The Best Total War Games To Play (Ranked)


The Total War Series made its revolutionary debut in the early 2000s with hit titles such as Rome Total War and Shogun. Combining massive battles with a 3d engine focused on tactical combat, this was the new era of strategy gaming. Many years have passed and with over sixteen titles, there’s a broad range of Total War games to choose from. Want a fantasy fix in the fascinating world of Warhammer? 

Then why not try out Warhammer Total War II, an immense deep dive into the Old World that combines the new? With a campaign for control of the Vortex, it is and will remain one of the best games set in the Warhammer universe. Not discounting Warhammer III of course, which is carrying on the immense work made in WH2. Want some Medieval Action with Medieval 2? 

There are a ton of mods within the game ranging from Warcraft to Lord of the Rings to download from MODDB, and it is still being consistently played to this date.  Want to play from the 18th century to the Napoleonic era? Empire and Napoleon have you covered. Let’s break down some of the best Total War Games to play right now as Christmas sales are coming up!

7) Total War Warhammer II 

Here are Dragons and Dark Elves battling each other upon the plains of Lustria!

Total War: Warhammer II pits you into a never-before-explored setting of the Warhammer universe; the New World. Inhabited by a ferocious race of dinosaurs and lizardmen that follow the Old Ways, within the middle of all this lies the Island of Ulthuan fought in a never-ending conflict between Dark Elves and High Elves. 

Each part of this world is being fought for the Vortex, and the world is brought alive due to its great depiction of races from Tomb Kings in the Desert to Dwarves in the Snow-Capped Mountains of the Old World. And let’s not forget to have Vampire Counts and Empire expeditions. 

The goal of the game is simple: save the Vortex from being captured by the evil powers of Chaos and the Dark Elves. Each race you play will have its objectives. And there are titanic objectives for each faction to achieve. No one race plays the same, and you’ll be playing in some of the most gorgeous campaign and battle maps of all time. 

I remember playing the Mortal Empires campaign (this requires you to own WH1 to play the Old World Races) and it contains some of the best and most incredible DLC for the Skaven, the Empire and more. Narrative-wise, it also contains some of the best writing for a fantasy game set in the Total War Universe. 

Total War Warhammer III continues this legacy but is still evolving into a perfect expansion for Mortal Empires. That said, I would recommend trying out Warhammer II first (provided you own WH1) to get a taste of what this world has to offer you.

6) Total War Attila 

Total War: Attila pits you into the Fall of the Roman Empire. The Romans struggle against the Huns and other invading Barbarian tribes and now Rome is forced to employ them within their armies. Civil war also threatens the Western Roman Empire, as now the Eastern Roman Empire, its cousin is managing to build an Empire of wealth and fortune and hold back the emerging Sassanids, the replacers to the once powerful Parthian Empire. This game is all about survival.

The fearsome HUNS!! Barbarian Bois in 395 AD Sacking Rome!

The goal here is to either bring Rome's downfall by playing one of the barbaric factions or revive the Roman Empire and unite once more. Restore the world of Roman and Greek paganism, or build a new Christian Empire. This game has some great historical narratives giving motives for each faction in the game; want to play a powerful Sassanid Empire that wants to take advantage of the chaos in the Roman Empire? Go for it. Want to play as the Saxons to emigrate to Britain? Or play as the Huns? 

The game gives out a gothic, ambient style of setting, where the world of the Old Gods is no longer present, and the world of Christianity is on the rise. This could ideally be described as an unofficial remake of Rome's Total War Barbarian Invasion, which in many ways has better historical accuracy, better-looking units and an authentic feel. Playing Attila is a grand and unique experience like no other in case you want to play the downfall of Rome itself. 

5) Total War Three Kingdoms

Total War Three Kingdoms is a highly recommended game based on the epic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In 190CE China was in a state of brutal civil war, and the Han Empire was a shadow of its former self. Rival Warlords and rebellious armies battle across a gorgeous campaign map to either reunite the Empire or become Emperor of their own accord. 

Build your dynasty across 12 legendary warlords with their unique personalities and traits, and more cultures to establish peace and harmony, and make your empire ever-lasting. Respect, friendship, treachery, and political intrigue all play a role. 

Liu Bei battles against the enemy!

The goal of the game is simple: Unite China, and become Emperor. It offers one of the best total war campaigns to date, rivalling the scope and magnitude of politics and scheming from previous entries. The game's artwork is stunning, with well-voiced heroes, and has some of the most gorgeous campaign map visuals to date. 

The battles feel alive and fresh, with many types of units and a good battle system with tough AI to keep you on your toes. It’s a relatively unexplored setting of Total War and I would thoroughly recommend trying this out.

4) Empire Total War: Definitive Edition

Empire Total War is the epic spanning scope of an RTS game set within the Age of Sail and the American Revolution. The goal of this game is direct: Choose any of the European, Native American or Indian factions to build your empire and rewrite history. 

Participate in massive battles and fight over a fascinating period of history. The Native Americans have their own DLC called the Warpath Campaign which is also recommended to try out if you wish to rewrite their history against the forces of colonisation.

The Golden Battles of the 18th century! 

The scope of Empire is clear to anyone who plays it; command the world. Control it, and build an Empire that will be the lasting foundation of a civilisation. This was the first total war game to introduce 3d naval battles, and the first total war game to feature cannons, muskets and different styles of unique formations.

Each faction within the game has its own unique goals. Spain wishes to keep itself powerful yet suffers from piracy and English raiders. France aims to become a dominant power within Europe, and the Marathas are looking to emerge to become a major power within India.

Play as the Ottomans to keep the empire strong and save it from corruption. It is a great game and I’ve spent hundreds and thousands of hours on this game. One of the best total war games to date!

3) Total War Shogun 2

Total War: Shogun 2 sees the peaceful world of the once-powerful Ashikaga Shogunate burn. Japan is now in the state of Sengoku Jidhai or the age of the country at war. Now the over-mighty warlords no longer obey, and they each fight against each other to become the new Shogun of Japan. The goal of the game is direct: Become Shogun of Japan. Play as any of the ten clans and fight against other warlords in brutal sieges and blood-curdling combat. 

The Glorious Shogun 2 In All Its Glory!

Considered to be one of the most legendary total war games to date, I have to agree. This was a game I was excited about at its announcement, and while I hadn’t played much of the original title, this sequel blew me away the first time I played it. The game heavily relies on the Samurai fantasy and it fulfils. With a massive map of Japan to conquer, hundreds of clans to make friends and enemies from, and to lead massive armies in some of the best battles known to mankind, this is a game you will love. 

The game also covered two more DLC expansions, set in the Rise of the Samurai Period, which showcases the evolution of the Samurai and was a brilliant DLC. It’s linked to the Shogun 2 campaign itself, as the early clans of the ROTS period are the ancestors of the clans in the main base campaign. Yet, if you wanted something unique, then Fall of the Samurai is untouched but a good step in the right direction for a Victorian Total War in the future.  Want to play warships, cannons and powerful musket fire? Want to westernise Japan and become the Emperor of Nippon? Then this is the right game for you. 


Rome Total War Remastered is a high-definition upgrade of the classic 2004 RTS game, which revolutionised RTS gaming with massive battles, gorgeous 3D graphics, and an immersive soundtrack. The game has an extensive modding community, with classic mods like Europa Barbaroum, Roma Serructum, Classical Age Total War, Rise of the Republic, and a Lord of the Rings Total War as well!

Roman Legions vs Greek Phalanx!

The remaster aims to attract new players and retain fans' nostalgia. The game retains its original battle mechanics and offers increased modding potential and the goal of the game is simple: Play as Rome and conquer the world. 

Or play as any of the other factions to combat and defeat Rome and play within a new alternate history. The remaster has managed to keep the audio crisp and clear, redone some faction intros, and unlocked new factions. While the classic title is no longer available on Steam, it should still be available for players to enjoy who own it. 

1) Napoleon Total War

If you’ve watched Ridley’s Scott Napoleon movie, then you’ll want to play a grand RTS game in the Napoleonic period. Look no further than Napoleon Total War. The goal of the game is simple; rewrite Napoleon’s Bonaparte history in a story-style campaign and a sandbox mode. The game begins with Napoleon's tutorial in 1793, progressing to Italy and an alternate history of Napoleon's failed campaign in Egypt against the Ottomans though it is limited in scope. 

This game is glorious in the depiction of Napoleon Total War Battles

Then play in the European Campaign where all sorts of alternate history scenarios can occur; fight the Austrians and the Russians at the Gates of Vienna, conquer the map of Europe to do the 1812 Russian Campaign. And become Emperor of Europe. The game also takes place in Europe, where the power and alliances of the old blocks of the 18th century are crumbling for a new Emperor to take the throne. Pick up any of these games during the Winter Christmas Sale - as they are some of the best games you'll ever get to play in the RTS Genre, which encompasses a wide genre of history!

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I am a freelancer, writing in the RTS field and also playing RPG games. I've loved franchises such as Age of Empires/Total War, and games like Witcher/Assassin Creed, and CRPGs such as Warhammeer 40k
Gamer Since: 2004
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Total War Pharaoh, Age of Empires II and RPG games
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls Online, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Assassins Creed Rogue

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