Men of War spans the battles across North Africa and Europe during World War II. There are 19 campaign missions, allowing you to play as the Allies, the Axis, or the Soviets. While these three are all you can use during the campaign, the online play allows for a fourth faction: the Japanese. Each faction has technology and weapons available to them specific to their faction for the time. The more interesting aspect is that, while this is a RTS style game, there is a direct control function that allows the player to control specific units rather than the army as a whole. This allows for more strategic challenges, being able to move units in different operations while the entirety of your army continues the last command given.
Preparing the defenses against an impending enemy attack
8) Company of Heroes 2 (2013)
Company of Heroes 2 trailer
A more narrowed view, the base game of Company of Heroes 2 serves to familiarize the player with the German invasion of Soviet Union during World War 2 and the consequent counterattack by the Soviets. A campaign is offered, putting the player in the role of a Soviet commander, defending the motherland from the invading Germans before countering and pushing the enemy all the way back to Berlin. The multiplayer itself allows the player to take the role of either the Red Army, the Soviet military one would control in the campaign, or the Wehrmacht Ostheer, the German army that was utilized in the attack of the Soviet Union. However, with the expansions, other factions are offered, including the United States military and the British army.
While this game seems to ignore the Eastern front of the war, the amount of detail placed on the Western is fantastic. The tactical choices the player is required to make is made more interesting when placed into the specific roles of the different nations. The Soviets would defend the motherland with knowledge of the harsh winter climates, or perhaps the player can use that knowledge to offer the Germans victory in an alternate timeline, marching forward with the coming winter in mind. The expansions, too, add quite a bit to the base, allowing for at least three different armies to join the battle over Europe.
An air strike wrecks havoc for the troops
7) Verdun (2015)
This one is a multiplayer FPS, forgoing the campaign in exchange for the multiplayer experience. It also takes place during World War I, making trench warfare a huge part of the game itself. Four game modes are offered: Frontlines, Attrition, Rifle Deathmatch, and Squad Defense. The first involves you defending the frontlines and trying to capture enemy trenches, involving a high level of tactical involvement to properly fight in the enclosed areas. The second is the typical death match between two sides. Each side has a certain number of troops and the first team to kill the needed number of opponents emerges victorious. Rifle Deathmatch is a free-for-all styled match where players can only use the bolt-action rifle. Finally, Squad Defense is the only strictly co-op styled mode. You and three squad mates will be placed in position to defend a location against an endless horde of AI soldiers.
One of the interesting aspects of this game is that the player can be placed in squads, allowing the entire squad to level up and progress in their own way. This involves a larger amount of strategy, despite the fact that it is an FPS. The various squad mates need to progress in a way to support the rest of their squad efficiently.
The troops act quickly to a sudden assault of toxic fumes
6) Empires: Dawn of the Modern World (2003)
Empires: Dawn of the Modern World trailer
This RTS depicts several points in history, leading up to World War II itself. The campaign includes three storylines to participate in. The first is Richard the Lionheart's war in France during the medieval periods. The second is Admiral Yi Sun-Sin during his defense against the Japanese invasion of Korea. Finally, the last one, and the reason it makes this list, is the adventures of General George S. Patton during World War II. This also includes a scenario editor in which players can create new battle scenarios using these different soldiers. This allows for an expansive selection of battles to choose from.
Patton's forces face off against the Nazis
5) Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game (2011)
Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game trailer
Darkest Hour is a strategy game that focuses on small, contained scenarios rather than these huge campaigns. Also, unlike other games on the list, this one focuses on not just World War II, but World War I as well. The year and event is outlined in the selection screen and you can participate during the events of those time, like the invasion of Poland or the start to World War I. You then take control of the country of your choice, whichever group would be significant for the time period chosen, and play out the events that unfold. It does not focus on the battles themselves in any great detail, instead taking an approach more similar to Risk. You move your army to the land you want to take and you do a quick battle to represent conquering the nation. The more interesting aspects of the game come from the diplomacy and intrigue. You set your policies and govern the way your nation is going to go. Rather than fighting every battle on a battlefield, sometimes the choice is offered to send in spies and sabotage your enemies from the inside. It adds more levels of strategy than the simplistic way most games just have you march your armies across enemy land.
The Nazis on their last stand as bombs rain across their nation
4) Panzer Corps (2011)
Panzer Corps trailer
As the spiritual successor to the Panzer General series, this turn-based strategy game that places you in the role of the Nazis. Placed as the general of the Axis army, the player is tasked with fighting for the glory of Germany across 26 scenarios. The army the player leads can upgrade itself as they successfully complete these scenarios, earning themselves better weaponry. Not only that, the core faction within your military is made up of units of your choice. With over 800 units to use, there are a lot of possibilities for you to explore.
There is also a multiplayer offered, allowing you to battle it out in historical battles or balanced scenarios with other players. The game supports cross-platform gameplay, allowing players on PC to play with players who have the iPad version.
Germany enlists an iron-like defense
3) Hearts of Iron IV (2016)
Hearts of Iron IV trailer
For one of the biggest wars in history, some major strategic action should be required in any strategy game centered around that war. In Hearts of Iron IV, the story follows the player taking the role of any of the great leaders, such as Winston Churchill or Joseph Stalin, and leading their nation to battle against either the Axis or the Allies. This game takes into account not only the topography of the war, spanning across both Europe and Asia, but also the various significant events that would hinder or assist armies. Weather plays a large role. For instance, a defending army might have the advantage over an invader marching through the dead of winter. Each nation also has its own unique edge during the war, the technology tree changing depending on the nation controlled.
The gameplay itself features a Risk-like board across the entirety of Europe and Asia, allowing the player to position troops and move them from their territory into enemy territory. The player moves their troops in the direction they wish, whether it is to transport troops or invade the neighboring lands. Taking into account weather and terrain, the player is able to better make these choices. Along with that, should the player be up against overwhelming odds, diplomacy becomes an option as well, allowing the player to rewrite history to develop their own victory. Given the era, this also allows for battle on any frontier, whether it land, sea, or air. What’s more, the game is very loyal to the era that it takes place in, keeping the weapons and vehicles specific to which country the player controls.
The Nazis prepare to push against the Allied Forces
2) Valiant Hearts: The Great War (2014)
Valiant Hearts: The Great War trailer
Another entry that focuses on World War I, Valiant Hearts has a charming comic book style to it that is not seen often in this genre. The game takes more of a focus on puzzles rather than the battles themselves, creating a narrative through its campaign. You play as four strangers who cross paths during the events of the war and, together, try to retain their humanity during these terrible times in the trenches. The focus remains on the puzzles, using various means to make your way through the campaign, often trying to avoid enemies rather than outright fighting against them.
This is hands down one of the most charming depictions of this time period, focusing on the human side to the soldiers that would risk their lives to defend their homeland.
A last ditch attack against an enemy zeppelin
1) Atlantic Fleet (2016)
Atlantic Fleet trailer
This game focuses on the naval warfare that occurred during the Battle of the Atlantic. You can play as either the Allies or the German Navy, the Kriegsmarine. There is a campaign, allowing for 50 missions between the two factions as you battle it out for control of the Atlantic channels. Ranging from protecting convoys to hunting the enemy ships with submarines, there are a lot of options in the way your missions can go. While this is mostly naval warfare, there are a number of aircrafts that can also be used, attacking from the sky to give your army the edge. If the campaign isn't quite your style, there is also PVP styled matches, allowing for up to ten ships on both sides of the conflict. This allows for some major battles between fleets as you battle for the Atlantic.
Ships aren't the only means of winning a naval battle